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WEB EVANGELISM BULLETIN

. . . learning from each other
W-E-B Issue 150 ~ July 07
Every 3 or 4 weeks ISSN 471-0323

News this time...

VIDEO CLIPS - ANOTHER STRATEGY
ATHEISTS GOING ON THE OFFENSIVE
SITES AMALGAMATE TO HELP MEN
INTERESTED IN BLOGGING?
BOOK REVIEW
ELVIS ANNIVERSARY
WEBSITES SHOULD ALWAYS BE BETA
COMMUNICATING WELL
THE WORLD WE LIVE IN
WEB MINISTRY CONFERENCE REMINDER - SEPTEMBER
TIPS
UK-BASED INTERN OPPORTUNITY
TAILEND

"Do not look where you fell, but where you slipped" - African Proverb

"Retirement? You're talking about death, right?" - Robert Altman


VIDEO CLIPS - ANOTHER STRATEGY

I am always amazed at the vast range of video clips now available on YouTube and other video sharing sites. You want an obscure pop group from the 60s? They are online. You want a 1 hour TV program on C S Lewis and Tolkien. It's there. You want clips of any hobby or sport interest you can imagine? All there.

Because users cannot easily assess the value or content of a video clip without actually watching it, this gives a special significance to building a 'bridge strategy' site about almost any secular topic, built around video clips. (This was how Yahoo started - a list of recommended websites to share with friends.)

YouTube offers a very simple way to insert any video clip into your own website, so this makes it easy to build an attractive compendium of video clips. It will be time-consuming for you to do the spade-work, find the clips available on your topic, and then assess those worthy of inclusion. (You can also subscribe and be notified of new additions to YouTube within subject tags you specify.)

This collection of clips within your chosen subject area will be valuable to others having the same interest, because you are presenting a collection of material which they would otherwise have to search for, and may not even realise exists.

Your site can then use sensitive bridging techniques to also offer visitors links to appropriate material linking to the gospel - testimony, story, spiritual parallel, or just offsite links to appropriate outreach sites such as PowertoChange.com or MenTodayOnLine.com.

If you know of sites already using this technique, please tell me and we will add them to this page on the topic:
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/video-clip-bridge.php


ATHEISTS GOING ON THE OFFENSIVE

"A new evangelistic movement has emerged... Yet this effort does not spring from those loyal to a particular faith or religious view," says the research group Barna:
http://www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=BarnaUpdateNarrow&BarnaUpdateID=272

It behoves Christians to understand clearly the arguments which able communicators such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins are using (though if you are young in the faith, or feeling a bit wobbly, do treat these books and websites with a health warning.) Here are extracts from Hitchen's new book 'Why Religion Poisons Everything':
http://www.web-evangelism.com/offsitelink?b07july-timesonline

- and an interview with Hitchens:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article1882305.ece

Bible verses on Richard Dawkin's website? Yes, but only in an article reposted from the London Times, which features an interview with Olympic triple-jumper Jonathan Edwards and his sad and we trust temporary loss of faith. Note the level of rejoicing from site visitor comments:
http://www.web-evangelism.com/offsitelink?b07july-dawkins


SITES AMALGAMATE TO HELP MEN

FiresofDarkness.com has merged with ManoftheRoad.com, Tom Buford writes, "... to form our new flagship site. Our mission has not changed, although it is now just a bit more focused."

Their mission is helping men with tempation. "The tag line of our ministry is, 'It's about honor! It's about integrity! It's about purity!' Our focus is in helping people (especially men) who travel for a living or are away from home and accountability for other reasons such as university or military service to live lives of honor, integrity, and purity. We have just launched the new website which will be the anchor site for the new focus. We are developing some new print and recorded resources (hopefully on CD and in MP3 format). When they are complete we will be making them available to these people.

I personally traveled for many years, accumulating more than 1.6 million miles on the road. I drove trucks and passenger coaches, and then for a long time, drove music celebrities across North America. The last entertainer that I drove for was Johnny Cash and his wife June. I drove for them the last three and a half years of my driving career. I know the pitfalls of life on the road - the temptations, the loneliness, the boredom - all things that can contribute to a life spiraling out of control."
http://www.manontheroad.org/


INTERESTED IN BLOGGING?

Steve Knight writes, "Three years ago, I started a 'bridge' site on the subject of reality TV (realityblogs.com). Rob Williams from CCCI later joined me, making it sort of a team blog, and between the two of us, things started to take off.

