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Category Archives: Connecting Technologies

My friend Shelton is organizing a pub crawl this Saturday to raise awareness around human trafficking issues here in Austin. Here’s a snippet from the site:

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Show up and help distribute coasters that tell the story of modern day slavery into bars, coffee shops and cafes in Austin.

This will be the first a several events in Austin and across the state.  Please join us at BookPeople, 3rd Floor, on Saturday, August 8. At 4:00pm.  Here’s the plan, we want you and your friends to come and enjoy an evening out, stopping at several different places over a few hours.  Well…with one small difference, you will be asking establishments owners or managers to “host” the coaster campaign.  “Host” just means the bar, coffee shop or café will take the coasters and put them out for patrons to use and read.  We will have sign up sheets for you to take down the information of establishments you visit.  On August 8th we will gather up at 4:00pm on the 3rd floor at BookPeople (6th & Lamar) get instructions on which establishments in which parts of town to hit and be sent out.

If you”d like to find out more, here is more info at What’s Your Response?

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I took this picture during our recent visit to the Kennedy Space Center, and I just have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that a bunch of chain-smoking flight engineers landed a tin can on the moon using this equipment. My iPhone has more computing power than this entire room…

nasa control room lomo copyMy camera was too high-tech for this pic, so I had to mess with it to get it lookin’ old school. But, my point is not about technology, it’s about what technology has done to us, to our heroes, to our collective memory and to our future.

When Walter Cronkite reported this great triumph of man (not just America) landing on the moon 40 years ago on Monday; we as a planet witnessed something larger than ourselves and it drew us closer as humans, but at the same time it ushered in the quickening collapse of our shared humanity. The quickening pace of global communications and transportation over the last 40 years has created such granularity in our relationships that we are rendered incapable of recognizing our commonality.

Last night as I watched some of the remembrances of Mr Cronkite, Larry King gushed about the influence he had on us as a country and that we would never see this again because we have become too distracted by the noise of too many choices. He’s right, but more important than our method of media consumption is our lost focus on anybody or anything of substance. We no longer seem to care about any tough questions, we grasp onto our limited understanding of bigger issues because we’re too busy, too distracted, too self-absorbed to listen and learn about how we can live to not just to survive, but to thrive as humans. For all our advances we seem lost like a small capsule in a large expanse and sometimes I wonder how we’ll ever get where we need to go.

NASA Memorial, originally uploaded by carlmc.

I took this photo of the memorial to lost astronauts at Kennedy Space Center. As I was editing this tonight, I remembered the new movie Amelia coming out this year. I hope my daughter is never afraid to chase her dreams.

Courage is the price that life extracts for granting peace. The soul that knows it not, knows no release from little things.
The soul that knows it not knows no release from little things.
Knows not the livid loneliness of fear,
Nor mountain heights, where bitter joy can hear
The sound of wings.

Amelia Earhart

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Waves by David Sifry

Waves by David Sifry

The post-Christian world has been proclaimed in Europe and is certainly making serious inroads in North America. I hope the prognosticators are correct, I am hopeful that “Christianity” as we’ve defined it in the west for the last 500 years is dead (or dying) so that it may be reborn, resurrected, redeemed for God’s purpose instead of ours. I have to keep reminding myself that the church is not the creation of man, that we are only here to participate in what God is already doing. We are here to provide witness to the beauty of the church and to seek justice…to practice love of God and each other.

Sometimes, I catch a glimpse of what it means to be the church in ways that don’t disrupt my sensibilities (I was not brought up in the church and I still get the creepy, heeby jeebies when church is being done as a proposition to be bought).  This week in Austin, I was fortunate to see the church being what I believe the church should be. A group of people who cared not for themselves, but instead cared only for others who needed them.

Tragedy struck an apartment complex in a consuming fire that left many families homeless. During times like these it is often the burden of family and friends and the Red Cross that provide most, if not all the help available to victims. This time was different.

I was checking my twitter feed that evening after work and noticed a lot of chatter about this fire from some local church leaders, Brandon Hatmaker from Austin New Church , Michael Stewart from Austin Stone, as well as  Justin Lopez.

From what little I know, Austin Stone ,who is moving into this St Johns neighborhood in northeast Austin, teamed with Ebenezer Family Church (Iglesia Centro Familiar Ebenezer) and stepped up to the plate to take care of these neighbors in a time of deep vulnerability. This is to be commended, but this is to be expected of neighbors.  But, what’s really cool is Austin New Church and my tribe Journey Imperfect Faith Community, and probably many other churches I’m not even aware of joined in this effort with volunteers and basic necessities. (If you are part of one of those churches or know of them, please leave a comment to let me know.)

