Jesus is my IT geek

I've said it before: nothing has informed my study of scripture and theology in the past year-and-a-half as my portable media player.
(Oh, and by the way? Stay away from those proprietary hunks of junks like the iPod and the Zune. Just one man's opinion.)
What I discovered shortly after joining the digital music/video revolution is that for a talk radio/NPR geek like myself, a player is much more useful for academic pursuits than mere entertainment.
Oh, I've got, say, 1,100 songs on my player, and I certainly listen to a lot of them. But more and more I find myself scouring the internet for podcasts, downloading the feed, uploading onto my player and giving it a listen during my long, daily commute.
What I've discovered is that God has moved onto the internet in a big way, and His people are responding. Many, many churches have podcasts these days. Some host massive seminars on culture and theology, record the lectures and post them. There are Christian online radio shows that promote indie Christian music. There are podcasts that get into the technical side of ministry, and teach listeners how to host their own podcast, blog, etc.
Now, if you don't own a portable music player, it's OK. (Well, it's not all OK. I mean, you should get one. Now.) All feeds can be played through your computer's media player, or burned to a CD.
So, here's some links I've discovered, podcast feeds, etc., that you might give a whirl.
The first thing you need is a podcast receiver, something to go out on the Internet, find the feed you want and automatically downloaded selected content at scheduled times. Think of it as a radio with a record button. Yes, you can download specific podcasts without subscribing, but using a receiver is more efficient. And for that purpose, I like Juice.
Now, if you buy a specific player, its software package will likely have a podcast receiver on it. But in terms of ease of use, Juice is a good choice. It works across platforms -- meaning it will download streams that have MP3, WMA and any other digital file types -- and, of course, it's free. They ask for a donation (which I should probably give them, much as I used to use it), but it's optional.
(For convenience, I have a Juice button now on my sidebar for direct access to the Juice download page.)
Now, onto the links:
Mars Hill Church
Yeah -- surprise, surprise. I'm the biggest pro-Mars Hill Church (Seattle) Christian east of the Mississippi whose never been to a service there. Of course, I listen to all of these podcasts so religiously (pun intended) that you'd think I was a member. (Which is an interesting topic, given how much are culture has shrunk in just the last 20 years in light of the Information Revolution and the blistering pace of technological advancement. I had an interesting post on that topic, which you can read here.)
Perhaps one of my favorite feeds here is the second one: Mars Hill Teaching. The church hosts lecture series -- they had a Dead Sea Scrolls expert in one night, and he spoke for two hours about the scrolls; I highly recommend that lecture, which you can probably find by searching the Mars Hill Web site for "Dead Sea Scrolls" and "Dr. Martin Abegg.
Two Blind Squirrels
This online radio show is a little goofy -- I'll admit the first time I listened to it I almost turned it off after, oh, five minutes -- but I'm glad I stuck it out. These guys, Brian McFadden and Charles McKeever, are creating an online Christian community, complete with blogs, message boards, podcasts ... you name it. They are an example of forward-thinking evangelicals who are embracing modern technology and using it to minister to a post-evangelical culture. It's the sort of thing many backward churches today must study if they are to remain relevant to the generations of the 21st Century. This is a new mission field, and these guys are helping blaze the trail.
The Bored-Again Christian
I worry about this guy, named Just Pete. He hasn't posted a new podcast in awhile, and I hope he's still out there. If you are, Pete, come on, dude ... get to postin'.
The show bills itself as "Christian music that actually sounds good ... these ain't your Grandma's church hymns," and that's certainly true. Think finding good, indie secular music is hard? Try to find it on the Christian circuit. It's darn near impossible. But Pete does it. In the mood for some modern Christian music without one trace of an organ? Give a listen here.
The Humanist Network News
Two of the best-selling books in recent memory are "The God Delusion," by uber-atheist Richard Dawkins and, of course, "The Da Vinci Code," by Dan Brown. For all the headway evangelical Christians have made into popular culture in recent years, there's a backlash against us. Satan is working overtime in people's hearts and minds, and there's a movement (billed neo-atheism) afoot by guys like Dawkins and Sam Harris who are almost militant in their fight against any philosophy, world-view or religion that holds to the belief in a higher power.
So, to properly evangelize in culture today, we've got to know what the culture is saying. And while I believe that what podcasts like The Humanist Network News are saying is pure rubbish, this line of thinking -- moral relativism, New Age thinking, I'm OK, You're OK -- is very, very popular in our culture.
To fight ignorance, we must not be ignorant.
Grace and peace ...
(copyright andrew j. beckner, 2007. all rights under copyright reserved worldwide. e-mail ephesians514@gmail.com for reprinting information.)