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Someone tell me. What makes podcasting any different to C60 compilations?

Mr collins? Please wade in.


Funny you should mention it, but Paul and I are hoping to podcast 'The Bluffer's Guide to Christian Doctrine' - it's part of an attempt at open access theology. See VitualTheology.net for more details.

Paul Roberts

... or even virtualtheology.net (misspelt by Simon above) - he's a busy man.

I've had an idea over the past couple of months. Get about 8 creative worship groups to agree to produce a recording designed to provide the audio backbone of an act of worship which could either be for individuals or small groups. Beforehand, alert the listeners (by means of a linked webpage to the cast) of any other things they'll need by way of resources. Then upload the cast, and the act of worship would be reproduced in contexts around the net.

Some years ago, Resonance were approached by BBC Radio 1 with the idea of doing a recorded service. Icame back with an idea a bit like this (imagine alt.worship meets the ITV programme that used to encourage the viewers to light a candle at home), providing the audio feed, but the rest (ritual actions, symbols, etc.) would be up to the listener. They didn't bite. But the idea still intrigues me. With, say, eight groups on-board, each group would only need to do one every eight months, to produce a monthly resource. This would be great for individuals who are isolated from this kind of worship, and very small groups who are just starting out.


Nice ideas.

So no difference from a C60. Are we confusing technology with creativity? With Alt worship the medium really is becoming the message. "Use new technology, it's great!".

Suppose it's what Jonny means. How different are we? We've got to move from our comfortable curatorial position and into something more sustainable. Bricolage and cut/paste can only go so far.

Fernando Gros

good thoughts. but to flip it around, most non-innovators adapt to new technologies by using them to simplify or improve exisiting tasks. that's they way imaginations move to the next level. with email, it initially spread as a way to replicate existing tasks (snail mail, fax, telegramme, memo). for most of the mid to late 90s websites were simply electronic versions of exisiting forms of communication, like brochures, CVs and papers/books.

i don't plan to use podacsting for sermons but I wouldn't shun that application. in the churches were I worked in Sydney, sermon tapes would frequently circulate and podcasts would be a good replacement for that. however, I don't think using podcasts for that application would inhibit more creative uses.


the only difference in a C60 as far as i can see is convenience. in itunes or any other reader if you subscribe to a podcast it just sucks in the new data when it's been uploaded...
how about a domain name with C60 in it to do paul's suggestion. adrian riley had a similar idea i think...


Paul's idea sounds great. Daily bread is something God gives to us, we can only add atmosphere and setting for the word.

when thinking of new technology i remember something in the book AKA Lost, which describes when the clock was updated to work at sea by making it from 2 metals so that it can ride the magnetics or something. I see podcasts as primarily for people on the move, something to help worship on the train, to take you to God.

It is hard to see what God has planned for podcasts, but wasnt the internet merely used to transfer files at first?


Hopefully, more bloggers will weigh in with personal radio shows that revolve around areas of expertise and focus. Also--the ability to take the podcast on the road for more interviews-forums-live conversations and connections. I would have loved to of heard Re:source on podcast. At the same time--podcasts shouldn't turn into just blogging in audio or static sermons--but more thought-out and edgy conversations that bring new info on a continuos basis. Just some thoughts.

Tractor Girl

Interesting to note if this is the future that, (and I am ready to be corrected, as I am no techy,) it expects us all to have Broadband & equipment to download this lot onto.

Suddenly I feel that the future is set to be as "nice", "middle class" and for those who "have" as the present seems to be - strange thing was I thought the one clear thing emergent and emerging had in common with each other was the idea they were inclusive.


One way that has been talked about in our church for the use of podcasting is interviewing people in our faith community and putting those on the blog to allow people to get to know others in the community as the church continues to grow.

We haven't tried it yet, but it seems like a great way to encourage community and help people at our church connect. It might not have the appeal to tons of people outside our community to check it out, but it seems like it could serve a pretty cool purpose for us.

I would have to agree with some earlier posts too, though. If podcasting can be yet another aid to people who want to download the sermons, why not use it for that as well? And as far as the "future" being for those who "have", hopefully we can see technology as a way to include those who do have without losing things that also include those who don't. Let's let it be "both/and" as opposed to "either/or."

Phil Goodacre

Tractor Girl,
Your point was raised at the Re:source day in Birmingham, that Jonny has already blogged about.

An answer that was given there was that all this new media stuff should not be used just for the sake of it, just for the sake of being 'cool' - what ever that is. Rather, all this new media simply allows us to read the culture which is emerging around us. In a world which values connectability, opportunities to voice our opinions in ways lots of people can hear etc. how is the church responding?

