31 May 2006

Farewell to Dr. Paul Brown

Today is a sad day. Today I learned my close friend and mentor, Dr. Paul Brown, has died from injuries sustained in an auto accident. Paul and I had been emailing one another a couple of times a day and for the past 12 months or so I had been emailing my sermons to Paul to get his suggestions for improvement. Paul had recently retired as Professor of Homiletics at Memphis Theological Seminary which is where I got to know him. He was the professor who helped me with my D.Min. final project which was about preaching New Testament apocolyptic literature. From our intense interaction on that project we developed a close friendship. Now Paul, age 72 years, has gone home. He was hit by a big truck on his way to preach at the small church in Paragould, Arkansas where he served as Interim Pastor. Anyone who ever rode with Paul behind the wheel will not be surprised to learn he died in an automobile accident. I keenly remember the day I rode with him down Union Avenue in Memphis enroute to Beale Street after one of our D.Min. seminars. He had a certain freedom in his driving ... but then Paul had a certain freedom in everything he did. He was full speed ahead whether it was marching for justice or commenting on the appalling state of American politics or preaching the Word of God. Man, I will miss you. Thank you for all you gave me. You taught me how to preach, Paul. For that I will be forever grateful. See you upstairs sometime. Later, dude.

Dr. Paul Brown, a retired professor of Homiletics at Memphis Theological Seminary and Cumberland Presbyterian minister, died Monday evening at The Regional Medical Center at Memphis. He was 72. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m., Wednesday, May 31 at Canale Funeral Home, 2700 Union Ext. Services will be held Thursday, June 1, at 1 p.m. at Faith Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 3427 Appling Rd., Bartlett. Burial will follow at Mt. Comfort Cemetery in Hickory Valley, TN. Dr. Brown is survived by his wife, Beverly Pepper Brown; daughter, Shelley Brown; son, Chris Brown; daughter-in-law, Fontaine Taylor Brown; two grandsons, Christopher Thaxton and Paul Nolan, all of Memphis; and his sister Betty Foster of Kerrville, Texas. Dr. Brown, who received his Th.D. from Boston University School of Theology, was the first pastor of Germantown Cumberland Presbyterian Church and facilitated its construction. He served as pastorate for numerous congregations throughout the mid-south and was an active participant in a number of social causes. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Memphis Theological Seminary at 168 E. Parkway So., Memphis, TN 38104 or Faith Cumberland Presbyterian Church at 3427 Appling Rd., Bartlett, TN 38133.

Jennifer's Prayer

God please help my mom and I
to get a alot of dogs out of the pound.
Also please help me to read the Bible
and pray for at least an hour.
Another thing is for me to use my knowledge

1. helping Ms. Sara's dogs
2. Getting dogs adopted
3. not using my knowledge
as much as I could

I found this prayer printed in blue and purple marker on a torn piece of white paper laying on a table in the church. I got my daughter's permission to post it here. Jennifer will be ten years old on her birthday later this month.

27 May 2006

Animusic - Pipe Dream

Animusic - Pipe Dream
3 min 30 sec - Nov 16, 2001

A group of percussion instruments perform music by way of metal balls that fly out from pipes. From the first Animusic DVD. Pipe Dream has been voted one of the 50 greatest animation projects ever (by 3D World magazine).

Jon B.

12 May 2006

Wii + we = web

Wii is the name of the next generation video game hardware from Nintendo which is pictured above. It was introduced to great fanfare at this week's annual electronic gaming conference, E3 2006. Nintendo had been calling the forthcoming controller Revolution but a week before E3 announced the real name was Wii, pronounced "we." This name change met with a less than cheerful reception by some Nintendo fans.

The Nintendo execs explained the reasoning behind the new name, Wii. They are trying to expand their business beyond traditional gamers into the majority of people who do not currently play video games. As a parent of two children who love games, and as a gamer myself, I like the name Wii. I think Nintendo is wise to reach out to a new audience with their newfangled controllers.

I think the name "Wii" picks up a trend I have noticed in the past few weeks. I see this theme in so-called social learning blogs. "We" is also a theme in the evolution of the web.

A very smart professor has written about this is an eloquent new book.

Yochai Benkler, Professor of Law at Yale University, has written a book titled The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom . The Wealth of Networks is a comprehensive social theory of the Internet and the networked information economy. In it, Professor Benkler describes how patterns of information, knowledge, and cultural production are changing—and shows that the way information and knowledge are made available can either limit or enlarge the ways people can create and express themselves.

The answer to "what's in it for me?" does not necessarily involve the corollary question of "what's NOT in it for you?" Market-based, proprietary models (MBPMs) assume that the only way to answer the question and give an incentive to create is to take rights away from others through exclusivity by way of trademark, patent, and copyright protections. Benkler counters this assumption by pointing out the fact that education, the arts, the sciences, and theological and political discourses have thrived on the NMNP model.

Peer production changes the question from what's in it for me to the better question: "What's in it for us?" The NMNP model allows a more expansive and inclusive "we." Technology has removed the high capital investment costs and allowed this expansion of "producers." Wikipedia and its kin prove that we can create useful information and better society and each other without the exclusivity that drives the MBPM. All that it takes is a realization of the two concepts ripe within this work:

  • What's in it for me does not necessarily involve the corollary question of what's NOT in it for you, and
  • The ultimate goal is to become part of the "we," asking and answering the better question of "What's in it for us?"
Yochai Benkler's lecture was presented on April 18, 2006 at Harvard Law School, hosted by The Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

Produced by Colin Rhinesmith.

Download the MP3 (time: 41:22) ( Permalink )

We want fun and games plus the social interactions and increased communications that we call the web. So Wii plus we equals the web. At least that is how we hope it works out. In the meantime, we'll need to keep a close eye on government regulators and some corporations whose interest is more in "me" than in "we."