It's been a while for me here, what with looking for a job, haviong another prostate biopsy (checked out OK for the second time....the first was sept.2001). I have been hammering away at some .net stuff (Pronounced "DotNet") that provides some pretty good starting framework for some "portal" type applications, which I am using for 2 purposes:
1. To have a prototype system to present to some folks at the CBF Resource Cneter in Atlanta to help them publish an e-zine and better connect them with each other and with their audience. I am also working some Weblog tools into the mix. I have just installed MOvable Type on my new Webhost who charge only 9.95 a month for .Net, ASP classic, SQL server, MYSQL, Perl, and more. The only catch is that I had to pay a year up front, but at 9.95, even paying for that on my home equity line of credit and today's crazy-low interest rates is a drop in the bucket.
2. To use this same framework to begin building "Church Website frameworks" that provide for remote administration and editing, which allows Church office staff and assigned laity to do updates and add new content, as well as provide discussion boards and , with my Weblog integration, allow for staff and members to write and maintain weblogs. The weblog tool I've been using since June 2002 , Radio Userland, is the source of most of my blogging so far (http://theoblogical.org). My Movable Type version has started at http://theoblogical.org/movtyp, but iit has none of the content except for about 3 entries. I tried out a "Cross posting" tool thatis supposed to allow me to have posts from one tool get posted to both Weblog locations, so that a post to my home page (Main Category) will show up at both URLs given above.
Maybe a third purpose for this .Net toolset is for me to extend on all the ideas I have been throwing around in my head (and publicly in places like Ecunet for the past 10 years), and tie all these evolutionary concepts together in a Portal/Forum/Weblog site that presents my concepts in an incarnational way (ie. Talking about my visions and doing so via the use of the tools I am suggesting)
It's a bit satisfying to realize that this .Net stuff I'm using was the issue that finally brought all the problems to a head with me and my previous job -- .Net was in the process of becoming the "platform" that the company was using to begin to tie together various applications with in the enterprise, and allow a broader range of interoperability. They were distributing Visual Studio.Net to all the developers in the company, even to those who have yet to open their software package (since they don't really have much to do with the actual building of applications.) I was in the midst of an online training series in which I was taking some introductory courses in .Net. When the course was about to begin that covered Visual Studio.Net, I asked for a copy of it to be distributed to me (it cost the company about $80 for a Professional Version). I was told that it was not relevant to my responsibilities. I was also told that I would be "distracted" from my responsibilities. It didn't seem to sink in that a LARGE portion of those responsibilitie involved connecting to the company Web user database to authenticate users logging in to a Website our department had built (I was the lone developer, and also had been a developer in the use of the original LDAP system with other websites in our department).
This Church system I am begining to build will be a vindication of the "skills development track" I had set forth in my "performance Goals" I had been forwarding, but had been basically ignored.
The best answer to that is to succeeed in building something that succeeds in helping Churches realize the efficiencies and communication revolutions that a fully integrated and ever-present Website can provide, and lift up the "Cluetrain Manifesto" approach that holds highest the value of conversation, and encouraging people to exploit their deepest passions and connect to others who share that passion. It seems that in the Church, this should be a no-brainer, but I see VERY LITTLE of that realization as I look at Church Websites, Church Denominational websites, and Church Communication agencies websites.