Thank God it’s Friday

On this momentous anniversary, here are a few videos to provoke some thinking and reflection on what happened that fateful day 2,000 years ago – as we believe it.

“Live as though Christ died yesterday, rose from the grave today, and is coming back tomorrow.” – Theodore Epp

Remember Good Friday… and Happy Easter Sunday – Lest we forget…

Isn’t it interesting to note that of the many thousands (at least) of people crucified before, during and after Christ’s time no one stood out and took the claim that Jesus did?

 

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Habit #4 : Feed Yourself (spiritually)

Onto Habit #4 : Feed Yourself (Spiritually)!

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12

That’s what comes to mind each time I open my bible.

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” – Psalms 119:105

Feeding yourself spiritually has become soooo convenient and easy with all these new gadgets and ‘gotta have it now’ online resources.

Here are some examples…

1. Want to log onto and study the word from the world’s oldest bible? Check!
2. Want to subscribe to hundreds of devotions and reading plans that keeps you on track and nudge you each time you fall behind in your daily/weekly/set-your-own-period schedules? Check!
3. Want to join an online community to debate and expand your understanding of scriptures and exercise your inner prophet? Check!
4. Want another point of view about issues and subjects about spirituality – a non-religious and non-denominational view? Check!
5. Want to discover what others are thinking and discussing ‘right now’ about specific topics or subjects? Check!

Here’s a link to a recent and very interesting article about one of the most popular and fastest growing bible apps today. It is most revealing and a harbinger of thoughts and motivations to come…

If you’re stuck looking for the right (very personal, I am sure) bible app for you, check out this link and article. It’ll hopefully point you in the right direction. Or not!

Most of the bible apps come with note-taking and bookmarking capabilities if you are, like me, someone who enjoys taking notes and keeping track of fave verses. Alternatively, you can consider these apps if you prefer to keep the ‘studying’ separate…

1. Evernote
2. Catch Notes
3. Dunno
4. Awesome Notes
5. Notable Quotes
6. Trunk Notes (Awesome and super-duper wiki-based app – learn about wikis here)
7. Notes Plus / Moleskine Journal / Penultimate / Paper / Noteshelf

If you’re into audiobooks and ‘listening’ rather than ‘reading’, there are audio bibles available in the iTunes store, and some of the downloadable bibles on some bible apps come with audio versions too. Or, you can cheat with your iPad and get Siri to do your ‘reading’ for you (see below)! Only available on the latest iPads though…

To sign off, here’s a little food for thought… Scary and mind-boggling statistics, even more so considering it was aeons ago (3 years!!!) – Happy feeding!

Habit #3 : Know Yourself

Habit #3 : Know Yourself – Whenever I see or hear this phrase I always recall a quote by St Augustine

“The mind commands the body and it obeys. The mind orders itself and meets resistance” – St Augustine.

Incidentally, this quote is also featured abundantly in my fave book, Dune. This quote pretty much sums up how difficult it is to change oneself, especially when it comes to mental and habitual (or behavioral) change. Highly spiritual people know that change is something that God wants to do in us, as evidenced in the popular verse from St Paul,

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will” – Romans 12:2

So how does personal change work (especially mental change)? Where does one begin?

Well, if you log onto iTunes U, look up John Medina‘s (author of brain rules) Brain Rules series, you’ll get a kickstart! The series is entertaining and enlightening, a bit offbeat but very insightful once you get it. You can get to the free video series in iTunes U either on iTunes on the computer (search for ‘John Medina’) or using the iTunes U app on the iPad. Subscribe to the series and it’ll start downloading. There’s about 20 short videos in different bite-sized chunks so it won’t overwhelm you if you take it one video at a time. Definitely worth a look.

If you’re looking for another good book for personal change with a bit more of a spiritual slant, try ‘Battlefield of the Mind‘ by Joyce Meyer. It’s a bestseller and now comes in a different version for teens as well. So, you can read it, then recommend for those teens to read!

To recap Session 1 apps, try these for personal change

1. Last Time Log
2. Focus of My Day
3. Optimism
4. Life Balance
5. Daily Tracker

These apps will help you reach out and influence others – just by being and sharing 🙂

1. Facebook
2. Path
3. WordPress (start blogging!)
4. Google+
5. Amen

Another good app to try out if you’re into interactive storybooks where you choose different actions in the plot and end up in different situations, is ‘Choice of Kung Fu‘. It’s got a pretty cool spiritual slant to it too!

