a day in the life of djchuang
Which Kindles Have Text to Speech?

Not every version of the Amazon Kindle has the text-to-speech function. These are the current Kindles listed at amazon.com that can read text aloud, so you can consume content with your eyes closed! (I just wanted to find a short list like this, is that too much to ask? This list is up-to-date as of 04/15/14)

These 4 Amazon Kindle Fires have Screen Reader, featuring “IVONA’s award-winning natural language text-to-speech voice” ::

And, this Amazon Kindle DX has “Read-to-Me: Kindle DX reads select books out loud with this text-to-speech feature” ::

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Our Schedule for the 2014 OC Easter Tour

We the Chuang family have a tradition of multi-churching during the 2 biggest Christian holidays of the year, Easter and Christmas. Here’s a schedule of church worship services around Orange County, California, that I charted out with 18 churches that had multiple service times for Easter weekend::

This is our proposed agenda for the Chuang Family 2014 OC Easter Tour (with 8 stops):

  • 4/17 Thurs 7pm @ An Easter Together
  • 4/18 Fri 12pm @ St. Andrew’s Episcopal Irvine + 2pm @ ROCKHARBOR Costa Mesa + 6pm @ Ev Free Fullerton
  • 4/19 Sat 4pm @ Saddleback Lake Forest + 6pm @ Mariners Irvine
  • 4/20 Sun 7am @ Saddleback Rancho Capistrano + 11am @ Saddleback Church UCI Venue

Please join us on this special tour if you’re in the area, we’d love to meet you! (I’ll provide color commentary, for free, upon request.) Or build your own schedule using the spreadsheet.

An overview map of the 2014 OC Easter Tour
2014_OC_Easter_Tour
Aside: wondering what percentage of Southern Baptist Churches have Good Friday services. Can anyone help me find the answer?

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Mashable advised me to change my password on tumblr.

Done.

Christian Hackathon near San Francisco 5/30-6/1 2014

Code for the Kingdom is a weekend Hackathon and an on-going ecosystem where global issues are tackled with a Christian perspective. If you are passionate about impacting the world, join this super-charged event May 30-June 1 in Redwood City, CA, and experience the creativity of an entrepreneurial community to address the challenges confronting our society, churches, and spiritual lives.

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The Present Future of Digital Technologies

At a Leadership Network collaborative event tech-gridfor churches strategizing about “What’s Next”, I made a presentation titled “The Present Future of Digital Technologies.”

I did the 15-minute talk twice. Listen to either 1 of 2 audios and follow along with the slide deck for a useful framework to thinking strategically about how to use current & emerging technologies for current & future opportunities.

Version 1 

Version 2

Honored to be presenting with Nils Smith (OnlineChurch.com) during these sessions. I don’t think he had slides; I do have an upcoming episode with Nils on the Social Media Church podcast [will add link here.] Posting this presentation in reply to this tweet.

@andrewcyee

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Will churches help to erase shame about mental illnesses?
Hard to Find Christian Support for Bipolar Disorder and Mental Illnesses

Yes there is hope and help for people that struggle with mental illness, but it is not easy to get help when there is so much social stigma about someone needing psychiatric help. Plus, even if stigma weren’t in the way, there isn’t enough professionals and resources to meet the overwhelming need–approximately 61.5 million (1 in 4 US adults) experience mental illness in a given year and only a third receive help!

The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church yesterday was a powerful time of exhortation for how churches around the world must take more of its part to better help people that struggle with mental illness. Here’s why: the church is statistically and anecdotally the first place people go for help with mental illness. 3,200 were in attendance at the sold-out event and many thousands more watching online via the free webcast. Tommy Hilliker announced that the plenary videos and all workshop audios will be posted online for free – what a great & generous resource! 

hope4mh-13487340514_87432e3aca_z
[photo credit: Christine A. Scheller, Explorations Media]

2 Christian ministries equipping people to run peer-based support groups were featured:

fresh_hopeGrace-Alliance

Fresh Hope -  a peer-to-peer Christ-centered wellness approach to mental health recovery that empowers people to connect both their faith and recovery principles

The Grace Alliance - provides personal assistance to navigate professional care and improve personal life management through its Mental Illness Recovery Program (THRIVE) and support groups. Also helps the church understand the biblical and clinical perspective of mental health difficulties and disorders.

