30 July 2011

Blogging, Statistics & Motivations: writers & readers

Writing a blog is a fascinating process. Though I don't know many of you personally, I feel an obligation to provide quality content, even if it is only the reasonable processing of my own thoughts.

Different statistics services try to gauge readerships, but I doubt they can measure what's really important.

They can see what browsers people use and
what country the readers access it from. Not surprisingly, primarily English speaking nations are highly represented. They can tell the operating system and how they arrived atConversations@Intersections. What they cannot do is plumb the depths of the motivations or conversations we hold.

I know many of my readers access the content via Facebook, RSS readers or subscriptions that drop it straight in to your InBox. All of those are fine by me. I'm honoured that you dip in, and often return for more.

It would be interesting though, to know a bit about you, how you benefit from this blog. I don't ask the provocative questions the consultants say I should to generate more comments. I don't try to stir or muddy the waters to get your goat, and get a reaction. I just try to present a cohesive thought or supply information I find useful in my funny life.

But if you've got a minute, please comment and let me know why you visitConversations@Intersections. Many of you return faithfully, if not daily, catching up on the threads of conversation when you can. You cover a good bit of the globe, with glaring omissions which I find fascinating. Anyway, chime in, as you wish and let me know about you.



28 July 2011

Hunger, it's not just "overseas"

I've repeated this post from 2008 because I think it's relevant for un-employed America with a ridiculous debt-ceiling debate that the hungry don't even know about cause they probably don't have a TV.

"I was at a conference in Auckland's downtown with a bunch of people who love the Church, who love the ideal of authentic biblical community, who earnestly desire to read the Bible as one story and get it right, that bit about the kingdom and the church and eating together.

Anyway, it can all get to be a bit much sometimes and my head gets fuzzy and my heart gets full . . . so I took a walk at lunchtime. I just up and left the people I was sitting with, not knowing how long it might take them to decide where to eat, and I headed for Queens St.

Well, I headed in that direction, downhill, but I didn't know for sure I was going to Queens St until I arrived there, still hungry.

So I went in to a favourite Middle Eastern place there, ordered a lamb kebab and watched people. There were some students there from Pennsylvania. The girls are on an exchange programme from Loyola and are involved in service projects while in NZ.

I got my kebab and went outside, found a nice wooden bench at a major intersection and started chewing. I was approached by a homeless man, two evangelists and a hungry woman all in a matter of about 15 minutes.

My conversation with the man was all too brief. I did not engage him in conversation at all, my head too full of church talk to be church to him.

Then the lady evangelists came along and wanted me to take a test to prove I was a sinner.
I just confessed without bothering with the test, but then I think I tested them a bit.

I challenged them that there are other ways to approach the whole salvation conversation. While not avoiding sin at all, we can approach the heart of the matter by bringing heart into the conversation. What about God's design for each individual? What about His love for them as a person and His desire for them to be healthy and whole? I'm not in to the mamby pamby gospel that makes it all about me, or you, or anyone other than God, but the character and nature of the God I know is not all about showing me how much of a failure I am. That smacks of the law and I'm so over that!

Anyway, the younger one took it well, even when she asked where I went to church and I countered with, "Oh, is a place to go to or is it a community of faith influencing the world?"
Poor thing. She was a good sport though.

Then, last but by no means least, came the hungry lady.

She asked me for 50 cents, holding out her hand and showing me the coins accumulated thus far. She was very polite and non-threatening. I was at a disadvantage with my hands full of my lunch.

I answered her question with a question as my dad so aptly taught me to do, "What do you want?"

She answered, looking me in the eye, "A hot dog. I want a hot dog."
She knew exactly what she wanted. Not 50 cents at all, but a hot dog.

I was impressed. I respect her approach to life. She knows what she wants. Up we got and went to the nearby hot dog retailer and got a hot dog, or two. We had a little chat, as you do, nothing deep and earth shattering, but friendly and respectful.

I went back to my corner and then made my way up the hill, back to my church conference.
I don't know where she went from there, but for the time being, she had what she wanted.

25 July 2011

Dare I write ROOT BEER FLOAT in my Food Diary?

If I were to have kept a food diary today, it would start with a banana on my Cheerios with milk and a cup of hot tea.

Then I'd add a Diet Dr. Pepper and some whole wheat corn chips, with a bit too much salt, that I ate while driving to Lake Cumberland.

The lunch of fried fish in Jamestown was balanced with some healthy cole slaw . . . though the dressing musta had too much sugar. Not sure what the tartare sauce had in it, except for fat.

Ok, the ice cream in the root beer float on the way through Columbia, Kentucky town seemed like a good idea at the time. Then a couple of Fig Newtons, a handful of nuts and . . . when we got back to Campbellsville.

Fruit awaits me now in the kitchen, maybe with some cottage cheese . . . or I could just go to bed.

Do you keep a food diary? Blogging about food diaries is not the same thing as faithfully keeping one.

Anyone want to provide accountability as we attempt to live, and eat, intentionally?

24 July 2011

Tragedy often doesn't announce itself

We think we've got our priorities straight and our objectives set . . . . and then we get a phone call from a friend telling of a tragedy that strikes, literally, out of the blue. Young people have been injured, possibly fatally, while others witnessed it, never to be the same again.

There's no one to blame, not much to rewind and not much to do as the drama unfolds.

CPR, phone calls, hospital waiting rooms, a renewed sense of family, fear, gratitude, a myriad of emotions while feeling numb . . . .

This was not my personal experience today, but that of a family I hold dear. I wasn't in another country, but I was in another state. Phone calls and texts have to suffice as my heart aches for the parents, grandparents, siblings and cousins who are saturated with love, dread and rain.

What to do? Remind those we love of how important they are to us. While we dread cancer, heart disease and other horrible ailments, tragedy often doesn't announce itself.

22 July 2011

Dorothy Day: Faithful Servant

One of the most important religious people you may not have heard of.


Depth comes from Failure

"A Christian with depth is the person who has failed and who has learned to live with his failure."

Brennan Manning

14 July 2011


It's Summertime where I'm traveling right now and I'm not finding time to write much.

When I do, I'll catch you up on the conversations I've been having, and overhearing.

Right now, I'm watching geese harass a fisherman by a quiet lake.

Tapping out blog posts on a tiny phone keypad is more frustrating than satisfying. I'll fill in the blanks for you, at a more opportune time.

In what conversations are you participating?

At what intersections have you arrived or crossed through?

- Posted using BlogPress on the go, so pardon dodgy formatting or spelling. I couldn't wait!

08 July 2011

Words & Pictures

"Whoever said, 'A picture's worth a thousand words' said it in words."
Bob Russell, NACC

07 July 2011

Google+ invites explained

Google explains G+ invite process.


Google plus link

Not Religion

Paul wrote a letter to Jesus followers in Rome. It's been broken in to chapters and verses. Part of it says,

"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life-your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life-and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him."

That's not religion: it's living.

Describing, or differentiating?

Heard a black man speaking today about how America obsesses about colour.

He made some clever comparisons and jokes: how white people tan their skin and dark people bleach theirs.

Think about it, Snow White was the fairest of them all. The good guy wears the white hat, the bad guy the black hat.

I heard a man telling a story last week. He spoke of the crew who did some clean up work after a storm. "The men piled out of the truck, then the black man ran the chain saw.... "

... why was it important to describe one man by colour? Just differentiating, maybe, like saying the short guy or bald man?

Or not?

I don't know.

You can't see a motive so you can't judge a motive. Maybe the colour reference was just a descriptor.