ThinkingReligion 21: American Civil Spirituality



Thomas and Sam continue last week’s conversation on canon and discuss whether America really is moving toward a new civil spirituality and whether an American civil religion can survive in a religiously pluralistic society.

Show Notes:

The Obama Doctrine: American Civil Spirituality

What’s In a Canon?

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ThinkingDaily: Don’t Do Branding


What are the differences between marketing, advertising, public relations, and branding?

Today, Sam evaluates those differences with a number of warnings and suggestions about how to do your marketing better and spend your money more wisely (and how to avoid the chutes and climb the right ladders).

Show Notes:

Great images showing the differences between these terms

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ThinkingDaily: So There



So this is the new year. What are you doing different or the same?

Today, after wiping his computer and starting over with a fresh install of an operating system and apps, Sam goes into a discussion of what it means to start over. It’s good, it’s bad, and it’s never easy (but also not that hard).

Put your best dress on, and let’s talk about what’s new.

Show Notes:

Jawbone Up


Pamela for Skype




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ThinkingDaily: Choices


Are choices good? Are choices bad?

Sam takes on Apple, Android, BMW, Wal-Mart, Aldi and Netflix to look at the problem of choice overload today.

Choice overload leads to three things: poor engagement, less quality, and lower satisfaction for most people.

How do we combat choice overload? Cut the number of choices (Aldi vs Wal-Mart), Categorize the choices based on the choice makers (what Netflix does so very well with their categories), and ramp up the Complexity (problem of German vehicle manufacturers’ websites).

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ThinkingOutLoud 4: Entering Crystal Cave


In this episode, Merianna and Elisabeth discuss how to get started as a writer and what the biggest hindrances are to writing. They discuss writing spaces and why the incubation process is so important when starting a new project.

Show Notes:

Do it Yourself: Tools and Techniques for Serious Writers

Neil Gaiman’s Writing Gazebo

You Don’t Need Neil Gaiman’s Writing Gazebo

Crystal Cave

What Elisabeth’s Reading:
Stephen King’s On Writing
Neil Stephenson’s Snow Crash

What Merianna’s Reading:
Neil Gaiman’s American Gods
John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines

Follow Elisabeth @writingrefinery
Follow Merianna @meriannaneely

*Apologies for the sound quality on this podcast… the main microphone recording failed so we had to resort to a backup from the computer mic. It has a little echo but is better than the alternative of no recording!

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ThinkingDaily: Is Outsourcing a Good Idea?


You can’t do everything.

No person is an island.

But how far and how much should you outsource? Where is the line between working yourself to death and a 4 Hour Work Week? How does responsibility affect the interplay between responsibility and distribution?

In short… how do you create a small business?

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ThinkingDaily: I Will Solve Your Problem


“I will solve your problem and you will pay me. You don’t have to use it – you’re the client – if you want to talk to others go ahead.”

What is the role of the agency and the client in a business relationship? Whether you’re a marketing agency, a teacher, preacher, accountant or lawyer, the question of value is intrinsic to what we do.

Today, Sam tackles this topic based on experiences running a marketing agency and what it means personally and professionally to listen to your own voice as well as the client’s.


Steve Jobs on Paul Rand – YouTube

Paul Rand Logos –

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ThinkingReligion 20: True Essence Of Identity


Thomas and Sam return for ThinkingReligion’s 2014 debut. The show will be recording weekly on Tuesday nights (except for the next two weeks which will be on Monday nights… more on the calendar).

In this episode, Thomas and Sam start with a conversation about Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday and our attempts to both celebrate and understand how his work still impacts us in our various walks of life (beyond a sale at the local department store). That leads to a fascinating conversation about the notions of canonicity, authority, and whether or not we need a common foundation of texts and traditions to bind us together.

In short… does Christianity need a canon? Is the canon still open? Could books be added to the New Testament in the coming years?

Listen to find out.

Apologies for the audio quality of this podcast. It’s well below our normal levels. We wrestled with a computer failure and a number of gremlins (don’t feed them chicken after midnight) in our recording software and we ended up with a lower bitrate than we’d like. However, this was a great show and if you bear with it, you’ll enjoy. We’ll do better next week.

Show Notes:

The Spiritual Discipline of Martin Luther King Jr – CBF Blog

Martin Luther King Jr and the Identity of Politics of Celebration – Thomas Whitley

Duck Dynasty and the Struggle Over Christianity – ABP News by Thomas

The Scientist – Coldplay

Thomas Was Right About Marcion

The Beauty and Perils of Unity – Chad Gardner (a must read blog, btw)

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ThinkingDaily: Time the Revelator


Time is the revelator, of the essence, on my side, running out, love, and relative.

Today’s ThinkingDaily explores what it means to hop into the stream of time and find a way to dip your hands in and out of the flow and enjoy the resulting ripples.

Plus, there’s some talk about what’s in store for Thinking.FM as a network in 2014.

“Darling remember from when you come to me
that I’m the pretender,
I’m not what I’m supposed to be
but who could know, if I’m a traitor?
times the revelator, revelator.”

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ThinkingTech: Why You Should Cut the Cord in 2014


Sam cut the cable cord in 2003. Now 11 years later, he gives a blow by blow of the ups and downs of being a “cord cutter” and why you should consider doing so in 2014. It is much easier to rely on the web to deliver entertainment with devices like the AppleTV, Roku, and ChromeCast now than it was in the past and we’re in the middle of a revolution that will be streamed.

Is this a good thing or a bad thing for viewers and content creators and networks? Find out what Sam thinks here.

Show Notes:


Roku Players

Google’s ChromeCast for $35







NFL Playoffs and SuperBowl Streaming

What Else to Watch?






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