Category Archives: Inspiration

Rejection Therapy


As a designer as aspiring entrepreneur, I try to build small-scale rejection and “failure” early into my process so I can improve what I’m making. As a theologian, I think and speak about it a lot, usually in the abstract. As a human, I fear it.

But this video of Jia Jiang’s talk at TEDxAustin has given me another way to think about rejection. Please take a few minutes to be inspired by this video, and then I’d love to know: What do you think about “rejection therapy”? Would you ever do it?

On Boredom (and Church)

I had the pleasure of hearing Genevieve Bell speak at the Design Extravaganza in Austin a week ago, and her talk blew me away. She wove together a narrative about the history of our Terminator-style “machines will kill us!” fear. Along the way, she revealed the value of an anthropological approach in upending the cultural assumptions we bring to addressing problems and identified several changes that lead to socio-technological anxiety. (I’ll post a link when the video comes online.)

Anyway, with her talk still poking around in my brain, I went to watch her TEDx Sydney talk from a year ago. In that presentation, Bell lifts up the value of boredom.

Sidebar: I must say, her speech was particularly convicting as I watched it on my laptop…while eating dinner…and attempting to ignore the nagging thoughts about a couple freelance projects, two final presentations, and a diagram that I need to create before the first quarter at AC4D wraps up on Saturday. (Oh, and I’m also working with my team to frame up next quarter’s research projects so we can submit proposals to get access to some area schools…)

Near the end, she offers an example of a church in Korea and suggests that church can offer a place where people have a different relationship to time and space. I’d suggest watching the talk in full, and I’d love to hear your take on her proposition.

On Possibilities

So I haven’t blogged in way too long.

I’ve been keeping myself busy between launching a new sparkhouse preteen curriculum and spending as much time with Brent, family, and friends as I can before I leave for Austin in less than a month. (Plus running The Color Run last weekend–post forthcoming…)

But this made me pause and smile.

I love how this group looks at a piano and doesn’t just see keys, strings, and pedals. They imagine new sounds. New ways of playing the instrument. And they work together to create something new and cool.

They see possibilities. Check it out.

The Piano Guys – One Direction “What Makes You Beautiful”

O Holy Night

Christmas Eve is here.

I’m spending the next few days celebrating with both sides of my family, but before I go offline, I wanted to share a choral arrangement of “O Holy Night.” My sister composed it, and it was performed by an area choir, From Age to Age. I listened to it again this morning as I’ve been finishing some Christmas preparations, and it brings me so much joy.


Blessings to you as we celebrate Immanuel. God with us.


On Cookie Monster…and opening my eyes

When I first saw this project by artist/graphic designer Timm Schneider, I busted out laughing.

And then I had an urge to dig out some ping pong balls and a sharpie.

And then I clicked through to read more on Turnstyle News. A favorite quote from the interview:

What do you find so fulfilling about putting eyeballs around the city?

Timm Schneider: That something so little can do so much. It transforms things into beings. It changes the way people see the world around them by shifting only a detail — the very same way humor works. The eyeballs explain something difficult like perception very easy. It changes the purpose of things: a trash bin can be the Cookie Monster. The world around suddenly isn’t something fixed anymore, it’s something you can change. People are realizing this very optimistic opinion with a smile on their faces, more than I ever could have asked for.

I think that’s what I like about guerilla art projects like this. Besides offering a moment of levity (and perhaps inspiration), they challenge me to see something that wasn’t there before. They open my eyes to new possibilities…and make it hard to pass a dumpster without imagining Oscar living in it.

(via laughing squid, images via Timm Schneider)

Friday Fun: Chase No Face

This video blew me away and got me thinking about the future of interacting with technology. Check it out.

Chase No Face / BELL from zach lieberman on Vimeo.

And if you’re intrigued and have a few minutes, I highly suggest reading Steve Clayton’s compelling story about what his two-year-old daughter has taught him about technology and the closing digital/physical divide.

(via swiss-miss and psfk)

Six Word Story Every Day

breathe in. breathe out. repeat often.

I came across the Six Word Story Every Day site concept (thanks to a tweet from Ali Edwards) and got lost poking around the contributors’ stories and visual interpretations. What a cool (and easy!) way to capture moments, both profound and passing.

Since I’ve been absent from blogging while sorting out some busyness and priorities in my own life, it only seemed appropriate to create my own version to recap my day (err…month).

What would be your six-word story for today?

Manipulate, morph, move

While I’m on a play kick, I wanted to share this quote:

“Someday, rather than measuring memorization as an indicator of progress, we will measure our children’s ability to manipulate (deconstruct and hack), morph (think flexibly and be tolerant of change), and move (think “with their hands” and play productively). Standardized aptitude tests will be replaced by our abilities to see (observe and imagine), sense (have empathy and intrinsic motivation), and stretch (think abstractly and systemically). We will advance our abilities to collaborate and create.”

And here’s the challenge: How many ways can you think of to use bubble wrap?

(via Uniting Work And Play To Promote Innovation – PSFK & Play Power – The Atlantic)
Image by Kirstea

Why the future of work (and faith formation) is play

Some really interesting nuggets in this video from PSFK about why the future of work is play. Aaron Dignan explores motivation, achievement, overcoming boredom, and learning, and one of my favorite quotes is, “Play is nature’s learning engine.”

Dignan also differentiates between “gamification” and a playful/game approach to learning in a way I haven’t heard before but really appreciated.

What would it look like if we considered the future of faith formation from this play lens?

PSFK CONFERENCE NYC 2011: Aaron Dignan from Piers Fawkes on Vimeo.