Monday, January 31, 2011

When podcasts aren't spaceships

Tech experts are vital in Bible translation! Photo by Dean Schauer
Last Sunday, I had a revelation.

I have not been known for my affinity with technology. Now, that was not the revelation—that has been a rather well-known fact for quite some time.

Stories are still told among my friends of when I first got my cell phone during my second year of college and my utterly incredulous and speechless reaction when they showed me how to turn on my speakerphone. I have required the assistance of multiple knights in shining armor to rescue important college documents from my ongoing feud with a rather vicious printer. My computer has died without reason. I’ve lost my phone multiple locations, and even had to have it mailed to me when I was in Orlando this past October. I can text at a speed equivalent to a tortoise. I’m still trying to figure out why on this blog the last letter on the right side is cut off for some (but not all) of my readers who use Explorer.

I could go on, but you get the picture. I’m not particularly technologically illiterate. Just clueless.

But last Sunday, I was in the coughing stage of recovery from the flu, and so, in order to not drown out the pastor’s sermon, I had to go home early from church. While I was sitting in bed, hacking away, it finally dawned on me that I could still listen to a sermon.

I could listen to a podcast.

Until this point, podcasts have remained something that sound like the name of the launch sequence for a small space shuttle. “T-minus 10 seconds to podcast…10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1… and we have lift-off. The pod is away!”

Or maybe the process of shelling peas. “And over there, behind those slats, is the podcast, where we’ll burn all the excess pea pods.”

Or perhaps a special way of casting fishing line. “With a flick of the wrist to the right and a special weighted fishing-lure, you can have an excellent podcast, worthy of that Big One you’ll tell about afterward.”

But not now! Last Sunday I listened to my first podcast—a sermon by Mark Driscoll—and I could even turn it up loud enough to hear it over my convulsing lungs! Rather tickled by this new discovery and wanting to test it out while I was healthy, I’ve since listened to two more sermons (including the one I missed by my own pastor).

I’ve been told that I ought to download podcasts or sermons before I head to Papua New Guinea, since I will appreciate the spiritual food and teaching that isn’t as available when I’m in a more remote situation. However, I won’t necessarily have the Internet bandwidth to download them there, so I need to build up a cache before I leave.

Since I’m not too familiar with this rather exciting prospect, perhaps you can help me out. Where are good places to download sermons/teaching (especially if they are inexpensive and legal)? What (or whom) do you like to listen to? I’ve been told about John Piper, John MacArthur, and Mark Driscoll—they have many sermons online. If you could take 5 sermons with you, which ones would you pick?