A Struggling Quest for Identity #GC2012

I thought about writing my reflections on the General Conference of the United Methodist Church 2012 here. I actually did write my reflections on it, for a class. Below are not those reflections. I figured that anyone reading this likely read my tweets and Facebook status updates throughout the conference's ongoings and is also likely unwilling to listen to me rant about something that to them seems trivial. So, instead, I thought I'd present what I see to be an overarching problem with the United Methodist Church.

The United Methodist Church, as it stands today, has one large problem: it doesn't know who it is.

The UMC (then the many forms of the methodist movement and the Methodist church) was both fortunate and unfortunate to have grown up around the birth of America. This means that values based on personal rights and liberties were, from the beginning of American Methodism, engrained into who the church was. To this day, this influence can be seen. The UMC still practices ways of democracy. The UMC constantly bickers about fairness and control of leading ecclesial (church) authorities. Let's face it: the UMC is a post-Enlightenment church heavily influenced by both the good and bad of American Christendom. It is not the Catholic or Anglican church and, to a very certain extent, is very proud of this reality.

The Methodist church in America has been through trial after tribulation after trial after crisis. Methodism in America has dealt with slavery. It has dealt with civil rights. It has dealt with feminism. It has dealt, and is dealing, with homosexuality. In fact with the exception of homosexuality, the UMC has been a leading charge in America, seeking to bring personal liberties and rights to all. It's as if 'all means all' has been written into a little bit of Methodism throughout America's narrative.

But, recently, Methodism has lost its cultural footing. As a church that once pressed the westward American movement, it struggles now to gain or maintain a foothold in what it used to have significant influence on: culture.

Simply put, the United Methodist Church is not culturally relevant anymore. It's not even, as a whole, socially relevant anymore. My diagnosis, again: it doesn't know who it is.

We've seen this before. After Steve Jobs left Apple (mid 1980's), the company began a downward spiral. It produced tons of products. It ventured into commercial areas it had never been. It tried new things without worrying about quality. It forgot the mission the Steves had set out for it since the beginning: make good products. Jobs used to tell this story about when he got back to Apple (late 1990's) where he asked the employees that had stayed why they had done so. Their response? "I bleed in six colors." (A harkening to the old Apple logo) They, evidently in the minority, could still sort of remember who Apple was.

Jobs used to tell this story alongside one about how he preached the future of Apple to his employees once he returned. He said that it became clear that if it was a zero-sum game and for Apple to win, Microsoft had to lose, it was clear that Apple was going to lose. "Apple didn't have to win!" Steve preached. "Apple had to remember who Apple was!" Jobs always said that the only thing Apple focused on was "making great products." That's it. If Apple was under Jobs' leadership, they would be about making great products and little else. Their identity was found inside of making great products. That's who Apple was.

To say that the UMC is not in the same place would be an effort to evade the truth. Little is wrong with the Wesleyan theological heritage of the UMC. Little is wrong with the connectional heritage of the UMC.

What's wrong with the UMC? It doesn't remember who it used to be. It has, because of its love for tradition and unwillingness to move and groove, forgotten that it used to write the American narrative before other groups. It has forgotten that it used to write the culture instead of the culture writing it. It has forgotten that it used to be full of innovation. It has forgotten that it used to be evangelical. It has forgotten that it used to be vital.

The UMC struggled at General Conference over the last two weeks to make any progress toward the future. It chose (because of a host of reasons) to maintain a structural format based off coroporate models that are now half a century old. It chose, in large part, to ignore the essential part of its future: young clergy. With the strange exception of 'guaranteed appointments' for elders, the UMC made very little progress in reshaping who it is and, because of this, must suffer the consequences over the next four years until issues can be brought forth once again.

News flash: four years is too long in today's world. Change was needed and it was needed fast. And it failed, motion after motion, amendment after amendment.

The UMC used to find its identity in strong Wesleyan theology that pushed the culture and innovated before it could. It was able to articulate new, sometimes controversial, ideas better so that the culture understood them in light of Christ rather than in pure Enlightened thought. Somehow, as a church, we have managed to live more into the Americanized version of who we are rather than the Christian version.

The church has simply forgotten who she is.

I fear it will get worse, too, as we become a more global church. As our surrounding culture begins to deal with what it means to have a global economy, it is faced with ways to run the economy. It chooses the easiest, cheapest route almost every time. What a time for the church to lead the way! Perhaps then we wouldn't struggle with the ethical violations! But, the church, forgetting that it used to shape the way, does not. And instead of the world realizing who the world is, the world simply thinks its way is normative. How sad a day.

I feared that change would not come at General Conference 2012. I feared the the church would be stuck in a rut because of its inability to remember who it is. I had little idea however about how bad it would actually be.

'Where's God in this?' you might ask. God's here. Have no fear. The Spirit is moving somewhere. But I don't believe United Methodism to be any sort of sacred thing. It can die. The Gospel will continue on. The Spirit will continue to carry it. The travesty is that the UMC actually has some interesting things to say about the Gospel.

If only it could remember how to say them.




It was September 11, 2009.

I was newly married and was beginning to learn what it meant to be an adult. But, I was still tied to my parents' cell phone plan. In fact, it had not been too long since my parents had graciously purchased me the first Android phone, the T-Mobile G1. Truthfully, that G1 was the entire reason for this debacle.

I was on my way to the Apple store for an entirely different reason. And, as I drove toward the Brandon Towne Center, my G1 rang. I answered (a rarity for me). And then, I lost the call (also a rarity on T-Mobile). I looked at my phone. It said...and I quote..."Application: Phone has frozen"

My one selectable option: "Force Quit Application: 'Phone'"

I looked at Allison and said, "Baby, I'm gonna walk in there and buy an iPhone and be rid of this headache." Surprisingly, she didn't stop me. All she said was, "If you do, I want one too." I walked out of the Apple store, new toy in hand, convinced that if I "didn't like it" that I would "return it within 30 days no questions asked."


I never looked back. It took me all of 45 seconds of playing with it that night to know we'd be back to buy another one very soon.

The infamous catch: the iPhone was only offered on AT&Terrible. After hearing horror stories about the company left and right, I remember saying to someone on the phone (after the purchase), "I just signed a contract with the devil."

It is that very contract that brings me here today. That very contract, those infamous two-year agreements, and the enticing 'grandfathering' of certain features has kept me with the company ever since. Since then, the iPhone has released on two other US carriers, Verizon and Sprint, and has sold spectacularly well despite certain hindrances to those carriers' service.

