Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Podcasts and how-to drills...

This past Saturday we taped our first ever podcast. We used the pastor's laptop, a 4-channel mixer from radio shack, four microphones plus a backup, four table microphone stands, and of course windscreens for the mikes to keep from popping the p's. It went well, although pastor felt that we wandered around too much... We had some good stuff come up in the conversation, and there's a lot there to edit and make good use of.

We used Audicity to record the show. I didn't used to think too much of audacity as an editor, and indeed I still don't. But audacity has a few tricks up it's sleeve. Apparently, while we were taping the show, there was some interference that caused a low level buzzing noise in the recording. My heart sank when I auditioned the recording later at home. But audacity has a noise filter program that allows you to identify the noise and remove it from the audio tracks. I was able to rescue the recording!

Now, the other end of the spectrum is another program called MixCraft. This program is a fully functional recording studio with an interface not unlike photoshop. I'm using it right now to edit the audio and create music tracks for the breaks. It's been interesting, but it's also a great learning experience.

God is busy with us and this new technology. For less than 200 dollars, any church can begin using this in outreach and evangelism. I'll post the results as we go. Maybe I'll look into the idea of writing a book on this subject.

This week, on the Whitehorse Inn

This week, the boys at the inn take on the question that Jesus asks us all: Who Do You Say That I Am? Of special note is Rod Rosenbladt talking about how the Jesus of protestant liberalism would never have been crucified. To protestant liberals, Jesus was just going around telling people to do right and be good rather than pointing out people's sins and proclaiming he was God... The would have given him the keys to the city!

Click here to listen to the show!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mother's day...

My mother and I didn't get along very well. I really don't want to get very deep into why, since she is dead. She's been gone since August of 1995, in fact. There is a lot that I could say about her, but most of the time it's very difficult to think of anything positive... There were some good times here and there but most of the time there was trouble.

Either way, the reason I'm doing this post is because of the guilt I carry concerning my relationship with her. Yesterday my church, like many others around the world, was doing a service based around mother's day. Had I remembered what day it was I might not have gone to church. There was a children's message about mother's day, and the sermon consisted of one of our member pastor's asking people to stand up and give stories about their mothers... I would have liked to give one, but I couldn't remember anything that would have been good. I felt terrible, and remorse was all I could muster. I know full well that no one had anything else in mind other than good intentions, as does God in all his ways. How could anyone know? In fact, I wouldn't want to burden them with my problems in light of what they are called to do.

The problem is simple... I can sort of forgive my mom for everything, and there was a sort of reconciliation before she died between me and her. Our relationship wasn't one where I or she refused to speak to one another, but rather one of walking on egg shells... Where basically a lot of unsaid anymosity was laid aside in favor of polite talk and a smile... Now, that she's gone, every mother's day that comes around is only a reminder of how I can't ask her to forgive me for all the trouble I caused her. So, yesterday at church was especially rough, because the reason we are called to church is to hear the proclamation of forgiveness of sins... And I listened intently for a word of encouragement for me, but there wasn't one... Everyone else I guess got along with their mom's just fine all their lives and aren't in a place where they need to hear something good about it.

I'm guessing I need to make time to ask the Pastor to hear my confession. It's been 12 years and this isn't going away. I'm feeling desparate... I just wish I could tell her I'm sorry!!!

I miss you mom!!!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Concert from Afar...

This is a video shot in the Philipines of a Piano Concerto Competition. The winner in the under twelve catagory was eight year old Hannah F. Hua playing Mozart's Concerto number 1 in F major. The orchestra needed some tuning, but little Hannah is amazing.

What strikes me is two things. One is how incredibly far behind we are here in the US in terms of education. How so? Apparently most of the world still believes there's merit in teaching kids classical music, and studies show that studying music makes for better grades...

But the second thing that strikes me is the Philipines is a high ranked destination for men from the US to go and have sex with underage kids. How did our culture get into this mess?

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Lutheran Church makes a Christian Difference

I've been struggling. As a result, I stopped posting to this blog for the last seven days (among other things). What am I struggling with?

One is an old man/new man struggle inside me concerning people hearing the Gospel. I've been working on two projects for our church, the most pressing of which is the radio program. This has involved both technical issues and programming issues. The program will, at first, be a podcast, which will be recorded in house using cheap but good equipment, which includes a mixing board, four headset microphones, a laptop, mixing software, and storage. There's still a couple of interface issues, both unforeseeable, but they can be worked out. In the programming area, I've worked up a schedule of topics, and have been trying to think up radical ways to "drop bombs" on the listener so as to get them thinking.

Not the easiest thing to do. I'm just a layman. But the struggle isn't there, but rather inside me. On the one hand I want the whole city (and by extension, the whole world) to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We all want that. But on the other hand, there's a lot of people out there that are downright mean-spirited... I find myself realizing that by going this route I'm opening myself up to all sorts of harassment and trouble. I myself have reveled in my anonymity all these years. If you had told me a year ago I'd be working on a radio program, let alone a Christian radio program, I'd have told you "you're nuts".

So, what to do? Do I press on with this and take whatever may come? I know that there really isn't much choice but to go forward, but... This isn't easy at all. It's funny, because I can hear Luther's words at Worms: "Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me".

Maybe this is the same issue as the old "someone puts a gun to your head and says 'deny Christ or die', what do you do?" question. Do I say, "you're going to have to kill me", or do I deny him?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Issues etc.

This past Sunday evening, John Warwick Montgomery, author of How Do We Know There Is A God? (Minneapolis: Bethany Fellowship, 1973), and Where is History Going? (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1969), joined Host Todd Wilken on issues etc for a discussion on "the new atheists". The number one and two arguments that today's atheists make are, respectively, that the "God of the bible is (insert ad hominem attack here)", and it would seem the age old accusation of antinomianism. The argument goes "God likes to forgive, I like to sin... let's go kill some infidels". Both arguments are nonsense, of course, but "field marshal" Montgomery makes short work of both of these and other arguments used by today's atheist.

I find it to be very important to answer the claims made by Dawkins and Harris. Click here to listen to the program.

The Reformation, by Diarmaid MacCulloch

I have to highly recommend this book. Not only is it authoritative, highly detailed, and a good read, it's also a great reference book. The chapter on Luther is very good, although not exhaustive.

Moments of revelation in this book include how the black plague had a lot to do with the innovation of the "sacrifice of the mass", and the number of churches all around Europe with many alters where the Eucharist was performed several times a day as many times as possible to appease God. Also, the author gives us quite a vivid picture of the politics of the times, including Jacques Lefèvre d'Etaples, who published commentaries on Paul's epistles in 1512, using language that described human works as "irrelevant" in God's salvation of humanity, as well as profiles for Cardinal Gesparo Contarini and others who joined Luther's reformation.

More importantly, the book traces the aftershocks of the reformation all the way to the 1700s. This book takes a bit of time to read (708 pages), but it's worth every page.

This week on the Whitehorse Inn, April 29th.

This week, Discussion at the inn concerns Christ's view of Scripture. I just love Rod's take on John 2:22: "After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken." Now, it's not that they didn't believe the scriptures before Jesus was raised from the dead, but after he was raised, THEY REALLY BELIEVED! Also, for those who say Jesus didn't say he was God in any other gospel but John's, Jesus puts his own words on par with scripture by saying "heaven and earth may pass away, but my word will never pass away". No wonder they wanted him dead.

Click here to listen to the show.

the big test

Since someone, somewhere, has seen fit to deprive the world of Issues etc and take a huge bite out of confessional Lutheranism at the same time, I will not take up the mantle of working to see that those who did it answer for their actions.
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