Ed Melick: Strands of Grace, Guest Blog

Ed MelickEd Melick is the co-producer and co-host of the Grace in 30 radio program on WERA-LP, 96.7 FM transmitting out of Arlington, VA.  He has recently written two books that are scheduled for release at the end of summer 2019. The first book, Monumental Hug—Divorce, Cancer, Healing & Grace, is the story of how God’s grace healed his relationship with his ex-wife, and how they walked together through her battle with pancreatic cancer.  The second book, Healing Plunge—An in-depth look at healing in the Bible, is a summary of his recent plunge into the topic of healing in the scriptures.

Strands of Grace

What does God’s grace mean to you?

For me, a deep understanding of grace began with a painful divorce.

In April 2008, my wife of over twenty-two years informed me that she wanted to end our marriage. I was devastated. Two days after receiving the news, though, I felt led by God to lay down my life for her no matter what she or her attorney did to me—and He began giving me compelling glimpses of the realness, power, and beauty of His grace.  Over the ten years that followed, I experienced the astonishing power of loving my enemy and committed my life to sharing the Good News of God’s grace with everyone I could.

Faithful Witness

During much of the first three-and-a-half years of my separation and divorce, I shared an office with the Director of Sales at my company, Sal D’Itri. I often tell people that Sal had a front row seat to my divorce and everything that was happening in my life and family. At times I felt like he should have pulled out a soft drink and a giant tub of popcorn while listening to me as I regaled him with stories of grief, struggle, and especially grace.

Seed Planted

Toward the end of my tenure at the company, Sal would occasionally say, “We should do a radio show together,” while we were joking around about various topics. My answer was always the same. “No way,” I would say. “I’ll wind up getting on the air and saying something stupid that I’ll regret, or cursing, or whatever.”

Grace in 30

When I was released by the company in the Fall of 2011, we kept in touch, but the topic of a radio show didn’t come up again until the Fall of 2015. Sal called me one day and told me that a local community media organization had just launched a new low-power radio station and that they were looking for content. He wanted to team up and produce and host a program.

My initial reaction was disinterest. Something like a radio program was the furthest thing from my mind. Sal kept pushing, though, and I suggested that we both go off and pray about it for a week, and then come back together and see how we felt.

A week later we were on the phone again and Sal was as pumped as ever. I didn’t really feel any strong urgings one way or another, so I decided to lateral the ball to him. I asked him to take a first cut at the application and then send it to me.

Not long after that I received the completed form from him. It’s at this point that I realized that the radio program could be an excellent channel for sharing what I had learned about the radical power of God’s grace. There seemed to be no doubt that such a message was needed to counter all the negativity, extremism, and un-grace in our culture and media. I decided to dive in and the Grace in 30 radio program was born.

Three Years Later

At the time of this writing, Sal and I have been doing the weekly radio program for over three years and have aired 166 programs. The reason our show exists is to, “See to it that no one misses out on God’s grace” (Hebrews 12:15, CJB). How we do that is by providing compelling examples of grace in action and a spark to get more people expressing it. We host individuals and organizations that are living by grace, so to speak, and we have them issue calls-to-action for listeners to join in and make our families, workplaces, communities, and world better.  

We have talked to over one-hundred-and-thirty people. As we hosted more people, we noticed certain themes repeating themselves. I also noticed how these themes overlapped with my experiences expressing grace to my ex-wife. I call these “strands of grace.”

Closeness

One strand that really resonates with me in our culture of division is closeness. Many of our guests talk of the importance of getting close to people who are different than you—especially your enemies—and building lasting relationships with them.

I can’t think of a better example of this than Daryl Davis, an African American musician and author who is on a mission to tear down some of the most extreme barriers between whites and blacks in our country. Daryl has been befriending KKK members and attending their rallies for nearly forty years. As these Klansmen and Daryl get to know each other, the hatreds and prejudices of the Klansmen melt away to such an extent that many of them have renounced their beliefs, and about forty of them have given Daryl their robes and hoods for display in a museum he’s planning to open. Some of the people who left the Klan were very senior in the organization, including former Grand Dragons and Imperial Wizards.

Daryl challenged our audience to take the time to get to know people who are not only different from us, but radically opposed to us. He challenged everyone to walk across the cafeteria and sit down with them, learn about them, and keep that going.

We have heard many stories like Daryl’s about people crossing the lines that divide them from others, like when a Christian lawyer successfully defended a Somali Muslim accused by the U.S. Government of piracy and when a university president slept in a metro station on a frigid February night in order to get a better understanding of what the homeless experience.

Bad Advice

 When my wife filed for divorce and moved out, I was offered a lot of mean-spirited advice. People told me I needed to get mean, stop talking to her, and cut off communications between her and my family members. I decided to act counter to that advice and express grace, and I went out of my way to cross, as often as possible, the barrier of separation that my ex-wife had set up between us. I determined that every time I had the opportunity to interact with her I would do so—even when she was only using me to get something done. The results of this were breathtaking and I write about my experiences in my soon-to-be-released book entitled Monumental Hug—Divorce, Cancer, Grace & Healing.

 Ultimate Grace

 Of course, the greatest example of crossing a boundary occurred when God gave up His divine privileges, took on human form, and eventually died a horrible criminal’s death so that we might receive forgiveness for our sins and eternal life in His coming Kingdom. This should be the gold standard by which we measure our efforts.