Up until this point, I've been allowed to keep my "Unlimited" data package that I originally signed up for back in 2009. This is not only no longer available on AT&Terrible, Verizon, or T-Mobile (the only main US carrier to feature unlimited data for the iPhone is Sprint and most have said that its speeds are abysmal), but it is coveted by every user who was enticed by AT&Terrible's 'hotspot' feature and immediately lost their unlimited data.

Until recently.

Lately, AT&Terrible has been cracking down on their 'bandwith hogs.' AT&Terrible has been forcing some users to have their data throttled to unusable speeds because they were 'using too much bandwith for their area.' As you can imagine, it lit up a storm. Some guy even sued them (and won) because he says they broke the contract.

So, AT&Terrible (understandably in a problematic place...people want fast data and they want lots of it) has changed their policy.

The New Policy:

  • Previously 'granfathered' users won't have their data throttled until they reach 3GB a month.
  • This is true for every user nationwide.
  • The 'unlimited' plan costs $30 a month, matching the $30 3GB a month plan they currently sell.
  • With a limited plan, the user has an option to buy unthrottled data for an extra $10/GB.

It seems fair, doesn't it?

In many ways, I suppose that it does. AT&Terrible needed a way to make this more fair, and they came up with one. Good move, buck-os.

Except for one thing - customer loyalty.

I once told an AT&Terrible manager on the phone that I don't stay with his service for the call quality, reliability, or widespread coverage (ALL THREE OF THESE SUCK COMPARED TO THE OTHER OPTIONS)...I stay because I stupidly signed a contract to be there and they were the only company that carried the iPhone...and because they still offered unlimited data. And, for the most part, I had good experiences with their customer service (I was approved for two iPhone 4s in the store by a manager...who didn't have to do what he did...after having spent 5 hours on the phone with customer service the weekend before. I greatly appreciated his kindness.).

There is now no advantage to having stayed with AT&Terrible. Looking forward, I'm looked at the same as the guy who has been with the company for 20 years, and the woman who signed the contract last week. Me, who stuck with the company when large numbers of customers declared an exodus to go to Verizon last January, is looked at the same. I have no pull, draw, or extra weight given to my account. I am much like the rest of the world.

I know what you're thinking...that's fair.

But fair isn't what creates great customer interactions. Fair isn't what convices the user to stick with a company. Fair is a nice concept, but it ends up not appearing fair to much of the people who thought they were giving you the benefit of the doubt when the world turned on you. Fair isn't a real thing.

When Apple replaces your iPhone for free when they didn't have to, that's not fair. That's Apple being a stand up company. Does it cost Apple more? Sure. Does it make it harder for them? Sure. Why do they do it? Not because it is or isn't fair. They do it because they want to keep you as a customer and they're going to do everything in their power to convince you to fall in love with their product and company. I go to a certain dry cleaners not because they were fair to me, I went because I liked the work and they went out of their way to make it better, not fair, for me.

Fair is stupid. The world isn't, never was, and never will be fair. It sounds good, it really does. And we are invited to truly believe it. But it simply isn't how American society has ever worked.

Better is what companies should go for. Not fair. Fair is what governments should go for, not companies.

Companies should try to win over consumers. The only reason I stick with AT&Terrible now is because they still have the fastest 3G network. You'd better bet that once Verizon's 4G LTE network takes off on a greater scale (like it already is doing) that AT&Terrible will be fighting for my business.

Because at this point, Unlimited data is simply a thing of the past.



My iPad 3 Event Predictions

Last night sucked.

But, the good news is that Wednesday brings a new day and, perhaps more importantly, a new iPad for the whole world to see and bask in the glory of.

It seems a popular pastime to read rumor blogs and sites on days leading up to the big Apple announcements. I do quite a bit, and I suspect that even Joe I-know-nothing Schmo is even remotely aware of some of the features of the new iPad.

My intention is not to guess feature-by-feature, though I will. To me, the new features seem fairly obvious. While Apple has a history and passion for surprising the tech industry with new innovations (who saw the Smart Cover coming?), I suspect that most of what we will see on Wednesday will not be as shocking as other Apple events. I'd like to take some guesses at how the event will roll out. Then, maybe I'll come back here and judge how I did.

