Sunday, September 30, 2007

Next Best Thing!

Lovin' It! See below:


Fermi Project is a broad collective of innovators, social entrepreneurs, entertainers, artists, futurists, scientists, historians, environmentalists and church leaders experimenting with ways to positively contribute to culture.

The focus of this project is strategically placed on Christians and leaders throughout the Church. Multiple mediums are leveraged to push forward the essence of this project, including boutique events, essays, films, books and culture renewing projects.

Click here to hear Gabe Lyons share about the Fermi Project.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Choose Your Religion

A kitsch look at spirituality - wonderful. A friend of mine introduced me to this as a desktop image but it is an actual product that you can purchase. Fantastic! Something fun to bring a smile even on the gloomiest days in Church work. Here's a write up:

"It's a brightly colored cardboard wheel with different religions written around the outside. Pointing the dial on a religion provides you with a basic description plus information on 'Potential New Friends' (membership), 'Drawbacks,' 'Perks,' 'Afterlife Promises,' and 'Accessories/Paraphernalia.'

The religions include the major ones (Hinduism, Judaism), denominations within major ones (Quakerism, Pentecostalism), maligned ones (Scientology, The Moonies), and the non-religious ones (Psychoanalysis, Atheism). Let's see what the wheel says about one of my favorite 'religions,' Consumerism.

  • Accessories/Paraphernalia: Credit cards, designer jeans, SUVs, suburban tract homes.
  • Drawbacks: Credit overuse begets spiritual bankruptcy. Hard to keep up with Joneses. Corporate leaders unaccountable.
  • Perks: Few rules. Fun for those with disposable income.
  • Afterlife Promises: Can't take it with you, but can leave it to the kids.

    For a more detailed "what religion are you?" questionnaire, try Beliefnet's Belief-O-Matic. To purchase a Choose Your Religion Wheel, click here."
  • Wednesday, September 26, 2007

    30 Fastest Cities In The World

    "We scoured the globe in search of the perfect place to transplant yourself and your business. From Chicago to Shanghai, we selected 30 urban centers that are shaping our future. We have creative-class meccas, R&D hot spots, even cities so fast they're scary. Plus, the world's slowest cities. Is your hometown on the list? Vote for your favorites and submit your own."

    Read more . . .

    Which would you choose to make your home in? Me? Austin, TX!

    Typical - MUTE MATH

    I thought I'd post a video from one of my longest-running favourite bands - MUTE MATH. Since I recently used some of their music at our first Céilí Dé event, I thought I'd profile them. The band used to be called Earthsuit, or at least a variation of some of the current members. At the time they first arrived on the scene there was talk of their uniqueness and originality. Neither of those two qualifiers have changed for these guys. I'd dare to go as far as saying they are musical and catalystic innovators. The band recently played the theme song on the soundtrack for the blockbuster summer hit Transformers as well. Watch this amazing video for a song called 'Typical' off their most recent release from last year . . .

    Or LIVE on Jimmy Kimmel in REVERSE! (USA)

    As sung on American Idol by Chris Sligh



    Monday, September 24, 2007

    Céilí Dé One

    We had the first Céilí Dé gathering Saturday night in our parish church in Cloughjordan, Tipperary. It was a little nerve-racking and exciting all the same. Thanks to Canon Stephen Neill for collaborative fun. Below is the running order for our time together and a little video I produced for the evening and since post-produced some more. The audio is the aforementioned 'Afterword' by MUTE MATH. Now to pray / plan for our second gathering! We'll yet see what God is up to . . .

    TRANSCENDENCE (Session One)
    Running Order
    * Atmospheric
    - scent
    - lighting
    - seating
    - food

    * Greeting - Welcome at door
    - Offered refreshments
    - Video / music ( ‘no religion’ loop / ‘Afterward’ by MUTEMATH )

    * Official welcome
    - Theme / focus

    * Culture Clip
    - On 'Transcendence' ( Clip from film ‘Contact’- beach scene w/ father )

    * Hopes & Dreams
    - Ceili De
    - Personal intro

    * Poem
    - On 'Transcendence' ( Lighted Lithos by Shane Tucker )
    - Video ( ‘Reveal Loop’ by The Work of the People )

    * Life Mapping
    - Personal exercise
    - Group sharing

    * What Do We Do With These Moments?
    - Group discussion

    * Reflection
    - Video ( ‘Reveal Loop’ by The Work of the People )

    * Sense-sory
    - Unpack incense as illustrative of presence of God
    + (ordinary becomes extra-ordinary / God’s constancy in life)

