26 May 2010

Why Madrid?

We do media work out of Madrid, Spain. It's missionary work that reaches into at least 20 other languages right now and has been in as many as 50 languages at any given time. It's nice to live in Spain, but honestly I'd rather be back in KC with friends and family, but I know I have a mission from God to do this work.

So the most frequently asked question: Why Madrid? The group we work with International Media Ministries used to be in Brussels, Belgium. We thought we were going back there originally, but after we applied to be missionaries the police raided the building in Brussels. The story that I've heard is that they cracked down on visas and someone at the church nearby wasn't quite legal and somehow that spilled across the street to IMM and other ministries. Eventually negotiations opened up the opportunity for the church and school to continue, but the authorities didn't budge on the media people having visas.

So a search started for somewhere else to locate the ministry. We weren't part of this and don't know the whole story except they were looking a lot of places. The Spanish church offered some land and said they believed in IMM. Free land and support, a done deal.

Spain as it turns out is very arid and looks a bit like the lands Jesus walked on earth and so we are able to shoot a lot of things around the corner from our new offices in olive groves. That was an unexpected benefit. Our productions because of people and location, do not look American. That's important when we are sending it into a variety of places in the world, some of which are hostile to the US or don't want to be fed "western" ideas. It's a bit of divine serendipity that occured with the move to Spain.

We are also sort of mid-way in the world for working with people from other cultures on projects be they from Asia, Africa, or other parts of Europe. We are also at hand for the variety of broadcaster meetings and connections that are often made in Europe. This is how we get the products we make out on the airwaves, so the meetings are crucial to getting the good news out to people.

So it has been a blessing we never expected. The people have been very kind to us as foreigners in their land and we have learned a lot living there. We do enjoy our time in Spain, but it's certainly not Kansas.

21 May 2010

Fads or phases?

As many of you know, I am deeply moved by the suffering of women caught in human trafficking or living in societies that marginalize women. We are beginning to see a lot on news casts, from non-profits, and religious organizations with these themes. CNN Video and article Iranian women in jeopardy

I am moved to the point of it impacting my life and what I strive to do, but I remember other times when the church or society has gotten behind things and then, well, lost interest. It's not that the issue goes away or is miraculously cured, but I wonder if it is that we wear out our collective consciousness on a certain theme or subject. Am I wrong? Can you see this?

In the 1980s, as a teenager the issue was abortion. Obviously a painful topic for those who have experienced and a sensitive one for those against it. There were conferences and marches and legislation limiting who could get what, where, and where the protesters could stand and so on.

AIDS also arose a bit later in the 80s and through the 90s we heard much about it. Movie stars took up the cause and did fund raisers and raised awareness. Africa has suffered hugely under this burdensome disease. Still no cure, medications to help things, but are we still deeply embedded with the message?

I am not saying, please don't get me wrong, that these example issues are not still important they are. But that's my point, we don't shout as loud as we once did. I'm already concerned about the day we move on from the victims of trafficking. Not that they will all be freed but our consciousness will be called away.

Am I imagining these "fads" of interest or is this real?

19 May 2010

Advice for pastors in book form

I heard once that legally you have to disclose if you get a book for free and review it. That may only be in print, but there's my discloser.

This book is aimed at pastors and keep in mind that I am not one, nor have I ever been one. I was intrigued to know what their challenges are because I meet and talk to pastors in the fund raising for missions part of my life.

Dick Hardy takes a down-to-earth no nonsense approach to church management and growth. While he emphasizes time and time again, the need for earnest prayer in the journey the tips he does give are practical.

Twenty-seven Tough Questions Pastors Ask strikes me as a great introductory read in the area of pastoral problems. It is the tip of the proverbial iceberg. It's a small book and could have been expanded to include more detail in specifics. i.e. In discussing a budget: "Always prepare for the worst and when it happens you will not be caught off guard...Be smart and exercise aggressive conservatism in the management of your budget." This IS good advice, but you sort have to know what that means already in order to do it.

If someone has an accompanying natural leadership capability, leadership book, or good street smarts they will get a ton, out of this book. I imagine lots of pastors are leader-ly, but some may need help knowing what that looks like in real life. This book is a step in that direction and leaves room for Hardy to write another book on the subject.

