SilverPen’s First Podcast

I’ve mentioned before (through MySpace and Twitter) that I have some interest in podcasting, but it was the somewhat indecipherable interest of a young boy staring at shiny things. “Why do you need that?” an older me might ask, and younger me would simply point and exclaim, “Shiny!”

There was no need to be met by podcasting, no call for me to do it or demand that I record my voice. But it seemed kind of cool, and I wanted to join the cool crowd who recorded things that were subsequently listened to on the Internet.

Of course, I never did it, because I had no content. What would I speak on? Who would care? What’s the point? All valid questions, and all made completely moot last Tuesday.

I was speaking on the subject of Romance at FnC (the college ministry I helped found a few years ago) and decided not to print my notes out. Now that I have a laptop capable of super-mega-cool things like staying-on-for-more-than-thirty-minutes, I thought I’d just use that instead of wasting paper.

And since I’d have my MacBook there, and Macs are known for their sexy audio capture and editing capabilities, I thought, “Huh, why not hit a record button before I start?”

And that is what I did. I cut out the very beginning when I was moving chairs and the very end, which were just weekly announcements. Other than that, it’s unedited, for which I partially apologize. Since FnC is somewhat discussion-focused, you can’t hear everyone on the track, and there are a number of clicks and claps at the beginning that hail from unknown sources.

In general, I was very impressed with the MacBook’s built-in microphone, and it was a pretty easy process. Publishing a podcast was less straightforward, but thanks to the Podcasting plugin, even that is relatively easy.

The talk was around 34 minutes, so if you’re interested in hearing me ramble about romance, movies, Arthurian legends, chastity, and purity, I invite you to give it a listen.

Available on iTunes and for local download [mp3 format] (though I really encourage iTunes as they have way more bandwidth than me!).

As with everything published by me, this podcast is licensed under a CC BY-ND-NC license.

PS There was also a request for the notes I used during this talk. I’d recommend holding off on reading them until after you listen to the podcast as it totally ruins the surprise 😉 But if you like, you can get a PDF copy of them for your perusal.

This subject will be the focus of a chapter in my upcoming book, Common Thoughts.

Don’t Pull Your Punches

I'd really like to own this poster someday, JUST LETTING YOU KNOW.
I'd really like to own this poster someday, JUST LETTING YOU KNOW.

I’m currently taking a 200-level religion class that is required for my major, though I somehow overlooked it until last semester (I’m currently in my sixth year at Missouri State University, partially due to how much I suck at reading degree audits) so I’m just now taking it. Paths of World Religions is essentially a world-religion-summary class, with an hour or two dedicated to each religion in a whirlwind tour of belief systems.

Unlike most 200-level religion classes, I have been surprised to see that a lot of the class is actually interested in the subject and excited to be learning this stuff. Since it also counts as a general education requirement (which is the reason most people are in there), you usually see students who are just looking for a grade, but this particular class has a lot of people who honestly want to learn about religion.

That’s all fine and well, and it’s nice to see, but they’re also people who are only now being introduced to some of these religions and concepts. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it means that their conclusions are usually wrong.

And though I like the teacher, who is a very nice woman with a great deal of energy and exuberance, I think that she should probably be telling them that.

When a student compares the Buddha to Jesus, stating that the Buddha was doing OK but then made a mistake and sinned so he had to go out into the desert and meditate/pray before becoming a religious leader, well that’s just wrong. It’s historically inaccurate, and though there are some similarities between the moral codes of Christianity and Buddhism, the view that they’re practically the same religion is incorrect.

We don’t do a person any favours when we go on letting someone think something that is wrong. Yeah, you can inform them nicely, but you still have to tell them the truth or they will continue being ignorant. There’s nothing wrong with ignorance in and of itself–we’re all there until we gain in knowledge on a particular subject–so I don’t think it’s something to be feared, ashamed of, or hidden. But I do take umbrage with people who 1) willingly remain ignorant or 2) allow someone to remain that way, particularly if the person is looking for knowledge.

So if you’re hear someone say something that’s wrong, correct them. Tell them they’re wrong and then explain how, why, and what the truth is. You’re not doing them any favours by pulling your punches and letting them think they’re smart for making a connection between the Tao Te Ching and the Hebrew Bible simply because they’re both religious texts. We have an obligation to spread truth and knowledge, and sometimes that will mean telling someone they’re wrong. Don’t worry, they can probably handle it.

And if they can’t, then I guess they’ll have to learn how to.

The Teachings of Ignorance

For my Buddhism class, we had the option of either writing a 15 page research paper or doing a creative project; I suspect this was largely to encourage people to do a creative piece instead. I opted to work on an epic poem, but unfortunately did not have the idea for it until late in the semester, at which time I scrapped all my previous work and began writing The Teachings of Ignorance. As such, what I have completed in time for the due date is only a first, rough draft, because this story deserves a lot more work and expansion than I had time for.

You can read the poem below, but if you’re really interested in seeing the final product, be sure to either subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this page, or subscribe to the site in general. You can also, down at the bottom of the page, check a box and put in your email address to receive updates that way. I will continue work on this as quickly as I’m able, but don’t expect it to be complete until February 2009, and potentially as late as July 2009 if next semester goes as poorly (read: is as busy) as I expect.

The Teachings of Ignorance

Marahasvu declares the jewels:
the Buddha, the dharma, the sangha,
the Guru, capstone of strength and wisdom-
without him the structure falls,
built ignorantly and without thought.

Think on this:

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It’s a “Jump” to Conclusions Mat!

I just read this comment on a blog talking about how Obama is smearing McCain on his stance towards immigration. The article is irrelevant, but the comment annoys me:

Posted by llz 07:01 AM, 09/28/2008
great job kevin your article is (w)right on the money. when liberals post angry comments you know someone is writing the truth.

No. All you know from “liberals posting angry comments” is that people (whom you think are liberals) are posting angry comments.

It doesn’t mean the article is true, it just means he made people angry, either because they disagree with his opinion or because he was lying. It doesn’t really matter which, I just find myself annoyed when a conclusion doesn’t follow from the evidence or statement.

I’m sure there’s some Latin term for that, but I don’t feel like looking it up. I think I’ll just call it “ignorant.”