Thursday, June 28, 2007

Philocrites, Chalice Chick, iMinister and me LIVE (almost)

If you missed the workshop on blogging we led at this year's General Assembly, you missed a rare appearance by the four of us. First time ever this panel has been assembled. It was great fun, and from participant comments, very informative.

Several people commented that they had no idea I was so funny. Obviously they've never heard me guest preach.

This presentation was recorded. You can get the audio cd of this via the General Assembly content management service.

Just visit this and purchase
Blogs: A New Generation in Communication ($12.00)

Monday, June 25, 2007

More on UU TV with Dan Harper and our purple friend

The Rev. Dan Harper, while video blogging this last week at General Assembly, grabbed me and that UU friendly purple alien for a quick video interview.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Can the UUA move its chairs? Koans for OS@GA07

Fun being part of the Open Space Technology process at GA. First, there is no technology in the OST. My wife and I preached a sermon recently that shared this OST thing and a handful of members asked me where the gizmos come in. No gizmos. In fact, this, according to one of the facilitators at my session isn't really pure Open Space Technology anymore. It is OS @ GA 07.

OS @ GA 07?? What the bleep does that mean?! In true OST there are small group gatherings in clusters of chairs set up for - you guessed it - small groups. Seems that the OST thing emerged as a part of this GA after a contract was set with the convension center and therefore we are not allowed to move chairs out of their rows.

That is why we need OST, right? Because there are so many institutionalized practices keeping us from doing what we know we can and should do. I look forward to seeing what comes from this process.

Will the UUA be able to move their chairs once we deliver innovation, inspiration and new visions to the UUA board? Only if they are smart enough to get up off of them first. But a lot of people seem pretty cozy in those seats. I had a seat once. Actually twice. One was in a closet, the other was in the basement.

Reminds me of this koan.

Master Kyogen said, "It is like a man up a tree who hangs from a branch by his mouth. His hands cannot grasp a bough, his feet cannot touch the tree. Another man comes under the tree and asks him the meaning of Bodhidharma's coming from the West. If he does not answer, he does not meet the questioner's need. If he answers, he will lose his life. At such a time, how should he answer?" *

If you were to write a koan like the above for UUA-congregational situation, what would it be?

UU's ready for UU TV

CLICK HERE to sign up for new UU TV email list.

After one day at the 2007 General Assembly in Portland it is clear that UU's are ready for UU TV. And I haven't even started filming yet! Can't wait to see what kind of conversations and buzz gets going once I start doing my interviews with people today.

I'm also excited that UU TV in various forms has emerged in several of the OPEN SPACE TECHNOLOGY sessions. Of the grid of sessions topics being explored the following are included:
  • Good News: Media Communication: UU TV?
  • One Minute Elevator Speeches on Cable TV
  • Dialogue with the World: UU Mass Media
To this I say BRING IT ON.

Interested in UU TV? We can make this happen. From inspiring each other to produce more UU video content to organizing what I dream of, an internet based 24/7 UU TV network.

To help get us organized I have started an E-Newsletter for UU supporters and producers of UU video, tv and other mass media. CLICK HERE to sign up. If you have news to share or a project to discuss, get in touch. Have ideas for UU TV? Let me know.

As they say at this GA, NOW is the time. That's the slogan for the UUA's present campaign to grow our faith. They are right, it is time. It is time for us to get serious about sharing our faith, about 21st century communication, and so much more... But folks, its been the time for a long time. Support the UUA and their efforts, but I invite you to join me in forming a community of smart, fast, nimble, skilled, visionary UU's who can make UU TV a reality THIS century.

Now is the Time: A Campaign to Grow Our Faith

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Connecting for UU Video @ GA

Since phones are easier to access than computers at General Assemby, I am going to record updates on where I will be filming on my voice mail. You can call at any time starting tomorrow afternoon for an update. Call 401 855-0037. Thanks, Peter

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Get interviewed at GA for new UU video

For my final project in film school I am producing a video for newcomers to Unitarian Universalism. Something to the effect of "Discovering Unitarian Universalism" though people in my class call it the "WHat the @&#% is a Unitarian" video.... These are just working titles. This ~ 10 minute video is being produced for distribution via the web through sites such as YouTube. I'd like it to be available for anyone on earth to post on their website.

I can't go through life as the person who made the purple alien video, right? It is true. When I attended the Mass Bay District conference this year several people went and brought friends over to meet me as "The guy who made that purple alien video." Let me repeat that while I made this video, it was as a test for how viral videos travel. It saddens me that this is one of the top UU videos on the entire internet. At least I'm making up for it.

One element of the film will be "street interviews" with people on the street in Portland as well as in my neighborhood(s) -- Boston, MA and Newport, RI. Non UU's will be interview briefly about what they know about Unitarian Universalism.