While I think this is all well and good, I do agree with you that it runs the risk of being exclusive. What opportunities are there for those who unable to access the internet, don't know how to etc etc???

I don't think this means that the emerging church should stop using all this new media, but perhaps it does need to think about how accessible it is being to the whole of society. Does it need to challenge society, so that everybody does have the same opportunities? I'm not sure.

I look forward to hearing what other people who have the ability to post on here have to say.


Phil and Tractor Girl, I've been wondering about the same thing. I love learning and using various parts of new media. But I'm beginning to wonder if an over relliance on it both as a tool and a metephor makes us too exclusive. At this stage there are still a lot of people left out by finance, by fear of technology or just because thay haven't been shown how to use the technology.

I don't think we should retreat from the new media landscape, its an exciting new area to play in. But I wonder if we can find ways, as the church, of getting more people involved in the fun. We could do this through some form of skills exchange or training, or through setting up church based/non-profit internet cafes. I don't know, these are just ideas and maybe people are already doing them.


As a judge on the Jerusalem Radio awards I have suggested that we have a category next year for podcasts. Perhaps it will raise the consideration of how podding can most effectively be used.

Paul Roberts

The C60 point is correct up to a point - all podcasts give is an audio stream, they don't make you coffee as well. However, I think that if my audio feed worship/ambience provision idea is taken up, we would find that the techniques to make a really good, powerful worship resourse would need to be developed. It would, after all, take an extra leap of the imagination to work out how to do an audio resource that was flexible to allow a wide range of adaptation and still be useful. Which makes Fernando Gros' point a very good one to my way of thinking.

Paul Roberts

The C60 point is correct up to a point - all podcasts give is an audio stream, they don't make you coffee as well. However, I think that if my audio feed worship/ambience provision idea is taken up, we would find that the techniques to make a really good, powerful worship resourse would need to be developed. It would, after all, take an extra leap of the imagination to work out how to do an audio resource that was flexible to allow a wide range of adaptation and still be useful. Which makes Fernando Gros' point a very good one to my way of thinking.


Am I being totally naive in not knowing what C60 is?


One aspect of alt. worship is the two-way dynamism. If a podcast is merely top down then there is little change from professional clerics who "do it" and amateur laity who are "done to".

Love Paul's idea, but what about creative installations that require an audio output from the worshippers which can be podcast as well (reciting instant poetry, making improvised music etc) perhaps allowing the individual away from the community to partake not just of the instructions, but also the act (a little bit like saying the Daily Office on my own so as to be somehow part of the communion of saints throughout time).


BTW surely if we want any integrity from our unchurched peers we should be thinking about C90s. A C60 couldn't get an album on either side and a C120 stretched as soon as you took the wrapper off, but a C90 was perfection...


With you there Howard. I was always a C90 boy myself; I've heard Nic was a little short with his C60s...

I think this touches on a wider debate about the 'democratisation' of creative processes that technology offers.

15 years ago if you were going to publish a flyer, record some music, edit some video, release some audio widely you would have to have highly specialist equipment, and to get hold of that you either needed to be very rich, or well trained in that field - which suggested some development of talent.

These days, any old sod can record an album in their bedroom and make it widely available. This can be a really good thing... I don't think The Streets would have 'made it' in an old-world music industry framework.

However, it also brings problems. Suddenly everyone's a designer. Everyone's an editor. Everyone' a producer. I know this pisses off Nic - who's the 'real thing' with all the history and background knowledge to inform his work - but I don't think we can go back on it.

The problem then becomes: given that virtually anyone can output any artform, how do we distinguish what's any good? It used to be simple: the critics were linked in a symbiotic relationship to the industries they were critiquing. Everyone was in everyone else's pockets and what was good was who was 'in' at the time. Now the field has been blown wide open. If a million songs are being podcasted every week, how the hell will what's really good rise to the surface, and how the hell will any real movement of style evolve? Are we about to witness the end of distinguishable 'waves' of music as we are overwhelmed with a sea of tat, or will this democratisation bring about opportunities for new genuis to be uncovered? [Personally, I don't ever think there'll be another 'Beatles' or another 'Pistols'. I fear everything is just pastiche from now on in.]

I think some of the emergent theory I've written about could touch on this, but I'd like to hear other responses first.

Jon Green

Funny that, I was having a chat online with a friend last night who mentioned that they were going to launch a new podcast soon...

