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Ep4: Chris Gwaltney of Gamechurch

This week on the podcast I interview Gamechurch Director Chris Gwaltney. We talk about the games we’ve been playing, the ministry of Gamechurch, and how Christians can do a better job reaching the gaming community. There are a couple minutes in this episode starting around the 12 minute mark where the audio from Skype got kind of bad but it clears up after around minute 14. Thanks for listening and please be sure to visit the Gamechurch links below and subscribe and rate this podcast!

Links for this episode:
Gamechurch
Gamechurch – Mission Trips
Gamechurch City Facebook Group
Gamechurch Academy conference
Yakking With Yordy website

 


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Ep3: At The Billy Graham Library

This week I make a trip to the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, NC and tell you all about my experience and range of feelings as I made my way through the library. Listen to the podcast then make sure to take the current poll on the website and help make a future episode of the podcast!

Links for this episode:
http://www.timothyyordy.com/podcast/
http://www.timothyyordy.com/polls/


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Ep2: Denominational Descriptors w/Duane Mays

I conducted a poll asking people what words came to mind when thinking about various Christian denominations. The results were pretty amazing. Guest host Duane Mays and I break down the results and try and to figure out what “worship javelins’ are. Also we’ve got strange headlines from Pennsylvania involving rabid raccoons and buckets of urine!

Links for this episode:
http://www.timothyyordy.com/polls/
https://www.facebook.com/duanemichaelmusic/
http://www.yordymusic.com/


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Ep1: Re-Introduction

A re-introduction after some technical difficulties and a theory about the future of the country’s obesity crisis. Please rate and subscribe.

For more information: timothyyordy.com
Follow my music at: yordymusic.com
Take the next listener poll at: http://www.timothyyordy.com/polls

Thanks for listening!


Consumption Versus Creation: The Ongoing Battle

Consume Less, Create More

A couple months ago I was asked to do an interview for the Why Is That Important podcast to discuss Therapeutic Creativity. I had great time talking with hosts Joe Wenger and Andrew Martin about how creativity can be used as a means of personal therapy whether that creativity take the form of music, art, or even cooking. Do me a favor and check out their podcast and my interview.

During that interview, I briefly strayed off topic a bit to discuss an idea that had recently occurred to me: That we creative types are in a constant struggle between creation and consumption. What do I mean by that? Simply this: On any given day, I can choose to spend my time consuming other people’s creations or I can create my own for other people to consume. No one is capable of being in a state of constant creativity and productivity but surely I can do better than I often do. I like to think of this struggle between consumption and creation as a spectrum.
consumption vs creation
It is a strange reality where I can know and make plans for all of the creative pursuits that I say I care about and want to succeed at, but then can waste an embarrassing amount of hours playing video games (That dang Steam summer sale!) and not making progress towards my goals. I recently listened to an interview with author Rachel Amphlett on the MyKitaab podcast about her self-published books. In the interview Rachel talks about using project management spreadsheets to keep her on track. I’ve exchanged a couple emails with her and she was kind enough to share her spreadsheet template with me. What I saw surprised me….It was very very simple. There was no magic formula hidden inside. It was just a simple spreadsheet where you list what you want to do and you put a check mark in the month you intend to have it completed by. The key to her success in writing has very little to do with those spreadsheets I now realize. Oh sure, they keep her organized but the truth is that Rachel Amphlett and other highly prolific creative types like her are able to accomplish all they do through what everyone knows as self-discipline.

Developing the Discipline for Self-Discipline

That’s right. You just need to actively choose to do the work necessary to reach your creative goals. No special software, no self-help books, no amount of inspirational podcasts can instill in you the will to do more today than you did yesterday. You have to WANT it enough to do the work. I realize that I am not saying anything new here. The concept of self-discipline is an old one. What I hope to grasp personally,  is to understand how people can develop good habits that lead to multiple books being written each year, multiple albums released,  a continuous stream of finished video productions, or whatever the creative medium is. How do you become that person?