With an estimated 6,000 UU's attending GA I will be grabbing as many interviews as possible. If you are going to GA and are interested in being interviewed for the "street interview" segment, I invite you to keep an eye out for me @ GA (click here for photo), check this BLOG for related announcements during GA, and/or email me.

Those of you not going to GA, I'll write about how you can help shortly. I'm will be needing to stills of congregational life, congregation exteriors, etc... That and I'll be filming in some congregations in the Boston area.

Want to keep up to date on this project? Subscribe to my e-newsletter.

This year I have been working on two television shows, going to film school full time, guest preaching, working with the Youth Group at my wife's congregation and more. Let me say that commuting to Boston is an evil experience and that I've now made up for not having a car while I worked at the UUA. My poor carbon footprint! You can read more about my new and expanded UU video and media work on my website,


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Do UU seminaries train ministers to grow our movement?

I just heard that the UUA is restructuring how it funds our UU seminaries. Instead of funding seminaries they will be focusing on supporting the seminary students. A letter sent to Star King graduates states that this will amount to a $250,000 cut in funding to each institution -- Starr King and Meadville Lombard.

I read the report on this. It mentions that 60-70 percent of UU seminarians do not attend UU seminaries. While I understand the logic, I hate the idea of not having multiple UU seminaries.

Here's my immediate, albeit late, reaction to this. GROW our movement. INCREASE the number of UUs. Drastically MULTIPLY the number of UU congregations. Move from a binary ministry model - you are or you aren't a minister - to a CONTINUUM of ministry.

I chalk this financial problem up to UU's doing a craptastic job of sharing our faith, sharing ministry and planting new churches. Not that tripling the # of UUs would fix these financial problems, but it wouldn't hurt.

Now, I'd love to check in with Starr King and Meadville Lombard and see what exists in their curricula as far as UU evangelism, church planting, small group ministry, cell ministry, and all those things that would be necessary to build a growth oriented UU ministry.

I don't know what they teach. I would love to find out.

How much of this is a chicken and the egg sort of phenomena? How many seminarians leave our "flagship" UU seminaries and go off and start a new UU congregation? Does our system allow for that? Could anyone afford to do that?

Maybe some brave soul can bring this up in the GA open space technology sessions. The OST question about our role as a faith community in this complex world could easily include a group focusing on how our view of ministry, "lay" ministry empowerment/training, and cultivation of ministers relate to our capacity to minister in this hurting world.

PS - Every time I guest preach and mention Open Space Technology people want to know what kind of gadgets are involved. NONE. It is a process. Not a techno-gizmo.

What your congregation needs to know about blogging

At General Assembly later this month the authors of, iminister, the chalice blog and I are leading a workshop on blogging. Scroll down for details.

Blogs and their related technologies are simply ways of letting people give you permission to deliver text, image, audio and video content to them automatically without their needing to surf to your site. Blogs and bog feeds automate content delivery. Take a look at what Mars Hill Chapel is doing. If you look at their "feeds" page you see that all of their content is set up so people can have it delivered to them. Amazing! Announcements served up fresh. That sermon you missed. The sweet sound of the choir...

A confession. My blog-life has been on hold while I'm in film school. Yes, my blogs have been demoted to sporatic on Philocrites guide to UU Blogs. Oh well - just two more months! Then I'll be done and can get on with fusing my TV and UU work. If you liked that little UU alien movie, lookout!

You know the internet is changing everything. It is time for our UU leaders need to know that congregations can use blogs to efficiently and inexpensively tell their story, communicate with friends, members and the larger community, and make congregations of all sizes feel smaller. If you are a UU blogger or blog reader and you have someone going to GA, send them our way!

If you or a rep from your congregation can't make it, I highly recommend the book The Blogging Church by Brian Bailey of Fellowship Church. Though our workshop will cover more ground than just congregational blogs, this book does a fabulous job discussing blogging for congregations and ministers. If you're minister or webmaster has been toying around with a church blog, get this book into their hands. After this read all will realize that blogs are powerful tool for communicating with your community.

If you haven't explored many UU blogs take a look at Philocrites guide to UU Blogs.

Friday 4:30 p.m. - 5:45 p.m.

OCC Oregon Ballroom 204 [700]
#3064 Blogs: A New Generation in Communication
GA Planning Committee Sponsored

Unitarian Universalists are using blogs to share our message with thousands of readers online. What are they saying? A panel of prominent UU bloggers discusses thisexciting new form of public communication and its uses for evangelism, public witness, self-expression, and debate. Learn how you can get involved.

Peter Freedman Bowden
Rev. Christine Robinson
Christopher L. Walton
Suzyn Smith Webb