Hello, dear friends.  Today brings some big news.

Tomorrow is my last day as national coordinator of Emergent Village.  We’ve decided to restructure (read, flatten) the organization.  You can read the long version of the decision HERE and the press release HERE.

Also, I will now be blogging for Beliefnet.  Find my new blog HERE, and be sure to add that your RSS feeds.  You can also subscribe to receive posts via email.

This site will be undergoing a complete overhaul in the next couple months.  It will be a place for content other than my blogging, so I hope you’ll keep checking here and/or keep this feed in reader.

Many blessings to all of you who have been so supportive and affirming through these changes.

I’m off the blog until next Thursday, and then I will emerge at Beliefnet.com.  Hope you’ll join me there.

Collin Hansen’s fine CT piece on the evangelical world of Minneapolis-St. Paul is now online.  Enjoy.

Why Do I Blog?

I answered that question for one of my new favorite conglomo-blogs, The Daily Scroll.

Well, actually, not really.  But I’ve been thinking about journalism and blogs this week, for three reasons.

First, I received a couple comments and then a personal email regarding a post that I wrote earlier in the week.  The correspondence came from a friend who is also an academic, and she challenged the lack of sophistication in my post, saying that I was slinging around terminology in a sloppy manner.  In an email response I agreed, and then went on to say that blogging is a medium that is different-in-kind than the kind of work she’s used to doing.  I then joked that I hoped she wouldn’t have the same criticism of my dissertation!

Next, I read this piece by my favorite blogger, Andrew Sullivan.  Andrew really has been a shaping force in the blogging medium.  In has Atlantic essay, he argues that the blogging form is still evolving, but that it is turning out to be a uniquely postmodern form of communication, one that lends itself to quick, timely, opinionated thoughts.

Money quote: “For bloggers, the deadline is always now. Blogging is therefore to writing what extreme sports are to athletics: more free-form, more accident-prone, less formal, more alive. It is, in many ways, writing out loud.”

Sullivan goes on to argue that traditional daily journalism (e.g., daily newspapers) and long-form journalism (The Atlantic, The New York Time Sunday Magazine) become more relevant and more important in this era.  Blogging merely represents a new facet in the evolving constellation of media.  Really, I urge you to read Sullivan’s whole essay if blogs are a part of your life.

Finally, I read this post by Jeff Jarvis on the death of newspaper journalism.  I have a great affinity for daily newspaper journalism, in that my grandfather rose from copy boy to executive editor of the Minneapolis Tribune (all without a college degree), and one of my good friends is a journalist at a daily.  Jarvis takes on the conventional wisdom of the day that says that blogs and craigslist have killed newspapers.  Not so fast, he says.  What is killing newspapers is the lack of imagination among journalists.

Money quote: “No, the essence of the problem is that we thought the internet represented just a new gadget and not a fundamental change in society, the economy, and thus journalism.”

As I prepare to move my blog over to Beliefnet in coming weeks, am thinking about exactly how I see blogging and my role in the blogosphere — particularly among those who are interested in reading about God and spirituality and church and religion.  It will be, I am sure, an evolving conversation.

Poverty Sucks

I’ve been thinking most of the day about my contribution to Blog Action Day.  But, try as I might, I cannot think of anything more profound than the title of this post.  I want poverty to end, particularly the extreme poverty that kills 25,000 persons a day.

I’ve tried to explain to my son, Tanner, who has a burden for this issue, that, indeed, enough food exists for everyone in the world.  The problem is getting it to the places that need it most.  That, to an 8-year-old, is almost incomprehensible.

To me, it’s just depressing.

But depression isn’t the answer.  Action is.  So I urge you to get involved, even make a donation.

Preternatural Calm

That’s basically how Andrew Sullivan describes Barack Obama in his Sunday Times essay.  And there’s really something to this.  First, Obama’s calm in the face of the Clintonistas drove Bill (“Jesse Jackson won South Carolina twice”) Clinton and Hillary (“Shame on you, Barack Obama!”) Clinton to say things that they’d later regret, and that may well have lost them the primary.

Now Obama continues unruffled in the face of McCain/Palin onslaught of negative ads and tenuous connections to Bill Ayers and ACORN.  I expect that we’ll see tonight, once again, Obama perform in the debate without any Goresque sighs or Nixonian flop sweats.  Clearly, as Sullivan convincingly argues, Obama’s calm demeanor in the face of the global economic crisis has contributed to his recent surge in the polls.

And now to venture into the land of pure speculation: It seems to me that BO could not maintain this unshakeable calm were he not an exceptionally grounded, centered, and spiritual person.  I suppose that some people are more “wired” toward calm than others, and I’m quite sure that our life experiences contribute to our personalities (like, say, 5 1/2 years in the Hanoi Hilton).  But running a 2+ year presidential campaign entails an extraordinary amout of stress.  Embedded journalists have repeatedly reported both Hillary and McCain regularly exploding in rage at their campaign teams.  Unless I’ve missed it, there’s been nary a mention of Obama losing his cool, even behind the scenes.

As a person who tries, often unsuccessfully, to stay centered in the midst of crisis and stress, I cannot but believe that BO’s own spirituality contributes greatly to the preternatural calm that he exudes.