Welcome to the Geeks & God Static Archive. Read more »



You are missing some Flash content that should appear here! Perhaps your browser cannot display it, or maybe it did not initialize correctly.

Web services are powering the next generation of popular and useful Internet tools. When you think of twitter in an Adobe AIR app, Facebook on an iPhone, or reading blogs though Google Reader you're thinking of API's in action. This week we dive into the world of web service APIs, what they are, and how developers can take advantage of them. This is where they web is going, are you on board?

Open Source Modern English Bible

I wonder if we could do a chipin to purchase the rights for a modern english Bible that is used broadly and the put it into public domain. What would that take? It would be an incredibly disruptive thing, but so Awesome and well within the resources of the church.

On the issue of why church/ministry tech folks aren't as skilled, I agree with Matt that the push is less strong. I wonder if the issue of money really has something to do with it. I think it may be a bit of a cop-out. If it has to do with money, it is the lack of resources as a result of money. The typical church/ministry lacks the staff to allow people to dedicate themselves to learn what is needed to do great, but they have a heart to see the ministry succeed. They can barely keep up with what is needed.

This also plays into the innovation elements. Innovation and creativity requires the clashing of different viewpoints and when your pool is small and you don't have the time, you fall into a pattern of getting by and making due. This isn't an excuse, but it is a reality from my perspective.

Those issues are why I think it is critical for more church/ministry people to bridge the gap and reach out to others. It needs to happen in order for them to be stimulated to think creatively toward innovation and get out of the ruts. Local #gandg groups are exciting for this very reason. It gives me a venue to reach out to people in this area and try to encourage this spreading of thoughts/ideas and creativity among the Christian community.

Also on the UberCart Donations stuff, allow me to quote my own tweet...

Put some cash down for non-profits using #drupal, Thanks!, donations through UberCart ChipIn ends April 3rd : http://bit.ly/RSXbR #gandg

NET Bible

Check out the NET Bible. I recently learned about it. See http://net.bible.org.

I doubt we could purchase the rights to a modern English translation and release it. Think about something like the NIV bible. How much money has the publisher made on it? Would a publisher be willing to give that up as a business? I doubt it.

I'm not sure if the public domain would be best either. Maybe a creative commons license that utilizes no derivatives and no commercial components to the license. Not sure.

I know less money is an issue for going good stuff. Part of it is the money behind a good project. Often projects go where the investors want to go. Or, they are cheapened because there isn't enough money in the church. Or, we live in a culture that's very rooted in money so bright minds go there. Money is a hige road block and issue in our culture. Why would it's affect on technology be any different?

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host

It would be different because

It would be different because the people working for such organizations aren't (in many cases) doing so because of money. It isn't the primary motivation, ministry is. Part of the problem is that the church has failed to train the spiritual minds of the technical and academically elite. They aren't available because the primary driving force for such people is money, not God's glory. If I understand Bob's motivation, I'd consider him an an example of someone who could be driven by money, but chooses an avenue that allows an alternative. He makes money while intentionally choosing a vocation that reflects God knowing the financial barriers. (This isn't to say that everyone should do this, far be it from that.) I think the Drupal community as a whole recognizes his skills and I expect he could find a job among a team that would pay him well for his work.

The culture of ministry and the culture of business is also dramatically different (for better and worse). I've seen on multiple occassions people try to make that transition and do a hard face plant. Some don't recover from the culture shock.

That brings another issue, one interested in investing his talents, skills and gifts in this way must find an appropriate place to put them. Every ministry is looking for a "ministry minded" geek, but they don't know what that means and may not even be able to use them well, integrate them into the team and even be corporately interested in their contributions. There is a divide here, but I'm starting to get off on more than one soap box so I'll stop. :-)


I know what you guys are saying about churches being lazy, but in my opinion it is not so much that they are lazy as it is a lack of focus. A lot of churches don't focus on a core set of goals and therefore are all over the map trying to do to many things and not doing any of them well.


Good Point

A lot of church see Paul talking about being all things to all people and end up trying shot gun ministry. They do a lot of little things hoping enough of them hit you. This is different than trying to do what God has gifted you to do well.

How many churches have a very vague short term mission. One that allows a lot of things because they want to keep the options open to change or not alienate any members? I can name more than a few. This is a problem.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host

Open Church Resources

As it relates to the 1st segment of the show, here are a couple examples of mega churches that are giving away many of the resources (music, videos, sermons, books) they produce - http://www.marshillchurch.org/media, http://open.lifechurch.tv.

Christian Resourse Database?

I thought about creating an online database where people can use the work I created but most of my material is made up of photos from BigStockPhoto.com. So I have the copyright concern. As I'm writing this, I'm wondering if a blog would be a better option. Or would a online store where the prices cover the copyright expenses be even better. Or how about a hybrid of the two. It sounds like a lot of work to put together.


Hi guys

I'm a listener in Australia. I'm fairly recently "born again" and saw web development as an area I could lead and serve the church. I've built our church a new website - http://www.bpcc.com.au - using Joomla.

We're a long way towards achieving what Matt talks about as his pipe dream. Although there is quite a lot more I'd like to do with the site, and this podcast has added to those plans, I've implemented use of some of the API's you mention and have plans for more. I'm also in the process of co-ordinating and training pastors, office staff, and ministry team members how to update and add content where I anticipate we may have in excess of 30 people responsible for different sections of the website.

We're using iTunes to podcast our sermons, Google Maps for displaying event and ministry locations, we have in place an event registration system, and with a number of photo galleries to put online, I'm looking at the flickr api's.