  1. The stage is sure to be set with a giant Apple logo on the screen, as it always has been. They'll be playing a mix of Adele and perhaps some other new, hipster artist over the PA. The room will be dark and there'll be some chairs, just as Steve sat in for the original iPad introduction. There'll be some iPad 3s (or whatever they're going to call them) on a table near the side of the stage for demo purposes. They'll, of course, be covered in black sheets.
  2. The lights will dim and Tim Cook, the new CEO, will come out and greet the crowd. Apple typically begins with news about the company and it has been far enough from their quarterly earnings report that they'll have some updated numbers about the business. Tim will run over how well the iPhone and iPad are doing, emphasizing the recently passed 25 billion app downloads. Apple has sold over 50 million iPads, and I suspect that that'll be a large part of the numbers presentation.
  3. Tim will even speak to how well the Apple TV is doing. I should make this clear, I doubt that we will see an actual Apple television set at this keynote. If there is an update to the product line at all, it will likely be an A5 chips that powers it, 1080p output, and perhaps a few more services integrated in. I suspect that they'll announce a new model Apple TV box (one that connects to your TV via HDMI) but it will be a minimal upgrade. This event is about the iPad, not the Apple TV.
  4. Tim will introduce Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President of Worldwise Marketing. Tim Cook is a nice guy and definitely a wiz at organizing a company, but Phil is the presenter. Phil is, in my opinion, the only executive that can hold a candle ate Steve's presentation style. Phil will be the one to introduce the new iPad.
  5. Phil will talk a bit about the success of the iPad and present some very high sales numbers that perhaps Tim had eluded to earlier. Don't bet against them talking about how the tablet competition can't keep up. He will absolutely also talk about the popularity of the new iPad Textbooks and present some spun numbers that will actually be very low but will seem high. Phil can spin numbers like few others.
  6. Then, he will begin to talk about the new iPad. He will talk about how great a product the iPad is and how it is changing the way that people interact with content. He will likely show a video about how the iPad is changing lives. Expect the video to be touching to your senses.
  7. "Then, we thought to ourselves, how can we make this magical device even better? We have come up with a ton of new ways, and we will focus on many of them this morning," he might say. What will it be called? My guess is either the iPad 3 or, more likely, the iPad 2S. He will show it and it will look a whole lot like and iPad 2.
  8. "The first revolutionary change...our unbelievable Retina Display. The Retina Display on the iPhone 4, 4S, and iPod touch is just gorgeous. It's something you have to see to really believe. It's the only display that truly lets you read from your phone as if you were reading from a printed page. It is phenomenal. Now, we are bringing that display to the iPad. It doubles every pixel to present things you might never have imagined. It make reading on the iPad the most enjoyable reading experience you've ever had." Apple keynotes are known for their superb use of hyperbole.
  9. Demo of the Retina display a la the iPhone 4 announcement. Hopefully without the "Turn off your wifi" moment.
  10. Next, the dual-core A5X processor. Phil will talk about how fast it is, dual core, with updated graphics. I'd imagine the new graphics will be about 7-9x the graphics performance of the iPad 2. "This thing just screams. And, mixing this with the retina display creates an amazing gaming experience." Also, I expect an update to the iMovie for iPad software.
  11. Demo of the A5X processor, done by game makers like the makers of infinity blade or Electonic Arts. If new iMovie software, a demo would go here as well.
  12. Next, Cameras. The iPad 2 cameras are horrible for everything but FaceTime, so a camera update is entirely needed. I'd expect a camera upgrade to the level of the iPhone 4, but not the 4S. They'll show some gorgeous pictures of what can be done with the iPad cameras.
  13. Along with that, a new app. iPhoto. Scott Forstall will likey come out for this. The photos app for iPad is simply unable to do anything like iPhoto for the Mac can do. Because Apple insists on photos being tied down to apps, the third-party offerings are insufficient. I don't expect this to be a separate purchasable app, this will be an updated version of the 'Photos' app that already resides on your iPad.
  14. Next, Siri. Siri, at least for dictation, makes too much sense to leave it out. Scott will either stay out or Phil will welcome him back out to talk about how much better Siri has gotten and how pleased customers are with it. They'll do a thorough demo of Siri and if I were you, I'd expect several new functions for Siri that will ship on the iPad 2S. Perhaps coming later via a software update to iPhone 4Ss. Sorry iPhone 4 users, I doubt Siri is ever coming to your phone. iPads are used differently that iPhones so this will be an interesting place for innovation on Apple's part.
  15. Next, LTE. Phil will be back. He will talk about the popularity of the 3G iPads and how quickly companies like Verizon are building out their LTE networks. I suspect that the 3G in these models will be like the iPhone 4S and be compatible with both GSM and CDMA. Not sure what to guess about whether or not you will still have to choose Verizon, AT&T or Sprint, like you do on the phone. No contracts though, that's for sure.
  16. Battery life. The iPad 2S will have the same 10 hour battery life. Which, if you think about it, is quite a feat.
  17. Then Phil will talk about price. Price is easy. $499 16GB. $599 32GB. $699 64 GB. Add $129 to each to get the Wifi+3G+LTE versions. Same pricing as before. The iPad 2 will continue to remain available for $399 at 16GB only.
  18. And that'll be it. There could be some sort of surprise attachment or accessory, but for the most part, the event will be pretty standard. Phil will invite everyone to the hands on demo center and a few lucky journalists will go home with loaner models with which to reveal.
  19. Release date? I'm guessing March 16th. If they do a pre-order (unlikely), it will start on the 9th.

I think people are going to feel Steve's absence. The last product announcement was a day before Steve's death and I just suspect that it'll be felt worse here than before.

I think some will come away feeling disappointed with the event, because it won't be as flashy as we expect. The Retina Display is going to be amazing and the device is going to truly scream. The graphics will be astounding and there's surely some exciting new software possibilites coming. All in all though, I wouldn't expect to be blown out of the water.

If all this comes true, would this be a device worth getting? Definitely. Worth updating form our iPad 2? Maybe. One thing is for sure, they're going to sell a lot of them. Millions. And they'll sell them fast.

Would you get one of these iPads?




Why Apple's Supply Chain Problem is Such a Big Deal

If you clicked this link, your thought was likely, "Bryant's a fanboy, let's see what kind of spin he puts on this horrific topic." Or, you might be someone who has tweeted to me, emailed to me, or trolled my Facebook timeline with this NY Times article released the other day.

The gist of the article is this: Apple employs hundred of thousands of poor Chinese workers who spend their entire lives connecting cables inside of iPhones for very little pay. The article goes further than that though, too. The article makes the pronouncement that Apple cares very little about the working conditions of their supply chain and you should feel guilty for owning an iPhone, iPad, or iPod. Here's a taste:

Employees work excessive overtime, in some cases seven days a week, and live in crowded dorms. Some say they stand so long that their legs swell until they can hardly walk. Under-age workers have helped build Apple’s products, and the company’s suppliers have improperly disposed of hazardous waste and falsified records, according to company reports and advocacy groups that, within China, are often considered reliable, independent monitors.

Tim Cook, the newly appointed CEO, made it clear in an email to employees that he was 'outraged' by the accusations that the article made and was deeply offended. It's not hard to see why...The New York Times and Apple have mostly had a very cordial relationship. The NYT's website is included in iOS's default bookmarks and Steve often visited their site first when demoing a new product. The Times was quick to adopt the iPad as a way of releasing their content and the relationship has worked for the betterment of both companies. Everything seemed fine.

Until this.

Even today, the BSR, who is quoted heavily throughout the Times's piece refuted much of its claims. I suspect that we haven't seen anywhere near the end of this.

As a point of reference, here's a short clip of Steve Jobs reacting to the Wall Street Journal's questions regarding the suicides and suicide attempts by Foxconn employees a while back:


Again, we haven't heard the end of this. As we shouldn't.

The poor workers. They're worked hard, worse than many Americans will ever work, and when Apple wants to lower production costs and raise quality of the products, something's got to give. The media is beginning to claim that the cost of these two desires is human lives and well being. In fact, the NYT titled their piece, "In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad."

It's linkbait, but it starts a good conversation. Why is this so important? Why does Apple take the heat?

Sure, it's because theyre bigger than everyone else. That's what got Nike in so much trouble. Sure, it's because they are a hugely profitable company. They made more in profit than Google brought in total last quarter. Sure, it's because people love their products. But I think this has become a bigger deal for another reason.