    * Closure
    - ‘Get stoned’
    + Offer a stone to illustrate ‘moments of transcendence’ by dipping into water (baptismal) as illustrated in ‘Lighted Lithos

    * Invitation
    - To pub / out to eat! ( Corner House )

    * Outro
    - Video / music (‘Reset’ by MUTEMATH / Intro scene to film ‘Contact’)

    Wednesday, September 19, 2007

    The Order of Mission

    I spent the night last night with a very good friend called . . wait for it . . Neville Barnes (!) who is a captain in the Church Army in Northern Ireland. Neville stands out among men and is more loyal than my Labrador (and that's saying something!). It turns out that in my sleep-induced swagger Nev and I began a conversation around developing Dreamers of the Day into an official Order. I guess that we are making an effort to experiment within a missional mindset with the Céilí Dé network. I know little, but something of orders. Neville himself is in an Anglican order - the Church Army. I admittedly am somewhat interested in the whole monastic/neo-monastic arena and therefore am somewhat sympathetic to the idea. But . . the other side of me detests the idea of establishing an 'official' Order instead of a loose collaborative endeavour because it smacks of the 'me' and 'I' factor (i.e. 'I have something to offer that will benefit others'). Then, this evening, I checked one of my favorite blogs ( - lo and behold - there is a post from Len asking some of the very questions which have been rousing my interest, while addressing some others regarding mission. Turns out his proposed solution . . wait for it . . wait . . . a missional order!

    ** for example **

    A Welcome Rest

    I just finished a very full day in Belfast at our main offices. We had one of our monthly staff meetings and welcomed a new staff member called Catherine who will be coordinating a year out team experience for young adults. As usual, our team had a load to cover and we did a good job of it . . but I am tired. I came up yesterday evening after having attempted to implement a new 'rule of life' for myself which includes getting up at 6am (every morning to reflect, read and write) and therefore I was half out of my head by 11pm. Then it took me two hours to get into work this morning (unbelievable!) followed by a full day. So, when a free moment came for me to sit, breathe and take in some food - I took it! I stopped in a favorite joint in Belfast called Roast which has a great vibe, good food and amenities. The break is welcome before I head back to Tipperary minutes from now. On top of it all, the experience comes complete with refreshingly well-presented art!

    Thursday, September 13, 2007


    Have you ever had a moment where it seems all of your senses were heightened and each breath you drew was being counted like an individual step down a path you didn't want to leave?

    One such moment I remember so vividly - it was inexpressibly joyful and melancholic at the same time. I was walking back to bring the girl to whom I was about to propose to the very spot I had chosen. It was a beautiful day, sunshine, blue sky, white clouds - and it was at the base of the Mourne mountains near Newcastle, Co. Down, N. Ireland. As I treaded over path and wood I realized that this was no ordinary moment. What I was about to do would echo down through eternity. This woman and I - if she said yes - were about to make a decision that would not only affect the rest of our lives but potentially the lives of our future children, their children and straight on down the corridors of time. I was about to profess my love for a girl, a girl called Christy, whom I had spent four years growing to love. I hoped she would do the same in return and we would begin a new kind of journey . . . one of joyful exuberance, intentional commitment and hope-filled planning of a new life together. As I walked back to entice her to join me for 'walk in the woods', I was struck how time seemed to stand still as I pondered the significance of what was about to take place. It was surreal. The hair stood up on my neck and arms. My heart beat fast. I knew it was right. I knew it was our time.

    I have had more of these moments than I can remember. That was only one of them - but a big one no doubt. Some may call them 'God moments', others 'moments of clarity'. Whatever you call them, these times when we have greater perspective, or we see life from a different angle MUST be grasped and held onto tightly. I don't mean we should 'rape' the moment because we covet what it is in itself. We should stand in ultimate wonder, humility and awe of the fresh insight which has dawned upon us and take courage that it is our time . . . our time to move into a new era of living that surpasses all which has come before it - something qualitatively different. The perspective we receive should give birth to new decisions, and most importantly new actions which lead us and those around us into greater freedom and fulfillment.

    God gives these moments as pure gift. Sometimes they come when we're facing a huge challenge or a major decision. Sometimes when we are courageous enough to sit in silence and reflect on our lives. Sometimes they come in deep conversation with another person . . . or when we take in an indescribable sunset. Mine happened to come as I mowed the lawn this evening. I realized that it's my time. I have been called to journey and the journey is not stopping here - where I'm at - in the person I am this moment. There is still more journeying to do - I am not yet that person that God dreamed I could become before the dawn of time - the one He designed me to become. I have decided tonight to continue journeying. To continue on this adventure in-the-making. I will trust myself to the One who has brought me this far. I will go on . . .