Based on past posts, I should say this book seems to have come through a self-publishing route and it seems to be edited pretty smoothly and have a good look for the cover. It was an interesting peek into the pastoral world. I'm sure it is going to be a good tool to feed into the author's consulting business. www.thehardygroup.org

13 May 2010

A New day in publishing

I've been reading articles for a few months now about the state of publishing in the USA and let's just say the ground is shaking.  (Here's a recent LONG article about it.) The industry has been in trouble for a while. They keep putting more money into big name best seller types and squeezing out people who can't produce the best sellers and giving less chance to what we call mid-list authors.

Apparently less people are reading books - there's more and more competition for our free time attention. The strange and interesting thing is that all the ebook type devices (kindle, nook, ipad, etc) is that sales are up. While this is good news, the publishers are in a mess. Massive competition exists for the few dollars a book brings in and how it is divided up (publisher, agent, seller, author).

The ebooks are potentially adding pictures, videos, and graphics to regular books to make them more alluring to people into that AND to be able to possibly charge a little extra for those particular books.

Amazon and I think the Apple people are offering authors a unique chance to sell direct to the public. In the past, "self publishing" has really had a negative reputation, but some already established authors are making some good money on posting their own work for sale direct.  This is a dramatic development.

I personally make no predictions about where this is all going to land and who is going to get paid what by whom. That is for the big dogs to decide. But as an aspiring book author and published short story writer, I feel for the first time a glimmer of hope I haven't felt for a while. To be well respected in the past, you absolutely had to follow the agent/publisher route. As a person who knows how to layout and design a book, I've wondered about the wisdom of doing so. I know professional editing is worth the price and the polish you get, but the selling direct to the audience and cutting out all the people who get a cut of the book price. Wow! Revolutionary stuff going on these days. I wonder if I will get to join in someday.

06 May 2010

Itineration Playlist

So part of our itinerate life of fund raising is many hours in the car. Did I say many? So all sorts of things get chatted about when we run out of radio stations. An on going theme from the last time we did this five years ago and still today is the idea of creating a list of songs that go with itinerate fund raising. Now, please, please, please, take this as it is meant -- silly and sarcastic.

The songs either relate to traveling, fund raising, or the heartache of feeling like a salesman on a cold call. Don't be offended as the songs are secular and often there is only one line in the song that applies but it is too good to leave off the list. Also I'm a little embarrassed but the list reflects my age somewhat (and my husbands), so please help me include other eras.

Here is our list, ever growing, and I'd love to hear any other songs that you would add, especially if you are involved in the process of receiving our phone calls or you've had to do something similar.

In no particular order:
I been everywhere man, Johnny Cash
Don't have to live like a refugee, Tom Petty
On the Road Again, Willie Nelson
Ring my bell, Gloria Gaynor
Knockin' on Heaven's Door, Guns N' Roses
I will survive, Gloria Gaynor
Puttin' on the Ritz (take your pick of artists)
Missionary Man, Eurythmics
Blue Morning, Blue Day, Foreigner
Turn the page, Bob Seger
Seven Nation Army, White Stripes (because we have to drive through Wichita a lot and that is mentioned)
Rawhide, Blues Brothers
I can't drive 55, Sammy Hagar
I will do anything for love, Meatloaf
I'll be gone when th morning comes, Meatloaf
Life is bigger than You and you are not me, REM
It's the end of the world as we know it, REM
I won't back down, Tom Petty
Kansas City Here I come, (your pick of artists) This is personal because we live in KC and we are always headed back there.
Life during War Time, Talking Heads
Heartbreak Hotel, Elvis.
Ventura Highway, America
Take the Money and Run, Steve Miller Band
Life in the Fast Lane, Eagles
Every girl's crazy bout a sharp dressed man, ZZtop
Money for Nothing, Dire Straits
Own Personal Jesus, Johnny Cash
On the radio, Donna Summer (as in what is on the...)
Six Months in a Leaky Boat, Split Endz
Hit the Road Jack, Ray Charles
Respect, Aretha Franklin
Living on a Prayer, Bon Jovi
Leaving on a Jet Plane, Peter, Paul and Mary
The Downeaster "Alexa" Billy Joel
I didn't start the fire, Billy Joel
I like to move it, move it, Crazy Frog