More than a sermon

Scott Wells has started me thinking about what I’d like to do to introduce an online component to sermons. Here are some preliminary ideas:

  • On Thursday (the day I usually write a sermon), post a reading and a question for reflection on a sermon blog; the reading would be used during the service three days hence.
  • On Sunday morning, just before preaching, post the reading text of the sermon on the same sermon blog. The sermon would have embedded hyperlinks, and bibliographic references for further reading as relevant.
  • In addition to comments on the sermon blog, the order of service would give a hashtag for a Twitter conversation. The sermon would be streamed live online, so shut-ins and people who were traveling could hear the sermon, and participate through Twitter and online comments.
  • After the Sunday service, comments would remain open on the sermon blog, and I’d join in the online conversation when it made sense to do so.

This would fit into my normal weekly work flow: I have often posted a reading or reflection question a few days before I preach a sermon, and I already post a text of my sermons online before I preach them. At present, I don’t have comments enabled on my sermon blog (because I got too many comments by evangelical Christians and Hindus who wanted to argue without listening to anyone else), but it wouldn’t be a big deal to enable comments once again. The only thing listed above that I can’t do right now is stream the sermon live online (yes, I know I’m at a Silicon Valley church, but we don’t have the volunteers who could oversee the streaming, and our Internet connection is woefully slow). And for you diehard Facebook people, there could be a Facebook page with the sermon blog’s RSS feed.

The real question is: would anyone actually participate in a Twitter conversation, or read the sermon online and comment on it? Would you? Or is there some other online enrichment strategy that I’m missing?

Prime number days and consecutive odds days

Today’s date is made up entirely of prime numbers: 7, 5, and 2011. I’m sure you already noticed that, because you’re already aware that 2011 is a prime number, and so you’re watching for the fifty-two dates this year made up entirely of prime numbers. Which means that you have also noticed that there are three prime number Sundays this month, which is the greatest number of prime number Sundays you can have in any month.

However, you may not have thought about the fact that Saturday’s date is made up of consecutive odd numbers (if, that is, you define the number of the present year to be 11, as it is often written, rather than 2011). Ron Gordon of Redwood City has thought about it, and has received national press in his efforts to promote what he calls Odd Day. I’d have to say that a more precise name would be Consecutive Odds Days, but I recognize that “Odd Day” is a catchier name.

Using Gordon’s definition, there are six Odd Days per century. For purists who believe that a number is a number, dammit, and you can’t just arbitrarily chop off the digits to the left of the tens place, there were only six true Odd Days ever using our present system of numbering years, and those happened even before our present system was in place. While this notion might disturb you, it is probably more satisfying to the pure mathematician, for the pure mathematician prefers things that don’t actually exist.