I thought that sounded like a great idea esp. since the church in question could deliver some excellent content! I asked what they were thinking of and he said they were going to post the sermons:-) Good as that might be, I think they are missing out on the best.

In some ways I think the sermon route is taken because its an easy option that creates little extra work but adds "kudos" to the church cos it has embraced "podcasting".

Fernando Gros

fwiw, i've blogged a few further thoughts on this topic...


thanks everyone for the conversation/thoughts...

i see the shift in publishing as good rather than bad. it's fantastic that people don't have to hire a music studio to make music. and it's even better that they don't have to pay to duplicate 500 CDs to sell but can just upload it. i agree with you kester that of course there is a load of stuff that isn't worth listening to but so what... isn't the overall move from consumption to production a good one and my guess is that people creating are having a good time.

it's a myth that in the old world good stuff got to the top because of some elitist designers and producers - it either got there on merit but a lot of stuff got there because it suited certain markets - have a look at the music chart for the last 30 years. good stuff tends to be the exception. i know loads of people who i thohght deserved to make it on merit but never got the breaks. the creative undreground has always existed. it's just a lot bigger now...

my experience with blogs is that it doesn't take long to look through a few and soon find ones that you like/ are good - generally they have either good content or are a hub for a partiicular conversation. i'm sure podcasts will be the same. i have actually hardly found one worth listening to so far other than the bbc which i find sort of amusing... but i live in hope. i think bloggers just reciting what they would write is utterly dull - it's much easier to glance at a page of text and work out if it's of ineterest than to download someone speaking - but anyway i digress...

so i think to quote the great citizen smith 'power to the people' - let's create. let the designers and producers who are good get stuck in and prove it - it isn't good enough to moan and say 'hey i've been trained'. who gives a ****?

i run a record label in my spare time - there's no way we can put the creative effort we put in to an album into a podcast - so i can see that i could come up with a few ideas to put out there into the ether at some stage but equally get my head down and still publish stuff that takes longer and is still expensive to produce (time, tools etc) and sell that in either old or new media...

as for technology being exclusive. phones, tvs, washing machines, fridges, CD players, computers, radios etc - still the preserve of the world's rich and we are part of that. i'm all for spreading the use of internet and so on but i'm not about to hide in a cave either...

Tractor Girl

Ben and Phil, I agree with you totally - the issue is about extending access.

I think the technology itself is really exciting & look forward to discovering the results of this more cutting edge stuff.

Mark Waddington

Haven't read all the comments yet. I would not rule out Podcasting sermons if they are worth listening to (though few are), but I agree, there is a much greater creative opportunity.

For me the big one is the intimacy. Podcasters speak directly into another’s person’s ear, literally. Another is it’s immediacy - I heard a Podcast by The Catholic Insider describing the tension he experienced watching for the papal white smoke. The Podcast told a powerful story and caught the emotion of the moment in a very believable and authentic way.


Phil G

Is it just me or did Cross Rythmns organisation not invent this by putting their radio programmes onto CDs???? Or do I not understand podcasting?


we've always spent our time immersed in a sea of tat.

one of the joys of life is not only knowing what's good but also being violently opposed to anyone else's opinions if they don't match.

podcasts won't change a thing. shite is shite however it's distributed.

some good stuff will get through, some will be discovered by a few, some will never be heard/seen/smelt.

is the pleasure in the creation or the knowledge that someone noticed?


I would love to see the podcast be inclusive for it's own sake. I read on so many blogs about all these differing mediums of worship and how theology re-explored is surfacing in alt.gatherings, but in somewhere evangelical, america, I don't have access to it.

Now I have high speed, which sets me against someone who doesn't, but that's why we still do church analogue style. Your contribution shared over podcast might meet an unintended audience through the manual transmission of the local church.

I did a voiceover recording of Gesthemane from Jonny's book, alternative worship, which I ordered online. It was an extremely moving experience for a Good Friday congregation who had never heard anything like it. The internet delivered a powerful glimpse into the meta-offering of this growing community.

I hope that more virtualtheology.net stuff appears. I would love to experience some of what I read about on this blog (and others), even if it's just audio.

a very wordy encouragment to podcast, godcast, post-modcast or whatever...it creates experiences. It does.

Tim Bednar

Thank God the most popular podcasts in religion are not sermon retreads. Top ten from Podcast Alley...

1. Catholic Insider
Catholic Insider - your daily dose of catholic inside information. News, interviews, music, reviews, audio-documentaries and information about the Catholic faith and lifestyle.

