2018 Reading Project — Adventist Edition

In 2017, I made a reading plan that included one book per month. I didn’t come close to finishing that goal, but by cutting out a lot of social media, I did get a lot done with my podcast and new YouTube effort.

For 2018, I plan to read one Adventist book per month. Included in the 12 are some books I’ve already read but that I want to revisit. Here are the twelve I’ve selected (for now; it may change):

12 Adventist Books for 2018

  1. The Peacemaking Remnant (Morgan, ed., 2005)
  2. Adventism & the American Republic (Morgan, 2001)
  3. Redemption & Transformation through Relief & Development (Kuhn, 2013)
  4. Do Justice: Our Call to Faithful Living (Brown & Darby, eds., 2014)
  5. Building Peace: Overcoming Violence in Communities (Holsopple, Krall, & Pittman, 2005)
  6. Seventh-day Adventists and the Civil Rights Movement (London Jr., 2009)
  7. Entrusted: Christians and Environmental Care (Dunbar, Gibson & Rasi, eds., 2013)
  8. Reformation and the Remnant (Miller, 2016)
  9. It’s Really All About God: Reflections of a Muslim Atheist Jewish Christian (Selmanovic, 2009)
  10. Should I Fight? (Bussey, ed., 2011)
  11. The Promise of Peace (Scriven, 2009)
  12. The Silent Church: Seventh-day Adventism, Human Rights and Modern Adventist Social Ethics (Plantak, 1998)

Alternates

The following books nearly made it onto my 2018 list. Maybe next year.

  • Church and Society: Missiological Challenges for the Seventh-day Adventist Church (Maier, ed. 2015)
  • Humanism and the Death of God (Osborn, 2017)
  • Flee the Captor (Ford, 1979)
  • Anarchy and Apocalypse (Osborn, 2010)
  • I’m Not Leaving (Wilkens, 2011)
  • Planet in Distress (Christiansen, 2012)
  • Black Maverick: T. R. M. Howard’s Fight for Civil Rights and Economic Power (Beito & Beito, 2009)
  • The Lost Meaning of the Seventh Day (Tonstad, 2009)
  • The Religious Roots of the First Amendment: Dissenting Protestants and the Separation of Church and State (Miller, 2012)
  • I Pledge Allegiance: The Role of Seventh-day Adventists in the Military (Phillips & Tsatalbasidis, 2008)
  • Living Soul: We Shall Overcome (Cleveland, 1974)
  • Millennial Dreams and Moral Dilemmas: Seventh-day Adventism and
  • Contemporary Ethics (Pearson, 2008)
  • Pursuing the Passion of Jesus (Nelson, 2005)
  • The Eleventh Commandment (Nelson, 2013)
  • Conscience on Trial: The Fate of Fourteen Pacifists in Stalinʼs Ukraine, 1952-1953 (Kuromiya, 2012)
  • E.G. White and Church Race Relations (Graybill, 1970)
  • Seeking a Sanctuary: Seventh-day Adventism and the American Dream (Bull & Lockhart, 2006)
  • Seventh-day Adventism in Crisis: Gender and Sectarian Change in an Emerging Religion (Vance, 1999)
  • Seventh-day Adventists in Time of War (Wilcox, 1936)
  • Bert B. Beach: Ambassador for Liberty (Beach, 2012)
  • The Transformation of Culture: Christian Social Ethics After H. Richard Niebuhr (Scriven, 1988)
  • The Unlikeliest Hero: The Story of Desmond T. Doss, Conscientious Objector Who Won His Nation’s Highest Military Honor (Herndon, 1967)
  • Ellen White on Leadership: Guidance for Those Who Influence Others (Tutsch, 2008)
  • Keys to Adventist Community Service (AdventSource)
  • Ministries of Compassion (A Handbook for Adventist Community Services, Inner City Programs and Social Action Projects) (Sahlin, 2000)
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10 Steps to Podcasting

This is my latest summary of the podcasting process. After two more people asked for my advice, I decided I should put together a big-picture summary. At the end of the post, I give an update on my own system–where I started and what I’m doing now.

