This Week’s Sources Of Learning – 18 Apr 2014

Here are a selection of podcasts, blog posts and books that I’ve been learning from this week. You can view all of these weekly posts here.

I’m always looking for fresh podcasts/books/music, so if there’s any that you particularly enjoy, let me know.

Podcasts

  • Signs You’re an Overwhelmed Leader – Perry Noble Leadership Podcast
  • Leading A Team Meeting – Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast
  • Inteview with Dabo Swinney – Perry Noble Leadership Podcast

Books

  • Completed Jesus > Religion – Jefferson Bethke Review StarReview StarReview StarReview StarReview Star
  • Completed Simply Strategic Volunteers: Empowering People For Ministry – Tony Morgan & Tim Stevens Review StarReview StarReview StarReview StarReview Star
  • Started The Six Hats of the Worship Leader – Rich Kirkpatrick

Thoughts

Some random thoughts at the moment – I cannot recommend the above (completed) books enough.  Jesus > Religion is excellent to read alone, or even as part of small group – great end of chapter discussion questions. If you lead a team of volunteers, Simply Strategic Volunteers is an absolute must read. You will not be disappointed.

Click track, click track, click track. I’m going to be looking at ways to introduce a click track. If you have used click tracks, share your experience with me – how did you introduce it? What equipment did you use? How long did it take to feel like a natural part of playing? Etc.

Is technology eroding our relationships?

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This new piece of artwork from Banksy says so much about relationships today.

In one hand, the modern smartphone is an amazing device that keeps us all connected, available and organized, among many other things.

On the other hand, it can be a barrier to meaningful, distraction-free dialog with people you are actually present with.

Lately I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with its place in my day-to-day life. It’s often more of a hindrance and a distraction, rather than helping me achieve more (or in fact anything).

Has anyone else been feeling like this recently?  What steps have you taken to regain focus on the here and now?

Pollen

I do not like pollen, no, not one little bit.
To put it quite mildly, I’m sick to the teeth of it.
My eyes, they stream water and make my skin raw.
A coat on my lenses prevents me seeing at all.
I know it’s just nature trying its best to procreate.
But does it really have to go and cover me in it?

Dear Facebook…

…it’s no secret that we’ve had our ups and downs. Our extended period of separation was a much needed and very refreshing time for me.

When I recently suggested we get back together, I thought we could start afresh, approach life differently than before.  However, pretty soon we were back to our old ways and to be honest, it was too much too soon.

Look — it’s not you, it’s me. OK? I’m just not ready to jump straight back in to the way things were. Having you back in my life made me realize how valuable my time is. I need my space.

So for now I’m removing your app from my phone.  We’ll still see each other from time to time when I visit my desktop, just like it used to be before you became more mobile.

Yours Sincerely,
Alastair.

Spring Break Movies

Here is a round-up of movies we watched during Spring Break.

Liz finally got me to watch 12 Years A Slave.  As we started watching, Liz said, “You don’t like real life movies, do you?”  It’s true, I usually avoid them.  For example, I would sooner watch Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter than the Oscar winning Lincoln.

However, aside from making me mad about how people used to think (and knowing that some probably still do), it was a really good story with a great cast.

I noticed that The Grandmaster was nominated for cinematography during the Oscars and then I read that it was a movie about Ip Man (Bruce Lee’s trainer).  The original Ip Man with Donnie Yen is probably one of my favorite martial arts movies ev-ver, so I just had to pick it up.

The Grandmaster may have looked better, but it’s story telling was incoherent and hard to follow.  My boys and I agreed it was not nearly as good as the original Ip Man movie. As a side note – we are all stoked (with perhaps the exception of Liz) at the announcement of Ip Man 3D with Donnie Yen back in the role.

Another “real life” movie we watched with the family was Captain Phillips.  I will confess I started out watching while simultaneously playing 2048 on my iPhone. I soon put the phone down when things started to heat up. Intense!  I remember the story when it broke on the news, but hadn’t realized he had endured so much. Great movie.

Why does Lone Ranger get such a hard time? We’ve watched it before but since we were on holiday we rented it again. It’s a little long, but all the same, a fantastic movie. And just so you know, I thought John Carter was good too.

caI’m not a comic book geek, but I love the Marvel Avengers movies and their spin offs. I love how they interconnect all the movies with little references here and there. Captain America 2 did not disappoint.  It was excellent movie.  Marvel seem to be on a winning streak. They also seem to have trained half the audience (including myself) to remain seated until after the credits are completed.

I was glad to see Gravity do so well at the Oscars.  Liz and I watched this movie already in the cinema, but we rented it again on DVD to watch with the kids. With only two characters for most of the movie, I thought it would be a bit boring for the kids, but they enjoyed it. It keeps you on the edge of your seat (unless you’ve already watched it). So far-fetched, yet totally plausible = so good.

Liz and I went to watch The Grand Budapest Hotel in the cinema. Wes Anderson’s latest movie will not appeal to everyone, but I like quirky, so I loved it. The characters are excellent, thanks to the cast selected for the movie. The cinematography is bold and different – with a lot of the movie shown in a square frame that it actually reminded me of Instagram.

Finally, we rented what is being labelled as Jackie Chan’s last ever action movie, Chinese Zodiac.  I’m a big Jackie Chan fan, but I was pretty disappointed with this movie.  The kids liked the stunts and action scenes, but the story (like The Grandmaster) was disjointed and hard to follow.  I wish he’d have gone out with a bigger bang.