Sunday, July 31, 2016

Dead Theologians Society: St. Ignatius of Loyola

One of the most significant figures of the 16th Century, St. Ignatius left behind a legacy of accomplishments that still resonate in the Church to this day.
Born in 1491, the nobleman spent his early adulthood in military service. His legs were severely injured by a cannonball, and in his convalescence read a “Life of Christ” which influenced the rest of his life. After his recovery, his conversion led him to a life of service.

In 1534, he and six companions created the Society of Jesus, whose member became known as Jesuits. In the nearly 5 centuries of its existence, the Society has become a leading voice in Catholicism promoting academic excellence and cultural pursuits. Currently, the Jesuits offer spiritual retreats, minister in hospitals, and promote social justice and ecumenical dialogue. The current Pope, Francis, is the first Jesuit to become Pope.

His “Spiritual Exercises” have long been a critical component of spiritual formation in the Catholic Church. Over the last few decades, many Evangelicals and other Protestants have also found value in Ignatian spirituality.

Among the many words of wisdom that Ignatius left behind is this encouragement to service: “Teach us to give and not count the cost.”

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Audiofeed 2016 - Listening to Friends

I was going through the performer schedule a few weeks before the festival, to plan out my days and cross my fingers that two acts I want to see wouldn’t be playing on different stages at the same time. And during that process, I ran into the spoken-word performer Keyoung, and mentioned to my wife that his name seemed familiar. I wondered if we had seen him perform at a festival before?
It turns out that I remembered the name because my wife had mentioned it before, as she actually knows Keyoung. He used to work at the church where she still does work. The whole family was not able to see him perform at Audiofeed this year, but my wife heard his show, and they chatted after the show. Here is a link to a song of his.

This reminded me that at Cornerstone 2010 we were able to see another set of friends, Marco and Sara Castro. I’m pretty sure at least one of them also worked at the church where my wife works – to be fair, it’s a big church. Anyway, they are an acoustic duo who perform around town a fair amount, but it was great to see them on the bigger stage of Cornerstone. As it was with Keyoung at Audiofeed this year.
Always great to see friends play at a big event.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Audiofeed 2016 - Aracely & Maron

Our first day at Audiofeed began with a tour of the fairgrounds. The Festival was definitely bigger than 2014. There were a few new performance tents in the main area of the grounds, and one large tent was set up in the “outskirts,” all by itself on the other side of the grandwtands.  We later learned that this was the screamo heavy metal tent.
We started our festival by setting up in the Radon Lounge, which was more often than not the singer-songwriter stage. And we saw the first two acts of the day, Aracely and Maron.
Aracely is a bilingual performer, and most of the songs we heard from her were in Spanish. She played Audiofeed last year, but this was the first time we had seen her perform. She had a very pleasant vibe, and I enjoyed her set. She has an album out on Grrr Records, the label associated with the Jesus People USA community.
Maron Gaffron was a regular at Cornerstone. I saw her in 2007, my first time at that fest. I was immediately impressed and bought her album “Uptown.” Along with many of the Cornerstone / Grrr artists, she made the move to being an Audiofeed regular. She plays piano and guitar, which is a good thing because her guitar stopped working during her set, and she ended with three piano-only songs. What I like about her is that she has “down to earth” lyrics, giving her songs a “lived-in” feel.  I also like that she hangs out at the fest for its duration, often joining other performers as a backup singer.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Podcast #006 - Talking "Spirit Blade"

"Exploring a World of Shadows."

In this all-new sixth podcast episode, Emily & Alan talk about the Spirit Blade audio drama series, a gripping, futuristic sci-fi tale. The third part of the trilogy, "A World of Shadows," has just been released.

We talk with Spirit Blade creator and producer Paeter Frandsen about the 10-year journey that he has gone on to complete the trilogy.

The episode closes with some great listener feedback.

Click on the player below to listen to the episode:

Right-click to download the episode.

You may also subscribe to the podcast through iTunes or the RSS Feed.

Link: Purchase "Spirit Blade: A World of Shadows" 
Link: The Spirit Blade Underground Podcast

Link: Anderson Cale's music 

We would love to hear from you about this issue, the podcast episode, or the podcast in general. Send e-mail feedback to 

You can follow Alan on twitter @ProfessorAlan

Friday, July 15, 2016

Audiofeed 2016 - Travel Tales

For as long as I have been attending Christian festivals (which is pretty much as long as I’ve been a Christian), Cornerstone was the Holy Grail. Eventually, once, I was going to make it there.
But at the time, the drive was in the 16 hour range, which made it unreasonably far away. But it was still on the long-term “to do someday” list. In 1999, we moved about halfway closer, cutting the drive to about 9 hours. Even though the last hours, past nothing but cornfields and windmills, seemed like half a day.
Audiofeed made the drive much easier, moving from the western edge of Illinois to the eastern. This cut the travel time to less than 6 hours. Not having to get p at the crack of dawn makes for a much less stressful start to a family vacation. And a particular Steak-n-Shake is turning into our go-to lunch place.
About 100 miles out from Audiofeed, we passed a van painted like the Scooby-Doo “Mystery Machine,” with a Jesus-themed bumper sticker. We joked that they were obviously headed to Audiofeed. I actually thought it was possible, maybe a 40% chance that they were actually Audiofeed-ers.
When we drove through the front gate of the fairgrounds the next morning, what was parked in the front camping area? That same van, with that same bumper sticker.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Audiofeed 2016 - History & Backstory

The Cornerstone Festival ran from 1984-2012. It was not the first Christian music festival, nor the biggest, nor the most glamorous. But it was the most unusual, the most eclectic, and I would argue the most important.

Every other fest fell into line as mainstream evangelical events, populated by musical acts popular in evangelical bookstores and radio. But Cornerstone always remained committed to its own progressive sense of community, faith, art & music. When Cornerstone ended in 2012, I worried that the important, alternative, prophetic voice that Cornerstone represented would not have a home in the years to come. But a small group of Cornerstone veterans refused to let the community go.


In 2013,the Audiofeed festival was born. It was a tiny festival compared to its predecessor, but the feel of Cornerstone was definitely there. Each year, it has grown – more tickets sold, more stages, more bands, and more speakers. And as it forges its own identity, the heritage of Cornerstone is still recognizable.
Audiofeed 2016 was the biggest one yet. The tents were notably more crowded, despite there being more tents than ever before. The mix of bands, events, ad seminars made it our most enjoyable Audiofeed yet.
 Here’s to many more.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Spirit Blade 3 is coming!

The Spirit Blade Underground podcast was among the very first group of podcasts we discovered, nearly a decade ago. And we have purchased and enjoyed the Spirit Blade audio drama / musical productions that Paeter Frandsen has released over the years, Spirit Blade and the sequel Spirit Blade: Dark Ritual

And after a wait of many years, the 3rd and final part of the trilogy, Spirit Blade: A World of Shadows, is scheduled to be released on Monday, July 18. Here is the trailer.