STEP 1: Record the Audio

Somehow you need to record the spoken word, generally saved as an MP3 or WAV file (WAV is better quality).

This step involves a lot of decisions, which are based on a number of factors:

  • Budget: Low/no-budget, middle of the road, pro.
  • Location: Pro studio, home studio, on the road, online.
  • Type of podcast: Solo, Collaborators, Online interview, In-person Interviews, etc.
  • Type of Microphone: Lav/lapel, shotgun, dynamic, condenser, XLR, USB, etc.
  • Equipment: Mobile phone, audio recorder, mixer, sound gate, audio interface, laptop, etc.
  • Software for Communication: Skype, Google Hangouts, Source-Connect Now, Appear.In, WhatsApp, Zoom, etc.
  • Software for Recording: Ecamm Call Recorder, Pamela, Audacity, Audio Hijack, Boss Jock, Sound Byte, etc.

NOTE: Check out my blog post that’s an introduction to podcasting. And when I was first learning to podcast, I wrote a two-part “how-to” – Part 1 and Part 2. I later added more about software and lav mics. These four blog posts cover elements in the items below, not only recording.

STEP 2: Edit/Mix the Episode

You might need to clean up the audio, removing noise, repeated “ums,” coughing fits, statements that are “off the record,” etc. You’ll probably want to add theme music and an introduction/conclusion (Step 1) to the main audio file.

Free Editing Software: Audacity (any platform) and GarageBand (Apple) are free software that are easy to learn. There are lots of tutorials on YouTube. Auphonic is a good way to get your sound up to -16 LUFS and to clean up minor problems. It’s free for 2 hours a month or something like that. Auphonic is better than the old Levelator.

Professional Software: Adobe Audition, ProTools, PreSonus Studio One, and Hindenburg.

STEP 3: Add ID3 Tags

ID3 tags tell iTunes and other services what your recording is. This is also where you embed artwork in the audio file. I use MP3tag (free).

STEP 4: Upload the File to a Host

iTunes doesn’t hold your podcast; they just make it easy for people to access it. Therefore you need a place to store your audio files that can play the files even during peak demand for the files. That means your own website is not a good place to do this; the two most common hosts are Libsyn and Soundcloud (I use both), but there are others. Comparing costs and services will help you choose what fits you.

STEP 5  (first time only): Verify the RSS Feed from the Host

You might have problems with your RSS feed even when using Libsyn or Soundcloud, so you need to test it. I have used http://validator.w3.org/feed/.

STEP 6  (first time only): Submit the Verified RSS Feed to iTunes for Review and Approval

You can find helpful guidance from Apple. And here is more guidance from Soundcloud.

STEP 7  (first time only): Submit Your RSS Feed to Other Sites like Stitcher or Google Play.

There are a number of services like iTunes, and Stitcher and Google Play are probably the two biggest. It never hurts to add distribution channels.

STEP 8: Write a Blog Post with Show Notes

It is common practice to have a blog accompany the podcast. This allows you to post show notes, and it makes sharing the episode easy because this gives you a URL to include in your social media posts.

Examples (individual posts on each blog):

STEP 9: Share the Blog Post Link/URL Via Social Media

You’ll need to let people know that you have great content for them.

STEP 10: Repeat steps 1-4 and 8-10!

Ideally, you’ll learn more every time you go through the process of recording, editing, and posting an episode. Keep at it!

Read more of this post

|Software & Mics for Podcasts (Updated)

Updated 10/4/2017

I’ve written here a bit about my attempts at podcasting (Introduction), and I thought I’d follow-up with comments about two pieces of this puzzle — mics and software.

Lav Mics

Specifically, I’ve become more interested in XLR lav mics. These three to be specific:

I don’t have that kind of budget, so I bought a used AT899 from eBay. I really like how it sounds. You can hear Michael Nixon using it in this episode of Adventist Peace Radio.

