i've got a dilemma

Ok - blogger is really slow. I work on a few Blogger blogs, and all are ok in speed save for this urban onramps blog. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but my hunch is that it's because this blog is so, well, big. I've not only had it for three years, but I've made thousands of posts (it quit counting in the fall at 2,700 posts). So if it's slow because of size, and it will continue to be slow, maybe I should:

(a) switch over to a new Blogger blog, or
(b) take the opportunity to jump to TypePad

Your thoughts, experiences with other blog engines are appreciated.

jobs at bresee, faith-based nonprofit in LA

Our friends at the Bresee Foundation, a faith-based nonprofit located in Central Los Angeles, have the following job openings:
CAREER COUNSELOR. Full-time position. Work with local employers to place youth and young adults in internships and unsubsidized employment. Along with other staff ensure that clients are adequately prepared for the workplace.

INTEGRATED TRAINING INSTRUCTOR. Full-time position. Develop and implement curriculum for established GED preparation and workplace readiness program for young adults 17-21. Also, teach workplace readiness and basic academic skills development to youth during after-school hours.

IN-SCHOOL EMPLOYMENT CASE MANAGER. Part-time (30 hrs/week) position. Provide documentation processing and counseling support for youth 14-18. Assess needs for supportive services, maintain accurate files.

TO APPLY FOR any of these positions, please your fax resume AND cover letter to Cathy Trout at 213.385.8482, or email them to ctrout@bresee.org. Indicate position for which you are applying in the subject.

paid summer internships...

...for African American and Latino college students to work in the Bayshore Christian Ministries summer program. More info here. Bayshore is good people, Andy Hartwell, John Liotti and them.

search term mania!

the latest ways people found themselves to UO:
urban church commute (stuck in heavy traffic on the 10 freeway on Sunday morning, eh?)
todd minturn (I know him)
latino church youth groups mission trips (send 'em to harambee)
delaying adulthood (you've come to the right place)
latino church minneapolis (they exist)
free video of wtc jumpers (never forget

Center for Youth and Family Ministry

It's a new think tank based out of Fuller Seminary (Kara Powell and them) that's got a strong emphasis on urban youth ministry. Check it out http://www.cyfm.net/.

right-winger smackdown

Want to see right-wingers lob grenades at each other under the big tent? Track the back and forth over the blogosphere's role in Eason Jordan's resignation. None other than the Wall Street Journal opinion page (which is generally regarded as the conservative counter-balance to the WSJ's more centrist news side) called out and (attempted) to take to task the Big Bloggers. Dumb move, WSJ. This blog post will catch you up to speed on the "kerfuffle," including the general Professional Journalist lament over the rise of the citizen reporters, i.e., the bloggers.

Is this good financial advice?

David Batstone, executive editor of Sojourners and author of Saving the Corporate Soul--and (Who Knows?) Maybe Your Own: Eight Principles for Creating and Preserving Wealth and Well-Being for You and Your Company Without Selling Out, writes the following in his weekly WAG:
Reduce - and then eliminate - your personal debt.

I'll be even more to the point: If you have credit card debts, use every bit of your savings to pay down your principle. Unless you have investments that are earning you over 18 percent return - and doing so on a consistent basis (just shy of winning the lottery) - then you're better off draining your bank account to pay off your loans. As Benjamin Franklin advised, "Rather to go to bed supperless than rise in debt."

the ongoing Wal-Mart debate, entry #41,667

(or whatever number we are on, I've lost count...)

Many say that when Wal-Mart enters a community, bad things happen, like jobs being lost, small businesses put out, etc. So you would think that when Wal-Mart decides to close a store and leave a community, that would be good for said community, no? Well, according to a union fighting a Wal-Mart in Canada, that's not quite the case:
"Fair-minded people who respect the rights of workers call on Wal-Mart to abandon plans to close its Jonqueiere, Quebec, store," the union urges Wal-Mart's chief executive, Lee Scott, in an electronic petition. It says the store's closing would "displace an entire community."
So they are urging the store to stay open:
The union has gone further than the petition, also filing a complaint with the Quebec Labor Relations Commission in an attempt to force Wal-Mart to return to the bargaining table and remain open. The store plans to close in May.
And can this be true? In a $285 billion a year company, leaders act like this?
Unions complaining about Wal-Mart's stinginess might have a better case if Wal-Mart's top brass were living lavishly. But the retailer's commitment to controlling costs can be seen from the top down. Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott has a tiny office in the company's corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas. Along with other executives, Scott flies coach and shares budget hotel rooms when traveling.
Inquiring minds would like to know.