Unfortunately, both Rob and I are now swamped with our regularly scheduled programming (i.e. 'day jobs'), and the site has been languishing for a few months - even though we have a fresh and exciting partnership agreement with MeeVee.com http://blog.meevee.com/ that could be putting our content in front of thousands of new readers!

Is there anyone else who enjoys reality TV and would like to join us in this bridge venture? The commitment would not need to be much (even once or twice per week would be a huge contribution!).

Learn more about the vision behind RealityBlogs.com:
http://www.realityblogs.com/about-this-site/
Contact me at stevek [at] realityblogs [dot] com "


BOOK REVIEW

The Millennium Matrix
Reclaiming the Past, Reframing the Future of the Church
M Rex Miller
Jossey Bass ISBN 9-7879-6267-8

Miller's compelling thesis is that the church has been located in four different communication cultures over the last 2000 years, and that each one has profoundly influenced the entire fabric of the church - the way it is organized, relates together, and communicates to the outside world. For the first 1500 years until the invention of the printing press, society lived in an 'oral communication culture'. Then from about 1500 until 1950, 'print culture' predominated, with far-reaching effect.

From 1950 onwards however, he proposes that the influence of TV has led to 'broadcast culture', bringing in a whole new mindset. And finally, he suggests that we are rapidly moving into 'digital culture', with further dramatic changes resulting from the computer revolution. His 'matrix' is a table suggesting how these four cultures have impacted the church in different ways.

It's a shame there are no discussion questions at the end of each chapter, because a book like this raises so many interesting issues that need exploration. I'd personally see many of the individual comments within the matrix table as discussion starters, rather than fixed conclusions.

OK, your inner teenager may ask, "Whatever. But how, exactly, is this meant to affect me?" Because each communication culture functions differently. If we try to use the methods of the previous culture, or the one before that, just because they used to work and have therefore gained an imagined sanctity, we may end up communicating very inadequately.
http://www.millenniummatrix.com/


ELVIS ANNIVERSARY

News media like to cover anniversaries. Last month it was 40 years since Sgt. Pepper. Next month, 16 August, marks the thirtieth anniversary of Elvis' death. Elvis Week http://elvis.com/elvisweek/2007/ew_events.asp begins August 11. Media hype likely will increase public awareness as the date approaches.

Here is an opportunity to identify with people's enduring interest in, and affection for, a supremely gifted if flawed singer.
So an article - 'Elvis Has Left the Building' - from Rusty Wright aims to get readers to look at Elvis, themselves, and Jesus.
It is available to republish in church newsletters, outreach literature, magazines, blogs and websites:
http://probe.org/docs/elvis2.html


WEBSITES SHOULD ALWAYS BE BETA

"The Web is messy. Your website is a constant beta. You can't just publish a webpage or launch an application and think that's it. That's only the very beginning. Every page and application you launch is the beginning of a journey of continuous improvement," writes NetDummy:
http://www.netdummy.com/2007a/0709.html

There are two things which sadly many outreach sites never do:
1) test the site for usability with web users of only average ability who do not already know the site:
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/usability.php

2) learn how to optimize a webpage for a range of relevant keywords:
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/promote.php
http://www.wilsonweb.com/seo/wilson-keyword-selection.htm


COMMUNICATING WELL

STORIES: Which communicates better? Which stays in the memory longer? Which reaches the emotions better? Which actually proclaims truth better? A string of ethical propositions, or a story? It's a no-brainer.
http://faithvisuals.com/45505 - 99 Balloons
http://faithvisuals.com/45638 - Dear Jane

How to teach with parables (like Jesus did):
http://www.pastors.com/rwmt/article.asp?ArtID=10673

WRITING WELL: are you broadcasting on the wrong frequency?
http://www.web-evangelism.com/offsitelink?b07july-ccmi

WHAT IS GRACISM? Whitney Hopler has summarized the message of David A. Anderson's new book, Gracism: The Art of Inclusion, InterVarsity Press, 2007).
http://www.crosswalk.com/11543799/


THE WORLD WE LIVE IN

GENERATION LOST? Author/apologist Josh McDowell says the church is losing a generation as youth leave in alarming numbers. What do they believe? What are the issues? And how can churches turn young people back to God?
http://www.christianitytoday.com/outreach/articles/generationlost.html

RELATIONSHIPS: When you Love Someone who Doesn't Love Christ:
http://www.web-evangelism.com/offsitelink?b07july-lovesomeone

