Social influence

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2 years on: inside the numbers


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I’ve been informed my blog theme isn’t “click” friendly, meaning you can read posts without having to click your mouse lots.

Which is good for you, apparently not so for me.

You see, I’m informed that lots of “clicks” are a good thing, that there is a man (or woman) who counts all the clicks, categorizes & compiles them, to what end I’m unsure. I think I need a certain amount to level up or achieve global blogging dominance.

Here’s a look inside the numbers of the last year of blogging & life.

 

1) One is for Nike & Mike, say it ain’t over. The most read post over the last year. One is for December my best month, you barely beat out October.

One is for the first year I haven’t been involved in youth leadership for a while. It’s been incredibly freeing & life-giving

2) Two is for 2 years, happy 2nd birthday blog. Two is the amount of Stephen King books I’ve attempted to read.

3) Three is for funerals unexpected. I’ve been to more this year than the rest of my life. Death has a way of throwing things into perspective.

 

52) Fifty-two is for the only number from the counted clicks which caught my attention. People from some 52 different countries have visited this blog in the past year, some places I’ve never heard of.

That is humbling.

Perhaps the person who counts the clicks lives in one of those countries, my guess is its Moldova.

25) twenty-five is for “gladiator pills”. The amount of times that search term has led someone to this blog. It’s a sex enhancement pill. I guess if you’re counting clicks on a non-click friendly blog you have to find something to pass the time.

 

0) Zero is for 0%, the amount “clicks” motivate me. Zero is for the number of Stephen King books I’ve finished reading. In his book On Writing, Stephen says he writes for an ideal reader, that his ideal reader is his wife. My ideal reader isn’t my wife. Zero – my number of wives.

I guess my ideal reader, is me. Well maybe different versions of me, I write to the old me,  5 years ago me, 10 years ago me, know-it-all-me, fundamentalist-me, pastors kid me, dropped out of church me, searching me, knowing the rules but not Gods heart me…

or the me I see in others, the church raised christian schooled middle-class westerner with Sunday school smarts & clichéd answers, who knows about God without knowing, who can quote Jesus without ever following.

 

x) Unknown number is for the amount of people you influence each day, each week, each year, the amount of people you shine a little light on & share a little love with.

Where does your light shine?

 

Thanks for another year, thanks for reading, for the follows, comments & emails.

Love God, love people, follow Jesus.

 

 

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One bite at a time


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I’m hungry, I want to eat. But the meal is massive, there is no way I can finish it all, I’ll hardly make a dent in it, it’s too much effort, it’s overwhelming… I might as well not try.

So I don’t.

I walk away from the table. From the meal that seems impossible to finish… still hungry.

One day I’d like to try.

 

 

The most common feedback I hear is that it is too overwhelming… “yea I’d like to do this”, “I’d like to try that”… but it’s just too much, it’s easier not to.

And you’re right, it is easier not to… and it is overwhelming.

But wouldn’t it be weird to want to make or effect some change and do nothing?

 

Wouldn’t that be like being hungry & not taking a bite? Then maybe that’s the answer…

 

one bite at a time.

 

Let me ask you this, What’s one small area of your world –  be it personal or in the world around you – that you’re not happy with… that isn’t as it should be & what can you do about it?

Maybe it’s as simple as starting to do a little research, maybe it’s committing to one tiny little change in your life.

One bite at a time.

 

 

 

 

adventures, Uncategorized

downsize me!


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You need this, you want this… ooh look at that! What you’ve got isn’t good enough, it’s time to upgrade… to up-size.

 

Lately I’ve been looking for a new car, it’s been a battle. I did have a rough amount I was prepared to spend on a car, then I’d see something I’d like that cost a little more & little more , and soon I was contemplating a loan to get something really nice…

I think I’d go through the same process whether I had 6k or 40k to spend… ooh that Chrysler is just a few grand out of my imaginary-budgeted-40k reach, maybe if I took a small loan…

Instead the challenge for me is to downsize, so I’ve halved my car budget. As long as I can fit in it & it gets me from ‘a-to-b’ I’ll be happy…

 

You see a couple of months a the Government started to review the role my workplace has in their future education plans, and while nothing is set in stone there is a very high chance I wont be in the same job next year. The general reaction from work colleagues has been to cut back on the coffees, put that overseas holiday on hold, knuckle down & save, because chances are none of us are walking into new jobs near the same pay.

I’ve even been taken aside and given that sagely bit of wisdom, you know, about being a good steward & saving in the years of plenty. I could justify that and I’m sure no one would hold it against me, after all my job is under threat & shouldn’t I be saving for a house…

 

But what if being a good steward looks different. What if it’s not about me accumulating my own little empire…

because as I read through the bible the theme seems to emerge that we are blessed to be a blessing, that what we are given isn’t for our benefit but to benefit others, that it’s not for building my kingdom… but another.

