A few weeks ago, I took a weekend course which was required as part of my status as a United Methodist lay speaker (an un-ordained person who, among other things, can fill in as a preacher when called upon).
One of my classmates that weekend works in information technology. He has had a long-time struggle with attention deficit disorder, but has learned various coping mechanisms for it as a productive adult. He said he likes to listen to audio books while working; somehow, shifting his attention back and forth between the book and what he's working on is helpful for him.
Given the setting and our discussion up to that point, I thought he might be interested in the Daily Audio Bible podcast, and so I recommended it.
I mentioned the DAB in a column on podcasts back in January, soon after I started listening to it myself, at the recommendation of a friend. It's a free daily Bible reading -- an Old Testament passage, a New Testament passage, a selection from Psalms and one from Proverbs -- which takes you through the entire Bible in a year's time. There are many such reading plans available, and even published Bibles which have the material already parceled out for you into 365 doses. There are also a number of spoken versions of the Bible on CD. But the Daily Audio Bible brings the two concepts together.
The podcast is actually based in Middle Tennessee, in Spring Hill, and is run by a man named Brian Hardin, whose warm, welcoming tones make the podcast easy and enjoyable to listen to. After the scripture reading, Hardin may chat for a few minutes about one of the scripture passages or about his schedule of conferences or speaking engagements. (The podcast is recorded fresh each day, and often mentions the weather when Hardin is home.) The podcast usually closes by playing several voicemail prayer requests as phoned in to the ministry's 24-hour prayer line.
Hardin rotates through a list of different Bible translations and paraphrases, changing to a new one each week. This helps keep the podcast fresh, but I'm guessing it's probably also necessary for legal reasons; the copyright holders for any one of those translations might want to release, or might already have released, a Bible-on-CD product, and if so they might not want a free podcast duplicating that effort. By varying the translations, and I assume by getting permission from the various publishers or following their published fair use guidelines, that problem is avoided.
DAB also has a separate podcast with just a daily reading from Proverbs; a daily Bible reading aimed at children; and a variety of daily Bible podcasts in other languages.
The ministry has expanded to include a church, the Wind Farm, and a coffeehouse, the Wind Farm Café (with its own live webcam, in case you want to check in). There's also an active online community at the web site, with various message forums at which you can comment on the day's readings, submit prayer requests, or what have you.
If you're not familiar with subscribing to podcasts, you can listen to the DAB directly from its website, http://www.dailyaudiobible.com. There are also iPhone/iPad and Android apps you can install on your phone or tablet.
You can easily configure your podcast or music management software -- such as iTunes or Winamp -- to automatically download the DAB, or any other podcast, each day, and even to synch it up to your iPod or other digital music player. That means you can take the program anywhere and listen to it at your convenience, and it also opens you up to a variety of podcasts now being published on every conceivable topic, from the sublime to the ridiculous. Search for "podcast software" or "podcast client" and you should find plenty of options.
I find the DAB to be well-presented and easy to listen to. Hardin has a low-key style. The podcast is supported by contributions, and he sometimes mentions this, but never in a hard-sell way. (He usually does it in the context of thanking those who've already given.) Around the middle of each month, he asks readers to vote for the podcast at the iTunes store, increasing its ranking and thus the possibility that others will run across it by accident. He's more hard-sell about asking for iTunes votes, frankly, than he is about asking for money.
If the DAB seems like something that fits your interests, it's well worth checking out. For me, it's a daily routine.
--John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette and covers county government. He is also the author of the self-published novel "Soapstone." His personal web site is lakeneuron.com.