I am not speaking as a church leader, and I’m not speaking for others and I can’t speak to how this help mobilized in other faith communities, but for us it was a couple of emails and a commitment by the group to provide clothing from our stash at the church and an agreement to go shopping for other needs. Wham! Just like that, less than 24 hours later our small community of people delivered on our promise to help. The power of people with the willingness to ask how can we help is I believe the unstoppable power of love. Like waves crashing the beach in succession the very earth is transformed!

And you came upon me wave on wave,
You’re the reason I’m still here.
Am I the one you were sent to save,
when you came upon me wave on wave.
The clouds broke and the angels cried,
You ain’t gotta walk alone,
That’s why he put me in your way,
And you came upon me wave on wave. –Pat Green

“I’ve never seen Austin churches partner in such a unified effort.It’s been amazing to see” -Red Cross Volunteer

But, I know this is the exception, not the rule. Otherwise, why would the Red Cross Volunteer be so amazed at the effort? I think we’re like the lost robot in this video; we need the kindness of strangers to help us get back on track, to help us find our way back into the journey we’ve been called to by our maker.

Once again, I’m speaking as just a guy who has not bought into any leadership or church model to redeem the world. I’ll leave the details to God. But, I will continue to ask questions of those who will listen. I’ll talk about that in my next post.

In the meantime, thank you to all my new friends and may we continue to bless those who need blessing. The seasons will change, but the needs will continue; so, may we commit to watch over each other, to listen, to love without condition.


Justin Dillon just posted an announcement to the cause Call+Response.
As members of the 21st Century Abolitionist Movement, we have a critical opportunity to seriously help former child slaves. $1.8 Million in medical supplies are ready to be shipped to care for 174 children saved out slavery in Thailand. This shipment is full of desperately needed medicines and equipment which will be sent on March 26th, IF WE CAN RAISE $26,000 IN THE NEXT TWO WEEKS. That’s a $70 return for every dollar invested. [100% of all donations goes to the shipment.] We need your help.
Please respond now to get nearly $2M in medical supplies to children rescued from slavery.
And don’t forget to add an “I Gave” widget to facebook page and challenge your friends to join the team of responders. http://www.clearspring.com/widgets/4900d1aaa4288756 With our gratitude for your partnership, The Call+Response Team

[clearspring_widget title=”Call+Response Giving Widget” wid=”4900d1aaa4288756″ pid=”49be3e499671bf79″ width=”320″ height=”150″ domain=”widgets.clearspring.com”]

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I could not see it coming, and now I can not imagine it without.

I wonder about the fathers who know this bracket of emotions, but what they experience is not joy.
Because they are suffering at the hands of the oppressor, a being so evil they know not life without its presence.

It matters to them what we buy, who purchase from, and it seems like a small thing, inconsequential. But, it’s not to those fathers and daughters who do not experience what most of us take for granted.

http://www.slavefree.info/

http://www.nameyourdreamassignment.com/the-ideas/carlmc/27-million-slaves/

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This picture is taken from a site established by the State Department who commissioned one of their photographers to find these stories and document. I want to capture these stories, but I also want to use celebrities and business leaders to help bring awareness to the general public, to the victims, and to the corporations and governments that we the people will not stand for this, will not buy their products, will not support their leadership unless they do the right thing.  Please help me with this idea by voting for my project at http://www.nameyourdreamassignment.com/the-ideas/carlmc/27-million-slaves/

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A 9-year-old girl toils under the hot sun, making bricks from morning to night, seven days a week. She was trafficked with her entire family from Bihar, one of the poorest and most underdeveloped states in India, and sold to the owner of a brick-making factory. With no means of escape, and unable to speak the local language, the family is isolated and lives in terrible conditions.

Photo and text courtesy of Kay Chernush for the U.S. State Department. http://www.gtipphotos.state.gov/

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I have just registered for a photography project that with your help could help reduce slavery in the world. Please go to and read about my idea and then vote for me.

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img_6345I wonder sometimes about the “information overload” I feel…bombarded by email, phones, tweets, etc. Am I really getting more done? Or, am I just causing myself unnecessary stress? Even more troubling, is the author’s assertion that our creativity is suffering when we don’t exercise our powers of concentration, we lose our ability to think deeply about our existence and our creativity suffers. Check out this interview with Maggie Jackson at Wired.com

“Dark ages are times of forgetting, when the advancements of the past are underutilized. If we forget how to use our powers of deep focus, we’ll depend more on black-and-white thinking, on surface ideas, on surface relationships. That breeds a tremendous potential for tyranny and misunderstanding. The possibility of an attention-deficient future society is very sobering. ” Maggie Jackson

I still remember the days as a kid when we were told to turn the lights out when we left the room. We had to conserve energy! I still turn out the lights when I leave a room. So, here is the information model for our kids and their generation. It’s a little more fancy, a little more cool…maybe a little more scary. GreenGorilla.com