So far I’ve been using low-budget / no-budget lav mics. First, the Polsen OLM-20 (dual for interviews, battery powered, $45). More recently I picked up a Pro JK Mic-J 044 (less noise than the OLM-20, needs plug-in power not phantom power, $29).

I use an Audio-Technica ATR2100 USB/XLR mic ($65) when I do Skype interviews, but for most in-person conversations, I’ve used the lav mics.

Software

So far I’ve mixed my first 11 episodes using Audacity (PC/Windows). This has worked decently, but I’m finally starting to learn Adobe Audition, which I can access through my work (I could never afford the subscription otherwise). It is a lot more complicated, but if I can learn the basics, it should simplify my work flow. Work flow, you ask? This:

  1. Edit audio files for intro, interview, and conclusion.
  2. Export them so I can upload them to Auphonic to run their magic (clean it up and set to -16 LUFS). Maybe Audacity can do this; I’m still learning about it. I do this before I add music because Auphonic ruins the fade in/out of music. It levels it up to the same volume, which is what I want for the conversation, but not the music.
  3. Import the newly minted audio files back into Audacity to mix with the music.
  4. Export .WAV file so I can upload the episode to iTunes to convert it to an MP3 format. I haven’t figured out how to use LAME.
  5. Copy the MP3 file back out of iTunes so I can edit it in MP3Tag (add picture & change tags).
  6. Upload it to Libsyn to let iTunes and Stitcher know the episode is available.

After watching some tutorials, it appears that Audition can do all of that — clean up the sound, set it to -16 LUFS, edit the tags, and export as an MP3 file instead of .WAV. So that sounds good to me even though I’m a bit intimidated by learning a new system in my limited “free” time.

Including these two options — Audacity and Adobe Audition — here are some of the software packages podcasters can choose from:

General

Audacity (Free)

Garage Band (Free for Apple Users)

PreSonus Studio One (Free Basic Version)

Adobe Audition

ProTools

Hindenburg

Hindenburg looks really interesting to me since it’s designed for audio projects. Very intriguing.

For now I’ll keep learning Audition, but if I ever change jobs, I’ll be ready to experiment with the other options.

|Research: Peace & Justice Journals

I attended an academic writing workshop today. One of the presenters recommended these two books:

Part of the time focused on analyzing journals to determine their level of respect within academia. I subsequently went searching for peace journals, and I found the following lists:

This is redundant, but I also came across these specific journals while locating the larger lists above. I haven’t studied them enough to know which ones are respected, so it’s probably safer to start with the lists above, which are collected by reputable universities and libraries.

I haven’t published anything for a couple of years, so it’s rolling around in the back of my mind. Since I’m in the research office at my university, I’m not in an academic setting of publish or perish, but I know I still need to engage more.

|Random Articles

I posted links to two stories about the racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, on another blog, and there will be more to come on that. But here are some other articles regarding Christian social ethics. Posting them here doesn’t mean I endorse everything in them; just that they are thought provoking. The first two are a topic that has been on my mind recently — patriotism and nationalism — and the last three were shared with me.

|More Podcast Episodes

Looking for some quality conversations to listen to, here are some podcast episodes I’ve really appreciated recently. Spring blossoms lining my walk to and from work add to the listening experience; sorry I can’t offer you that here. 🙂

1) “The Fear is Real” (The Dirtbag Diaries). “Loosely speaking, there are two kinds of fear. There’s the fear of external, objective hazards–like getting caught in an avalanche, or taking a bad fall climbing or getting mauled by a grizzly bear. Then, there’s the internal, more slippery kind of fear, like the fear of not being pretty enough, or not being popular enough or not being perfect enough.”

2) “The Shorts: Catching Hope” (The Dirtbag Diaries). “We’ve heard the stories of addicts who found salvation in the outdoors and the outdoor community, but that’s not the way the narrative arcs for everyone. For Paddy, recovery looked less like slashing pow turns with his ski-bum buddies, and more like a game of catch with his dad on the back lawn of a treatment facility in Minnesota.”