I think it's because their products speak a bit of hope.

Andy Crouch referred to this phenomenon when he spoke about the gospel that Steve Jobs preached in a piece immediately following Steve's death. I don't agree with the correlations that Andy drew throughout the entire piece, but his general thesis is good. Steve had a different, often better, way of envisioning how a human interacts with a product. (Andy's piece comes off a bit harsh at times, though I know that Andy is an Apple fan because when I saw him speak live once he referred to his MacBook Pro as the true representation of 'perfection' on earth.)

Apple's mindset has always been about Thinking Differently. Using a computer sucked until 1984 when the Macintosh was introduced. MP3 players sucked until 2001 when the iPod and iTunes made it possible to actually enjoy listening to digital music. Cell phones sucked until 2007 when the iPhone finally made a smart phone easy to use. Tablets sucked until 2010 when the iPad reimagined what a tablet was and how humans interact with it.

Steve's quotes. Apple's marketing campaigns. The products themselves. All of these presented nearly hyperbolic statements about what it was like to use an Apple computer and how much there was to love about them. Sites like "CultofMac.com" and documentaries like "Mac Heads" and terms like "fanboy" are signs of the effectiveness of this message. (I'll admit, I often get accused of buying into the Apple gospel more than the Jesus Gospel. I'd argue that that might be because Apple is better at presenting it than our churches are right now, but that's an argument for another day...)

When you use an iPhone, you fall in love with it. Or, most people do. Apple is no longer an electronic company; they become an ideology, a mindset, and a way of life. Apple has engrained this "Think Different" message into our understandings of who they are as a company. When we love their products, we want to believe that the truly are better than everyone else. In every single aspect.

Yet this Foxconn situation seems to be the same as everyone else. I remember getting in trouble at a young age and my first response was to say that 'everyone else was doing it!' To which my parents were quick to point out, "Perhaps, but you're better than that." These poor (literally) workers in these factories are indicative of what is wrong with the world we're in and we'd like to think that Apple can rise above those problems. For God's sake, they've risen above it with all of their products!

I hope Tim and Steve are (were :-( ) right that they are actively working to take greater measures in treating their workers fairly. They're certainly working to spread a good word about how much better they are than many other suppliers. I hope that what they say is true, is true, and that it will continue to get better quickly.

Apple has nearly $100 Billion in the bank. If there is one company who can actually Think Different when it comes to this type of labor ethics, it's Apple. They have the means.

I'd like to see them turn this around. Not just politically. Not just through marketing. I'd like to see them make gigantic strides and stand up for the right and well being of humans.

Because that's what Apple does. They Think Different.

Please, dear God, don't let that thought leave with Steve.


Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates

This was shown to me by a 'friend':

I'll simply respond by the same comment I posted to his page:  

Both were ruthless businessmen who have changed the world in unimaginable ways. One, more or less, ripped off the other's uses of a technology already at use by a company who didn't know what to do with it.    This representation, of course, is a person's rendering of each person's 'morality' and no more than propaganda, but continue on mein führer...

    That is all.   -B

The Death of the UMC #explo2011

I've had over 63 pages of writing due in the last two weeks.  It's funny that we often describe Divinity School as "Hell on Earth."  Currently, I'm tired of writing my theology paper.  Thus, I am taking a break to do this. I attended Exploration 2011 this weekend in St. Louis.  Exploration is a conference for about 600 young, college-aged, United Methodist adults who are exploring (hence the title) a call into some sort of ministry.  It serves several purposes:

  • Encourage young people to explore their calls into ministry,
  • Explain the ordination process,
  • Educate attendees about different methods and modes of ministry,
  • Provide reflection time in small groups to discuss,
  • Enable UMC young-adults from around to the world to meet each other, converse, worship, and fellowship.
In addition, all of the United Methodist Seminaries (13 in all) were represented by staff and student alike, providing information, sweet giveaways, and advice to potential seminary students.  I'm already a seminary student, but I was not a rep from Duke.  I was an attendee.  But, you know, I wore Duke stuff everyday.
Friday night's preacher in worship was none other than Adam Hamilton, the pastor of the largest United Methodist church in the world, Church of the Resurrection.  Adam has been promoted through churches like WillowCreek and is easily the best known United Methodist pastor in today's culture.  He spoke well, clearly, and with passion.  He encouraged young people to truly consider ministry for the good of the Church. If a quick search of the Twitter hashtags "explo2011" says anything, his message reverberated with a large percentage of the attendees that night.
One of Adam's main focuses: The United Methodist Church's decline.  It does little good to bore you with insignificant stats that prove this thesis.  Instead, this general point can be made: If the rate of decline in membership in the United Methodist church continues, the UMC will not be in existence in 2050.

Gone. No more.  One of the denominations on which Christian culture was established in the United States will have vanished.

It won't have been the first time a denomination that has been so influential in our history has declined. Or died.
Adam discussed a crucial point, too.  He admitted that our goal ought not to be to save a denomination, or religious group.  He pointed out, more or less, that our goal should be to make disciples. And, as United Methodists, we believe that the Wesleyan way of discipleship is the best, most effective way to do this.  By reaching into our Wesleyan core (which, from my observations, seems to be - at the most - ambiguously articulated in a majority of UM churches across the globe) we may discover new ways of changing the world through disciples of Jesus. I agree, but I do think that and established church has at least the possibility of bringing this on (This is obviously widely disproved throughout the course of history, but a man has to have a little faith, right?)
I'll quote Vance Rains here,

Does anyone here, including myself, really know how to save the United Methodist Church?

All I can do, as a new comer to this movement, is observe. I can tell you what I think the church is doing well.  I can definitely tell you what the church is not doing well.

And for me, it seems to be summed up in this: We aren't skating to where the puck will be.

This phrase is attributed to Wayne Gretsky (though I'm unsure if he actually said it) and was one of the favorites of the late Steve Jobs.  Jobs wanted to move ahead. So, to do that, he moved ahead…taking great ideas from other people and fusing them with his own.  Through this, he innovated and created products people didn't know they wanted. Like Henry Ford, he created phones without keyboards, tablets without styluses, and computers without disc drives. Ford is claimed to have said, "If I'd have asked the customers, they'd have said they wanted a faster horse."

