[Quality] Free Stuff Makes Me Dance!

…and especially when its “stuff” related to an “authentic dance with God, Self, Neighbor, and World!”

Astounding what’s available out there for free on the internet!   Admittedly, a lot of it is junk–including a good bit of that offered in the name and “service” of Jesus!  However, there are some quality offerings well worth looking into!

And so, I offer an annotated list of (with links to) those sites I believe worth visiting for the quantity of quality, free stuff they offer–“stuff” which informs the dance and the dancing at the heart of the mission of “two left feet”:

e-books: Christian Classics Ethereal Library 
Without doubt, the granddaddy of them all!  “The mission of the CCEL is to build up the church by making classic Christian writings available and promoting their use.”  If it’s in the public domain, it’s here: all the writings of the Ancient Church Fathers (and Mothers), Wesley,…  on up to “moderns” (like Chesterton)!!

e-booksPlough Publishing
The publishing house of the “Bruderhof Community,” most finds/downloads here are by Bruderhof founder, Johann Christoph Arnold.  But, you’ll also find other “treasures” like:

The Gospel in Dostoyevsky by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Free ebook of excerpts from Dostoyevsky’s greatest novels exploring the devastating (yet ultimately healing) social implications of the Gospels. This collection of passages vividly reveals – as none of his novels can on their own – the common thread of the great God-haunted Russian’s questioning faith.

Provocationsby Søren Kierkegaard
The most accessible introduction to the spiritual writings of Søren Kierkegaard, Provocations contains a little of everything from his prodigious output, including his wryly humorous attacks on “the mediocre shell” of conventional Christianity, his brilliantly pithy parables, his amazing insights on the human condition, and his incisive attempts to pare away the fluff of modern spirituality to reveal the basics of the Christ-centered life.

e-books, powerpoints, sermons, misc: ChurchLeaders.com
A site “dedicated to resourcing, informing, and connecting a community of church leaders for greater Kingdom impact worldwide,” ChurchLeaders.com offers a wide variety of free resources for Christian leaders, both clergy and lay.  While the bulk of “really good” downloads have their origins at CCEL (above), there are still some pretty engaging materials from other contemporaries (as., e.g., Don Piper and Timothy Keller).

At this point, let’s not ignore some quality Bible software available for free download out there!   Without going into specifics about each site–and without necessarily endorsing the theologies inevitably emeshed in such sites, I’ve found the following [free] downloadable programs to be the most popular in reviews and discussions:

  • Net Bible 
  • “The Word 3”
  • e-Sword
  • Of course, as you don’t need a resident Bible program, perhaps the best “freebie” (for the variety of quality, no-cost translations) is using the online, biblegateway.org  (But, here, I am drifting to favorite links where the focus of this post is downloads!  “Hot Links” also make me dance and will be the basis of another post here soon!)

audio books and videosLearnoutloud.com
The mission of “Learn Out Loud”?  “To promote the use of audio and video educational material for personal and professional development.”  And while this often means products that cost you something, there are nonetheless some pretty good resources (including Christian materials) available for free download!

audio books: Christianaudio.com
While we’re talking about audio books, let’s not ignore Christianaudio.com… and their offer (a new one each month) of a featured audio book download for free!  (This month, for example, Greg Laurie’s “Road to Resurrection” is yours for free!  Just click here.)

Admidst my surfings (to see if I’d overlooked anything worthwhile…  let’s agree: the Web is not static!), I came across an addition to my “go to” listFree Christian resources
Launched in May 2007 (by someone like myself… i.e., someone wanting good materials but turned off by so much that turns up in a typical Search Engine), this newbie aims at being a repository of Christian resources on the web–resources that are free, legal, quality and Christian.  (By the way, I resonate with each and all of these criteria.  They are the very criteria I brought to the recommendations embedded in this post!)

Admittedly, all this is just the tip of the iceberg!
* There are podcasts–both audio and video.  It’s really easy to catch your favorites out there!  (Among mine are: John Ortberg, Gene Appel, and Mike Breaux.)
* iTunes U(niversity) is growing in terms of worthwhile Christian offerings.  (I enjoyed, for example, the introduction to Frances Schaffer and his life and thought–the “early years” and the “later years“–provided by Covenant Theological Seminary.)
* And, then, there’s Youtube — a “mine” of great potential!  With a little bit of perseverance, it’s amazing what you can find and engage!  (I rediscovered, for example, one of my favorite talks by Emergent Church “prophet,” Brian McLaren, on the need for “A New Kind of Christian”–and relevant “maps” and “bridges” in an ever changing world.  A discussion worth engaging in and of itself (cf., a previous post on  “Being Faithful to the Gospel Bridge”), I offer it here as an example of the real wealth that’s out there for those who are patient in their surfing!

Yes, more could be added.  (Amidst it all, there’s value in learning the art of productive “googling.”  In 30 seconds, e.g., [with the words, “search engines dummies filetype:pdf” in my Google search box], I came up with a pdf by Peter Kent from his Web Site [http://www.peterkentconsulting.com], entitled “Search Techniques You Should Know.”  [Entirely free.  Entirely legal!]  I offer it here for two reasons: 1) for the way it might resource you for more productive searching and 2) for the way it makes my point [i.e., about what’s {freely} out there… practically at our fingertips]!)

Of course, there’s a “sermon” in all this.  Namely, that one can have an abundance of high quality, free stuff at one’s disposal–epitomized by the Grace of God!  But, it’s worthless until  we do something about it–until we make something of it!  I pray, then, that you/we not only discover these and other great, “free” things out there but that we do something worthwhile and glorious with it all!  Failing to do so may make us guilty of the most sinful of hoardings–the hoarding of spiritual riches!

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