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WEB EVANGELISM BULLETIN

. . . learning from each other
W-E-B Issue 133 ~ May 06
Twice a month ISSN 471-0323

News this time...

DA VINCI FILM IS HERE
VISUAL BIBLE VERSES
HI KIDZ FEEDBACK
COMMUNICATION: RETHINKING WHAT WE DO AND WHY
TECH TIPS
WHAT NEXT? PLOGGING!
RESEARCH STUDIES
INTERNET EVANGELISM DAY
GAMING
MISSION AND THE WORLD
SEARCH ENGINES, PROMOTION AND USABILITY
TAILEND

"Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us, we have to see it as something done by us" - John Stott

"We are shaped and fashioned by what we Love" - Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe


DA VINCI FILM IS HERE

No apologies for featuring DVC yet again. There are a vast number of Christian resources:
a) websites aiming to equip Christians to understand the content of DVC and how to have answers
b) websites for non-Christians, providing a Christian perspective
c) literature and videos, for both Christians and non-Christians

We have focused on different DVC resources over the last year. There are so many available, it would be good if someone could put together a DVC portal! And although the book has been translated into a vast number of languages, and the film will no doubt release worldwide, I doubt there are many resources available in languages other than English - we list one here.

"People often ask, 'How much of The Da Vinci Code is true?' I wearily answer that Paris is in France, London is in England, and Leonardo da Vinci painted pictures. Let's look at four areas where Dan Brown's history is bunk," says Sandra Miesel, medieval historian and co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax:
http://www.tothesource.org/5_3_2006/5_3_2006.htm

Christianity Today has a range of other articles relating to the topic, for instance: 'Jesus Out of Focus' says.
"We really need the facts at our finger tips regarding the apocryphal gospels, their dating, and how the biblical canon became formalized, if we are to answer honest questions with more than wild opinions or silly reactions."
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/006/10.24.html

George Barna comments on the background to DVC:
http://www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=Perspective&PerspectiveID=4

Da Vinci Code Confirms Rather Than Changes People's Religious Views: rather than guessing what effect DVC is having, see what informed research by George Barna has found:
http://www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=BarnaUpdate&BarnaUpdateID=238

Mark Moring's wisdom on DVC and how we react to it, is essential reading:
http://www.christianitytoday.com/movies/commentaries/downwithdavinci.html

Dr James Kennedy (Evangelism Explosion) has produced a program and video about DVC:
http://www.davincidelusion.tv/

Leading literature producers on each side of the Atlantic have quality DVD tracts available.
http://www.cpo-online.org.uk (CPO)
http://www.atstracts.org/ (American Tract Society)
See also: 'Using cultural issues to share the Gospel'. That's what the American Tract Society is gearing up to do when the feature-film The Da Vinci Code releases. They've produced six different tracts designed to address questions that arise from the movie. Donna Skell is with ATS, "My prayer is that Christians would take advantage of this movie and take advantage of this book because, you know, you can debate the history, but nobody can debate with you the difference that Jesus has made in your life." Designed as tools for sharing your faith, ATS has tracts available on their website or in printed format. Skell says it's a real opportunity for believers to point people to Christ. "I just hope that everybody will join me in praying that this could be one of the great circumstances that really cause more people to seek out the true answer as to who Jesus Christ really is."
http://www.MNNonline.org/article/8610

TopChretien offers 'Le Da Vinci Code: Réalité ou Fiction?'
http://www.topchretien.com/davincicode/

Barna group are selling a CD on the Da Vinci Code for only 99c in boxes of 100 - unfortunately this is only in US and Canada:
http://www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=Resource&ResourceID=209

BarnaFilms and Highway Video are offering a downloadable 6-minute video - The Conspiracy Game - a humorous but pointed response to the erroneous theological claims that drive The Da Vinci Code:
http://m1e.net/c?27701654-SDjF4XCdFTm6s%401603405-MW9KLbbsV6P9w

Leadership University provide their usual good mix of scholarly papers on this topic:
http://www.leaderu.com/focus/Davinci_movie.html

GETTING IT INTO THE MARKETPLACE: if we keep all our insights about the answers to DVC within our Christian circles (aka ghetto), of course they will not reach the people that need them. We need to be getting them into the secular press, TV chat shows, phone-ins, bulletin boards, blogs. Ask your local newspaper if they would like a short article on the questions raised by DVC. And write it sensitively, without denunciation, rancor or whining - that's what we might be expected to do! 1 Peter 3 14-16 is the key.

Every church should surely hold at least a minimum of a 15-minute sermon/training seminar (if not a series) on the answers to the questions raised in DVC. Every youth group too.


VISUAL BIBLE VERSES

Huw Briscoe writes, "I am very interested in how the Internet can be used for reaching out to people and as a graphic designer it is a way to use the gifts God has given me. I have recently finished a new website SeeTheWord and thought you may be interested and perhaps could share it with others. My vision is to see people who think the Bible is boring picking it up and having a read. This website is one way I feel I can do that:
http://www.seetheword.co.uk/

"I also run a skateboard company www.cfboards.co.uk with the same vision, people go to my website to look at the boards and end up reading the Bible."