But the UMC doesn't seem to be doing that.  The UMC doesn't seem to be taking old ideas, mixing them with new ones, and coming out with something effective. The UMC doesn't seem to be thinking creatively. The UMC doesn't seem to be not only listening and reading their Wesleyan heritage, but synthesizing it to create something that will serve the needs of the world. No, it doesn't seem to be doing that.

And that's ok.  Research In Motion isn't doing that either. But come five years, they won't be around.

Wesley was an innovator.  Wesley was clear about what he thought.  Wesley knew of effective ways of maintaining accountability in discipleship.  Wesley knew of positive ways to change the world.  Wesley knew that the power behind religious revival was in a movement. And Wesley should get a lot of credit for thinking differently than many, many others in his time.

I think United Methodists recognize this. And I do think, as a General Church, the UMC is trying to be relevant.

It's just that our methodology seems a little screwy.

Our version of "relevancy" seems to be based on what the Reformed or evangelical churches are doing. And we, as we always have been, are behind.  Seriously behind. And sometimes we throw resources into the wrong areas.  We staff the wrong places. We don't always hire the best in the field.

So no wonder our attempts at things are less successful.  We're creating the hi-PHONE instead of the iPhone.  We're trying to play contemporary music, but it's just not…quite…right…yet.

I think it is happening this way: through desperation, we are copying others.  20 years ago, we saw the evangelical denominations growing faster than us. So we decided something had to change.  We waited around for 5 years to make a decision to do so and then we got to work. We started marketing campaigns (I would say, some of the more successful things we've done). We started rethinking who we were. Why? Because we saw others do it.  I ask of you: how different are those rethink church commercials, really, than those billboards from non-denominational groups that advertise a "new way to do church"? They're only different in that they are more socially minded (a good a righteous thing), but our attitude is much the same. "Oh, God, they're undercutting us by stripping down some of the perceived ridiculousness of our liturgy and system," we might as well have said.

The funny part is, the ReThink Church commercials are easily one of the best things the Church has done, in my opinion.  I think we've called on people to question some things that ought to be questioned.  It just appears to have had little follow through.

Which gets me to my point.  We copy others. AND THAT'S FINE.  But, in our copying, we aren't thorough.  We write things like "Open Hearts, Open Doors, Open Minds" when large percentages of our church simply don't believe it. We try to be relevant, but many of our churches are much, much older than other churches.  So, we try to do things in our old buildings that just aren't practically possible.  And the product of our efforts doesn't look "cool" like we think it does.  It looks like a cheap knock off. And people, congregants, don't see authentic worship, they see posers (something our culture is less and less tolerant of everyday).  They see people faking what's popular.  They see BOBS instead of TOMS.  They see Samsung instead of Apple. We're ripping off others, and to make it worse…we're not even doing it well. (At least Samsung stuff still looks good)

Instead, perhaps, maybe we ought to truly rethink church.  Not basing it off of our own social values.  Not basing it off of our own bias.  Not basing it off of our own thoughts.  Not basing it off of our own Scriptural interpretation. Not basing it off of our own political beliefs.  Not basing it off of our own definitions.

Because the Wesley that I read doesn't seem to have been ripping anybody off. Wesley seems to have been starting something new, incorporating the traditional values, thoughts, concepts, and theological insights of the old tradition to bring about a revival that focused on holiness in discipleship. That movement is what helped influence the Christian culture in America.  And his thoughts were so good, I'm convinced there's another opportunity, if only we'd wake up.

Picasso said, "Good artists copy.  Great artists steal."  There's a huge difference between the two, and I'm unconvinced that the UMC understands that.

So please, let's not put up a GPS (or phone…we had disagreements about what it was) around the lyrics being projected on the screen unless we're going to take the time to actually explain it, incorporate it, and usefully employ it. Otherwise, it looks like we saw the evangelical churches using the iPhone theme for their events and thought, "Oh, God, we're behind." Which, I'd imagine, is exactly what happened.

If we're going to do it, we need to do it well.  Otherwise, we're going to die.

Like Vance, I don't know what is going to save the church.  But, I do feel as if I'll know when I see it. And I know this from observation: we can't keep following everyone else.  We have never been like that as a church and this is an awful time to start. We ought to seriously rethink who we are, where we're going, and where we've been. We make corrections, we synthesize, and we move on…making the best, most faithful decisions we can as fast as we can. And we have to do it throughly, with class, artistry, energy, and resources.  Every detail has to be ironed out so that what we say is cohesive and intentional. And we don't need to try to be "cool."  That'll come to us, if we are who we are and the story is as good as we say it is.  And, friends, it is.

Please, it's too good of a story not to tell in new and fresh ways. And besides, Jesus is calling us to tell it.


AutoTuned Siri

Ever wondered what Siri would sound like AutoTuned. Wonder no more.


Funny work. Catchy progression.


Apple's Ruthless Ad Campaigns

Steve Jobs used to explain Apple something like this

Our goal is really simple, we like to make GREAT products for people. Then, we tell people about them. If they like them, we get to come to work tomorrow. It's really simple.

Apple has had quite a few iconic ad campaigns since its inception. With the exception of the 1984 commercial, they buy A LOT of air time.

Here's the newest addition (expect to see much more from where this came from):


In the biography by Walter Isaacson, Steve is quoted as saying this before he passed:

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs said. “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

If you want to watch a good fight, this is going to be a good one.

Apple is ready to battle and they have the resources and infrastructure to do it.

It began with those Samsung lawsuits. Now it is time for the ads. Again, I'd expect to see a ton of these ads in the near future.


The Occupy Occupy Movement

My good friend, and one of the brilliant minds behind the "Come in Pluto" movement, Jordan Stout, is heading up the Occupy Occupy movement beginning in Tampa. It's a quality movement and quite enlightening. Their work is solid.

Lucky for you, he's releasing a documentary. And so, with that, he has posted a teaser video for what will surely be the film of the century.

Nice work with iMovie if you ask me.


Find them on Facebook.


Are We Better Off With or Without Apple?

Since Steve's passing, the world has honored him at Apple Stores, via social media, via television talk shows, and countless other ways.

The world, even Apple haters, has been kind to honor the work and change he's made.

But, now, it's been a few days. And we've all had a small chance to grieve. And we've all had a small chance to reflect a bit on his direct impact on OUR lives. It is like when Michael died, we all grieved because the world had lost another Mozart; then we began to reflect on what kind of difference was made on our personal lives. For some it was sad to lose Michael, but not for too long. The same has been true of Steve, for some.