Sam is better

We are out of the hospital, Sam's fever came down, today they gave him his final dose (this week) of Ara-C, and he's running around strong. Thanks for your prayers.

50 gmail invites

Well, I don't know what gives, but now I've got 50 (fifty) gmail invites to give out. Doesn't everyone in the world who wants one have one by now? Last time I offered gmail accounts they were not all snapped up. But here goes: if you want one, leave a message in the comments below, telling me so, with an email address where I can send your invite - or you can just email me directly and I'll make the connect for you.

UPDATE 830 PM -- 2/14: Six down, 44 to go!

UPDATE 1030pm -- 2/15: 11 down, 39 to go!

9/11: Debunking the Myths

Popular Mechanics examines the evidence and consults the experts to refute the most persistent conspiracy theories of September 11

I'm trying to pick a good example of the type of rumor/myth this article dispells. Let's see -- how about the mysterious plane seen in the vicinity of the Flight 93 as it went down in Pennsylvania?

The Cheerful Oncologist

Another wonder of the blogosphere - a real live, cancer-treating oncologist blogs about what he sees, hears and feels as he makes the rounds. If you've ever been in my position, with a loved one being treated for cancer, you've probably wanted to know what was really rattling around in the doctor's brain. Wonder no more. Go lose yourself at the good doctor's blog.

Hard to disagree with this Valentine's Day observation

From Dawn Eden(http://www.dawneden.com/):
The mainstream media forces Valentine's Day down our throats, stating quite clearly that unless a single woman has a hot date on this very day of the calendar, she is a pathetic, unattractive git.

In truth, anyone who knows anything about love knows that there is no guarantee that one will meet the right person at any given point in one's life. One may wish to just fool around in the meantime, but Page Six itself shows on a daily basis the toll of such hedonism, spelled out in bitchiness, superficiality, and backbiting, not to mention abortion and sexually transmitted disease.

Thankfully, there is another way, andÑunless your name is Richard JohnsonÑchances are I don't have to tell you what it is. There are men and women reading this who are dateless today not because they're undesirable, but because they are too wise, deep, and principled to settle for something superficial. Here's to you this Valentine's Day. My heart goes out to you.

Paul writes in Romans 12:2, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

I may be in the Page Six universe. But I'll be damnedÑliterallyÑif I'm of it.

Sam is better

We should go home in an hour or two. Thanks for your prayers.

Eason Jordan: What in the world just happened?

Michelle Malkin knows:
For those of us in the information business, this is truly an earth-shaking time. Who would have imagined that the downfall of one of the world's most powerful news executives would be precipated by an ordinary citizen blogging his eyewitness report at Davos in the wee hours of the morning on Jan. 27?
What happened is that CNN's Chief News Executive, Eason Jordan, just resigned a few hours ago after being held accountable by the blogosphere for devastating comments he made recently at Davos. Malkin's roundup will catch you up, in case you hadn't been following the affair.

I think back to my post below about Blogs: The Pressure of Instant Accountability...

The Cops...

...came to Harambee tonight. Last week there was a disturbing incident that took place on the street in front of the center, most definitely a case of mistaken identity involving one of our top young people. All the officers involved plus their departmental higher ups were present, speaking to a number of parents and staff who witnessed the incident. We had almost two hours of vigorous dialogue, and things ended pretty well.

it's a page-turner

Just got the latest issue of The Journal of Morality and Markets. Hint: it's not oxymoronic; these folks are serious. Articles include:
Is There Only Secular Democracy? Imagining Other Possibilities for the Third Millenium

The Secret, Natural Theological Foundation of Adam Smith's Work

The Concept of Social Sin in Its Thomistic Roots

Justice: The Most Terrible of the Virtues

From Cracks in the Liberal Edifice to the Rediscovery of the Common Good

A Biblical Precedent for the Coase Theorom?
I'm interested to see what's in the Adam Smith piece.

I like Steven Seagal movies

There. I said it. I'm watching Out for a Kill right now. Actually, when I'm up at 4am with baby Micah (taking my turn) I often turn to the action movie channel. Almost invariably, it's a Steven Seagal flick. Or Bad Boys. No luck getting a Charles Bronson, Chuck Norris, or even a Jean-Claude Van Damme, though.

the four ways to spend money

Food for thought from this guy:
1. You spend your money on yourself. You're motivated to get the thing you want most at the best price. This is the way middle-aged men haggle with Porsche dealers.

2. You spend your money on other people. You still want a bargain, but you're less interested in pleasing the recipient of your largesse. This is why children get underwear at Christmas.