2. RevTim Podcast
Bringing hope through real-life discussion and experiences. Inspiration, absolutely real, fun, interesting, and ... positive. This is a Podcast that will make you think and you will enjoy it's content.

3. Cuying
The podcast of Fr. Stephen Cuyos, a Filipino missionary of the Sacred Heart (MSC). He hopes to communicate through this podcast God's liberating message of joy, peace and love.

4. JediTrainer.com - Redi...
Deep thoughts from a blend of ancient Huna, Christianity, Buddism, Zen, and a dash of Hinduism

5. Lifespring!
Lifespring! is where you can hear about the One who loves you unconditionally and who gave His life for you...Jesus Christ. Music, conversation, and reasons to believe. Presented in a conversational manner, there will be very few sermons here...excerpts at most.

6. Stupid Church People
Church People can be really stupid. Just listen to us!

7. The Catholic Cast
The Catholic Cast is updated often with the latest catholic news, commentary, and opinions on all things catholic.

8. Praystation Portable
With this podcast, you can turn any portable mediaplayer into a 'Praystation Portable '. When you subscribe to the feed, you'll be able to download a daily morning and evening prayer that you can take with you on the road.

9. Catholic Mormon Podcas...
How the heck could a Catholic and a Mormon ever find peace? Sarah was born and raised Mormon while Rob is a cradle Catholic. This podcast takes a light hearted look at the trials, tears and turn-abouts that ultimately led this couple to start a family and love the Catholic faith. This podcast addresses issues when the largest Christian faith (Catholic) crosses paths with one of the fastest growing religions in the world.

10. Rachel's Choice
Weekly independent Christian music track and Bible verse, hosted by the youngest podcaster with a regular show. 8-year-old Rachel Patchett has great taste in music (thanks to her Dad!) and will surprise you with her picks...check it out


we've been talking about doing podcasts of music and meditations for people to use while walking around the art gallery here in melbourne.


I was about to post something and then read cheryl's comment which is exactly along the same lines. my big question is "where will people listen to it"? What if you had the opportunity to help open people's eyes to see and experience grace no matter where they were - on the train, at work, in the art gallery, walking, whatever. What open questions would you ask? What mood would you seek to evoke? What attentiveness might you seek to foster? What sensitivity might you instill?

It could be seen as a "message" medium, but what if podcasting helped your iPod to be more of a talisman? Literally a hand-held prayer guide/ritual/symbol - almost a 'listening to God' thing?

I would see/offer a choice of podcasts more like the aromas in aromatherapy or recipes in a cookbook. People make a scent or cuisine-type choice as an accompaniment to their day. Smell the roses. See the ripples. Taste the cherries. It's evocative and reflective. moody, milky, meaty.

sorry but I get alliterative sometimes...

I don't have an iPod... yet...


Hey Coffee for One gives you music (this weeks is RiverTribe, Scripture, life application, and Coffee! I love the podcast there!



what would Jesus listen to????

Leonard Payne

An interesting and very creative thread. Great ideas. I want however, to get back to Johnny's original post regarding not using sermons and how the medium should change the content (I paraphrase!)

When moving film came out, the first thing the new cinematographers did was to point the camera at the live stage and get the actors to act. It was only later did they realise that this new medium did not require them to. - It did in fact free them up.

Nonetheless, to go as far as McLuhan did, and I think where jonny wants us to go - to believe that the "medium is the message" is IMHO to miss the point and to fall in love the with the tech.

If the Christian faith cannot be communicated, then we are wasting out time. Admittedly communication is not bounded by "words" - there is plenty of non-verbal communication but that becomes so subjective.

I don't believe that it was an accident that God "spoke" and it was.
He communicated verbally.

Now I know that that explanation does not exhaust all forms of communication. But until they come out with a iPod that does /audio/video/smells/taste/... a totally sensory experience then what we go is what we got.

The Coffee for One site is a creative development- But as a newbie in this field, I am gonna start with the sermon. It was gratifying that iTunes showed up as being responsible for over 1400 downloads of my first offering within 7 days.

We've only started.



Reinventing Church in a Rural Context


c60's... yes joinny - i am still working on (what i believe will be) the world's first totally analogue alt.worship website.

actually it's just a way of getting all the ideas from HOST etc that are currently stuffed into envlopes and down the back of the sofa back into the world for anyone who can use them.

we just happened to start with tape cassettes and so that's where i'll start the site. to be honest, if i was doing it all again i'd still maybe start with tape casettes. but then i am a closet luddite...


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