Thinking People

I’m not sure what’s led to a complete and utter lack of discernment in this world but we’re there. As a Christian, I basically speak directly to two “facts” of 2012:

  • The Bible is written by men thousands of years ago and can’t be trusted
  • Everything said in current day should be assumed fact immediately

Sure, some of you reading this will contest one or both of those, most likely the latter. We want to pretend we have discernment but in an age of retweets it’s push the button first – tobe first – and then worry about the truth and the fallout afterwards. Which brings me to the article that prompted this:

The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife

Read the blurbs and the Tweets and what we have is an original manuscript that finally proves Jesus was married. This is good news for false Christians because it means Jesus was more human than we thought (read: sinned) and now we’re justified in our human actions! Good stuff. All this from one single cellphone-sized fragment of papyrus.

Except that’s not what the story was. The actual story, possibly best laid out in The Christian Post, is that someone found a tiny single fragment of papyrus that said Jesus was married. What does that mean? That at some point in history someone thought Jesus was married. Which we already knew. Which has been proven false through 19,300 fragments of New Testament writings dating as far back as AD125.

But in 2012 a single fragment of papyrus that tells us something we want to hear is far more important than a book written by men that has no doubt been translated poorly over time and no longer tells the same story. Ignore that we have almost 20,000 fragments of varying sizes that have been used as recently as the past decade to translate, ignore that there are thousands of single fragments that aren’t reliable.

The truth is the information is out there. The New Testament is the most historically accurate translation in print, above and beyond any other book you could find. We’re confident in the translation. It’s written closer to the source material than any other historical book, so those of us who’ve taken the time to research are confident in the material. Where the true issue lies isn’t in translations or material, it’s in a book that tells us how to live when we’d rather guide our own ship. I have far more respect for someone who simply admits that than those who choose to perpetuate ridiculous “facts” online.

“Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”
– GK Chesterton

Oh My God

Sometimes I cannot forgive
And these days, mercy cuts so deep
If the world was how it should be, maybe I could get some sleep
While I lay, I dream we’re better,
Scales were gone and faces light
When we wake, we hate our brother
We still move to hurt each other
Sometimes I can close my eyes,
And all the fear that keeps me silent falls below my heavy breathing,
What makes me so badly bent?
We all have a chance to murder
We all feel the need for wonder
We still want to be reminded that the pain is worth the thunder

Sometimes when I lose my grip, I wonder what to make of heaven
All the times I thought to reach up
All the times I had to give
Babies underneath their beds
Hospitals that cannot treat all the wounds that money causes,
All the comforts of cathedrals
All the cries of thirsty children – this is our inheritance
All the rage of watching mothers – this is our greatest offense

Oh my God

How Much Would You Pay for Art?

Add Domino’s to the ever-expanding list of fast food chains introducing healthy and artisan menu items. Below the fold you’ll find their new ad featuring lovable Fabio Viviani of Top Chef as the fumbles to introduce Domino’s Artisan Pizzas through his trademarked broken English. These pizzas are made with hand-stretched crust and topped with your choice of Spinach & Feta, Tuscan Salami & Roasted Veggie or Italian Sausage & Pepper Trio. Best of all? Only $7.99!

I’m going to ignore the use of stereotypical “foreigner who can’t speak English”, that never gets old. Nor ask questions like “if these are hand stretched and artisanal then what are their supposedly improved regular pizzas they spent the last two years promoting?” I’ll simply ask the question “can you make an artisan pizza featuring salami from the Tuscan region of Italy for $7.99 at home?” Of course you can’t. Nor can you make a burger out of prime rib for $3.99, which hasn’t stopped A&W from releasing their $3.99 Grandma Prime Rib Burger.

Perhaps the only thing worse than trying to convince an uninformed public that you’re delivering them real food for discount prices is trying to convince me you’re healthy. Burger King is now adding salads, oatmeal and smoothies to their menu to compete with McDonald’s and Wendy’s, they of the lettuce dredged in bleach and 500 calorie toppings.

Perhaps fast food chains like Domino’s can stop wasting time introducing artisan pizzas that won’t be here in two years and spend more time focusing on what brings people to Domino’s in the first place – inexpensive comfort food of questionable nutrition. Possibly without the racist ads as well?

Waiting on the World to Change

So the past week has resulted in a number of excellent discussions around digital, and the future thereof, that seem to be dragging me out of the aforementioned funk I had found myself in. I think all us “grown up digital” kids get to a place from time-to-time where we’re just plain bored, and it requires the right person or the right conversation to grab us by the collar and pull us back up.

I can’t get my brain away from where the Internet will be in five years. 10 years. 20 years. The fact that most of what we see around us, and what we use day in and day out, has been built inside the last decade on tubes and pipes barely older than that is amazing. The information that has become available, the shrinking globe, and most importantly, the emerging relevance of trust. It’s leading me into an area where I really want to begin what would likely evolve into much of a thesis over the future, and as one once said, predicting the future is easy as it’s almost impossible to be proven wrong.

So while I geek out in the corner and start writing this down furiously into the cloud, do allow me this moment to offer you a 20-minute TED talk, provided to me by one Karly Gaffney after yet another rambling prediction at the office by myself. It’s almost 3 years old, yet contains information many of you are likely to find almost startling. And I think he’s really, really close. Enjoy!


Been So Long

It’s been an interesting time the past few weeks as conversations and meetings have been had with people who don’t really know me that well, nor do they know how I spend my work days. I’m baffled how hard it can be to describe strategy and account work in an ad agency to people not already familiar with it, thus invariably I have to dive into at least a bit of detail surrounding the career and a few of the recognizable things I’ve had a hand in.

Typically the questions are around “is Facebook stealing my information” or “I don’t use the Twitter”, but today turned out a little different. The question was “do you follow Google at all?” I wasn’t sure how to take it, and I asked for clarification. Turns out this youth pastor and musician holds a more-than-passing interest in the existing and coming Facebook vs. Google battle. And he shares my feelings that the battle hasn’t even begun yet. So I changed into controversial mode and fired back a thought:

“What if, while Google was perfecting search, Facebook built the foundation that will back-end the shift underway to recommendation?”

That single statement brought five more people away from the conversations over to chat with us. My thought was meant to be thought-provoking, but it comes with more than a little possibility as well. I phrased it like this:

“If you’re going to Boston how do you go about finding a hotel?” The responses mostly centred around friends and family, or specific websites. Nobody Google searched for hotels in Boston. “What if you want a good steak in Toronto, how do you source out a good steak?” Same responses. “So regardless of what you’re interested in, sourcing someone or something you already trust trumps Google?” The answer was yes. The following conversation took over half the room and about an hour, with different sides and different arguments moving. But I left with one significant take-away:

Not a single person in the room left without agreeing that Google could all but fail to exist in five years.

One thinks the eyes of the world are on Google.Me.