Maybe being a good steward isn’t looking at my work situation and saying, “I need to save & hoard because I won’t be making that money next year”, maybe there is another way of looking at it…

 

I may never be in a position to bless others again like I am right now.

 

Wouldn’t it be a shame to waste that opportunity by accumulating for myself. What would it look like if I downsized more than just my phone & car budget… if I downsized my life, if I intentionally put aside part of my income to bless others, if I really stretched myself… say 30-40%, that’d be a challenge, it may even break me, it’s sure to shape me.

So that is my challenge for the rest of the year, I’m interested in how tough this will be, how it may change how I view money and “need”, what small good I might achieve and who I may encounter…  the dream chaser & random stranger.

There is only so much I can hope to achieve in this lifetime & my sphere of influence may be small, but a downsized life enables me to share in what others do too.

Blessed to be a blessing.

 

 

This has been another post in my ongoing journey of discovering of what it looks like to follow Jesus in today’s world and loving people more than money.

 

 

adventures, News, Uncategorized

iPhone challenge – update


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A long-awaited update 🙂

I love hearing & reading stories of how others are living & breathing the gospel in unique, challenging & creative ways, I struggle sometimes to talk about what this looks like in my life.  Partly it’s because  I know my own heart & what’s really there, or maybe it’s self-consciousness, false modesty, fear of failure or my own ego… I’m not entirely sure.  I do know that this isn’t meant to be about me, you won’t see the launch of  “*insert name-Ministries” here… you won’t even find my name.

It’s been a while since my iPhone challenge. I was able to in a tiny way help some chase their dreams and some random strangers, the highlight for me was breakfast with a homeless man. While I’m sure a feed and conversation did more for me than him and won’t alter his long-term prospects, it has to be better than turning a blind eye.

What I learnt most was this, if I consciously put aside some money with the goal of blessing/helping someone then it’s pretty much impossible for me not to be looking for opportunities to do so.

Eventually my phone did die and I did eventually go the smart phone route, I opted for an older model windows phone on clearance, fraction of the price, no plan. I guess looking back, this was my first intentional downsize.

 

 

adventures, Uncategorized

Nike & Mike, say it ain’t over


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I started playing basketball when I was 11, I’d just started a new school, the 1st one I’d attended that had a basketball court. Even better it was outdoors, so I could play all the time.

Two weeks is the record. I once wore through the sole of a cheap pair of bball shoes in two weeks (I must have been pivoting more than Hakeem), I can remember the skin on my foot pinching between the ever-widening hole in my shoe & the court as I ran around. They were the shoes that broke mum & dad, shortly there after I received my first pair of Nikes.

During that winter, with the weather not so endearing to outside hoops I found myself watching the ’92 Olympics, in particular the Dream Team. Magic Johnson may have been the first player I’d ever heard of, but Michael was the first I fell in love with. I remember the exact moment it happened, first game against Angola… long outlet pass, over-the-head lob…

smitten 🙂

 

11 years later I was making my second trip to the U.S, my first to see Jordan play…

 

So yeah, I’m a Jordan fan… I have the college jersey, the Olympic jersey, the rookie jersey, the shoes, clothes, posters, books, cards, dvds, games… when I was 12 I forked over $100 of my hard-earned paper round money for this game, Michael Jordan in Flight, then another $100 to upgrade the RAM on our computer from 1mb to 2mb so I could play it (yes you read that right $100 for 1 megabyte). Check it out in all its glory 🙂

So for me my relationship with Basketball, Nike & Jordan began at the same time. It’s been a 20yr love affair.

 

 

Sweatshop. I have some vague recollection of that word being associated with Nike, but never really thought about it.

So what brought Nike to the forefront of my mind?

Introducing the Jordan 11’s.

First released in ’96, the retro release was in 2000. They were the first Jordans I purchased,  1 weeks paycheck.

They were released again 23, Dec, 2011. If you didn’t hear there were some pretty crazy stories… pepper spray, fights, shots fired, a mother arrested for leaving her young kids locked in the car… some of it has to be seen to be believed.

Unsettling. Getting a pair of shoes is more important than helping someone off the ground. What do we value?

How much of this lays with Nike? “The marketing campaign for these shoes is essentially akin to yelling “fire” in a crowded movie theater” – Jemele Hill, ESPN.

 

Then there is this incredible story. If you take nothing else way from this post, watch this.

 

 

I’d also discovered Oxfam had been working for the rights of Nike factory workers for some time, which brought me to this dilemma… I donate money to Oxfam, I buy Nike products. Isn’t that a bit like starving my dog & donating to SPCA or beating my wife & giving to Womens Refuge? Do I care enough about the nameless, faceless in another country to change?

Or are my donations just “Conscience Tax”, like that yearly charitable Christmas donation to appease your conscience while you enjoy the season of gluttony & greed, when really the thing that offends you the most about the poor is not the poverty…  but that you can see them.

