Into all the world

It was a long and tiring week at work, and it ended on a stressful and upsetting note. So I was secretly wishing that I hadn’t made a commitment to attend the Tennessee Conference United Methodist missions fair today in Brentwood.

I’m glad I went ahead and attended. I rode to Brentwood with Kay Bartley, who chairs our outreach committee at church. The program was engaging and informative, with a worship service and a series of breakout sessions about various United Methodist-related mission programs.

Today was my first time to hear our new bishop, the Rev. Dick Wills, speak, and he was terrific, telling the story about how he thought he was signing up for a mission trip to Tahiti and ended up on one to South Africa! I was pleased to hear that Bishop Wills has a true heart for international missions.

At lunch, I sat next to a delightful woman who once served as a long-term missionary in Kenya. Billy Hester from the Mountain T.O.P. office was at the fair manning Mountain T.O.P.’s display and leading a breakout session about the ministry. I pointed Billy out to my lunch companion and told her about his self-taught skills in Swahili (he did it as a personal challenge and has never been to Africa). Billy later told me that she’d walked up to him in the hall and began speaking Swahili to him! (“She’s a lot better at it than I am,” he said.)

I particularly enjoyed the breakout session about Russia. A group from the host church, Brentwood UMC, has been working to turn a former bakery into a Methodist church. Because of the dominance of the Eastern Orthodox church, and because some of the first groups to enter Russia after the fall of Communism were cults and sects, it’s particularly important for churches in Russia to have permanent buildings — it gives them credibility and helps distinguish them from the sects.

The Risks of Regime Change

Derek Hoffman, in Christianity Today, offers a startling but believable analysis: in the Middle East, Christian minorities are less likely to be persecuted in dictatorships than democracies. A dictator, even if Muslim, is likely to be concerned with keeping the peace and won’t tolerate individual acts of mob violence.

Hoffman isn’t defending totalitarianism, of course; he’s merely pointing out the risk Christians face anywhere in the Middle East, and helping us to understand the relationship between the Christian minority and the Muslim majority there.

Jambo Kenya

Now that the Times-Gazette web site is including full text stories, I have indulged myself a little bit and posted to the T-G site my five-part series from September of last year about my Kenya mission trip. That means I can now link to it here.

Those of you who contributed to the trip have already seen these stories, because they were included on the CD-ROM I sent you.

Symphony page

I guess this is one of my chattier nights.

The symphony page has been fixed, somewhat, and it turns out that Dreamweaver had been letting me down a little bit. A couple of floating CSS boxes didn’t display correctly in the wysi(supposedly)wyg mode of my version of Dreamweaver. When I tried “preview in browser,” on the other hand, they worked fine.

Time is [not] on my side

I forgot to set the alarm clock last night, and woke up more than an hour late this morning.

This afternoon, I got an e-mail from my web designer brother which mentioned, in passing, the idea of using CSS style sheets rather than tables to lay out a web page. (Don’t worry — you don’t have to know what that means.)

I was suddenly struck with the urge to try to re-draw my symphony web page with CSS style sheets. I set to work on the project, fumbling my way around, and the next thing I know it was 5:30 — which means I was late for our Wednesday supper at church.

Well, I thought, I’ll just miss supper and show up for Bible study afterward.

Then, I looked at the clock and it was 6:15 — time for Bible study.

I had decided to skip Bible study, too, but at 6:25 I realized I needed to get a photo for the newspaper of a new knitting ministry that was beginning tonight at the church, as well as to touch base with one of my fellow church members about a conference we’ll be attending on Saturday. So I drove to church, took my photo, and slipped into Bible study late.

I would blame my brother for this evening’s problems if it weren’t for the fact that I was late this morning as well. So my brother is off the hook, I guess.

User question

I was in a flurry of posting the other night — some days I have a lot of posts, others only a few. Currently, WordPress is set to display the 10 most recent posts on the front page. (Older posts are always accessible, of course, but you have to click to get to them.) Is this a good number for you, the readers? Would you prefer more posts on the front page, fewer, or about the same?

Times-Gazette web page

The new Shelbyville Times-Gazette web site launched today. We’ve been maintaining it alongside our own site for several weeks now, in preparation for the launch. All that remained was to change the domain registration so that pointed to the new page instead of the old one. That happened today, although it can take a day or two for all the DNS servers around the Internet to get the new information

This is the first T-G page I haven’t designed; it was done by our parent company, Rust Communications, and matches the web sites of several other Rust papers. So I’m not tooting my own horn when I say it looks great. Please check it out, if you’re so inclined.

Is AOL reading this blog?

I posted a week or so ago about AOL’s “1175 Hours Free!” offer, calling it misleading because you’d have to be online 23 hours a day to use that many hours within the required 50 days. I said it would be much fairer to say “Two Months Free!”

Today, I received another AOL disk (my third in two weeks). The package design is exactly like last week’s CD, except that “1175 Hours Free!” has been replaced by “Three Months Free!”

I just found that amusing.