I don’t have the answer to that for myself, much less anyone else. What I do know is that I am trying to walk a little further away from the consumption side of the spectrum and closer to the creation side. We all need time to relax. We all need time for leisure activities. The key is finding a good balance that leads to the achievement of goals while also leaving space for family and friends, and just letting your brain reset occasionally.


Why Taylor Swift’s Return To Spotify Was Inevitable

Where It All Began

When Taylor Swift announced in 2014 that she was pulling all of her music from streaming services I had mixed feelings about it. On the one hand it made sense. Streaming revenues in and of themselves in 2014 were not great and by making a big public spectacle out of her departure from the likes of Spotify she was sure to boost album sales through more traditional outlets.

What struck me as odd though is that her music remained on Youtube, the largest streaming music service in the world. Youtube’s streaming royalties are far worse than Spotify’s as well. This alone should have clued everyone in that the very public departure from Spotify wasn’t much more than a marketing ploy. And it worked too. Swift was the highest earning artist in 2015.

I should also note that the reason Taylor Swift’s share of streaming revenue is so bad is because of her record deal. She signed that deal and like most artists on record labels, I assume the deal sucks. The label does almost no work to create the streaming revenue and takes most of the profit. So why would her label go along with ditching Spotify if they stood to make tons of money? Again, it comes back to marketing. They knew that Swift’s pre-teen audience would still go buy the album and they manufactured a public feud with Spotify to create buzz around the album 1989.

Streaming Revenue in 2017

Fastforward to 2016 and I wondered why they hadn’t changed course and released 1989 to streaming services. The market had shifted significantly in the 2 years since it was released and surely everyone who was going to purchase it had already done so.  But still they held back without explanation.

Then the revenue numbers for the music industry for all of 2016 came in and for the first time ever, streaming revenue made up the majority of all music revenue. That is an impressive paradigm shift from just a couple years earlier. It is the same type of seismic shift that happened when music listeners switched from buying CDs to downloading MP3s.

From the very beginning, the decision to hold her album back from Spotify felt like a backward decision from an artist and label that were looking at the future of the industry and stubbornly refused to accept reality. But that was then and this is now.

Here in 2017, two and a half years after release, they finally bowed to changing market conditions and put 1989 on Spotify and other streaming services. Will her next album be kept off of streaming platforms? Doubtful. The time for principled stands against streaming (read: marketing ploys) is over. Streaming is here to stay and Spotify is the king of the hill.

In the previous years when the album was not available for streaming, many independent artists were able to earn thousands of dollars by recording cover songs of Taylor Swift’s music. Swift might not have been interested in earning streaming royalties but that doesn’t mean other artists couldn’t profit from her songs.

My Thoughts on Taylor Swift’s Album 1989

One final thought. I never listened to 1989 until last week when it was finally available to stream. First off, I realize that I am not the target audience for this kind of music. I’m not a 15 year old girl and perhaps that has affected my opinion in a negative way.

Overall I found the album to be disappointing. The lyrics were just empty pop music lyrics and for some reason I had expected a bit more from Taylor Swift. I should give some credit that lyrically it isn’t the same low brow sex filled lyrics of the likes of Katy Perry or Meghan Trainor.  But to me it was all very uninspired and uninteresting. What do I know though? Millions of teenage girls can’t be wrong, right?


New Music Out Now and More To Come

Well gang, a month ago I released a new song and somehow neglected to mention it on my main blog. Time to rectify that situation yes?

On April 7th I released a single titled Only The Good Lord Knows. This song is an expression of the questions that surround the loss of a loved one and searching for answers that may be hard to come by.

You can find all of the relevant purchase and streaming links over at my newly revamped music website: Yordymusic.com.

Please take a moment to listen and if you like it share it with a friend. This song wasn’t planned. It wasn’t part of my release strategy for this year. It just needed to happen. Sometimes you just need to work out your feelings in songs.