3) “Bears Ears” (The Dirtbag Diaries).  “In the beginning, Josh came to Bears Ears, Utah in search of adventure. But the more time he spent there, the less his relationship with the landscape had to do with first ascents, and the more it had to do with connecting to the current people and ancient cultures who call Bears Ears home. Now, Josh is a leader in the fight to protect the 1.9 million acres of wild, history-rich, red sandstone landscape.”

4) Onleilove Alston (Chasing Justice). “Speaker Onleilove Alston joins us today to discuss black representation in the Scriptures and justice from a Christian perspective. Follow her vital work at https://wholeness4all.wordpress.com/propheticwhirlwind/ and on twitter @PropheticWhirl.”

5) “The Word of God in Print and in Person” (Bruxy Cavey). “How are other pastors and church leaders responding to Greg’s proposal for interpreting the violence of God in the Old Testament? In this sermon, we get to hear from the perspective of Bruxy Cavey, pastor of The Meeting House in Toronto, Canada. He summarizes his interpretation of Greg’s writings, and offers his take.” NOTE: I actually haven’t finished listening to this one, but I’ve appreciated the first 30 minutes.

Sometimes I enjoy a quiet moment in the day walking to work or heading home, but most of the time it’s a brief window for me to think about the deeper things of life. Podcasts (and for some people audio books) can be a great way to nurture a reflective spirit when life is so busy with family, work, and service commitments.

|Podcast Episodes on Race, Bigotry, and a Bit of Politics (Updated)

I often listen to podcasts while walking to and from work. In the past few weeks, a number of episodes have dealt with racial issues and bigotry in one way or another. Here are five (listed in the order I heard them, I think):

1. The RobCast (Rob Bell) — The Priesthood of Alexander Shaia (Ep 137). “No hate.” Thanks for sharing this with me Andrew.

2. The Ingredients Podcast (Michael Nixon) — Andrew Gerard (Ep 004). The former US president, the current president, and what it might mean.

3. The Ingredients Podcast (Michael Nixon) — Garrison Hayes, Pt 1 (Ep 008). Racial reflections on Andrews University. Part 2 is also now posted, but I haven’t listened to it yet. [More: Spectrum articleIt Is Time AU Video, & AU Response. I don’t have a link to the original sermon by Dr. Kowlessar; the one listed in the Spectrum article is no longer working.]

4. Chasing Justice (The Justice Conference) — Cornel West (Ep 9). “Justice is what love looks like in public.” Too bad it’s hard to link to specific episodes.

5. Voices of Social Justice (Center for Social Justice, Human and Civil Rights; University of Georgia) — Reverend Attorney Francys Johnson  (Ep 1027). Johnson “gives an impassioned keynote address at Athens 1st Social Justice Symposium.”

Okay, one more that kind of somewhat a little relates at some some level — The Dirtbag Diaries: 2017 The Year of Big Ideas.

6. Update: Chasing Justice (The Justice Conference) — Shane Claiborne (Ep 14). Against the death penalty.

|Resurrection as Biblical Theme

This past Sabbath I led a few friends in a morning “meditation” on resurrection (15-min introduction, 45-min contemplation, 60-min conversation).

Here’s a run-down of my introduction:

  • We usually think of two instances of resurrection–Easter Sunday and Jesus’ second coming. (1) Jesus’ resurrection became the center of my faith when my faith fell apart during seminary. (2) Resurrection at the second-coming is obviously important in the Adventist understanding of biblical interpretation.
  • But… resurrection is a bigger theme than these two critical instances of resurrection. For example, Ezekiel had a vision regarding bones that God would bring back to life. God resurrects the hope and dreams of Israel. So if God is in the same business of resurrecting hope today, what dreams has God brought back to life for you, and what dreams still make you long for resurrection? This was the first of our ten reflection questions (see attached PDF).
  • Taken further, we see the theme of resurrection in any action or situation where we see something comes back to life–a relationship, a neighborhood, a piece of clothing. Little things also convey resurrection; it’s not only the big things like Easter Sunday.