He's been compared quite a bit to Thomas Edison, the famed inventor of the light bulb. I was asked this question the other day, "Edison created the light bulb, how does Steve even begin to compare to that?" My honest first reaction was to automatically assume that the asker simply doesn't think about what they do day in and day out.

To me, the impact is simple to see: almost everything that consumers do with computers today has so much to do with Steve's work. He was the driving force behind making the graphical user interface popular (a paradigm we take hugely for granted today...I think my evidence above proves it). He made using computers simple, and I'd argue that that is what brought forth widespread adoption. Because of some of Apple's poor decisions and Microsoft's willingness to copy, it happened indirectly...but it was Steve who did it.

This morning, the point was raised to me,

"i[sic] think he was brilliant for sure but are we better off as a people to have the newest toy but as a whole we are going broke to afford them.[sic] i[sic] think these things have made a much more selfish world that are[sic] self centered and spoiled."

It's a fair point with a certain amount of validity. There are also many claims going on here:

  • Steve simply made the newest toys
  • We are going broke to afford them
  • These things have made a much more selfish world
  • This selfish world is self centered and spoiled (apparently because of the devices Steve has created)

Again, it's a fair argument. I know there are families that struggle to feed themselves each night, but give their kids smartphones. I know, and have acknowledged in the past, that texting and driving has become one of the most dangerous parts of our lives.

The main point though, I think, is that Apple's marketing has encouraged people to want the next big thing all the time. Our emotional draw to the company has forced us to wait in long lines, complain excessively, and stop everything we are doing for product announcements. Yes, it's true and each any every one of those statements applies directly to me.

I think it would be fair to account that a large objection to the future and progress of technology can be summed up inside of this argument: these things (and the marketing of them) have made us worse people.

I think I've recognized the bit of truth to this argument. We text instead of call. We avoid face to face confrontation if at all possible. We have gained a new sense of individualism, and less of a sense of community. I might argue that things like Skype and FaceTime have actually counteracted this argument, but I'll leave it be for the time being.

The question for me though is, "Who is to blame?"

The Church has discussed this for ages. The questions has always been, "Are we a part of the culture or are we not?" or "Is progress good or bad?" or "Can we have material things, or should we deny ourselves?" or "How is Scripture interpreted for this purpose?"

Throughout time, religion has made use of new mediums. In example, George Whitefield's popularity in early American Christianity is largely due to the newspaper reports of his preaching. There are tons more examples.

Isn't it a question now in the Church as well? We've got churches who attract more members because of their light shows and moving backgrounds. We've also got churches who speak down on these churches and worship in a very liturgical, high church way. Both have dying churches. Both have growing churches.

This argument currently going on in the Church is not separate from the argument made to me this morning.

However, even more high church churches are beginning to figure out how to relate to people. They sometimes break it down by "worship" vs. "outreach". For example, it's ok to have a website, because people want to know about you...but no computers in a worship service. But...even that's becoming less and less true.

I know where your mind is going..."Who is winning?"


This isn't about winning. This is about living a Christ-like life. This is about hearing a call from God. This is about Resurrection and Salvation.

I am convinced that these things, these most important things, are still possible with progress.

I actually think that progress helps these things. For instance, because of the advent and popularity of texting, we have been reminded that living, talking, and being in community is important. And now, now that we know this, we are able to use these new fangled inventions and technologies as tools instead of distractions.

Sure, these tools have the ability to distract, and ARE VERY TEMPTING in this sense. But, what if the Church were to look at these tools as better ways to communicate, as better ways to outreach, and as better ways to live as disciples in 2011?

What exactly are we afraid of? That we won't be creative enough to figure it out? That God won't show us the way? We've got to have more faith than that.

What I like so much about Apple's approach to technology is that they don't do things just because others did. They don't make a bigger screen just because others have bigger screens. They don't implement a voice recognition piece of software just because Google did. They don't have an open platform just because other companies did.

No, they approach it from the perspective of use. What good is voice to text software if you still have to hit buttons? What good is a big screen if you have to use two hands to use it and it no longer fits in your pocket? What good is an open platform if its very openness is one if its greatest downfalls as an experience? It's not even really about being ahead of the game...it's about taking a technology, a concept, an idea and applying it in a real world situation for a real purpose in a way that helps people communicate. That's what spurred Steve's innovation. That's what defines who Apple is in today's world.

So has Apple's marketing asked people to become self centered? Their new iPad ads don't seem to support that.

No, it doesn't seem so. No, what has spurred on this idea is our reaction. I can no longer blame the technology companies for my failings as a human. I can no longer blame McDonald's for the hot coffee I spilled on my lap. I can no longer blame the cigarette companies for my lung cancer (post-revelations that that was actually bad for you). I can no longer blame the city for me not paying attention to that huge stop sign. I can no longer blame the fast food companies for my fatness. I can no longer blame the Church for my lack of faith.

No. Because at some point, I must take up my own cross. At some point, I must learn that it's not the new things that bother us...it's the way we use them. It's not the progress that makes us worse people...it's our sinful nature. It's not someone else's fault that I'm not the disciple I could be, it's me.

(It's worth adding that this is mostly true in America, currently. There are places in our world where girls are used in conjunction with the exploitation of men's sexual desires. This is not the girls' fault, this is the both the faults of the brainwashers above them, and the men who readily support these ventures.) I, in these cases, think the Church has to speak up for the girls...speak up for those who can't. It is still worth noting that those reading this in American CAN almost assuredly speak for ourselves.

As soon as the Church realizes that our mission is active and not passive and that we are not controlled by others, but only influenced by the grace of God through Christ, then we will be able to look at our culture with new glasses...in a way that is beneficial to the life of faith and the progress of the Gospel.

We don't do things just because. We don't slobber at the feet of our favorite company just because they brainwash us. No, we appreciate what they do because it makes a difference. It changes what we can do. It changes how we do things. It's up to us to be able to step back and see where we have succeeded and faltered.

Apple made tools. Thankfully, they made good tools.

Let's use them for good. Please.


PS - Lack of recognition of Steve's contributions to society is a great example of just how well he succeeded.

Woz Remembers Steve

Steve Wozniak remembering Steve Jobs through an interview with AP. Touching, particularly the last few seconds.



He Is Gone.

There are no words to fully describe the sadness within my heart and the hearts of the world. I will miss him, his taste, and his vision for the future.

