There isn't any new news to share with you guys, so I'm going to post something from another blogger.
Last week, Ben Warren over at The Changing Times posted an excellent article called Focus on the Fans about the "evolution" of Odyssey and its listeners over the years. It was so good that I asked him if I could post it here, and he said I could. So here it is:
Yesterday, Jacob Isom released the results of the ScoopYourself contest. I did not enter, but I thought I would display a portion of my collection (right). There you have it. All 52 albums...but no action figures. Simple, yet expansive.
But who cares? What's the point of even having a collection? I don't like to listen to my old tapes anymore because I'm too afraid of wrecking them. So what purpose do they serve?
Well, to tell you the truth, I like the look of them. I like the way they're organized. I like how some have some history and have been around since I was born. And, sure, I like to brag about them, too.
...[I]f you keep things around only because you enjoy possessing it, then it's wrong. Remember the Matthew 19: 21, when Jesus told the rich man "Sell everything you have and give to the poor [...] Then come, follow me". But he couldn't, because he enjoyed his things too much. Am I keeping my collection simply because I like possessing them or because they have some use to me?
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Putting aside that little Sunday school lesson for just a moment, some of you might be wondering, "where have you been?" and "where are the posts? "Well, I've been busy with quite a few things, lately. However, my attention is slowly returning to the blog, and some may be pleased to know that I will be writing my usual reviews, essays, and works of criticism once again.
Well, until May, that is. This summer I will be once again planting trees in Western Canada; therefore, my attention (and my body) will be somewhere else. I plan to be updating during the summer, but just not as often.
But what do we need another blog for? Aren't there plenty of other great blogs on the web? And, is it just me, or has the Odyssey community gotten a whole lot more sophisticated, not to mention wonderful, these days? Have we gotten to the point where Adventures in Odyssey has become more about the fan community than about the show?
We have sure come a long way since a couple of years ago. Whitsend.org has never been so organized and updated so regularly. I remember the days when the website was the least up-to-date place on the web. They had an Adventures in Odyssey timeline that was always a few years behind with tacky pictures of Dylan and ten other characters from the video series (I don't know there names, do you?). All of that has changed. Bob and Jesse have done a fantastic job hosting a weekly podcast, and the website usually has something new every week.
Meanwhile, the Odysseyscoop remains the most active fan website around. They have a professional-sounding podcast, up-to-date news, and fun contests. No other fan website compares right now.
And not since Hoobler's aiohq.com has there been a place with so much information quite like AIOWIKI. It has prevented every other fan website from becoming fact-focused or news-oriented, forcing them to become more discussion-based. It's basically a Wal-Mart. Now we have fans actually giving opinions about Odyssey-related issues on their website instead of spitting out random facts. The most recent example of this is atwhitsend.org. If you haven't checked it out, do it right now. It features terrific writing and I hope the author, Matthew, has enough in him to review all 690 episodes. We shall see.
The fans also have so many fantastic podcasts to choose from. I never truly became a fan of theceilingfan podcast until I randomly listened to an episode with brilliant pieces of dialog like "...we were Amish a while back which explains why I'm afraid of cars and fast moving things like bicycles." And then I went back and started listening to season one and found myself really enjoying it. So, if this is a series about a boy who happens who be the biggest Adventures in Odyssey fan out there, will someone be making a series about a kid who's the biggest fan of ceilingfanpodcast anytime soon?
And, of course, Audiotheatrecentral is currently the best thing out there for older audiences interested in Christian Audio Dramas. Meanwhile, Austin Peachy is still rocking it with his 20th blogcast while Regis Blackbeard is still doing his thing at the thewhitsendpodcast.
So what's the next big thing? Will it be you? Will it be the upcoming "Novafiles" project headed by Garrett Vandenberg? Why isn't anyone doing video episode reviews in the fashion of an Ebert and Roeper video? And does anyone find this series of youtube videos as awesome as I do?:
So yes, to answer my original question, Adventures in Odyssey fans are becoming more sophisticated. Though many have wondered whether Adventures in Odyssey is at its lowest point ever, we must all agree that the fans are hitting their peak. The creators of Adventures in Odyssey have not only marveled us through their creation but, throughout the years, have inspired us fans to fabricate our own. Adventures in Odyssey has not only entertained, but has shaped our interests and sharpened our skills. Through this blog, I am becoming a better writer; through his website, Jacob Isom has become a better web-designer; through making you-tube videos, no doubt that girl in the video is becoming a better actress. It's remarkable to think that no matter how you currently view the series, the show is somehow still influencing its fans in ways its creators could never have imagined back in 87'.
This week's Scoopcast featured a particularly nice moment in an interview with Whit Hertford. At one moment, Kevin McCreary said, "You can want to do something, and you can do it. [...] Sometimes people have dreams and they don't accomplish them cause they think they're out of reach. But some dreams are reachable, you just have to work at it." What a great statement. If you're listening to Odyssey wishing you too could start an awesome podcast, get into voice acting, start an awesome website, or create your audio drama, then go ahead and take a step in that direction. Don't worry that your creation won't be "as good" as what you see at those other websites.
In the same way, if Adventures in Odyssey has inspired you to either become a better person or form a better relationship with God, then make sure you do that too. Don't just let those messages "sit on your shelf" uselessly (were you worried I wasn't going to tie that in?). Adventures in Odyssey is doing its job in creating uplifting entertainment for us to learn about the Bible, but we have a job too. Can we take those messages and do something with them? Do we absorb, and then in turn, react? Fantastic stuff can inspire you all the time, but if you don't do anything, then that great Adventures in Odyssey collection you have on your shelf-- the one you clean and take pictures of--is kinda worthless.
Regardless of what you say about the series, its fans are a living testament that Adventures in Odyssey is alive and functioning as it has always been--maybe even better.