To explore this theme further, I gave everyone a 4-page handout. The final page instructed people how to use it. Yes, that probably should have been the first page, so I pointed everyone to it before we split up for 45 minutes of prayer and reflection. During those 45 minutes, I took the kids out to play in the mud so it would be quiet in the retreat house for the adults.

Then during the final hour of conversation (more or less), my wife played with the kids in a separate room. In that time and also during lunch we shared what we had been thinking about and journaling about during those 45 minutes.

Here is the document we used for the morning — resurrection-feb-2017. [The order to follow is (a) the beginning through Ezekiel, then (b) page 4.]

|How To Podcast, Introduction

I am not a professional podcaster, but I’ve written two blog posts about what I learned while setting up a podcast last year–Part 1 and Part 2. This week a colleague at my university said she wanted to start a podcast interviewing professors around the campus, and she asked if I could help. I shared those two original blog posts, and said we should get together to talk it over. Then I followed-up with an email describing the three major steps of the process because I felt those 2 posts were too overwhelming as an introduction. So here is what I shared with her regarding a simple, mobile, inexpensive system. As a background, she mentioned she had done recordings with her phone in the past but that incoming calls had messed up the recording. Because she mentioned the phone, I included it in my list (airplane mode solves this problem).

Podcasting has 3 basic stages, more or less:

  1. Recording (studio/field audio recorder)
  2. Producing (studio/computer)
  3. Distributing (online)

STEP 1: RECORDING

Balancing quality, ease of use, and cost, I initially recommend one of these three options for recording:

(1) STUDIO

  • If you can convince professors to meet you in the university’s studio, your quality will be unsurpassed. If you have to go mobile, see the next two options.

 (2) AUDIO RECORDER

  • Audio Recorder: Zoom H1 ($80-100)
  • Mics: Polsen OLM-20 Dual Omnidirectional Lavalier Microphone ($45). The OLM-20 will allow you to record 2 people at once (you and the person you’re interviewing). If you just want to record yourself, the JK MicJ 044 Lavalier Mic is a decent cheap option.
  • Headphone:
    • Earbuds (free if you already have some) OR
    • Sennheiser HD 202-II Stereo Headphones ($25)
    • NOTE: You need to monitor in real time how your recording is going. You want to know if there are problems there, not when you get back to the office.
  • Total: $125-$150
  • NOTE: A step up would be to use a Zoom H4N ($200) with 2 separate lav mics (need inexpensive adapters, but then mics like the MicJ 044 that need plug-in power [different from phantom power] won’t work, I’m told; read this, this, this, and all of these). This way they would be on separate tracks, so you could edit each track independently if needed. But this might be more than you need; I think the Zoom H1 would do very well for you.

(3)   SMARTPHONE (iPhone)

STEP 2: PRODUCING

In this step, you’ll edit your recording and add the intro and outro, at a minimum.

EDITING SOFTWARE (on your computer)

  • Audacity: Free and easy to learn. There are tons of YouTube tutorials.
  • Adobe Audition: I have not used this, but it’s available on campus.

STEP 3: HOSTING & DISTRIBUTING

PODCAST HOSTING (online)

These are some of the most common platforms for hosting your podcast files. You can advertise your podcast anywhere, but when people click to listen, they’re actually accessing the file stored here:

PODCAST DISTRIBUTION

You need to set-up a feed so people can subscribe to your podcast through iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and other sites. If you want to make this super simple, just use the services offered by your hosting platform. To retain a little more control, see my comments in Part 2.

CONGRATULATIONS, you have a podcast! Now you can focus on your content!

For more details, see my earlier two podcast blog postsPart 1 and Part 2.

|Reading Plan, 2017 Edition

NOTE: see update below. 

Three truths: I like to learn. I have a lot of books. I’m not big on reading.