3. You spend other people's money on yourself. You get what you want but price no longer matters. The second wives who ride around with the middle-aged men in the Porsches do this kind of spending at Neiman Marcus.

4. You spend other people's money on other people. And in this case, who cares?

Most government spending falls into category four. Which is why the government keeps buying us Hoover Dams, B-1 bombers, raids on Waco cults, and 1972 Federal Water Pollution Control Acts.
Ok, that last paragraph was that guy's commentary. You could enter your own gripes about government into that paragraph.

I think the "four ways" idea was first put forth by Milton and Rose Friedman.

Digital Divide and Ministry national conference

TechMission has set aside July 8-9 for the next national Technology and Ministry conference for folks in an urban setting. Good times. Get there if you can.

pray for Abner and his team

Abner Ramos is an Intervarsity staff worker at East L.A. College. One of the guys in his chapter, Julio, was killed this week in a hit-and-run accident. Abner is in the middle of the tragedy, as is Brad Arnold, and I pray wisdom and spiritual strength as they support Julio's loved ones during a very difficult time: http://elacceso.blogspot.com/2005/02/julio-rodriguez-is-with-lord.html Julio Rodriguez is with The Lord.

extreme blog makeover?

You know all those extreme makeover shows on TV? We could have an extreme web site or blog makeover. This can go live once the new Apple iChat software, the one that allows four-way videoconferencing, is released this summer. I got the thought after IM'ing wit DJ Chuang, who got jacked by his web site host - they lost the last month of his blog entries, server crash, and now he has to do "reconstructive surgery" (his term, not mine) on his blog.

driving me crazy

...and I say that without any exxageration. We've hit a stage in my son's chemotherapy where he is doing a lot better, but dad and mom are stressed out. We've just got a lot to do, in all areas of our life, yet there are many many many unplanned situations and interruptions related to child care that we are being stretched to our limit. We are challenged to pray more, take things more slowly, and just plain old trust God more. We are beyond stretched. Yet and still some good things are happening. At church we are doing the 40 Days of Community. Our first small group meeting was last night at our house and it went very well. Kafi and I also both did our first day's devotional, and I feel more peaceful today. And about Rick Warren - I really like the guy. I've never met him, but he's very likable and real and just himself. I appreciate him and the Saddleback folks. You know, I hate to say it, but I think there is some sort of spiritual bias against well-to-do, upper crust churches in America, particulary with wealthy folks, as if being wealthy alone disqualifies some place from legitimate spiritual service. Saddleback is tucked into a nice area in a nice part of a nice county, yet there is some incredible stuff coming from there. God bless them for it.

If you think of me as a "good networker"...

(and you may not, but i'm speaking to those of you who've said as much to me...)

Then you can learn what I do and why by reading the "Network" chapter in Tim Sanders' book, Love is the Killer App. I just picked it up again and started reading it, late last night. I was startled by how clearly he explained "love" networking. Now, let me clearly state that I didn't learn what I know from Sanders. I learned it by watching John Perkins, and because I have a fair amount of this approach to life as part of my personality. I recommend Sanders because I often try to explain this stuff to people and stumble over my own words.

please help

There is a young adult in our Harambee.org community who starts, this week, a six month substance abuse / rehab program at a Christian facility. I'm not giving more details here because of the public nature, but if you would like more specific info, please email me and I can share more. This person has demonstrated that they want a new start. In recent weeks they have volunteered many hours in our ministries, have attended bible studies with our staff, and get themselves to church every Sunday. They need $500 to get started with the program. If you would make a contribution to help this young person, I would be very appreciative. You may click the button below for secure giving. Thanks in advance.

FEB. 9 UPDATE: Thank you to all who have given. We've received $225 so far. This person still needs $275. Questions? Email me.

want to present a workshop at CCDA 2005?

You've got til April 1 to fill out the CCDA 2005 Conference Request for Presenters Form and send it in.


Anybody using Vonage? Are you satisfied with it? I'm thinking about switching to it, but would like to know the downside - since the upside is clear: it's cheap. Really cheap. Plus I can probably call Jordon and sit on the phone during the next State of the Union speech, chatting it up.
phone cards
Canada phone cards
India phone cards
France phone cards

blogs - "the pressure of instant accountability"

Hugh Hewitt put his finger on it a little while back, what I like about blogs, their power, and what I now expect from news sources: instant accountability.