Stay tuned for more new music to come. The second half of 2017 should see the release of a punk project I’ve been working on for awhile and if I am able, more Yordy music and a sophomore release from my Americana project Dropkick Possum.

Thanks for listening!


The Slow Death Spiral of Facebook

I’ve been a member of Facebook for 8 and a half years now and during that time I have witnessed the social media giant go through a number of changes. Some of those changes came from the company itself like modifications to the look and feel of the site to abrupt changes to their privacy policies (which of course led to scare tactic posts which still sometimes make the rounds).  The most impactful changes have come from the users themselves though and the social soup that is Facebook has changed quite a bit over the years. I wasn’t around for the site’s founding so I can only guess what that was like but I remember distinctly the evolutions it has gone through in the user base.

First, there was that initial period of reconnecting with old friends from high school and college and learning what everyone had been up to in the years since we had last seen each other. Oh this person never got married? This one is on marriage number how many now? That one joined the army? …you get the picture. That was fun for awhile and then we all settled into a comfortable social media existence of sharing funny stories involving our kids or cute cat videos.

Every time there was a major election, things would get tense for awhile but then generally settle down after the election back into the sharing of cat videos and girls making duck face for some reason. The 2016 presidential election was different though.  Perhaps it was the media that pushed such a divisive narrative of both candidates. Perhaps it is that the internet has matured into this untamed beast that offers an unending supply of political commentary that no one really wants but seeks out anyway. Or just maybe it is us who have changed. We’ve all been using Facebook for so long that we’ve gotten bored with what it has to offer in terms of social connections and so the only thing left is to share our opinions loudly and repeatedly as if anyone’s mind was ever changed by an internet argument.

A few weeks ago I was thinking about writing a blog post about how Facebook has become a place of zombie friendships. Not all Facebook friendship match that description but I am sure that most of us could classify the majority of our Facebook friends that way. The idea being that friendships in the real world often fade away due to life circumstances and new friendships form as our lives go in different directions. But thanks to Facebook and other social media, these friendships are kept alive in some kind of zombiefied state where we don’t really know the people anymore and probably haven’t seen most of them in years but still have this tenuous connection to them via the internet.  The result is that we often don’t move on from these undead friendships like would normally happen and so our growth as human beings is stunted because we aren’t seeking out new friendships that should have taken their place.

And that is where Facebook’s slow death comes in.  Most of our social media friendships are old and tired and in a lot of cases there isn’t much holding them together anymore.  If Billy from your highschool has become a skinhead or something 15 years after graduation, it is pretty safe to say that you don’t have much in common anymore and the political view points that Billy espouses probably don’t resonate with you at all. Let’s hope not anyway.

So here we are, several months removed from the 2016 presidential election and the anger and political postings have not subsided on Facebook.  I’ve chosen to block links from overly-politicized news sources over and over again in the past few months but certain individuals just keep finding new ones to post.  So I started taking it a step further by unfollowing these folks altogether.  I haven’t unfriended them yet and maybe I should but for some reason I keep hanging on to these zombie friendships just like everyone else does.

One thing I know for sure is that if we don’t all get back to stories about how cute our kids are and funny cat videos, that Facebook will die a slow death. Maybe that would be for the best. After all, the real world certainly has more to offer.


God in a Box and Election Suicide

Hello friends,

I don’t often draw comics (and by not often I mean it has been years and previous efforts were  quite poor in the art department) but I decided to give it a go again this past week and create a couple new comics. I find the work relaxing and I think they turned out pretty well.

timothy yordy comic

murica2


What The Indian Removal Act of 1830 Can Teach Us About The Syrian Refugees

Millions of refugees from Syria are flooding Europe and tens of thousands are potentially headed to the United States. Concerns over terrorists posing as refugees to gain access to western countries has reached a fevered pitch, especially in light of the horrific attacks in Paris, France last week. Even the FBI director has said that we aren’t able to vet these people to know who is safe and who isn’t. And so the question has become whether or not to allow any Syrian refugees into our country for fear that we may be letting terrorists in.