Last year I made a plan to read a book a month. I didn’t come anywhere close. I guess Tim Ferriss wouldn’t be surprised since I had neither a carrot nor a stick.

This year I’m going public with my list. Again it’s one-a-month plus 3 for Sabbath.

Carrot: I can get on Instagram in the evening after I’ve read either 20 pages or 1 chapter.

Stick: If I don’t finish the month’s book, I have to give Victor my $10 allowance for the month.

The main theme is conflict resolution/transformation and reconciliation. The secondary theme is general Christian social ethics. I read a number of these (or major parts of them) in grad school, but I’ve been wanting to revisit them.

So here’s the plan:

  1. Jan) The Peacemaker – Sande
  2. Feb) The Eight Essential Steps to Conflict Resolution – Weeks
  3. Mar) Deep Economy – McKibben
  4. Apr) Journey Toward Reconciliation – Lederach [or updated Reconcile]
  5. May) Christian Anarchism – Christoyannopoulos
  6. June) Making Conflict Work – Coleman & Ferguson
  7. July) Entrusted: Christians and Environmental Care* – Dunbar, Rasi & Gibson
  8. Aug) Reconciling All Things – Katongole & Rice
  9. Sept) Pursuing Justice – Wytsma
  10. Oct) Making Peace with Conflict – Schrock-Shenk & Ressler
  11. Nov) Six Theories of Justice – Lebacqz
  12. Dec) Strategies of Peace – Philpott & Powers; OR Reaching for Higher Ground in Conflict Resolution – Dukes, Piscolish & Stephens

Sabbath Reading (beyond the main reading plan)

Maybe I’ll write a blog post for each book. We’ll see. 😉

UPDATE: After 7 months, I admitted I had failed. 🙂 I had read only 1 book in its entirety, and it had taken 2 months. So I scrapped the plan, and I’m now trying this: Reading for 30 minutes earns me 15 minutes of Internet time. 2:1. That time is for blogs, social media, news, sports, etc. So far this month I’m still not reading, but I am getting a lot done since I’m not wasting time online. 🙂

*Seventh-day Adventist authors

FOLLOW UP:

I’m only 75 pages into the 2017 reading plan, and I’m already thinking ahead to next year’s  (2018) theme. I’m thinking about church-based social action and activism, with a secondary theme of intercultural/international conflict transformation.

  1. Churches That Make a Difference (Sider, Olson & Unruh)
  2. The Externally Focused Church (Rusaw & Swanson)
  3. A Culture of Peace: God’s Vision for the Church (Kreider, Kreider & Widjaja)
  4. Peace Ministry (Buttry)
  5. The Just Church (Martin)
  6. Faith-Rooted Organizing (Salvatierra & Heltzel)
  7. Doing Justice: Congregations and Community Organizing (Jacobsen)
  8. Shalom Church (Nessan)
  9. Conflict Mediation across Cultures (Augsburger)
  10. Preparing for Peace: Conflict Transformation across Cultures (Lederach)
  11. Conflict across Cultures (LeBaron & Pillay)
  12. Managing Intercultural Conflict Effectively (Ting-Toomey & Oetzel)

Then 2019 could focus on human rights with a secondary theme of globalization:

  1. Crowned with Glory and Honor: Human Rights in the Biblical Tradition (Marshall)
  2. Faith and Human Rights (Amesbury & Newlands)
  3. Christian Human Rights (Moyn)
  4. In Our Own Best Interest (Schulz)
  5. Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice (Donnelly)
  6. International Human Rights (Alston & Goodman)
  7. The Human Rights Reader (Ishay)
  8. The History of Human Rights (Ishay)
  9. Philosophy of Human Rights: Readings in Context (Hayden)
  10. Global Neighbors (Hicks & Valeri)
  11. Justice in a Global Economy (Brubaker, Peters, & Stivers)
  12. The Fullness of Time in a Flat World (Waalkes)
  13. Globalization and Its Discontents (Stiglitz)

And 2020 could be on nonviolence….