HI KIDZ FEEDBACK

There are very few websites for younger children, which can engage with those having no Christian background. The multi-lingual HiKidz project involves a number of key children's ministries. Harry Bryan gives an update on progress with this key site:
http://www.lausanneworldpulse.com/worldreports/286/04-2006


COMMUNICATION: RETHINKING WHAT WE DO AND WHY

Several years ago, a UK manufacturer of drilling machines was suffering badly. Other manufacturers were increasing market share, and the directors realized that if this trend were to continue, they would soon be out of business. Outside consultants were called in, at considerable expense. After a long time investigating every part of the business, they came up with a PowerPoint presentation for the directors. Expecting a detailed recovery plan, the company was shocked to find that it contained only three slides, reading as follows:

1) You told us you make drills
2) You don't!
3) You make holes

In other words, their perception of the purpose of the company was wrong. They were thinking 'drills' rather than 'holes'. As soon as they understood this, they switched to producing laser cutting equipment, and found remarkable business success.


TECH TIPS

- non-techies look away now

POPUP MENUS: add cool pop-up menus to your web applications:
http://www.codeguru.com/video/article.php/c11749/

BEST NO-PAY UTILITY SOFTWARE: it's all out there waiting to be used:
http://www.techsupportalert.com/best_46_free_utilities.htm

BOOKMARKLETS: useful web development tools, such as 'edit styles':
http://www.squarefree.com/bookmarklets/webdevel.html

ROUNDED CORNERS - pure CSS solution to rounded corners with included gif-creator:
http://tools.sitepoint.com/spanky/

ADOBE PRICING - they now offer special pricing (as do many other software manufacturers) to non-profit organizations. Check with specialist charity suppliers such as 1computerbargains.com or those within your country.

CSS: Learn how to create an eye-catching overlay with CSS positioning. This CSS-layout technique is faster than image slicing requiring fewer HTTP requests:
http://www.websiteoptimization.com/speed/tweak/overlay

ROCK SOLID CSS LAYOUTS: in this step-by-step tutorial, Rachel and Dan show you how to create a slick, flexible,and solid 2-column layout:
http://www.sitepoint.com/article/1523

RESIZE FORM FIELD... as you type in it:
http://bontragerconnection.com/library/resizing_form_fields_with_javascript.shtml

IP ADDRESSES RUNNING OUT. So many devices now have their own 'electronic number' that the current system does not provide sufficient. Be ready for the new system.
http://www.internetnews.com/infra/article.php/3605501


WHAT NEXT? PLOGGING!

If you are an Amazon.com customer, you may be surprised to see something called a Plog on the site next visit. 'Plog' stands for personalized web log. In other words, they include a box with an author's blog they think you would be interested in.

It is presumably chosen on the basis of books or products you have searched for in the past within Amazon, or searched for on the web using Amazon's search form. Clever.

It is also possible to offer people customized content based on their presumed needs and preferences, assessed by which pages of a website they have chosen to visit.


RESEARCH STUDIES

If you are interested in detailed, in-depth, academic reports on computer communication, check the Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, produced quarterly by the University of Indiana. The majority of the papers relate to internet issues, and have an international flavor - for instance, blogging in Poland:
http://jcmc.indiana.edu/


INTERNET EVANGELISM DAY

If your church or group did a special focus on Internet Evangelism Day, please encourage us by sending in a report - even if you only did a two-minute announcement or a newsletter focus!
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/questionnaire.php

Grateful thanks to everyone who helped make IE Day known in any way.

PARTNERSHIP OFFER: we are launching a partnership linking system. We are looking for partners who see the potential of web evangelism and want to share that vision with their site visitors too. By linking to the IE Day site using a special partner code, your name and URL will be visible to all the visitors who follow that link, on all pages of the IE Day site, and will still be visible next time they visit the site:
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/partners.php


GAMING

"3D interactive Temple game mod for Neverwinter Nights. It is heavy in Bible teaching but fun," says the developer:
http://www.kingdom-gospel.com/temple.html


MISSION AND THE WORLD

How many Christians does it take to send one missionary? It depends: the United States sends one missionary per 2000 Christians. Mongolia sends one missionary for every 220 believers!
..If current patterns continue, the unreached will still represent one-fourth of the world's population in 2025. "Insanity," wrote Albert Einstein, "is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."
- from article 'Least-Reached Peoples' by Justin Long, Mission Frontiers May-June 06:
http://www.missionfrontiers.org/2006/03/200603.htm

Although avian bird flu may well have the potential to transform itself into an easily transmissable pandemic virus in the future, it is worth noting that so far, only 100 people have died from the virus. Ever. Anywhere. By contrast, 3000 children A DAY die from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. That's the equivalent of ten mid-sized primary schools. A day.


SEARCH ENGINES, PROMOTION AND USABILITY

Good search engine ranking: one expert suggests that Google takes note of the fact of whether your domain has been registered ahead for 5 years, adding to the credibility of your site.

Many Christian sites do not use even the simplest and easiest techniques to optimize for search engines. Learn from Pastor Ralph Wilson:
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/promote.php

JAKOB NEILSEN SAYS, "When doing website tasks, the slowest 25% of users take 2.4 times as long as the fastest 25% of users. This difference is much higher than for other types of computer use; only programming shows a greater disparity."
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/performance_variability.html

GOOGLE ADWORDS: few Christian sites consider this option for promotion. But, in a niche corner of the market, for less popular words, it can be quite cheap:
http://www.sitepoint.com/article/1524


TAILEND

My sister, a poor bowler, was talked into joining a Friday-night league. "Well, how did you do?" I asked her after her first outing.

"I got one strike," she said, sighing, "but they wouldn't let me count it. It wasn't in my lane."

[Source: Reader's Digest ]

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