|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. ūüôā

1) “The Fear is Real” (The Dirtbag Diaries). “Loosely speaking, there are two kinds of fear. There‚Äôs the fear of external, objective hazards‚Äďlike getting caught in an avalanche, or taking a bad fall climbing or getting mauled by a grizzly bear. Then, there‚Äôs 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‚Äôve heard the stories of addicts who found salvation in the outdoors and the outdoor community, but that‚Äôs 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 article,¬†It 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 said she wanted to start a podcast interviewing professors around the campus where she works, 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.

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)
  • Mics: Polsen¬†OLM-20 Dual Omnidirectional Lavalier Microphone ($45)
  • 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 small, inexpensive adapters). 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

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. ūüėČ

*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….

|The Youngest Disciple

As a parent, I think about what I want to teach the next generation. This includes the spiritual side of life’s journey (and it’s been said that “everything is spiritual”). So what do I want to teach this youngest disciple in the house about following Jesus?

There are many things, but here are seven unoriginal and redundant answers to that question:

1. Loving God and people are the two great commandments. (Matt. 22 & Mark 12)

2. Treating people as I want to be treated has far reaching ramifications. (Matt. 7)

3. Following Jesus is a call to engage this life, not a ticket to escape it. (Matt. 25 & James 1)

4. How I live out my faith in the world is at least as important as what I do in church. That is, actions in church mean nothing if not followed with actions of love outside of organized worship. (Amos 5 & Luke 10)

5. Following Jesus is as much or more about learning to embody Kingdom values (compassion, peace, justice, righteousness) than about believing right theological claims (some people like the words orthopraxy and orthodoxy). (Matt. 23, Luke 4 & Luke 7)

6. Following Jesus is about learning what it means to be a citizen of Heaven and to be an ambassador of the Kingdom here and now. Following another king in another kingdom has political implications, but no political party represents God or speaks for God. (2 Cor. 5 & Phil. 3)

7. Following Jesus leads me to put on display–almost always in little ways–the goodness of God. The “Great Controversy” theme is about revealing the true nature of God’s goodness. Because God is loving and love is generous, my selfishness is a significant barrier. (Matt. 5 & Luke 6)

NOTE 1:¬†There are so many biblical passages that could be given for each of the seven items. The ones I’ve listed are simply starter verses. I especially had to hold back on #5.

NOTE 2: Since teaching is by example and not merely speaking (or posts on Facebook and blogs), I need to step it up.

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for your discipleship over these years. And thank you–other family members, church members, friends–for your influence and support as well.

|Questions I Ask Myself

These questions keep returning to my mind as I make the normal, daily decisions of life:

  1. Will this make me happy for the long-term or only the short-term?
  2. Is this an investment or an expense?
  3. Will this make me healthier or drain my life?
  4. Will this increase peace, justice, and compassion in the world, or is it at the expense of someone else’s pursuit of health, happiness, and freedom?
  5. Why do I continue to engage in Facebook conversations thinking they’re remain respectful and mutually enlightening?!

|Instagram Posts

These have caught my attention recently on Instagram:

|Brueggemann on Peace

I’ve been re-reading Brueggemann’s book Peace (2001). Here are a bunch of excerpts from the first chapter.

Page 14:

That persistent vision of joy, well-being, harmony, and prosperity is not captured in any single word or idea in the Bible; a cluster of words is required to express its many dimensions and subtle nuances: love, loyalty, truth, grace, salvation, justice, blessing, righteousness. But the term that in recent discussions has been used to summarize that controlling vision is¬†shalom. Both in such discussion and in the Bible itself, it bears tremendous freight–the freight of a dream of God that resists all our tendencies to division, hostility, fear, drivenness, and misery.

Shalom is the substance of the biblical vision of one community embracing all creation. It refers to all those resources and factors that make communal harmony joyous and effective.

Page 15:

Shalom comes only to the inclusive, embracing community that excludes none.

Page 16:

A second dimension of shalom is the historic political community. Absence of shalom and lack of harmony are expressed in social disorder as evidenced in economic inequality, judicial perversion, and political oppression and exclusivism.

Page 17:

The doing of righteousness and justice results in the building of viable community, that is, shalom, in which the oppressed and disenfranchised have dignity and power.

Page 18:

The consequence of justice and righteousness is shalom, an enduring Sabbath of joy and well-being. But the alternative is injustice and oppression, which lead inevitably to turmoil and anxiety, with no chance of well-being (Isaiah 48:22; 57:21).

Page 19:

In historic community, the forces of injustice and exploitation are opposed by God’s will for¬†responsible, equitable justice, which yields security. In personal existence, driven, anxious self-seeking is opposed by God’s will for generous caring. The biblical vision of¬†shalom functions always as a firm rejection of values and lifestyles that seek security and well-being in manipulative ways at the expense of another part of creation, another part of the community, or a brother or sister.

Page 20:

But shalom is not subject to our best knowledge or our cleverist gimmicks. It comes only through the costly way of caring.

Page 22:

It is profound and disturbing to discover that this remarkable religious vision will have to be actualized in the civil community. The stuff of well-being is the sordid collection of rulers, soldiers, wardens, and carpetbaggers in Judah and in every place of displaced, exhausted hope.

Page 23:

Shalom of a biblical kind is always somewhat scandalous–never simply a liturgical experience or a mythical statement, but one facing our deepest divisions and countering with a vision.

Addressing Galatians 3:28-29:

Called to the Lord’s single community, bearers of God’s single promise, children of the one Abraham. Paul runs blatantly over our favorite divisions–black-white, rich-poor, male-female, East-West, old-young, or whatever…. Then Paul comes right out and says it ever more flatly: “He [Jesus] is our peace (shalom)” (Ephesians 2:14).

In addition to the Bible verses listed here, two others stood out to me in this chapter: Jeremiah 6:13-14 and 29:7.

For more on shalom, click here.

|The Violence of Forgetting (Evans & Giroux, NYTimes)

Brad Evans and Henry Giroux shared an engaging conversation at the NY Times — The Violence of Forgetting (20 June 2016). Below are three excerpts on the topic of education:

I begin with the assumption that education is fundamental to democracy. No democratic society can survive without a formative culture, which includes but is not limited to schools capable of producing citizens who are critical, self-reflective, knowledgeable and willing to make moral judgments and act in a socially inclusive and responsible way. This is contrary to forms of education that reduce learning to an instrumental logic that too often and too easily can be perverted to violent ends…. What matters is the type of education a person is encouraged to pursue.

. . .

Education does more than create critically minded, socially responsible citizens. It enables young people and others to challenge authority by connecting individual troubles to wider systemic concerns. This notion of education is especially important given that racialized violence, violence against women and the ongoing assaults on public goods cannot be solved on an individual basis.

. . .

Confronting the intolerable should be challenging and upsetting. Who could read the testimonies of Primo Levi and not feel intellectually and emotionally exhausted? Or Martin Luther King Jr.’s words, not to mention those of Malcolm X? It is the conditions that produce violence that should upset us ethically and prompt us to act responsibly, rather than to capitulate to a privatized emotional response that substitutes a therapeutic language for a political and worldly one.

Read the article here for more thought-provoking material.