Lastly, here are a couple of videos I like about personal change and influencing others… some of them are ads, while others are pretty long and ‘deep’ but all good. Enjoy and share them around!

On Challenging Self

Award winning short film – Validation

And here’s one I saw today that’s pretty funny about change…

Habit #2 : Meditate | Contemplate

Moving onto habit #2 – Meditate | Contemplate...

Now that we’ve tackled the habit to make more time, let’s put the time to productive use – praying!

There are many apps and resources out there to help you in your prayer / meditation / contemplation pursuits. You can find them easily by searching with keywords in the iTunes App Store, iTunes U and Podcasts apps on your iPhone or iPad. Once you download or subscribed to these apps or channels, you’ve got a steady stream of resources of apps and media to keep you going.

For example, do an app search in the iTunes app store and you get a whole catalog of apps you can try out and see if they might help you to keep that new habit (see below).

Screenshot_prayerapps

As you meditate and contemplate, you might need some tools. Journals, diaries and notebooks are available for almost any kind of preferences – if you like typing, writing, scribbling, sketching, even audio recording, or all types at the same time!

Just to make it easier, if you’re into writing and scribbling, try these apps

1. Paper
2. Penultimate
3. Noteshelf
4. Bamboo Paper
5. My Bic Notes

If you’re into diaries and typed entries, try

1. Day One
2. Awesome Note
3. Evernote
4. Daily Notes
5. Notestab

For those of you who are more ‘creative’ and long for combinations of writing, scribbling and even videos, consider

1. Noteledge
2. Mental Note
3. Moleskine
4. Online services and app such as WordPress
5. Magical Pad

Lastly, when praying and meditating, we sometimes need the right ambience. These apps and resources can help you get into the mood…

Screenshot_gregorian

1. In your iTunes music on your laptop, you’ve got access to internet radio (Gregorian Chants in Classics is one of my fave channels – see pic above)
2. If you want access to internet radio on your iOS device, try Tunein Radio
3. Apps like Bloom, Naturespace and Relax Melodies can help with natural, ambient sounds
4. If you need to do something to do with your fingers while you meditate, try Bloom in ‘creative mode’ and Koi Pond
5. If you’re the intellectual kind that needs something to reflect on while you pray, try Rhema, Gratitude Diary or Gratitude Journal.

Hope this exhaustive list of apps will keep the momentum going for you. As a sign off, here’s a video to set the tone (while we’re on the subject of ‘Gratitude’ – awesome video)

Habit #1 : Making Time to Pray

Habit #1 – Making time to pray…

First, let’s talk about ‘making time’ – crucial before anything else. If we don’t have time (universally acknowledged as the ultimate resource – not renewable, recoverable nor reusable!) in the first place, it’ll be hard to do much else. Most people today would agree that they are short on time, and it’s getting shorter!

The book that helped me get an insight on time is Peter Drucker’s ‘The Effective Executive’. The topic on Time Management is superb! Highly recommended. Link to review here.

Another insightful concept about time I got from ‘The Secret Powers of Time’ – extremely relevant to educators and influencers of young people. Note the bits about ‘delayed gratification’ and ‘10,000 hours‘.

If you’re looking for more info on the apps we tried in this section – here are video links to reviews of two (Any.do) and (30/30).

Next, we talk about ‘measuring prayer time’. Time is one of those things that when you speed it up or slow it down, perspectives change. Here’s an interesting video to illustrate just that!

If you’re looking for an app to create something like this, try this app. Two apps that come to mind when you want to measure prayer time are Pronto and Time Counter.

The third and last bit from habit #1 is ‘measuring and creating new habits.’ Another nice little video from RSA talks a bit about (true) motivation, something connected with wanting to create new habits. It’s in our creative DNA, I tell you!

And here are a couple of links to apps that can help you create new habits, or change old ones! Enjoy…

http://wayoflifeapp.com

http://handcarvedcode.com/apps/priorities/

http://doableapps.com

http://greatist.com/health/fig-mobile-app-preview

Feel free to comment or send us a question or two!

 

Educating for the Lived Gospel

Introduction

 

Why the title “Educating for the Lived Gospel”? It is “educating” because it attempts to lead the good out of our young people. Our ministry of education is one that is ongoing, thus the present participle. There are those who think that the gospels are 2000 year old historical documents. People, young and old, are drawn to a faith that is lived.

