Friday, September 12, 2008

Quote: Gibbs and Bolger

Theologies given birth within modernity will not transfer to postmodern cultures.
- Eddie Gibbs and Ryan Bolger, Emerging Churches

Quote: Mike Yaconelli

Play is an expression of God's presence in the world; one clear sign of God's absence in society is the absence of playfulness and laughter.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Quote: Thomas Merton

To become attached to the "experience" of peace is to threaten the true and essential and vital union of our soul with God above sense and experience in the darkness of a pure and perfect love.

And so, although this sense of peace may be a sign that we are united to God, it is still only a sign -- an accident. The substance of the union may be had without any such sense, and sometimes when we have no feeling of peace or of God's presence He is more truly present to us than he has ever been before.

If we attach too much attention to these accidentals we will run the risk of losing what is essential, which is the perfect acceptance of God's will, whatever our feelings may happen to be.

But if I think the most important thing in life is a feeling of interior peace, I will be all the more disturbed when I notice that I do not have it. and since I cannot directly produce that feeling in myself whenever I want to, the disturbance will increase with the failure of my efforts. Finally I will lose my patienceby refusing to accept this situation that I cannot control and so I will let go of the one important reality, union with the will of God, without which true peace is impossible.
Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

A New Project

I'm breaking my hiatus to start some occasional posts about a new project I am working on, or rather, with. It could seem different than earlier posts, but in a way it is not. I am working on a technology project now, the identity of which I would like to withhold for now. But it involves more than technology.

We are well past the point where brochureware will do. The kind of static web site that is still common with many religious organizations is almost worse than nothing. It's one real use, one hopes, is to lay some critical contact information out where Google might find it.

This problem is the result of what I think is a fundamental error: seeing the web page as merely another graphic document among many. This would mean, for most organizations, that a primary goal of web site creation is matching the graphic rules already created for all other documents. This results in design and markup that is concerned first with appearance and presentation, with tools designed first to control those aspects, no matter what chaos resulted in the underlying markup. You get the tyranny of the original designer, creating pages that are time consuming to maintain, which usually results in a site that is inconsistent and out of date. It also means that the typical "web designer" in many organizations has stronger skills in presentation than creating content.

The problem with that is that few people visit a web page because of cutting edge design, at least not more than once. Current, compelling, and accessible content, on the other hand, has always been effective. And effectiveness is just what we need these days, not better Flash driven landing pages.

Starting off, I want to lay out some basic ideas concerning:

  • interfaces between organizations and their environments;
  • the basic elements and constraints of web design;:
  • the role that web standards can and cannot play;
  • fundamental organization processes involved with web site maintenance;
  • web patterns and microformats relevant to this case.
No great essays or tomes here -- others have better things to say about this, and where appropriate I will link to them. Just some speculation and working notes.