Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Audio Drama Benefits Over TV

Once I heard on a Focus on the Family broadcast of a kid who was asked whether he preferred the radio dramas or television shows produced.  He promptly answered, "the radio shows!" which surprised the asker a bit.  When asked why, he answered, "Because the picture is better!"
I love that.  That's a kid whose imagination was working!  His short answer also encapsulates one of the reasons I love audio dramas.  There are other reasons though.  Don't worry--I'm not going to talking about the morality or even the health and neurological benefits, although there's significant research, to be found in other places, that audio drama is superior to TV in that respect too.  But in this little blog post, I'll explain some benefits to audio drama solely for entertainment purposes, mostly dealing with time.
Television is the most commonly used mode of entertainment.  TV captures people because it employs sight and sound, and it is addicting.  Even the worst story lines somehow capture our attention because it fixates our sight on a screen where things are happening every 2-4 seconds.  But there are times, when we simply can't look at the screen, because we're doing something else that we have to use our eyes for, and yet those things may be very mundane tasks, and we still want to be entertained.  In fact, people try to employ TV in some of these situations, and it can be in the car for example.  So I thought of three times when listening to audio drama is a better source of entertainment than watching TV.

1. While going to sleep.

I know people watch movies as they go to sleep.  But there are problems with this.  The chief problem involves these two facts: a) watching TV requires open eyes; b) sleeping requires closed eyes.  See the problem?  Audio dramas communicate the entire story through sound so you won't even miss anything while your eyes are closed!  Until you fall asleep, of course.

2. While driving.

Please don't watch TV while driving.  Please keep your eyes on the road!  This is for your safety and all those around you.  Of course, we all know that when you are commuting 30 minutes to an hour, things tend to get boring real quick.  Make good use of the time.  Audio dramas are also PERFECT for long road trips! Don't want to spend the money on one of those fancy little screen deals that fastens to the back of the seat?  Just pop in an adventure audio CD!  Endless entertainment.

3. While working.

Naturally, this is only for those times when you are doing completely brainless and menial tasks that require no mind power.  When I have to clean the house, I often listen to a radio drama.  When you're working outside or on the assembly line of a factory, just plug in some ear buds and let your imagination soar.

I'll provide some great links to awesome audio dramas below:

Audio dramas are apparently more popular in Europe than in America, but I think they should make a comeback here, people.  There are so many advantages!  Now go practice your multitasking by listening to some audio dramas.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Old Faithful vs. New Faithless

Okay, I know I run the risk of sounding like a cranky old man (which I'm NOT...old, that is) talking about how this generation has no faith or something like that, but it IS kind of a paradox to say 'new faithful'.  Faithfulness requires time to determine if it's truly legitimate.  A person might be faithful in heart, but the test of time will show whether or not they really are.  And it can be easy in this age, with fast food, DVR, online news articles, text messaging, microwave dinners, and those incredible dryers that blast the skin off your hands and bust your eardrums but get you dry really fast, (sorry-tangent--those things are awesome though!), it can be easy to simply bail out when things get tough and find an easier way.

But there's something that stirs my heart when I hear stories of faithfulness.  When you see a couple that's been together for 50 years...or an old janitor who has worked at cleaning the church, consistently all his life, with no recognition...a person who is willing to sacrifice all for their country, no matter how bad it gets, even when under pain of torture...the love of a mother taking care of a child with more problems in functioning than most children...Christians under persecution who won't deny their Lord...there's something that touches the deepest places in our souls about all these kinds of stories.

Once, I was reading Luke 2, and although this aspect of the story isn't often emphasized, tears came to my eyes when I was reading about Simeon, and at first, I wasn't really sure why.  It's a very simple story, and not even really that exciting, at least not the calling-fire-down-from-heaven-on-Mt.-Carmel-Elijah brand of exciting.  But I think that's part of what touched me about it.  Check out these short, simple verses:

Luke 2:25-32  And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.  (26)  And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.  (27)  And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,  (28)  Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,  (29)  Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:  (30)  For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,  (31)  Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;  (32)  A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

This guy was waiting for years and years, just waiting for the consolation of Israel.  What faithfulness!  Look at how it describes him: as just and devout, and the Holy Ghost was upon him.  That's all.  But he had a promise from God, and as the years went on, and he grew older, and the promise still didn't come, he didn't waver.  He waited.  And remained just and devout.  Then I can't imagine how he felt when at the climax, he finally saw the child that would redeem Israel!  After waiting for such a long time!  We get a clue, of course, by what he says: "Now, I can depart in peace, for my eyes have seen thy salvation!"  I believe it was an incredibly emotional experience.

Then I read on, and came to Anna, which is the prototype for faithfulness.
Luke 2:36-37  And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;  (37)  And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.

This lady was pretty old!  But she continued doing what she knew to do, her entire life!  Honoring God in the best way she knew how.   Why were these two the only ones to recognize the child when brought to His own temple, among all the scribes, lawyers, doctors, priests, etc., who knew the laws and the prophecies?  I believe it was because of their faithfulness.  Not to the temple...but to God.  That's something God loves.  I think that's part of the reason why He says the last will be first, and the first last, and the greatest must be a servant.  Love without recognition means so much more than with recognition.  (Matt. 6:5-6)

I could go on and on with examples in the Bible.  The "others" in Hebrews 11 is a good example.  Or the guy who is unknown to history, but receives a mention, by name, by Jesus in the book of Revelation as, " faithful martyr." (Rev. 2:13)  Rebekah, in Genesis 24, who stepped into God's will for her life, only because she was faithful in the little things.  Can you imagine if she had decided not to go to the well that day?  But that wouldn't have happened.  Why?  Because she was faithful.
Another example is the mercy God shows the Rechabites, the sons of Jonadab, just because they were faithful in obeying the commandment of their father.

Jeremiah 35:18  And Jeremiah said unto the house of the Rechabites, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Because ye have obeyed the commandment of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that he hath commanded you: 
Jeremiah 35:19  Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever. 

We tend to equate saving faith with belief.  I don't think that's the way the apostles thought about it.  To them, faith was a lifestyle, a consistent reaching forward, a trust and belief in God that didn't fail.  Over and over, the book of Revelation promises rewards to 'him that overcometh.'  Confessing Jesus with your mouth meant a lot more than simply saying a prayer.  It meant identifying yourself with someone you could be killed for.  It was total commitment.  It changed their lives.  Not just figuratively...literally.  Like a marriage vow...that vow means a whole lot more than a casual belief that the other person is cool.  It's a commitment to that person for life.  I love Jesus' words in Matthew 25: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."  I am willing to live my whole life just to hear those words.

If you want to be full of need to be faithful.  Those two terms are synonymous, even though we ironically think of them as separate things.

Consistency, endurance, and faithfulness are concepts God loves.  I always want to emulate those qualities...for a very good reason.  He has been faithful to me.  We love Him, because He first loved us.  THAT'S the most incredible thing about the concept of faithfulness!  How incredible and faithful GOD is to US!  In light of such grace--such unmerited favor--how could we respond any differently?

"Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed, Thy Hand has provided;
Great is Thy Faithfulness, God, unto me."

Luke 18:1-8

(1)  And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
(2)  Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
(3)  And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
(4)  And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
(5)  Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
(6)  And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
(7)  And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
(8)  I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (KJV)

(By the way...this is for free!  But relates to the topic.  I heard a fantastic message by Paul Washer, and if you can access youtube or Godtube and watch it it's worth it.  Look up Paul Washer--a shocking message.  It's presented in a passionate, truthful way.  Awesome stuff. )