 

Lent

 

Beginning the school year with the season of Lent affords us the opportunity to provide times of reflection for our young people. “Smoke” by Ben Folds Five contains lyrics that may resonate with young people, such as putting past hurts behind them. The title also connects with ash and fire, powerful and timely symbols in both a Church and secular sense. Here is a link to a You Tube clip. Do not feel that you have to use all of the song – just the portion(s) that you think will have maximum impact.

 

Social justice

 

The Office for Social Justice in the US diocese of St Paul and Minneapolis has some excellent resources on what has been referred to as “the Church’s best kept secret”, Catholic social teaching. It is searchable by document or theme, with many associated resources.

 

The Melbourne archdiocese’s RESource website has a range of excellent resources. In the Worship section you will find Music that Points to Justice which contains an overview for the use of music with a social justice theme in the RE classroom, with links to Scripture and Church documents.

 

Prayer and spirituality

 

Two websites that are worth checking out are Sacred Space, which is run by the Irish Jesuits. It guides the reader through the process and can be quite contemplative.

 

The other is Praying Each Day, which is run by the British De La Salle Brothers. It links daily events with Scripture, simply and prayerfully.

 

Living Faith

 

Many schools have programs to enable young people to live their faith, some of which are overseas. One person who is currently volunteering in South Sudan as part of Solidarity with South Sudan is Melbourne teacher, Liz O’Connell. She writes in a recent email:

 

I am struggling trying to find things in the market that I can use for my lessons, but I am adapting!  I am teaching all physics (groan!!!) for my 4 weeks here.  I started with Astronomy – challenge in a place that only has a blackboard, so thank God for my computer from which I could download images at night onto power point and then just pass the computer around the class the next day. I am now onto other physics – forces, machines, magnetism, electricity and light.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not a fan of this stuff at the best of times, so trying to do practical with nothing but what I can find in the market is a challenge….but I am getting there.  I do have a torch with batteries – amazing what you can do with that!  I also teach how to teach science/other subjects. What normally happens here (Denis and I went to a school on Saturday so that I could get a look at how things are being taught) is that students sit and write copious notes – no practical and no discussion and most definitely no interactive learning.  That is a fault of the system, not the teachers, as there are sometimes up to 70 in a class, not resources (not even textas, paper or posters) and often the teachers teaching primary have only got through secondary school – not even a basic teaching course.  So that is why we are here.

Some other useful links

 

RESource http://resource.fraynework.com.au all sorts of useful material

 

Bible – NRSV http://www.devotions.net/bible/00bible.htm

 

Matrix revolutions http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXKx1sX8ESs

 

This clip is about the triumph of the light over the dark – could be used as an “Easter focus”

Session 1

7Habits

Welcome to our very first session for 2013. We’ve decided to theme this session ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Spiritual People’. Over the past 12 months, we have focused mainly on the ‘how-to’ and technical aspects and it was very easy to get carried away with the left-brained, analytical and mathematical side of things and forget the emotional, spiritual and feel-good side.

So, we decided to change all that and focus more on the human side.

For the participants, thank you for coming, and as promised, here are the resources used in the session. Feel free to experiment and explore and adapt to your own needs.

A Few Minutes of Perfection

Session 1 Slides

Session 1 Workbook

Session 1 Slides PPT

Session 1 Workbook PPT

And here are the links to the websites of the apps used in the workshop

Any.do To Do list
Wunderlist
30/30
Due
Dooo To-Do Note
Scatterbrain
Way of Life
Pronto
Time Counter
Fig
Clear
Doable
Good Habits
Habit List
Wonderful Day
Priorities
2Do : Tasks done in Style

Thanks everyone for attending, and keep visiting the site to keep the momentum going!

Welcome to iGod 2013

iGod_Posters

Welcome to iGod 2013. It’s been more than a year since we had our first iGod session in March last year. Over the year, we had 2 more iGod sessions at The Carmelite Centre Melbourne and 4 in-school sessions. Another highlight for iGod as a series last year was at the RE Conference in July 2012. In a little more than a year, an estimated 150 educators and RE coordinators have participated in and exposed to one or more of the different iterations of the iGod series.

We are humbled and thankful that we have been given the opportunity to share our perspectives and (hopefully) our talents to help people overcome the fear of technology and re-ignite the spark for creative spiritual exploration in their lives and the lives of those they teach and mentor. It is our hope and dream that we may be able to keep the flame burning as more and more people begin to realize that like science, technology can be a great pointer and illuminator of all things spiritual.

As others seek the burning bush, I pray that you wake up today and realize that in fact, every bush is burning. May you see clearly, obey bravely and live wholly.