Virtually Real

Recently I have landed a number of reticulation jobs purely on the strength of .

People have found me online, resonated with the style, content and vibe of my site and have virtually asked me to do the job even before meeting me or obtaining a firm quote. It seems an attractive website with some basic information is a more valuable tool than I had thought at first.

I know most tradies don’t worry about websites but I wonder if that needs to change. As we all know these days a virtual web identity is proof that you really exist… ironic hey?

I do my own design and use a simple program called Sitespinner which allows for attractive but fairly basic sites. A little design savvy and you’re away.

One of the things I have done quite intentionally is to list my prices, that way people know what to expect before I come and neither of gets a nasty surprise when the bill or quote comes in.

So, just a heads up to anyone else in small business that it is well worth the effort to have decent web presence even if it seems like its not doing much. Of course its also important to avoid having a tacky and cheap looking site because that says just as much!

The Vertical Self

Since I’ve known Mark Sayers I have been inspired and challenged by his incisive ability to analyse culture, and point to the achillees heel of the church – and more particularly my own foibles.

His first book ‘The Trouble with Paris’ did this in a broad sweeping way and his more recent book ‘The Vertical Self’ picks up from there and asks how do we live lives that actually reflect the priorities of Jesus rather than simply blending in with 21st C materialism and adding a little of Jesus on Sundays.

The basic premise of the book is that we have two potential ‘selves’, the horizontal – defined by culture, media and the forces around us calling us to conform to whatever is current and the vertical – shaped by our relationship with God and our understanding of how he sees us.

Where Mark really hits the money is that he ‘calls us out’ on our apparent belief in God and yet our actual practice of honouring our culture’s values more highly, as evidenced by our actions. He shows the incongruities of Christians who follow Jesus selectively – as long as it doesn’t impact on my actual life and looks at some of the implications of this for discipleship and our life as the church.

Its a simple and easy read, yet the content is challenging and confronting – if we choose to let it confront. Its impossible for it not to be when you live in a media saturated, self focused world. Mark presents some images of the kingdom and what that means for how we live now and he offers some practical suggestions for combating the allure of popular culture.

While Mark writes primarily for a younger generation what he says is of direct relevance to any of us immersed in western culture and trying to locate our identity in Christ.

If I had a critique it would be simply that as one who has heard Mark speak on many occasions I would say he is more a compelling communicator in person than in writing. But that is often the case. My tip – if you enjoyed the book then make sure you get to hear Mark in person. He is an unassuming, and gracious man with a great sense of humour, who will sneak under your radar every time and hit you in the guts with a big lump of 4 x2 and leave you glad that it happened.

Sam’s Songs

For his 7th birthday this year Danelle got Sam some musical instruments which he has quite taken to. He has been crashing away on them enjoying himself then the other day he came out with two bits of paper on which he had written two songs.

I found it quite intriguing to see the inner workings and theologisings of a 7 year old so I have posted them on here, both as he wrote them (on paper) and in text that you might be able to read a little easier.

What I found amusing was the trinitarian focus in both songs. I’m sure if you ever want to understand the idea of one God in 3 persons that Sam would be able to set you straight!…

Oh God the Mity

Oh God oh mighty

You care for all of us

Your plans will never fail

You care with love

There’s only one God in three persons

Your Bible means all different words like ‘the book’

You and me look great

We shout to you to worship

When we get closer and closer to you we get to you

When we do we know that where in the safest place in the world!

This one had no title

My lord my lord all you have did my lord

You died on the cross for me

My lord he anseurs my prairs for me

My lord I said I’m safe in bed

Lord you make no mistake

Cos theres only one Lord

In three different persons

Overeducated and Underdiscipled

How is it that people can be in the church their whole lives, or work as Christian missionaries and yet be such arrogant, obnoxious and opinionated nobs?

Clearly education is not equivalent to transformation.

I had an encounter again this week with a person who left me speechless with their attitude. I think there is plenty in the church that is worthy of critique, but when you stand on the sidelines and lob rocks without getting your hands dirty trying to effect change then you just make me want to vomit.

I had to leave quickly because I was about to offer some of my own insights back to them.

As you were…


I have been to a lot of conferences in my 45 years, (many of them well worth every cent), but if you asked me which one I’d like to go to next I’d have to say ‘there isn’t one’.

I reckon you could bring the greatest line up of gurus from all over the world to Perth to talk about some of my favourite interests and I probably wouldn’t be bothered attending. I don’t think its that I have lost interest in the issues, but after a while it just seems there isn’t a lot of new stuff to consider.

Of course I understand the social value of conferences and that is well and good, but I can have lunch with a few mates any time I like and get the same result. If I am going to shell out some $$ and spend a few days of my life in a meeting room then I want it to be an exceptional time and one where I am challenged intellectually and inspired to action.

I know there are plenty of great communicators out there and I don’t for a moment think I have finished learning. I am just not convinced that I am going to be heading off to many conferences in the future.

I wonder if anyone else feels similarly?…

Is it an age you get to, or have we just been stung with a glut of conferences in the last 20 years. (And yes I realise I write this as one who spent the last 6 years of life organising learning events for people!)