I missed hearing about church-based support groups. When I searched for them on the Internet during the past hour, I found no popular programs, though there are a handful of local examples here and there. Maybe a few churches will be prompted to develop church-based programs after yesterday’s event and make their curriculum available to churches everywhere. If history is an indicator, maybe Saddleback Church will be one of those curriculum-makers, like its past roll-outs: Purpose-Driven Church, Purpose-Driven Life, Celebrate Recovery, and Daniel Plan.

Millions are suffering and struggling with mental disorders (cf. NIMH): Mood Disorders, Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymic Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Anxiety Disorders, Panic Disorder. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Phobia, Agoraphobia, Specific Phobia, Eating Disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism, Personality Disorders, Antisocial Personality Disorder, Avoidant Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder. And I think we/they can use all the help possible. Will the church arise?

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Watch livestream webcast of Mental Health and Church 3/28 Event

Watch the free webcast at http://ift.tt/1foiGie for The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church on Friday 3/28, noted as the nation’s first religiously backed conference to address mental health issues.  Here’s the schedule with times in Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7):

Schedule-MentalHealthAndTheChurch

Webcast

Traditional media mentions, most recently:

I’m most eager to hear of the next steps and sustained efforts at keeping the conversations alive and ongoing, raising awareness, shaping and changing perceptions, breaking stigma over time. It won’t happen overnight. I do pray that a bunch of good things will birth from this event. And I hope the event organizers will record the webcast videos and make those available as a very valuable resource.

Aside: I haven’t yet found discussions online leading up to the event, though I did find a few blog posts. (My attempt to contact organizers about follow-up next steps got a reply of: “… decisions have not been made yet.”)

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Breaking the Stigma of Mental Illness in Churches

March 28th, 2014 is the day when the world could have more safe communities for people with mental illness. The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church is convening on 3/28 from 8:30am to 9:00pm (Pacific Time, UTC-7) Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, and word is that there will be a livestream webcast. See website mentalhealthandthechurch.com for more event info and if you’re local to Southern California, please come – and don’t let money be a barrier. Event hashtag = #hope4mh

mentalhealthychurch

Here’s your personal invitation from the organizers:

Studies show that one out of every four adults in America will be affected by mental illness at some point in their lives. The first place many go for help is to their priest or to their pastor because the heart of Jesus and the Church has always been for those who suffer.

You are invited to The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church, a one-day event designed to encourage individuals living with mental illness, educate family members, and equip church leaders to provide effective and compassionate care to any faced with the challenges of mental illness.

Join Pastor Rick and Kay Warren of Saddleback Church, Bishop Kevin Vann of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, and NAMI-OC (National Alliance on Mental Illness-Orange County), and other faith and community leaders on Friday, March 28 for a hope-filled and inspiring event, as together we call the Church to action on behalf of those living with mental illness, equip lay and pastoral leadership, and stand side-by-side with those who suffer.

The headline on this Christian Post article, Rick and Kay Warren to Host ‘Mental Health and the Church’ Summit; Organizers Hope to Wipe Out Stigma of Mental Illness, is quite an overstatement, in my humble opinion. One event will not wipe out the stigma, as the headline suggests (or it could be read that way, I did). It will take a long sustained effort to change things, with the social stigma pervasive in societies and families, faith communities and churches alike.

I’m personally very grateful for this one influential church taking a first step to start addressing this. I’m eager to see what the second step will be, and the many steps ahead that many others will begin to take. It all starts with the first step, and I sincerely hope it’s the first of many, not only for Saddleback, but many many others.

And, one more thing. I’ll be there in person myself. Please say hello if you can come too, I would be happy to connect. (personal disclosure: Saddleback Church is my home church)

cf. also read Kay Warren’s poignant blog post (Facebook calls it a “story”): ‘… shocked by some subtle and not-so-subtle comments indicating that perhaps I should be ready to “move on.”‘

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