Advice for Teaching Undergrads

Believe it or not, I’ve never taught undergrads before. Sure, I’ve given the occasional lecture in someone else’s class, and I’ve spoken at many a college chapel service, but I’ve never taught a semester-long course at the college level.

Until today.

This afternoon I begin teaching “Introduction to the Christian Scripture” at a state university.

I know that many of you, dear readers, have taught college courses, and I’m looking for advice. So far, I’ve been told to “own the room,” beginning with the first class. And that’s about it.

So, what advice do you have for me about teaching undergrads?

Killing Church Programs – What the Church Can Learn from Apple and Google

In your latest update to Apple’s free program, iTunes, Ping is gone. It’s disappeared. What is Ping?, you ask. (Well, you should be asking, What was Ping?) Ping was an attempt by Apple to get into the social media game by allowing people to easily share what songs they were listening to, liking, etc.

You know how people are always using Spotify or Pandora to share with you on Facebook the song that they’re listening to at the moment? Well, Apple was hoping that since over 300 million people use iTunes, they could get a piece of the action.

But it didn’t work. Ping had a low adoption rate — at least by Apple’s standards — so they killed the program. They didn’t keep it going for the millions of people who used it. They didn’t apologize. They just euthanized it and moved on.

Three years ago, I wrote a post about Google Wave as a Sermon Preparation Tool, and that post was picked up the next year by WorkingPreacher.org. Within months, Google killed Wave.

Google Wave was an online, real-time collaboration tool. I liked it, a lot, and I used it. But not enough people did. When asked about the death of Google Wave, CEO Eric Schmidt said,

[Read more...]

A Little Pushback on Ordain Thyself

I was interviewed this afternoon on AM800 CJAD talk radio in Montreal. One of the hosts liked my app, Ordain Thyself. Another did not.

Listen to the interview here.

Ordain Thyself Makes CNN

Best part of the article is that they found a guy from Liberty University who doesn’t like the app (though there’s no indication that he’s even seen it):

Ordination on the go? There’s an app for that!

By Laura Koran, CNN

(CNN) – Ever wondered what it would be like to become ordained as a priest, rabbi or imam?

If you have an iPhone, you could be just a few screen swipes away from finding out.

That’s because Tony Jones, theologian-in-residence at Solomon’s Porch in Minneapolis, Minnesota, has developed an application, or “app,” that allows iPhone users to experience mock ordinations in more than two dozen faiths.  Solomon’s Porch is a Christian ministry that began as a local church and today calls itself a “holistic, Christian, missionary, community.”

The app, called Ordain Thyself, doesn’t confer any legitimate religious credentials to its users, but it does allow iPhone owners to see what they would look like wearing the religious garb of different clerics, and read a brief and humorous overview of various world religions.

Jones, himself an ordained minister, decided to create the app partly to combat what he sees as an inability of faith leaders to laugh about themselves and their religions.

The app is advertised as an entertainment product, but Jones hopes users will learn more about the world’s religions when they play around with it, a goal Johnnie Moore finds dubious.

“That’s a little stretch,” Moore, a vice president of Liberty University, told the Belief Blog, adding that the app contributes in many ways to the stereotyping of belief systems.

“I kind of wish that all of this effort had been put into something a little more educational,” Moore added, saying that Americans could really benefit from efforts to better understand world religions.

via Ordination on the go? There’s an app for that! – CNN Belief Blog – CNN.com Blogs.


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