At its most basic level podcasting is little more than posting MP3 audio-files to a website that can then be downloaded on command or even subscribed to with an RSS feed. What is cool is that there are now several podcasting software packages designed to automatically dump those files into iTunes and/or onto an iPod so that essentially you can have niche audio programming available any time you want it. Think TiVo for radio—but without the radio or the TiVo! It’s like internet radio—but without the need for streaming files, broadcast fees, broadband trafficking, or massive broadcast server space. It is so simple—and yet such a huge leap forward in communications technology. It is also an extraordinary opportunity for the proclamation of the Gospel. Discover the wildly varied world of niche broadcasting at the remarkable iPodder.org site. Check out the EnduranceRadio broadcasts for runners and triathaloners (they've got new interviews with Jeff Galloway and Jon Bingham) or visit the guys from the band Downhere--they've already got their first podcast up and running with an RSS feed and all! I'll try to get a full list of my favorite podcasts up tomorrow. But, you'll want to be exploring this ever-expanding universe yourself.
I am already planning some experiments with some podcasting content of my own. I’m going to produce a daily “today in history” segment. And I am going to edit down some of my sermons and lectures to fit into a 30-minute format. Once I get the files digitized, I’ll post them to the website and see how many iPods we can get cranking!
In Memoriam: Dr. Edmund P. Clowney
Yesterday, Westminster Theological Seminary's first president and one of the most gifted communicators I have ever heard, Edmund P. Clowney, went to sleep in Charlottesville, Virginia and woke up in Heaven. He was 87 years young.
Dr. Clowney was a friend, a mentor, and a generous teacher to me and to several generations of Christian leaders. I am humbled and blessed just to have known him.
According to the official obituary posted on the Westminster Seminary website, Dr. Clowney was born in Philadelphia in 1917, received his B.A. from Wheaton College in 1939, a Th. B. from Westminster Theological Seminary in 1942, an S.T.M from Yale University Divinity School in 1944, and a D.D. from Wheaton College in 1966. Ordained in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, he served as pastor of several churches from 1942 to 1946 and was then invited to become assistant professor of practical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in 1952. He became that institution’s first president in 1966, and remained there until 1984, when he took a post as theologian-in-residence at Trinity Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Charlottesville, Virginia. In 1990 Ed and Jean moved to Escondido, California, where Dr. Clowney was adjunct professor at Westminster Seminary California. In 2001, he took a full-time position as associate pastor at Christ the King Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Houston, Texas. After two years, he moved back to Charlottesville, where he once again became part-time theologian-in-residence at Trinity Presbyterian Church. He remained in this role until his death. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Jean Wright Clowney; by his five children: David Clowney, Deborah Weininger, Paul Clowney, Rebecca Jones, and Anne Foreman; by his twenty-one grandchildren; and by his eleven great grandchildren.
Apart from all the facts and stats, anyone who knew him would tell you that Dr. Clowney was a compassionate counselor; a devoted servant of Jesus Christ, His Word, and His church; a peacemaker; and a true visionary. He dreamed for Christ’s kingdom and was instrumental in the birth or furtherance of such ministries as the Reformed Theological Seminary in Aix-en-Provence, France; Westminster Seminary California; Trinity Church, Charlottesville; the Lausanne Conference; InterVarsity ministries, both in the United States and in England; and “The Westminster Ministerial Institute,” an inner-city training program for pastors in Philadelphia, out of which the Lord developed the Center for Urban Theological Studies. He also had a life-long interest in children’s Christian education materials.
Dr. Clowney will be remembered first and formost as a preacher, perhaps the most gifted proponent and practitioner of redemptive-historical preaching of this generation. He was unique in his ability to pick up the threads of redemptive history and to weave a rich expositional tapestry that brought Christ in all his perfections and glory before God’s people so that they were drawn to love and worship the Redeemer.
His writing displays the great theme of his life, namely Christ’s presence in the whole of Scripture and His present work in the church. His books include Preaching and Biblical Theology, Called to the Ministry, Christian Meditation, Doctrine of the Church, The Message of I Peter, The Unfolding Mystery, and Preaching Christ in all of Scripture. Some of these titles have been translated for the benefit of the worldwide church. His last book, How Christ Transforms the Ten Commandments, was accepted by his publisher only days before his death.
Dr. Clowney left behind a legacy not only of written books and articles, but a great number of sermons and lectures, as well as magazine columns such as the humor column “Eutychus and His Pin” for Christianity Today and Bible studies for TableTalk. His sense of humor and his love for people left a mark wherever he went. In the last week of his life, one attending nurse, laughing as she left his room, exclaimed, “What a sweet man!” Those who knew and loved him would agree. His tender-hearted encouragement and wisdom will be greatly missed, but his work will be established by his Master who has now welcomed him with those stunning words of grace: “Well-done, good and faithful servant, enter now into the joy of your Lord!”