Last year was a busy year. In 2019 my daughter graduated high school and started college. In the fall my son got married and moved out. My wife and I celebrated 27 years of marriage and 29 since we first met. So all in all, a full and busy year both emotionally and financially.
To top it all off, in November and December the office I work in underwent renovations. Because I am on the management team, this meant working at odd times as we all tried to cover various portions of the work being done to the office outside of normal working hours: some Saturdays and Sundays, and after hours on a weekday, sometimes as late as 2am.
The finalized Catechism was due to be released electronically in June 2019. The plan, I was told by those who were actually “in the know”, was to have the new 2019 Book of Common Prayer and the Catechism come out at the same time. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your view of beauty, typesetting took a little longer than expected. A June release was not to be.
I began researching podcasting in early 2019. I looked at podcasting equipment, and bugged people who already had one, all in an effort to learn how to do one. Maybe not as smoothly as say The Briefing with Al Mohler, but at least not sound like it was recorded inside a metal trashcan. But real equipment is expensive. Sound editing can be time consuming, so I downloaded a number of apps to my iPhone to try them out. I recorded a ton of little snipets to try to understand the app and its potential. I bought a simple headphone and mic set for under $20 and paid for an app called BackPack.
Originally I thought I would have the summer to record and post podcasts of the Catechism. The release date for the Catechism kept getting pushed back. September and October were incredibly busy so I was relieved the release didn’t happen then. Then in early December came the e-mail: the electronic version of the Catechism had been released with publication at the end of January 2020. I think I saw the e-mail the day I worked until 2:30 am.
This launched a whirlwind of activity. I read through the Salvation section and started plotting the format. I already had some ideas in mind, but they needed to work with the finalized Catechism. I had originally thought of working more than one question into an episode, along the lines of what Father Lee Nelson does down at Christ Church in Waco, Texas. But I don’t have an audience to ask questions of me. So I made my audience myself in a way: what would the Church Fathers say about this question, what do the Anglican formularies say and what would CS Lewis say (or someone else of that genre)?
I think I recorded the episode on “What is the Human Condition?” at least 10 times before I had it like I wanted. I had tried recording the introductory episode since June. I’ve lost track of the number of tries at recoding it. It was really the one where I was finding my voice, not to mention the scope and intent of the podcast. Also, it was the episode where I tried a number of apps and methods for recording.
I’m indebted to my dear friend Pastor Milton Herrold for listening to my initial attempts and providing some constructive criticism. To Father Stephen Lake who listened to me pitch my crazy idea to him as a duo and he then encouraged me to try this project on my own, a well timed shove as it were. And not least of all, to my mentor Father Rand York for his patient listening, feedback and encouragement along the way.
And to my long suffering wife. She also listened and provided feedback. You can thank her for my clear enunciation.
As of the writing of this post I have 48 followers on iTunes and 225 downloads of the introductory Episode, per the stats from WordPress. The newest one “Can you Save yourself from the Way of Sin and Death?” has 83 downloads. So, some people are listening. I’ve had a few people make contact via Twitter regarding the podcast, and this is encouraging.
I gained an unexpected set of listeners in Father Matt Kennedy and his wife Anne out in Binghamton, New York at Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd. They plugged my podcast in their podcast Preventing Grace and on Anne’s blog of the same name. Father Matt was also kind enough to answer some questions early on (last summer) about the equipment they used, thus allowing me to see it could be done without investing in several hundred dollars worth of shiny new equipment.
As I say in the podcast, most of this goes back to Pastor Ken Hall. When he showed up at our “non-denominational but actually Baptist” church about 13 years ago and started discipling those of us on the board, I had no idea the lasting effect it would have on me and my family. Ken died seven years ago now, but I think he would be pleased with this outcome. I’m sure he would disagree with me about the real presence in the Eucharist, but I think he would be approving of the Catechism and the podcast as a whole. And, I think, he would be pleased that I was trying to disciple others, just as he discipled me.
So, I say a prayer to my Lord and ask him to say hi to Ken for me. And tell him what I’m up to, and to pray for me, a sinner.