Here’s more motivation to consider Microsoft Teams, Skype, Apple FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, etc., in lieu of Zoom. Days after the company was caught for a second time within a year using the same tactics as malware to install its software on computers, and days after it turned out it was leaking recorded calls online, it also admits to routing calls “accidentally” and insecurely through China. Facebook isn’t the epitome of privacy and security, but Facebook Messenger is end-to-end encrypted; Zoom is not.
Zack Whittaker for TechCrunch:
Hours after security researchers at Citizen Lab reported that some Zoom calls were routed through China, the video conferencing platform has offered an apology and a partial explanation.
To recap, Zoom has faced a barrage of headlines this week over its security policies and privacy practices, as hundreds of millions forced to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic still need to communicate with each other.
Jessica Lustig writing in the New York Times:
The few people walking past us on the sidewalk don’t know that we are visitors from the future. A vision, a premonition, a walking visitation. This will be them: Either T, in the mask, or — if they’re lucky — me, tending to him.
Chilling. Praying for her husband’s recovery and for the recovery of so many others.
I have heard a number of wise pastors rightly point out that we need to consider the implications of loving our neighbors as a guide to how we act in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. This quote gets to the point in the midst of a very interesting article:
Collins also spoke about civic responsibility and the importance of selflessness in the midst of a pandemic. “I think we as a nation have to get into a place of not just thinking about ourselves, but thinking about everybody else around us, and particularly the most vulnerable people—those who are older and those people with chronic diseases.”
Unlike ordinary times, loving our neighbors right now may very well involve not being present (physically, at least).
In line with my blog post from last night, the photo below is another example of technology being a blessing that allows us to continue ministry unhindered: doing Bible study over FaceTime. It felt a little weird at first, but it worked!
If you are doing Bible study or other group meetings in this manner, what platform are you using? We used FaceTime, as I said, which worked great for a group that happened to be all iPhone users, but next time I anticipate needing something cross platform and, ideally, still free. Facebook Messenger looks the most suitable, but is there another alternative you are using to good effect?
It was not anything like the circumstance I had imagined for so long, but Little Hills Church had its very first message last night. Not in the midst of a celebratory launch service with joyful music and a packed crowd, but with me sitting in front of my desk facing a camera.
Live streaming is a very different thing from public worship, but I find myself grateful as I watch churches and individuals all across the nation using the technology we have at our disposal today to encourage a hurting world with hope from God’s Word. Like the roads of the an oppressive empire two thousand years ago that, in spite of that empire, served to convey the Gospel, I believe we are watching the Gospel go unhindered in new ways in the midst of of the oppression of an invisible little virus.
A know a lot of churches all over are scrambling to implement live streaming thanks to the coronavirus situation. I thought I would share a suggestion that may not help for tomorrow’s services, but will help for the weeks ahead when live streaming remains an unusually important part of worship. In a word: Mevo.
We have been using a Mevo live streaming camera at FaithTree for several years now for our worship nights and will also be using one at Little Hills (including for a live stream event this Monday). You can see FaithTree’s Mevo in the photo above — it’s the tiny white and red camera on the tripod. I had been intrigued by the concept and nabbed one for a great price on Prime Day 2017. The great thing about it is that all it requires of you is that you put it on a tripod (or something else of appropriate height) and connect to it via an app on a phone (your phone or an old phone you don’t use any more but that can connect to Wi-Fi) or iPad.
Yesterday marked the eighth anniversary of my ordination as a pastor (and, likewise, my eighth anniversary serving at Grace PCA in St. Charles). I am grateful for what has transpired since then both in the amazing ways God let me watch Him work at Grace and the other ministry opportunities that He opened up along the way that fit next to my work at Grace, most recently through FaithTree, since I have always been part-time at the church.
I nearly overlooked my ordination anniversary in the midst of ongoing transitions, some details of which I want to share below. There is a meeting on Sunday at the very same church to accept my resignation. Unfortunately, when the meeting was moved to 5:00 p.m. a couple of days ago, it ended up in conflict with a longstanding ministry commitment I had made and so I will not be able to be there to share this in person; I’m sharing it now so that my Grace family could hear it from me.
I haven't been able to share this on my blog until now because I had started some “renovations” that took the blog down over Christmas, but I put together a new 12 Days of Christmas devotional this year and would love to invite you to join me in journeying through Romans as we enjoy the afterglow of Christmas. It isn't too late to start! Check it out here.
I found out today that my undergraduate advisor, Dr. George Hickenlooper died last week. Dr. Hickenlooper's English Comp I class was my first class on my first day as a college student. I still remember the assessment test he gave that first day and how the very professorial professor described in the reading comprehension portion of that test reminded me a bit of my new professor. He just was a professor. A good professor.
One of the things they made a big deal out of in seminary was not to preach “be like” sermons. The Bible (intentionally, I believe) is full of stories that show the flaws in the individuals whom God uses, not cleaned up “heroes” we should model ourselves after — that role is left for Jesus alone. That said, the church at Berea is an interesting anomaly of sorts: all we know about them is that they were “noble” for their eagerness to examine the Scriptures and that they responded in belief. To be called to “be like the Bereans” is to be called to be eager to dig into God's Word. That's a great thing and that's what we explore in Acts 17:10-15.