Social media is currently awash with Christians making posts and linking to articles that show us how the Bible tells us to take care of the poor and oppressed. While I don’t disagree with these sentiments, whether or not Syrian refugees are allowed into this country has nothing to do with Christianity. Our government has consistently demonstrated that it doesn’t care about the Christian world view when it comes to policy decisions.

A good example of this is the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Christian missionaries living among the Cherokee people protested President Andrew Jackson’s plan to remove the Indians to land west of the Mississippi river.  The most famous opponent was Jeremiah Evarts who worked tirelessly to fight Indian removal but ultimately died of tuberculosis in 1831. And with him died the hope of stopping President Jackson.

Looking back at that time in American history, President Jackson’s efforts to remove the Indians is universally condemned. Jackson’s own correspondence shows that he struggled with the moral implications of his actions. But for Jackson, the decision came down to one of national security and not morality.

At the age of 14, Andrew Jackson became an orphan. His father had died just before he was born and his brothers died in the Revolutionary War while Jackson’s mother succumbed to illness while treating wounded soldiers. Jackson had seen many Native American tribes side with the British in the Revolutionary War.

In the War of 1812, once again many Native tribes sided with the British and Creek Indians massacred a settlement of whites near Jackson’s home in Tennessee. He had become a Major General in the Tennessee militia and was tasked with leading a force to subdue the Creek Indians. After that success he became a Major General of U.S Volunteers and traveled south to defend New Orleans and that is where his national notoriety took hold after his major victory at the Battle of New Orleans.

So how is this relevant to the question of Indian removal and Syrian Refugees? President Jackson was a product of his time. He saw in Native tribes side with Great Britain in the Revolutionary War and again in 1812 he witnessed the same thing but in his home state of Tennessee. To the south in Florida he saw the Seminole Indians side with the French/Spanish against the United States. In Jackson’s mind, the Native Americans represented a national security risk by allowing them to stay so close to white settlements. He had seen how, given the opportunity, Native Americans would more often than not take up arms against the United States. And so, 20 years later President Jackson used his power to remove them.

Southern plantation owners may have pushed for Indian removal because they wanted their land and Christian missionaries fought against it on moral grounds. But President Jackson made his decision based on what he perceived to be a national security risk that was based on the world view that his life experience had created.

Similarly, Americans here in the 21st century have had our worldview shaped by the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. The deep scars left on our nation from that day have and will continue to shape this era of American history. Those attacks carried out by Muslim terrorists were not the first nor last time that Muslims have attacked this country, it was just the most successful and spectacular in scope. In fact, the first attacks by Muslims against Americans dates all the way back to the late 18th century when Muslim pirates would attack American merchant ships and enslave the crew.

The point is that our history of coming under attack from Muslim terrorists has shaped our collective world view to be wary of people coming from Muslim regions of the world. Just like President Andrew Jackson and many of his contemporaries did not trust the Native Americans because of the actions of a few tribes, we live in a world where we’ve been given many examples of some Muslims who will kill without remorse anyone who is not Muslim. Is it an admirable worldview? History will probably say it isn’t but we are a product of our times.

Ultimately, the number of Syrian refugees that enter this country will be decided by a secular government headed by people who care very little for Biblical principles. It will be a decision that is based on national security risk and political expediency and not at all about Christian moral sensibilities. And what is the Christian’s responsibility in this? To love our neighbor, to care for the poor and the oppressed. Whether they be brought to our neighborhood or are half a world away and the form of Christian love that most of us could hope to render is through supporting relief organizations.

History has proven that Christians can’t expect our government to uphold our values and our response to a human crisis can’t be to cry out to the government to help but to cry out to God and weep for the pain and loss that grips this world we currently call home.