I am always reminded at moments like this of the nastiness of disease, cancer, and other human afflictions. It is most appropriate that he has been most likely THE largest instigator of technology in a world where we work to rid cancer, disease, hunger, and many other things. His insight has garnered a passion for an industry that has changed the world.

Steve had lots of money. Nothing could buy him out of his illness. But, now, he can rest in a state not concerned with fleshly afflictions. Cancer did not beat him, it inspired him to live every day like it was his last. We may never know how the last 6 or 7 years may have played out if he had not struggled as he did.

We must, at this time...in our sadness, be thankful for all he has given us, contributed to our world, and inspired us to do.

Here’s to the crazy ones. The rebels. The troublemakers. The ones who see things differently. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Think Different.


Steve Jobs on The Future and Perhaps, iCloud

I'm reminded today of this video from 1997. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yE3Ta_NK4-I&]

In it, Steve describes his computer setup at the time between his offices at Apple, NeXT, Pixar, and his home. This technology (and implementation of it) has been in use by institutions, corporations, and many other places for years now.

What strikes me is that it may have taken this long to get to iCloud (Apple's closest offering of something like this) where it will be in a few weeks, but this idea is finally coming to instantly, always connected smartphones, tablets, and laptops. No more reliance on ethernet, no more being tied down to a computer at a desk.

Google is trying this (and has been) with their Chromebooks and their wide assortment of online apps, but Apple is doing it in a way where the code is actually compiled on the device itself, rather than the device just being an outlet to a server. Apple's implementation will undoubtedly be more reliable, but it'll be interesting to see which approaches garners more attention.

Microsoft is doing much the same thing with their Office 365 approach, but they currently charge for it. Apple's will be free for any iOS device owner and sync between them and their Macs or PCs.

I'm looking forward to it. You?



This Will Change Your Life

Don't ever tell me that the iPad is not a powerful and fun tool.


I'm well aware that I just changed your life.


Fitting Into Societal Norms

Throughout my life, I've struggled with a lack of discipline in many areas of my life. I was never one who thoroughly enjoyed exercise or the simple discipline of it and I LOVED eating. As time has progressed and my metabolism has been unable to keep up with my poor habits, my body has taken the brunt force of those "bad" habits and it has become a factor of embarrassment for me as I try to relearn what it means to take care of my body, from the way that certainly seemed more "natural".

So, recently, I've been watching what seems to be the new trend in television: shows on losing weight. After all, when A&E does a series, you know it is the trend. I suppose it most likely started with "The Biggest Loser", but "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition" and A&E's own "Heavy" have been most popular in recent months. I've watched significant portions of each show, trying to wrestle with how these people came to be in the position they are, what lifestyle decisions they've made, and why it is that they can't seem to change themselves, by themselves.

All of the participants in these shows are significantly overweight. More than I ever hope to be. Yet, I still find it intriguing because I recognize their lack of desire to work and equate it with my struggle as well. No, I'm not 500 pounds, I'm not even that close to half of that, but I figure that if I can learn about what it is they need to change about themselves, perhaps it will assist me in changing myself as well.

The question always seems to be begged: why is the change necessary?

These people break down into two distinct groups (as I can see it). About half of them have been overweight since birth. The other half had some sort of traumatic experience in their lives that has driven them to compulsive eating. Most of the second group deal with some sort of depression.

The first group, though, is the most interesting to me. They've always been overweight. They've always eaten a lot. They've rarely exercised. Surely some of that is due to their upbringing, the sudden growth of fast food, etc. However, it makes me wonder, why is it that they never exercised? Why is it that they ate more than a normal human should? And I wonder these things because I wonder them about myself as well. Why is it that I chose to go play the piano or guitar before going for a run? Did I not find running interesting? Did I find running painful? Why is it that some people are encouraged when the pain sets in? Why is it that some people can easily fight through the pain when others of us cower in fear? If it is "natural" to exercise, why is it that most of us don't? Why is it that we come up with easier ways to get around so that we can avoid exercise at all cost?

Surely when our societies were hunters and gatherers, we were in great shape because we had to hunt down the food we were going to eat that night. And we weren't eating fried potatoes.

But that wasn't sustainable for the long haul. It seemed easier, and profitable, to do the hunting FOR other people. Then we'd sell them the food. That'd make it easier. Then we'd be able to feed more people more efficiently. And we are humans...we love efficiency. We build tools to help us be more efficient.

It's obvious what has occurred: we've built tools to help make our lives easier. That's why we are all addicted to our smart phones and iPads. We spend more time inside than any generation before us. We walk and run less than any other generation because there are enough distractions other than exercise. And it has come to the point that when we are walking around the mall our mood goes down when we see stairs, because we'd rather ride the escalator.

But I return to my original thought: discipline. Have we become undisciplined and lazy?

Or, has laziness simply become a byproduct of progress? Or "naturally", are we more inclined to create tools to help us? Or is the hunting and gathering mindset what is really "natural"?

Which leads me to my ultimate thought: does what is "natural" always fit into a societal norm? And, is what is "natural" always the high road and good?

Some people are born with a chemical imbalance that leads them to abuse alcohol. We all know the phrase, even after you're clean, "Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic." On ABC Family's "Switched at Birth", one of the characters is an alcoholic. She's hard on her biological daughter who chose to drink prior to being an adult. The daughter didn't understand why she was being so hard on her. But the mother explained that she simply doesn't have luxury of being able to have one drink. It's not possible because of who she is. But just because her bodily inclinations and behavior lead her to act in certain ways, doesn't mean that society thinks it is okay to be an alcoholic. We look down on drunks.

The same is true of drug users.

The same has been said of gay people.

And so, I suppose the question ought to be asked of societal norms: are societal norms (and accepted practices) based on what we might consider "destructive" behavior? In other words, do we judge others' actions because what they do puts them (and often others) at risk of dying sooner than they might?

The extremely obese people will die because their body and heart simply can't keep up. Alcohol abusers will drive themselves out of house, home, and family, because they use alcohol to cope. Drug abusers run the very real risk of overdosing or taking something that they thought was something else.

And they all become addicts. They become so engorged in what they are doing that they don't care about anything. They lose their families, they lose their jobs, they lose their lives.

Because these things...the unnatural foods, the copious amounts of alcohol, the drugs, all seem...unnatural.

The laziness is unnatural. Because that's not how we once lived.

