Friday, October 10, 2008

Pop Culture Roundup

I've read all of Recreating the Church this week.  It's actually a very short, easy read, but at the same time it's probably one of the most concise and well-stated books on the state of mainline churches and denominations that I've read.  He hits on the "perfect storm" that has been throwing churches for a loop for decades: change in American culture that they haven't kept up with, organizational structures that older, "joiner" generations established and love but younger ones don't, and a general anxiety that keeps organizations from changing and updating themselves.  Hamm talks about the role of the leader in changing the system, as well as the need for denominations at national levels to adapt as well.  He especially points out the need at all church levels for not just technical change, but adaptive change as well.  Here, UCC folks, see if this sounds familiar:
In my own denomination, I spent a lot of time and energy seeking to downsize the Disciples' General Board from 225 members.  Finally, shortly after I left office, the General Board was downsized to about 145.  Is this adaptive change or technical change?  It remains to be seen as the newly sized board works out its role.  If it turns out to be only a cost-saving measure, it is technical.  If it turns out to alter the way the board does its work and actually enhances its ability to perform its functions to hold denominational units accountable, then it will be adaptive.
It's an excellent book.

We keep watching True Blood, which keeps killing off characters with little movement forward.  One of the overarching plotlines is that ever since a vampire made himself known in town, there have been three murders.  The police keep trying to accuse the dimwit brother, but besides that there has been little development in this particular story.  This past week, we got the origin story of how the vampire was changed to such, as well as some insight that he's a bit of a self-loathing type.  Hmmm...a tortured, misunderstood, non-evil vampire in love with a young spunky human woman.  I swear I've heard this before (BESIDES TWILIGHT).

I've been more into songs than albums this week, particularly Sia's Breathe Me.  I've been striving for mellow stuff this week, given the long days I've been putting in.  Maybe I'll write about that later.

Rather than send you someplace else around the web, I thought I'd bring back a favorite of mine, the LLAMA SONG: