Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Future of Energy

Theoretically, the microgrid is simple. Imagine you could go to Home Depot and pick out a wind or solar appliance that's as easy to install as a washer/dryer. It makes all the electricity your home needs and pays for itself in just a few years. Your home still connects to the existing wires and power plants, but it is a two-way connection: You're just as likely to be uploading power to the grid as downloading from it. Your power supply communicates with the rest of the system via a two-way digital smart meter, and you can view your energy use and generation in real time on your iPhone. Maybe you also have an electric car in the garage; the battery serves as backup storage for your house as well. And the best part: Assuming you produce more than you draw, instead of a monthly bill, you get a check.

Sounds pretty good, huh? This quote is from an article in the July/August issue of Fast Company.

Friday, August 21, 2009

New Music

New Imogen Heap CD can be streamed here for free!

And I just ordered Sojourn Music's newest CD Over the Grave: Thy Hymns of Isaac Watts Vol. 1. If you're not familiar with this, go to their facebook page and listen to Warrior.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Under the Overpass

After reading the Kindle sample chapter on my iPhone, I'm looking forward to getting this book. I had heard about it from a couple of friends. Interesting story. has an excerpt from that book. Here's an excerpt from their excerpt:

We both laughed, and I sat down to begin again. Just then three guys walked past, the lead guy carrying a pizza box.

“Hey bro!” I called. “You going to eat the rest of that pizza?”

The guy stopped, looked from Sam and me to his box of pizza, then said, “Nope.” Shaking his head, he walked over. “You want it?” he asked.

“Sure!” I said, and he handed it down to us.

We thanked him profusely. “No problem,” he said, walking away. “Enjoy.”

Opening the box we found half a pepperoni pizza. “Unbelievable!” Sam yelled.

“This is the good stuff!” I said, grabbing a piece. “Father, thank you for this food!”

We sat there, happily devouring the still-warm pizza. By the time we were down to the crumbs, we were ready for more conversation.

“‘Father, thank you for this food’ means something different out here, doesn’t it?” I said.

“Sure does,” said Sam. “I don’t know if I’ll ever say it so sincerely again after we get back.”

“I hope I don’t change,” I said.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Health Care Reform

The current health-care system renders the best health care to the wealthiest, depletes the savings of solidly middle-class Americans, and leaves 46 million with no health-care coverage at all. (Jim Wallis, Sojourners).


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Busy Summer

With the summer winding down, I thought I'd take a little time to reflect. This has been a very busy summer, especially for my mind. Since February I have been the primary teacher at Neighborhood Church, and though I love it more than I would have ever guessed, it's been tiring. Our leadership team decided earlier this year that I should not teach more than three times per month, so we've had several guest speakers. This has given me much needed breaks, but it's also been very good for our church to hear some additional voices. Last Sunday night I finished up a series on the book of Acts. My hope with this series was that it would lay a solid biblical foundation for what it means to be a local church in Memphis in 2009. This Sunday night I'm beginning an 8-week series on the vision of NC. I'll be writing some blog posts on this during the next few weeks.

We also began having community groups this summer. They've been great. They're messy at times, but also beautiful. My guess is that we've had more people in our community groups this summer than we've had on Sunday nights for our worship gatherings. Definitely something there to consider. Last Wednesday night we began a conversation on how to build bridges within the gay and lesbian community here in Midtown. Over the last couple of months I've probably spent at least 40 hours studying this topic. It's a very emotional topic, for me and for our church, but one that we want to be able to address. We're going to continue the dialog this Wednesday night. Blog posts and internet articles have been my primary resources, though the two books that have been most helpful have been Andrew Marin's Love is an Orientation, and Robert Gagnon and Dan Via's Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views.

Though this summer has been tiring for me, it's also been the best one when it comes to family and community. My time with Mandy and the boys has been great. God has blessed me so much with an amazing wife and two wonderfully charming little boys. They make life better. Adam just started pre-k, and Mandy's at home with Micah this year. She's also working part-time for the church. As to community, our friends enrich our lives in so many ways. Last Friday night we had a CYPN (Cooper-Young Parent's Network) party at our house. We had 40 people in our backyard, which I did not think was even possible. That included 15 kids under the age of 5. I definitely didn't think that was possible. It was such a great time for everyone.

I'm glad that summer is drawing to a close simply because that means it's about to get cooler and the leaves are going to begin changing colors. I love Memphis in the fall. There's such a sense of anticipation within me. It might sound simple, but I can't tell you how much I've been looking forward to walking Adam to school. That time is here, and I'm thankful for it.

Though I feel that my mind is a little muddy right now, I know that God has been teaching me so much. He's been giving me what I need when I need it, and for that I'm very thankful.


It's been awhile since I posted links, so you can imagine that I've got some really good ones here. Hopefully that will prove to be the case.

Tim Chester on the differences between house churches and missional communities

Tim Kimmel, author of Grace-Based Parenting, is coming to Memphis in October. Hoping to take a great group from our church

A month or so ago I started doing a bible study on our identity in Christ. Today I see that Greg Boyd has beaten me to it. This is worth spending some time on. I want to teach on this at some point soon.

A key passage for our Acts series this summer was 1 Peter 3:15, which says that we as Christians should always be ready to give a reason for why we have hope. I remember first hearing Brian McLaren say that this implies that people are asking questions. So what questions are our friends asking?

I just ordered the TK Primer (Workbook). It's a follow-up to one of my all-time favorite books, The Tangible Kingdom, by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay. I'm looking forward to going through this workbook.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

PC Mag's Best Freeware for 2009

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Why pay? You've already shelled out money for a computer, so there's no reason that what's running on that pricey PC should cost a darn thing. Not in this day and age of amazing freebie software and Web apps. That's why every year presents a look at the best programs you can download or access online at no cost. All are worthy replacements for your ancient and sometimes forgotten desktop applications, and they'll save you thousands of dollars to boot.

Read the rest of the article here.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Reflections from the Beach

Last night we returned from three nights at Orange Beach. It was so good for the four of us to get away and have fun together. Mandy and I knew it would be challenging with with both boys and no other adults (as there has been during other vacations), so we did some pretty intentional planning. We left our house on Monday morning at 4:30 am. This meant that the boys slept quite a bit, but it also meant that we had several hours on the beach that first day.

We also decided that we would feed the boys first, then I would pick up takeout (seafood) and we would enjoy a nice dinner on the balcony after they were asleep. I must say that this was Mandy's idea, and what a wonderful idea it was. It was a great time of reconnecting for the two of us.

One story to share...on the first morning Adam and I went out for a walk on the beach. As we were walking back towards our condo, a jogger came up behind us and passed us. Apparently Adam saw this as a gesture to race, so off he went (picture Forrest Gump). The funniest part was that as soon as he passed him, he cut him off, then went to play in the sand. I'm sure the guy's response was, "Are you kidding me?" By this point I had stopped and was just laughing.

Alright, one more story about the 4-year old. If you've ever spent any time with Adam, you know that he's the extrovert of the family. Mom, Dad and Micah are all pretty boring to him, so he wanted to find friends. I love the fact that he's not afraid to go up to someone and begin talking. I sometimes worry that this is going to lead to heartbreak from time to time, but I love that he has that within him. Here's the funny part. Yesterday morning we went out to the beach one last time before leaving. I was sitting down watching Adam and Micah play in the sand. Two ladies walked by, and one of them said, "Hi Adam." She kept walking. It took me awhile to remember that Adam had met her when he went to play with her sons on our first day there. I laughed, wondering how many others knew Adam.