Kudos to Concordia, St. Louis. And I’ve got a (I’m not certain it’s legitimate yet) gripe with Concordia Ft. Wayne.
I, I’m sure like many brother pastors, can’t always make it to the seminaries for their symposia. They each make offerings for the edification of the church, but for most of the pastorate (and laity) these require travel. As a CSL alum, I remember fondly the Symposia, the Dellinger Lectures, the Days of Theological Conversation and the Days of Homiletical Reflection. On the whole they were interesting and informative. I have not yet had the opportunity to experience the same on CTSFW’s campus, although I have certainly read papers that were delivered there. My point is that both make substantial contributions to the ministry that is done in the congregations served by their graduates and those who continue to receive education from them as they are able.
So I can now go to iTunes and download free audio of CSL’s symposium.
Or I can send $7.50/speaker (+ tax and shipping) to CTSFW for its counterpart on CD. Or rather, on many, many CDs.
Now, I understand that if I were willing and able to travel, I’d be paying CSL for the opportunity to hear the presentations live. Certainly CTSFW is entitled to charge for the resources it provides. Yet when I pay to attend a conference, I generally pay with the expectation that it includes the opportunity to meet other symposi-ites, ask direct questions of and receive direct answers from speakers, and generally engage in the activities of such symposia. With access to audio alone, I certainly receive the same presentations, but my interaction is limited.
I would pay for the interaction. I would pay for the opportunity to have the conversation. Such conversations are precious to me, especially where I currently serve.
I suppose my question (perhaps my irritation being fueled by my recent sleep deprivation) is, what prevents CTSFW from making it’s audio resources available free of charge? It would honestly be less work to post .mp3’s than to burn CDs and ship them. And they might enjoy a wider audience without the price tag. In the end I’ll likely end up paying for some of them. But I’d love to simply grab a podcast.