Book launch

This evening Jane and I attended a book launch at Cornerstone Bookshop on Princes Street, here in Edinburgh.

Church on the Move by Peter Neilson

Jane’s father, the Revd Peter Neilson, has had his 2004 Chalmer’s Lectures published in a 160 page volume called Church on the Move: New Church, New Generation, New Scotland (Covenanters, ISBN 1905022247).

Sadly, we didn’t get a copy as there was a mix up with the order and so there were only 4 copies available this evening, and they were all snapped up immediately. There can’t be many authors who are completely sold out at the book launch! Fifty copies will arrive tomorrow, seemingly.

What’s the book about? Here’s the synopsis:

What kind of church will offer access to the Gospel for the next generation? That is the persistent question running through this book. As a minister of the Church of Scotland, the author is committed to a vision of the grace of God for all in our nation, but challenges the assumed strategy for fulfilling that vision as being only through territorial parish ministry. Our fundamental shift is from exclusive territorial mission to cultural and generational mission. A parish church does not mean a parish is churched. We need a mixed economy of neighbourhood and network churches to engage with our nation across the generations. Will we move the resources to match the missionary challenge?

Peter Neilson has been a minister of the Church of Scotland for over 30 years, in the parish of Mount Florida, Glasgow and later as Associate Minister in the Parish Church of St Cuthbert, Edinburgh. He has also encouraged the evangelistic mission of the church as an Adviser in Mission and Evangelism, Director of Training at St Ninian’s Centre, Crieff, and currently in the role of supporting New Charge Developments within Scotland. He convened the special commission which produced the ‘Church without Walls’ report in 2001. He is married to Dorothy with two married daughters, one about-to-be-married daughter and a delightful 2 year old granddaughter.

The Chalmers Lectures which form the basis of this book were graciously hosted in 2004 by St Mary’s College, St Andrews, and New College, Edinburgh. They have also been delivered in the International Christian College, Glasgow in 2005.

Buy it at Scottish Christian Press or at Amazon UK. I’m going to buy a copy tomorrow … if the bookshop has any!

Linux Bible

Linux Bible 2005 Edition cover

I’ve just begun reading this book, Linux Bible 2005 Edition by Christopher Negus (Wiley, 2005). It claims to help me:

  • Understand what Linux is and where it comes from
  • Sort through the various incarnations of Linux to choose one (or more) that is right for me
  • Try out Linux as a desktop computer, server computer, or programmer’s workstation
  • Become connected to the open-source software movement

Sounds like a good start. For quite a while I’ve wanted to get into Linux (I already own the t-shirt!). Maybe this book will give me the chance to understand what it’s all about, how it compares with Windows, and what I need to do to get started. One of my immediate concerns is regarding dual-booting, that is installing more than one operating system on the same system, in my case Linux with Windows (either 98se or XP, depending on which machine I install it on here). This book, I am certain, will guide me through that process step by step: it does claim to be the Bible after all!

I expect to return from Cellardyke on Friday a fully-trained Linux guru.

Learning PostNuke

PostNuke by Kevin Hatch
I’ve begun reading PostNuke Content Management by Kevin Hatch

(Buy at Amazon.co.uk / Publisher’s website)

Having struggled to learn any Content Management System (CMS) from online tutorials and half-written documentation I was pleased to read that Kevin Hatch also regards much of the available documentation confusing. (He’s not the only one, Jeffrey Veen vents his spleen in this article on his blog.)

I’m hopeful. The book is very readable, and includes a number of real-life practical examples of how to set up PostNuke sites — something that is sorely missing from the online manuals. My hope is that this book will help me get my head around the theory behind how CMSs work, and that it will aid me to get to grips with not only PostNuke, but Drupal and even WordPress, from which this blog is powered. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Take Back Your Life!

Take Back Your Life, by Sally McGhee

This past week I’ve been reading a book about how better to organize my life, and it is fantastic. Take Back Your Life, by Sally McGhee explains how to use Microsoft Outlook, synchronized with a PDA, to keep track of objectives, projects and tasks. And I can honestly say that it works.

One of the first steps, McGhee says, is to work out how many collection points we use. That is, how many locations do you collect information and tasks from? I was amazed to discover that I had 28 different locations. I’ve now reduced this to eight, which is far more manageable.

Next up, download the to-dos that you carry around in your head. I had eighty-one. No wonder I felt stressed, with so much to remember. I now have them typed up in my newly reorganised Tasks list in Outlook.

Thing is, I now have a full In-tray, and a bulging Tasks list because I’ve not reached the chapter on how you actually schedule these into your Calendar to make time to actually do them!

The Church Invisible

The Church Invisible by Nick Page
The Church Invisible by Nick Page

I’m currently reading this novel by Christian writer Nick Page. It brings together a lot of good current thinking and research into why the Church is failing. I included quotations from it in my sermons at both St Salvador’s, Stenhouse and the Church of the Good Shepherd, Murrayfield these last couple of weeks.

The challenge is, as the character Lydia says in the novel, not to tell people about the good news about Jesus. We have to be the good news.