And we draw this line to connect the dots between "unnatural" and "destructive". And we assume, in almost every instance, that these two are inherently connected.

And if we think under that paradigm, we can perhaps see why homosexuality has been treated, in our society, the way it has. Biblically, it seems unnatural. Many of the conservative voices have argued time and time again that it is "destructive" to our society because it breaks down how we view humanity and the design of a family. Many view it as an addiction, one that can be "treated" (see Michele Bachmann's husband).

Because we've connected those dots. We operate under that mindset. We equate "unnatural" with "bad". We think everything that is "unnatural" is "destructive".

There's no doubt in my mind that many of the Biblical writers (for the most part) consider being gay (or participating in homosexual acts) "unnatural". AND, because of the societal norms of their culture, and the cultures working against them, they equated "unnatural" with "bad" or "sinful".

So the question becomes: can we read "unnatural" in the Scriptures and equate it with our definition of unnatural now...post French Fry? Can we read into God's creation of Adam and Eve and assume that that is what is "natural"?

Because that is what we are doing. We are reading texts out of context. We are placing our own 21st century definitions on words used thousands of years ago. And we assume, that because what seems unnatural now has proven itself to be destructive, that that's what "unnatural" has always and will always mean. And we assume that what society currently considers "normal" behavior is the correct way to be. And when we do that, we lose sight of humanity and of God's creation of it.

It's a tough thought process, one with unclear implications and most likely more divisiveness than unity. It's troubling.

I was not born with an inherent desire to exercise. I have always been a fan of progress. This is the "unnatural" reality I live in. At the end of the day, I really like my iPad...but I still need to exercise.


Yes, I know this doesn't make a clear and decisive argument, as you might be used to getting. That's because I'm not sure this can all be answered.

My Favorite Steve Pictures

As I was looking through my iPhoto library, I realized that I've saved many many pictures of Steve Jobs from google searches, articles, etc. I thought that I'd share some of my favorites.

I do not own these pictures, I do not make any money from this website, and I'm sure that this breaks all kinds of copyright rules. I'm almost positive that any of these can be found fairly easily in a google image search, so I have not taken any care of referencing where they came from. Deal with it.

We may one day (maybe today) remember this as the product that saved Apple.

What an elegant shot of him during one of his assumedly stressful keynote presentations.

We will one day look back on this day as the day the computer industry changed forever.

A classic of him and Woz.

I think that it was at this point that he knew he had something great.

His baby, and what eventually got him fired.

His D Conference interviews were outstanding.

Steve reflecting on stage about where his company came from.

The Pirates Of Silicon Valley movie portrays this day as the day he became a true salesman.

TIME magazine always has the best photos. If you disagree, you're wrong.

The presence and prominence of the wedding band here is most intriguing.

Without a doubt, my favorite. So young, so much spunk, such a smirk, it sums it all up so nicely.


Auto-Tuned Steve Jobs

Steve's famous words from his Stanford Commencement speech, put to music.



Steve Steps Down

Over the past six years or so, I've become increasingly obsessed with Apple Computer (of course, they dropped the "computer" part of their name several years back).

Of it, probably, my greatest obsession has been with one of its cofounders, Steve Jobs.

The man is remarkable. He has a keen sense of taste, a clear vision for the future, he is unapologetic about his decision making, and Apple has been, thus far in history, unable to turn profit and survive without his leadership. He literally took a company on the verge of disaster and bankruptcy and spent ten years growing it into the colossal giant that it is today. He knows how to hire great people who design and build great products that help us with our everyday lives.

Today, Steve stepped down as CEO. He's leaving his highly influential position (some might say, controlling) in the company that he built. In his parents' garage.

His letter:

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.


Short and sweet, to the point, as usual.

I have often referenced Steve's leadership and vision for the company in regards to Walt Disney's influence in the monstrosity that is Disney. I have even mentioned before that I feared the way that Steve might leave Apple, as Walt left Disney. But at this point it is clear that this won't be the way it will go.

While this knowledge might make this a little easier, it doesn't truly make the concept of losing the man who brought all this into being any easier to swallow. Steve will no longer be leading this company. It will be weird, it will be difficult, and it will be uneasy.

Is it a rough day? Yes. Is it a sad day? I don't think so.

I suppose the real question is: where does Apple, as a company, go from here?

Undoubtedly Tim Cook will step in as Apple's CEO, and Steve will continue to have a significant amount of influence in the accountability of Cook and future product decisions. The truth remains though...the boat has a new captain.

Here's where we are fortunate: Cook knows what he is doing. Cook has been managing operations for quite some time now and has brought Apple the sales numbers that we keep hearing about. Cook managed product shortages when people just HAVE to get their hands on them, and he certainly added to the continuing profit gains Apple's been reporting. The good news is that I think Apple is going to be alright.

One of the things that I've done a lot of in the past few years is listen to every extended interview Steve Jobs has given throughout time. There aren't many of them, but Steve has always chosen his words and actions carefully, and that makes these presentations and interviews unbelievably interesting to parse.

Even the biggest anti-Apple pundit you might encounter will admit that Steve has preached, yes...preached, a mindset and attitude to his people: Great products, great products, great products. He has always defended Apple by preaching and evangelizing about the products. He has an eye for beauty, simplicity, and innovation and is unafraid to make difficult decisions. He has always believed that if Apple makes good products, and they tell people about them, people will buy them. If enough people buy them, he gets to come to work tomorrow. This is his understanding of capitalism and a free market. This is his understanding of the world.

And so, the questions remains: will Steve's vision be carried through into the future?

This question, obviously, remains to be answered. Tim Cook is not the stage man that Jobs is. Tim Cook does not have persona that Jobs has. But Tim Cook has proven himself as a businessman. Tim Cook has proven himself as a manager. Tim Cook has proven himself as an unbelievable CEO.

Apple is going to be more than alright. Apple is going to be stellar.

What's my proof? Apple's culture.

Steve has left a message and mission. Steve has left a culture. Steve's words, thoughts, and dreams will forever be captured in his interviews, products, and legacy. If you meet someone at the Apple store, or any employee of Apple, you will know what I am talking about. It becomes more than a selling point. It becomes a life, a system, a love.

Outsiders think we are crazy. We probably are.

"While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."


Steve said it best:

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it.


Friends, I'd like to leave you with my favorite of Steve's videos. This is why I think he "gets it".


To honor Steve, I wrote this entirely on my iPad. The future, friends. The future.