I think I'm suited to blogs because I've lived "high accountability" for years, because of my living situation. I live across the street from the ministry I run, Harambee, and the entire neighborhood watches me all the time. People watch when I come and when I go. They see who visits my house. They see who I hang out with. The watch me unload my car after returning from the market. Now that I run the center as executive director, I feel even more pressure. I sign the checks - tons of people have opinions about how I use the money. I make decisions about programs, staff, taking action in difficult situations, and people who are not under the pressure I'm under get to criticize freely. It's the territory that comes with our vision of making whole disciples via incarnational ministry. I'm free to leave or quit or move along, no one is making me stay, and each day I choose anew this life. In the process I've learned the "high accountability" cuts both ways. People want to hold me accountable, fine. But I'm going to quickly turn around and hold the critic accountable as well. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. I feel a measure of protection because, whatever standard gets applied to me, I'm going to apply it to the critic.

Anyway - from "high accountability" to "instant accountabilty" wasn't too much of a leap, especially for a person with a well-fed ego (me). I appreciate others, especially journalists who blog, for choosing to live with such transparency. But it's definitely a jolt for folks who are unused to visibility or accountability.

63% of Hispanic Protestants voted for Bush in 2004

According to this AP story

This is how I sit back, take a load off, and knock back a tall cool one

If you google plain ol' "RUDY" you get me at #18. Number Eighteen. In the world.

like a dog returning to its vomit, take two

I'm back here at The Apple Store in Fashion Valley - yes, that Apple Store - and I gotta blog for a second. "They say" - they being Tim Keel, Tim Conder, Damian O'Farrell, Ivy Beckwith, and Laci - that Brian McLaren was on Larry King Live tonight regarding that Time magazine thingy. This thing is hot. I heard it being discussed on talk radio on the way down here, driving with Dan Hodge from Fuller and APU.

i'm trying not to blog today, cuz I've got a bunch of stuff to finish, BUT...

Throughout Davos, by the way, the name "Fox News" is a bogey word, like "neocon." To say "Fox News" is to say "Satan" or something. Everyone understands (and agrees).


A reporter for a major left-leaning American news institution is explaining to a chief of a major Middle Eastern broadcasting network that if you really want to understand the "American mindset," you have to watch Fox News, because boobish Americans watch this all day long, are heavily propagandized, and are therefore ignorant.
Hmm - so I'm an ignorant boob?

This is the bottom line: America under George W. Bush can be seen as embodying no good at all, and every non-American government or society Ñ so long as it's not allied with Washington Ñ can do no wrong. Therefore, a point about China is immediately answered with a point about Guantanamo.
Ok, I've got to shut this down, and stop posting, but this is surreal.

Ok, I know - just go read it for yourself - this as good as the web gets, a professional writer who will deliver some professional copy, but here you get to read his reporter's notebook, his reactions and impressions, and ALL the stuff that will be left out of his officially submitted article. Good stuff.

UPDATE: just... can't... help.... it:
And then [Jacques Chirac] trains his sights on the United States: "Every year, U.S. citizens give over $220 billion to charitable causes. Three percent of this goes to international causes." You don't actually hear the booing in the hall, but you can sense it.
Are these numbers accurate? We give $220 BILLION to charity EVERY YEAR? According to Jacques Chirac, not Fox News? I would say we are a very generous people. (This quote is from Day 2 of Nordlinger's Davos reports.)

UPDATE 2: I GIVE UP. I'm just going to add the quotes, finish the articles, then I'll be done with it. Too much good stuff:
At my table (I am a "facilitator") I discover something that can be discovered anywhere around town: The United States is a stunningly powerful country, even an all-powerful country. It is responsible for nearly everything bad Ñ war, pestilence, famine. It can do anything. Every problem in the world is its fault, and every solution is within its grasp, if only it weren't so malevolent.
When Blair talks about global warming, I must say, he does so in a reasonable manner. He gives you the impression that if you disagree with him, he doesn't hate you Ñ doesn't count you as a foe of humanity. There is a temperance, a reasonableness, about him that is missing in our Democrats, I think.
After his speech, he gives maybe the best answer to any question I have heard at Davos. Klaus Schwab asks him what the "business community" can do to help the world. Blair says, "First of all, the business community can make sure its businesses work well Ñ and make a profit." That receives a smattering of applause. Blair smiles, "That's the first time I've ever been applauded for making that point."
In the john later, a guy Ñ an American, of course Ñ said, "If Blair wanted to waste his political capital by supporting Bush, why didn't he at least demand more from Bush in return?" They never, never understand that Blair has fought the war because he thinks it right Ñ and in Britain's interest Ñ and not in order to extract some deal from the United States.

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