UPDATES - Technical Issues at TMR

6) Update (19 April). It's looking good. The website seems stable now, and I've corrected most of the oddities that resulted from the migration (I think). So, all being well, I should be able to go ahead and post that interview with Dr Gary Sidley in the next few days. Either Sunday or Monday I expect. Again, thanks for your patience.

5) Update (18 April). OK, it looks like TMR has now successfully migrated to the new server. Phew! (It's been a bit rocky over the last 48 hours with parts of the website showing and other parts being inaccessible, etc., but things seems to have calmed down now.) Not everything is working correctly yet, but at least the move has happened. Lots of loose ends to tie up yet...

4) Update (16 April). Yep, TMR is moving to a different hosting provider. The transition is underway as I type. There will probably be some "downtime" for the website at some point over the next several days—(maybe a few hours, or longer if it happens overnight)—but TMR will come back online shortly. Thanks for your patience!

3) Update (10 April). It looks like TMR will move to a different hosting provider altogether. The first stage - in order to comply with the current provider and thus not be subject to another suspension - will be to remove all the audio files from the current server. The website should remain intact, but none of the mp3 links will work. The second stage will be for the website itself to be moved. The third stage will reconnect the audio files to the website at the new hosting provider. (That's my understanding at the moment. Whatever, as of tomorrow, all the podcasts will become temporarily inaccessible.)

2) Update (6 April). I'm encouraged that my web-technician (who's saved TMR from oblivion more than once in the past!) is positive that something can be done to resolve the issue. Unfortunately though, I am currently unable to post the Dr Gary Sidley interview (which is all ready to go!) because the issue specifically relates to the storage of media files on the server and I don't want to upload any new mp3 files just at the moment in case I trigger another suspension. It's very frustrating, but that's life. :(     Updates to follow....

1) Yesterday (5 April) The Mind Renewed website was temporarily suspended due to a technical error with the hosting company. As you can see, the website is up and running again, but I have to resolve the issue in the next six days (by 12th April) or the website will be suspended again. Unfortunately, it is no small matter. It seems that running large audio files on the server is technically inappropriate for this kind of hosting service—(which I had no idea about, and I was never told before!)—so I am required to remove all the audio files from the website by the 12th. I am seeking web-tech advice on how to proceed, but at the moment I can't say how this is going to be resolved. I'll post updates here as things become clearer.

Blessings, Julian.

Current Programme

StrangeFor the 16th Movie Roundtable—or rather Dialogue this time—we are joined once again by our good friend Antony Rotunno, for a discussion on Stanley Kubrick's classic movie Dr Strangelove (1964), starring Peter Sellers, George C Scott and Sterling Hayden (among others).

Imagining the USA to be inflitrated by Soviet polluters of the domestic water supply, the deranged General Jack D Ripper, commander of Burpelson Air Force Base, initiates "Wing Attack Plan R"... and you probably know the rest! This one has been near the top of my "roundtable" list for some time, but it took Antony's particular fondness for it to nudge it into first place. And I'm very glad of that; it's a truly great film, and my enthusiasm for it has only continued to grow as I've rewatched, read and thought about it again over the last few weeks.

Some say Dr Strangelove is the darkest of all comedies. And maybe that's so. Could there be anything darker than a nuclear end to the world brought about by human madness, ignorance, stupidity and hubris? Or a "Mutually Assured Destruction" revealing itself to be exactly that—M.A.D.? And yet, somehow, Kubrick and his brilliant team manage to make us laugh. Almost in spite of ourselves. After all, no matter how "over the top" it all might seem, there's always been something very real about Dr Strangelove. And I think we know it.

Join us as we discuss the production, consider its themes, and reflect on (just some of) what the film might have to say to us today.

Upcoming Programmes

Dr Gary SidleyWe shall welcome to the programme Dr Gary Sidley—a former Consultant Clinical Psychologist—for an interview on the UK government's use of "nudge" techniques during the Covid Event. We shall also discuss the extent to which Nudge Theory is being employed more generally by government and the serious ethical questions entailed.

Dr Sidley is a freelance writer, trainer, and blogger. In 2013 he opted for early retirement from his post as Professional Lead/Consultant Clinical Psychologist after 33 continuous years of employment in the NHS (UK National Health Service). He began his career as a psychiatric nurse in 1980, and qualified as a clinical psychologist in 1989. In 2000 he was awarded a PhD for his thesis exploring the psychological predictors of suicidal behaviour.