I encourage you to consider all of these examples of getting close to those who are different than us, make the effort to get to know your foes (political, professional, etc.), and watch the grace of Jesus Christ dissolve prejudices, build bonds of love, and dramatically heal relationships. Our world desperately needs more people who are doing this.

Also See:

Live Radio Interview Today on Life Issues Show with Lloyd Rosen

Top 10 Book Reviews Over the Past 12 Months

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/HotWeather_2019

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Sawyer Explains Audiobook Production from Soup to Nuts

Making_Trackes_07202015J. Daniel Sawyer. 2012. Making Tracks: A Writer’s Guide to Audiobooks (And How to Produce Them).  Fairfax: AWP Books [1].

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Audio fascinates me.

When I was a pre-teen, my favorite book was the Boy Engineer.  As a kid, I was always building things. In about the third grade I built my first telegraph. About that time, my parents gave me a crystal radio kit and I began listening to The Joy Boys, Ed Walker and Willard Scott, on WRC radio through my ear phones.  My fascination with the show went on for years and at one point my dad took me down to the studio to meet them [2]. Later in graduate school, I spent years of Saturday evenings listening to a Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor [3].

Introduction

Daniel Sawyer’s book, Making Tracks, taps into this same fascination.

Although I have never purchased an audiobook, most of the senior citizens that I know have. Commuters and road warriors are two other obvious listening groups. Successful authors are sensitive to the audiobook market because it opens up an entirely new reading market for their content [4]. They often end up becoming addicted to podcasting because much the same equipment is needed. Interestingly, the audiobook industry started out as a government program to produce audiotapes to aid the blind (xvii; 22).  Now, instead of tape, many books are entirely electronic (13).

Audiobooks require a bit of time and effort. Sawyer estimates that production of an audiobook requires 4 to 8 hours of work for each hour of finished audio, assuming that you know the ropes.  Reading at a rate of 8,000 to 9,500 words per hour, that means that an 80,000 word novel is somewhere between 33.6 to 80 hours of production work—recording and editing (3).

Beyond simple reading, an audio drama requires a cast of characters to produce, much like a movie. Think of the production including: a casting director, a Foley artist (sound effects person), a music director, director, production engineer, art director, and post production engineer (9-12). Details. Details. Details. My head was spinning as I read on… A recent book trailer, for example, shows this kind of workmanship [5].

Organization

Daniel Sawyer describes himself as “a longtime award-nominated audio/video producer and tech journalist-turned novelist” [6].  He writes in 6 parts divided into 18 chapters, including:

Part 1: The Business.

Part 2: Managing the Production.

Part 3: Acoustics.

Part 4: The Equipment.

Part 5: Production.

Part 6: Post Production (vii-xiii).

Sawyer’s discussion is detailed and engaging.

Five Points

Under manage the production, Sawyer cites 5 points of vocal production:

  1. Posture
  2. Diction
  3. Breath control.
  4. Hygiene. And
  5. Inflection (48).

Remember all that good advice you got from your high school voice instructor?  Now is a good time to review those lessons.  Just like singing, the best way to read is standing up. Received pronunciation (BBC English) is a middle-class, Ohio accent. Sawyer suggests that speaking a mouth full of marbles is a good cure for “mush mouth” (49). Speak with conviction with good annunciation! (59) The list of helpful hints goes on and on.

Sawyer’s instructions on picking and using a microphone are priceless.  He suggests, for example, that book readers probably want a dynamic microphone which uses a small magnet vibrating back and forth inside a coil (102).  By contrast, a condenser microphone uses a charged piece of foil to pick up sound (101).  The dynamic microphone is more durable and sounds more personal than a condenser microphone.

Assessment

Daniel Sawyer’s Making Tracks is a gold mine for audio book producers, but other audiophiles may want to pick up a copy. Microphones, cables, sound boards, and sound-editing software are all discussed in plain English.  Making Tracks is interesting reading.

Footnotes

[1] www.awpwriter.org.

[2] They were on the air from 1955 to 1972, but are still around:  www.thejoyboys.com.  What I did not know until I met them was that Ed Walker was blind.

[3] http://prairiehome.org.

[4] For example, take a look at:  www.TheCreativePenn.com or http://MichaelHyatt.com.

[5] http://www.jfpenn.com/book/desecration.

[6] http://JDSawyer.net.

REFERENCES

Edward L. Throm.  1960.  The Boy Engineer:  A Popular Mechanics Book.  Illustrated by Evelyn Urbanowich and Robert Pious. New York:  Golden Press.

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Live Radio Interview Today on Life Issues Show with Lloyd Rosen

Available on Amazon.com
Available on Amazon.com
This afternoon I will be guess on the Life Issues Radio Show with host, Lloyd Rosen. I will be talking about my book, A Christian Guide to Spirituality. The interview is from 2:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Central Standard Time (3:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time). Listen online at: The Life Issues Radio Show. The Life Issues Radio Show appears on the Tough Talk Radio Network which comes to us from Katy, Texas. Lloyd Rosen is the author of a book himself, Search for Happiness: My Journey from Darkness into the Light (ISBN: 9781434368706: Amazon.com), which chronicles his struggle with depression.

Also See:

Top 10 Book Reviews Over the Past 12 Months

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com. Newsletter: http://bit.ly/HotWeather_2019
Continue Reading