The Church Community can also submit and subscribe to a prayer feed. And in the future we will have a church online community which will integrate with facebook.

I have done this site without payment, but am seeing God's reward where I've been commissioned to build an online ministry resource facility for our denomination, which provides me with monthly income, and I've also been commissioned in rebuilding the main denominational website, as well as being contacted by other churches in rebuilding their websites.

Hey Phil

G'Day Phil.
Welcome - great to see you on here.
I see you are from Bray Park in the CRCA - I'm from Wollongong CRC in NSW!
It's a small world.
Site looks great - and I'm really looking forward to a better denominational site. The one at the moment is a great start, but lots of improvements could be made! (Are you planning on keeping it in drupal or using Joomla?)

Again, awesome to see you on here!

Paul Vaartjes

Paul Vaartjes

Hi Paul

Hi Paul

It is a small world, I thought the chances of there being another Australian listener let alone one from the same denomination being pretty remote.

Not really sure about which CMS to use at this stage. Drupal seems to get the nod over Joomla by most judges but from what Joomla folk have said that will change with 1.6. That release seems a long way off though.

Thinking it might be cool to start a group/site for CRCA web developers even if its just a facebook group to start with.


Not Work Safe

Having no context to know what you were trying to demonstrate, I clicked on the link. Hoping to save others, I submit this warning.

Beware: the above linked content may be considered offensive and needs a disclaimer as adult content.

I'm so sorry about that. I

I'm so sorry about that. I did not intend to cause any stumbling. I had not clicked through that much further on the web page so I can't say exactly what it contains.

No big deal. It is the world

No big deal. It is the world we live in.

I'm sure you were thinking about it pretty contextually. The context just didn't come out in what you wrote and I wasn't paying much attention. I thought it had something to do with APIs and was curious what APIs GoDaddy provided. Also, I didn't click through to anything beyond the initial. I'm probably just being more broad in my definition of Adult Content than others might be.

ESV Bible API has MP3 support!

Not only can you get written Bible verses from the ESV Bible Web Service, you can now get MP3 files automatically generated with audio of the Bible too!

I hear rumors that

I hear rumors that BibleGateway.com is working on an improved API. That'd be cool and provide a number of other versions also.

You can read more about the verse of the day API at http://www.biblegateway.com/usage/votd/docs/api.php

The potential

The potential is high. I hope more people take advantage of the tools at hand to share the word.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host

Guys, great show. You really


Guys, great show. You really got me thinking about a lot of stuff, and I'm particularly interested in a CMS API. Question: Will the F1 module have a way to sync existing user accounts to F1 profiles? I'm in the process of setting up a Drupal site for our church (currently static HTML), and while we don't use F1, this module would make me consider it highly. (Does F1 have a way to sync with Palm/iSync so I can have a mobile copy of the contact info & calendar?)

Regarding concerns. Everything I produce that doesn't contain copyrighted content gets posted to http://lcmspastor.com and I've only ever charged a nominal fee for a couple items, particularly my confirmation curriculum to keep kids from downloading the answers & cheating. I've enabled others to post their stuff there, too, but not many takers, which frustrates me. In our denomination (LCMS), I think there's a certain fear of posting stuff publicly, because we have a lot of witch-hunters in our midst. I don't care about those guys, though, and only accept constructive criticism, so I post my stuff publicly.

Regarding public domain Bibles, I agree that Creative Commons licensing is better to preserve the integrity of the text. The World English Bible is a great free Bible if you like formal equivalence, and God's Word is a great free Dynamic Equivalent translation. Why are these not mainstream? Because they don't have lots of money from licensing fees to spend on advertising. Solution: We need to lobby our denominations to consider using these in denominational publications, hymnals, etc.

I've posted on this site before about an open-source hymnal project, and I'd still like to see it happen. Within the next year, I may be at a point where I can spearhead or participate in something like that, but I can't do it alone. If people are interested, maybe we could get something going at the Drupal Churches group. I'm thinking people could post new (& old public domain) Christian songs with a CCL, attach MIDI or MP3 where available, sheet music pdf's, etc. They could be categorized by theological background, genre, etc. People could post comments with suggested alternate verses & accompaniment tracks, etc. OK, still not innovative, but desperately needed.

CrossFeedNews.com started out as a dig clone, but it's evolved. Honestly, the site is just a vehicle for the podcast, though. Still not innovative, really, although I know of no other podcasts that have hosts in different places, split-screening the video. That's not really innovation, though.

Then last night, I got a great idea that I don't think is being done, so in the spirit of open source, here it is: A community cares site: people post needs, then volunteers check out the site, see where they can help, then go help. Anyone from the community could use the site, not just church members, although I'd hope the church would encourage its members to use it a lot to help those in need. It'd be a great way for the church to know the needs of the community and build relationships with the people. I'm thinking could have categories like odd jobs, deliveries, etc. Would need some kind of legal disclaimer. I suppose this is something like a Craigslist for volunteers, but I think it's different enough to be considered innovative. If anyone does this, let me know how it goes. I'd like to do it here, but people around here aren't web-savvy. If I ever end up in a larger community with a younger congregation, though, I will implement something like this.

Oh--and our pastor (me) is tech savvy, but I know I'm an exception but doing what I can to educate, encourage pastors to get on Facebook, etc.

f1 Thoughts

I'm now in on the f1 rest api beta program. I'm not sure of everything it can do and have been just too busy to dive in. One of the features we've talked about is having the ability to update profiles in f1 through the drupal site. Not sure what that will look like though.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host