In early 2020 he became extremely concerned about the government’s response to the ‘coronavirus crisis’, and his writings on this subject can be found on his Coronababble blog. Gary is also a member of the Health Advisory & Recovery Team (HART), PANDA, and the Smile Free campaign to lift all mask mandates. Gary is currently leading on a research project into the UK’s deployment of behavioural science strategies during the Covid Event, and the ethical implications of the state using these methods on its own people.

ARJC1We shall be joined again by our good friend Antony Rotunno for another of our one-to-one chats that have been a feature of TMR for several years now. This time we intend to discuss something that, at first sight, might seem to run the risk of being a little hackneyed, but which, we believe, has the potential to lead to a very fruitful conversation. We shall use the film The Matrix (hold on, keep reading!) as a springboard (not a review!) for discussing the "truther" phenomenon—not "the truth movement", given that neither of us is persuaded that there is such a movement, per se—and consider ways in which popular interpretations of themes in The Matrix have helped to mould people's experiences of "taking the red pill" in response to various epistemological shocks in the real world.

(As to the claim that The Matrix has always been a hidden trans allegory, as the Wachowskis maintain, we shall largely put that aside and treat the film as a cultural artefact in its own right.)

VinceWe shall welcome back to the programme Vince McCann—author of the autobiographical Freed from Satan's Grasp and host of the Chezno1969 YouTube channel—for a conversation on Evangelism and the Witnesses.

Vince, who joined us back in 2014 to talk about the dangers of the Ouija Board, will this time speak with us from his extensive experience of ministry to the Jehovah's Witnesses  and share with us practical advice to help us in our own conversations with those caught up in New Religious Movements that claim the Bible as a foundational text.

Future Programmes

Dr Martin ErdmannWe expect to be joined again by the theologian and historian Dr Martin Erdmann for a series of interviews on the subject of his major book The Spiritualisation of Technology (2022).

"Dr Martin Erdmann studied theology at Columbia International University in the USA (Master of Divinity in Missiology and New Testament Studies), at the University of Basel in Switzerland and at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland (Master of Theology in New Testament Studies and Patristics). In 1996, he founded Online Communication Systems, Inc. in Columbus, Ohio. In 1999, he was awarded a doctoral degree in Modern Church History at Brunel University London in England. From 2000-2001 he engaged in post-doctoral studies in New Testament and History of Theology at the Séminaire Libre De Théologie À Genève (Free Seminary of Theology, Geneva, Switzerland). From 2003 to 2010 he was an Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies (distance education) at Patrick Henry College, Virginia. For four years Dr Erdmann headed up the NT department of the Staatsunabhängige Theologische Hochschule Basel (State-independent Theological Seminary), Switzerland. In his position as Senior Scientist at the University Hospital in Basel, he was involved in researching the ethical implications of Nanotechnology. In 2017 the Károli Gáspár-University in Budapest, Hungary awarded him the Dr. Habil. degree in Systematic Theology. Since 2003 he has directed the Verax Institute (Christian apologetics). Dr Erdmann is married to Joy and has two children, Estelle Chérie and Johannes Luc."

Results from TMR survey


Format: Everyone who responded said that they particularly appreciate the interviews (and other types of one-to-one conversation) and asked that these remain at the core of TMR's programming. They also generally prefer in-depth conversations.

Subjects: The majority of respondents are happy with the types of subjects covered on the podcast. (Some aren't keen on subjects that are specifically Christian, while others aren't keen on subjects that are not specifically Christian. Given that this mix is central to TMR's philosophy, such difference of opinion is only to be expected.)

Frequency: Very few asked for the podcasts to be posted at any regular interval (such as weekly or fortnightly), but instead stressed the importance of quality over quantity.

Conclusion: I shall therefore continue in much the same way, but prioritise the in-depth conversations, even though that may impact the frequency with which I post podcasts.

Many thanks to those who contributed.


Other arrangements in the pipeline. I am currently working on the following projects (in no particular order): a follow-up interview with Jacob Hornberger on the Zapruder Film Mystery; an interview in the area of World Religions (from a Christian perspective); an interview in the area of the Philosophy of Miracle; an interview on the Orality of Scripture; an interview on "Improvising Church"; a half serious, half tongue-in-cheek roundtable on the subject of "Skience" (my word for "The Science"); and a series of interviews with Dr Martin Erdmann on his book The Spiritualisation of Technology.

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