Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I want to give credit for the various design resources I used to create our website. At the moment, this credit appears at the end of the HTML code on each page:
CREDITS: This website was designed by Ann Bemrose, adapting Matthew James Taylor's multi-column stacked layout. The dropdown navigation menu is derived from an example by Patrick Griffiths and Dan Webb found at A List Apart. The line drawings are used with permission from the Hermanoleon Clipart site. Our weblog is hosted by Blogger and our calendar is a Google application.

I plan to put this info into a popup window attached to the Why & How menu once I've learned how to write the javascript for it. Other commitments have priority at the moment, so I'll come back to this in a week or so.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Body and Soul this week

This Sunday is Pentecost. The Lectionary texts are:

Acts 2:1-21 -- The story of the Pentecost wind.
or Genesis 11:1-9 -- The Tower of Babel

Psalm 104:24-34, 35b -- God made everything, including the great, wide sea and Leviathan to play in it.

Romans 8:14-17 -- All who are led by God's Spirit are God's children
or Acts 2:1-21

John 14:8-17, (25-27 -- Jesus describes the Advocate, the Spirit of truth.

I suggest that we focus on Genesis 11, the Tower of Babel, on Thursday evening. It's a grand thing, full of human longing, disappointment, confusion, wonder and a kind of sobriety.

The story is an etiology, that is, a story about how things came to be, what caused something else to happen. Genesis has a lot of these: why snakes have no feet, why sex is fun but childbirth is painful, why we have to work to grow food. Some of them are like Aesop's fables. All of them are confident that things have a cause.

How do things get started, anyway? What is it that sets things in motion? When do we ask this kind of question? How do we decide what the answer is? How do we know if we're right? Pitfalls abound!

"Let's build a really, really tall tower and make a name for ourselves!" Sure! Or, maybe, "Let's drill a really, really deep well, way down into the depths of the Gulf of Mexico...".

Thursday evening, 7:00. See you there!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Up and running!

Okay... everything is up and running on our own site, This blog continues to have its own address for the time being. The calendar is set up and working. When Joan has had a chance to go through the photographs, I'll set up a gallery. Otherwise, we're done!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

New PIC website

The first draft of the new PIC website is almost ready for everyone to look at and comment on. Saying something significant about us without inundating visitors with too much information that may not mean very much to them hasn't been easy. Even so, I think it's true that less is more.

People read websites and online information differently from the way they read newspapers, magazines and books printed on paper. Viewers generally skim online material very quickly in a diagonal direction, from top to bottom, rather than from margin to margin across a web page. Images which are so compelling in print advertising become more so online. And while the size of blocks of text is a serious concern in newspaper and magazine publishing--paragraphs that are more than 4-5 lines long often seem daunting to readers--this is a bigger issue online.

Oh, no! That last paragraph is seven lines long!

The point is that we need to be concise. That's not easy. Like many writers, I am sometimes tempted to think that my writing is important because I put time into it or because I chose words carefully. I imagine that a reader will pay attention to my words and thoughts if they're well-crafted. It's so easy to forget that readers don't trust text.

In Rembrandt's painting, An Old Woman Reading, we know that the woman is reading a Bible because the book she holds is the principal source of light. It's a classically Calvinist concept: the light of the Word shines on us and illuminates the world around us. Only the Bible--the word of God--can be trusted to show us what's real and what matters.

We need to be cautious about the light that shines on us from our computer monitors. I believe that God created cyberspace, but as in the material world, much of what we find there, or put there, will always be ambiguous.

I hope the website and its content will be useful. I'm eager to learn your thoughts and ideas about ways to improve it.