    'This Time' by favourite band P.O.D. from their album 'Testify' (which was released on my 30th birthday) really captured this moment for me tonight. I was lifted up and upward. I saw Life. The lyrics are posted below. You definitely need to hear this song . . . really hear it. May you really hear it.

    This Time Lyrics

    Listen Here

    Wednesday, September 12, 2007

    Highlights from Greenbelt

    Okay, it's been two weeks since I returned with a bunch of young adults from Greenbelt - the UK's best Arts festival from a Christian worldview. So here were my highlight's from the trip in no particular order:

    * Listening to author John O'Donahue wax eloquently on life, faith and developing habits of the heart.
    Other links: 'Blessing'

    * Gyrating to the sounds, sights and creativity of Coldcut live on the main stage - Amazing!
    Other links: MySpace Wikipedia

    * Hearing Kevin Max belt out some familiar tunes twice . . and getting the ever-so-crafty 'side step' when inviting him out for a pint afterwards!
    Other links: MySpace Wikipedia

    * Hearing Over the Rhine spread smooth vocal and infectious rhythms over phat (that's right - P-H-A-T) lyrics from the main stage.
    Other links: MySpace Wikipedia

    * Getting some time to chat and BBQ with both Mark Berry and Andrew Jones - pioneers in creating communities that are welcoming to Jesus Christ.
    Other links: Safe Space

    * Testing out many of the organic beers over conversation at the Beer Tent including 'Absolution' - Greenbelt's very own festival brew. Strangely enough, the Beer Tent was the the only source of complaint from the surrounding community during the nightly Beer 'n Hymns sessions! (see video below)

    * Hanging out with some truly wonderful people!

    Tuesday, September 11, 2007

    Timeless Moments . . .

    I have so enjoyed taking the time to run about the country with my two 'little people' lately. I've really enjoyed making memories with Neve Kaelin and Aidan Scott. It has been so wonderful as we walked in the woods, sought out ruined buildings, played near the lake's edge, and sweated it out on a kiddie playground. Neve ('radiance' 'brightness') and Aidan ('little fire') are gifts from God and my command of language is so very weak (and sometimes wordless) at being able to encapsulate my love for them. I thank God regularly for the the honour of being their father and friend. These two Gifts humble, amaze and undo me. I cannot think of anything better than being their 'Daddy'. These pictures are from some time spent at the water's edge in Garrykennedy , Co. Tipperary and in search of history at Kilmallock in Co. Limerick.

    Saturday, September 08, 2007

    More thoughts on the Céilí Dé Network

    I'm at it. I've been flinging these Céilí Dé postcards all over Ireland as I travel around. Stephen (fellow schemer) and I have sat down, invited the Almighty to lend inspiration and planned. The first night is on the theme of 'Transcendence'. While at Greenbelt two weeks ago (which I WILL post about more in depth), I came across a book which I have forgotten the title of (and may incur the author's wrath for doing so!) which had an interesting little write up on the Céilí Dé. I'll post the short excerpt in sequential order immediately below. I especially appreciated the few sentences on the final page which describe this ancient, intriguing order.

    The NEW community of Céilí Dé will be meeting at the times & places below. If you're in the area, please drop in!

    September 22 / 7 PM / St. Kieran's / Cloughjordan / Tipperary

    October 20 / 7 PM / St. Kieran's / Cloughjordan / Tipperary

    November 24 / 7 PM / St. Kieran's / Cloughjordan / Tipperary

    Sunday, September 02, 2007

    Signs of a Good Summer

    Ahhh, the memories that flood my mind every time I simply look at my feet! As you can see from the picture, my feet either look really dirty (two tone) or really tan (partially). The former was true for some of the summer while I was in New York City celebrating ten years of married life with my darling bride Christy (the dirt there!) and also while at the Greenbelt festival in Cheltenham, England - but the latter is true in this image as you now see my freshly washed feet! I have tan lines from the footwear I bought the first day off of the plane when we arrived in America. I wore those black $10 Eddie Bauer flip flops EVERY DAY while in America (5 weeks straight) and only put shoes and socks on again we we arrived back in Ireland (it felt foreign to be wearing them again). I was so pleased to be able to don them once again here in Europe at Greenbelt where we had sun and heat for nearly four days straight! Thank God for his goodness demonstrated in the warmth of the sun!

    So, now it's your turn. What are the top highlights from your summer? What 'signs' do you have of good moments over the past few months? Please share . . .