 

What happens when something you love comes in conflict with your values  beliefs?

Why, you try and justify it. So I went searching, I really wanted to like Nike, I found lots of reason to do so… Nike raised the minimum age of factory workers to 16 & more recently by signing an agreement to allow workers to form unions… and the Environment!  This nice Nike commercial sums it up.

 

Nikes gone green, green is trendy. And while its awesome Nike have made some changes I find I can’t get past this.

Agreeing to pay your workers the minimum wage is great, but if that minimum wage is not something you can live on & maintain your humanity, how do you justify that? Especially if your in a position of power & influence and your company turned 20 Billion in revenue with a 2 Billion profit.

 

What do I do, do I stop purchasing Nike & Adidas products? (I haven’t talked about Adidas, but for all intents & purposes they’re the same as Nike when it comes to human rights.) 95% of all my basketball gear is Nike or Adidas, I want to get a new Bulls Jordan jersey & saw some real sweet Nike kicks yesterday, not to mention that I’ve played basketball in Adidas or Nike for the last 6 years… and doesn’t everyone do it? Reebok was brought out by Adidas, Converse by Nike… of which Nike says two-thirds of its factories don’t meet Nike standards… so they’re worse?!

 

Often problems seem bigger than us… it’s because they are.

 

So you do what you can do. For me, I’ve decide to end that 20yr love affair, I’ve decided not to purchase any Nike or Adidas products. As for my current stock, well I have some creative ideas, stay tuned 🙂

I’m stoked Nike has shown it can change…

I look forward to the day I can once again slip on some new Jordans…

I look forward to the day treating people as human becomes trendy.

 

adventures, Uncategorized

Veggie Tales


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Veggie Tales: Sorry not the annoying animated vegetables, but rather a tale about veggies & a hint of challenges to come…

If you were after a Veggie Tales fix, this is a very good read. I’m pretty sure I just broke 1 of the blogging 10 commandments by sending readers away in the 1st paragraph, I’d best stay gainfully employed 🙂

 

I think the first raindrop in this story was a mind shift to, yeah God cares a lot about this world (it’s not all going to hell in a hand basket) & to believe so isn’t just liberal hippie BS.

Then a there were a few raindrops in quick succession.

While I studied I worked at the freezing works (meat works) during my summer holidays, I  did this for three years. My job was to push & lift carcasses from 6-60kg, the days were divided into patches of frantic work & heavy lifting to playing table tennis, cards & reading. The work was physical, the people fun & the pay fantastic.

Over my time there, there was a lot of speculation that the plant would shutdown & it did in my final year. One of reasons suspected by many was to do with resource consent & waste product. You see the company had consent for a period of yrs (five, i believe) to dispose of a certain amount of waste product into the local river. During this time people started to care about global warming & the environment etc, the council responded with tougher restrictions & tighter controls.

The company were able to continue to operate under the old agreement until it expired, even though it didn’t meet the new regulations. It was going to cost a lot to upgrade the waste treatment processes, so instead of paying to upgrade & meet the new standards the plant closed & business was moved to another part of the country.

Raindrop: ethical business & environmental impact.

 

Around that time I joined a gym & although my enthusiasm for it changes like the weather some of the nutritional stuff struck a chord… like your body can really only process the protein form 100g of chicken breast over a 3hr span & the rest is pretty much wasted… yet we consume far larger portions of meat with our meals than that… why?

Well it’s what we do… I guess it is a part of our culture. So because we’re used to having a certain amount of meat on our plate we do, even though our bodies can’t utilize it all…

Raindrop: demand drives supply

 

This was followed by stumbling onto some articles about associated health risk for the consumption of red meat etc.

Which basically got me thinking…

if we ate less meat we’d be healthier, there would be less demand & therefore less environmental impact.

I wasn’t just happy to reduce my meat consumption, as any money I spent was ultimately going to support a system I’d become opposed to, so about 18 months ago, I went vegetarian (or some strange hybrid form of it).

 

I’m not opposed to the killing & eating of animals, I love a steak as much as the next guy… it’s rather the quantities we consume it in & the process of how we get.

Lately I’ve found these guys, I like their bacon…

and they were the only company to answer any of my questions.

 

I don’t write this to convert you all, or shame you dirty meat eaters, but rather to show what that change/choice process looks like for me, and to ask you….

where are the raindrops falling in your life?

Because for you it may not be what you eat, it may be something else. And while it would be time-consuming & life draining to research everything you consume, I’m sure there are things you’ve come across & thought that it wasn’t right or messed up, maybe it was just the first raindrop, more will come…

and then we’re brought to that place, to do something about it, or continue walking in the rain.

As for me, their have been a few more raindrops of late… but this choice is going to hurt…

Nike.