COMING BY THE END OF THIS YEAR: 'surface computing' - a multi-touch large screen like a coffee table enables manipulation of photos, and even automatic transfer of files to and from devices sitting on the screen! Not initially for the home user, but expect this sort of usability to filter down to home devices before too long. Like any other development, we should be thinking now: is there a new way we could use this for the Gospel?
http://tinyurl.com/2k29dk

CHURCHES: ArkAlmighty is taking a cue from the film Evan Almighty to encourage churches in random acts of kindness:
http://www.arkalmighty.com/

WE CAN STILL BEAT COMPUTERS! There's one game where artificial intelligence can't beat humans, and it is the oldest in the world, originating in China:
http://www.web-evangelism.com/offsitelink?b07july-computers

PEW INTERNET REPORT: About one third (32%) of all teenagers who use the internet say they have been targets of a range of annoying and potentially menacing online activities:
http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/216/report_display.asp

CHINA: New report on China's internet user population. There are now an estimated 137 million internet users in China, second innumber only to the United States:
http://www.pewinternet.org/PPF/r/218/report_display.asp

AFRICA: In parts of Africa where the mobile phone is the only communication method, some very imaginative uses have emerged, and are transforming rural development. These include money transfer through mobiles, and this example of teacher training, reported by Christian NGO TEARFund's FOOTSTEPS magazine:
http://www.web-evangelism.com/offsitelink?b07july-footsteps

ARCHEOLOGY: Museum's tablet lends new weight to Biblical truth. The British Museum recently hailed a discovery within a modest clay tablet in its collection as a breakthrough for biblical archaeology - dramatic proof of the accuracy of the Old Testament.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article2056362.ece

WEB MINISTRY CONFERENCE REMINDER - SEPTEMBER

If you are considering the Internet Ministry conference in Grand Rapids USA in September, there's an early-bird booking date of 15 July. I hope to meet some of you there!
http://www.internetministryconference.org/


TIPS

- non-techies look away now

FIREFOX 2 CSS ISSUE: Firefox 2 and IE7 no longer allow you to format an RSS .xml feed page using your own .xls style sheet - instead they imposes their own. Quite a problem, if you have designed your RSS page to have extra information and formatting. But there is an easy way round - insert 512k of text within comment tags near the top of the page, as we have done here:
http://www.web-evangelism.com/resources/bullfeed.xml
and the solution is explained here:
http://forums.feedburner.com/viewtopic.php?p=29454#29454

AJAX... is changing web applications, giving them a responsiveness that's unheard of beyond the desktop:
http://www.sitepoint.com/article/1567

FORM DESIGN WITH CSS: few forms look really good. Learn how:
http://www.sitepoint.com/article/1569

VISTA: need help?
http://www.windvis.com/

CSS:Vertical positioning in CSS is possible:
http://www.web-evangelism.com/offsitelink?b07july-css

TIMELINES: pay-for program, but sounds as if it could be useful - creating timelines in HTML:
http://www.webmasterfree.com/Timeline_Maker_d7986.html

JAVASCRIPT: latest useful scripts from The Javascript Source:
http://javascript.internet.com/

ALTERNATING ROW COLORS IN PHP: almost every database-driven website uses alternating row colors when displaying a list of records, a concept used all over the Internet:
http://www.webreference.com/programming/php_color/

SPYWARE - how one expert just escaped:
http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000888.html

STICKY FOOTER: if you need a footer that will always be at the bottom of the screen, even on a very short page, here's the CSS:
http://ryanfait.com/sticky-footer/

BREAK OUT OF BOX DESIGN - with CSS and imagination:
http://www.sitepoint.com/article/1568

GOOGLE ANALYTICS - get the best out of this site stats system:
http://www.wilsonweb.com/analytics/steif-google-analytics.htm

CORRECT CAPITALIZATION - script to put uppercase characters at start of a name in a form:
http://bontragerconnection.com/library/name_capitalization.shtml

PNG graphics - why you should be using them:
http://www.digital-web.com/articles/web_standards_creativity_png/


UK-BASED INTERN OPPORTUNITY

Culture-watch ministry Damaris offer internships:
http://www.damaris.org/mediainterns

More opportunities:
http://www.internetevangelismday.com/vacancies.php


TAILEND ô¿ô

The amazing color-changing card trick. Filmed in one take, it demonstrates that we often do not notice what we are not looking for or expecting. An object lesson, (also demonstrated in the gorilla video described in http://www.web-evangelism.com/resources/gorilla.php ).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voAntzB7EwE

And for a straight-forward illusion, in case you did not catch it on TV: quick-change clothing from a couple who are one of the best in the business:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RB-wUgnyGv0

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