So do you? Have you worked it out yet? Possibly the image above is a bit of a give-away...
Yes it is the first birthday of One Man In The Middle, and what a year it has been! Generally at 12 months a new-born is starting to discover the world around it, normally finding out that it is larger and more exciting that it ever thought. Perhaps it's starting to pull itself up on it's feet and standing up holding on to the chair. It's also starting to work out that there are some things that taste good and what doesn't. At this point everything goes into the mouth to see what it tastes like... If you are happy to let me, I want to take a moment to share what has been accomplished over our last year.
Yes, I officially posted the first article to the website on the 14th September 2015. This was to explain what the name of this site was all about. I am still discovering new meanings for the name as we talk to different people, but the article explains the thoughts at the time.
Initially the site was a place to share some thoughts. However for me this is hard to consistently blog about life, Jesus, God and the Church because my leanings are to teach. Some of the early reflections definitely shared some specific ideas, looking through some of the characters from the early chapters of the Bible - something that I am sure when time allows I would love to pick up again! So you can read back through these reflections on Adam, Noah and other characters. I hope that you gain some insight. I also wanted to share some of my personal experience in Divorced But Not Disqualified and Part 2, if you have been through this experience then I am sure you too will identify with some of those thoughts.
Although I love this kind of writing it was clear to me that I couldn't possibly gather enough content with just these articles to justify this site. Christian music has always been a passion of mine. I remember when I was growing up the town where I lived had a second-hand music shop. Opening the door you were greeted with a smell of something possibly not totally legal, but the owner bought music by the job lot from auctions and house clearances. I soon found that this was a treasure trove of Christian titles that he couldn't sell. After a couple of weeks he started keeping back anything Christian because he knew that I would buy it. This helped me discover a breadth of Christian music, much of it produced years before from artists like Phil Keaggy and Sheila Walsh - and many more. This is when Premier music magazine was at it's height and Cross Rhythms was beginning to grow and the festivals were an annual event. Yes I became a reviewer for them and a few years later started working with Soteria Magazine and as part of growing that work I reviewed anything and everything. So after careful thought I decided that this might be the way to go. To get me started I bought a couple of albums just to get something on the site. I tried to contact some of my industry contacts only to discover how much the music industry has changed in the last 5 years - but that is probably an article for another day.
Just as we were getting going we had an obstacle, we had to move properties which really dented my ability and drive to find new content. I kept things ticking over until we had somewhere new and then I was able to move ahead and get music for review.
As of today we have 117 music reviews, 35 book reviews and 6 DVD reviews on the site. I want to take this opportunity to thank all the artists, publishers, distributors etc for letting us have review copies and competition copies as well! I know the market is hard and I hope that we are providing a service to you all to help you fulfill your part in building up the church.
When it comes to reviews I try to be honest, I try and describe the feelings, the music and investigate the lyrics amongst other things. I try not to have a set formula, except to communicate to the reader how I feel about the album. I always try to be positive. My reviews have been picked up by AStepFWD.com and we have a collaboration with these guys doing an amazing job for the UK Christian music scene, particularly with their fantastic monthly chart.
On top of all this we have had a chance to interview some top level Christian artists and comedians. We interviewed Philippa Hanna (twice), Daughters of Davis, Andy Kind, Guvna B, Noel Richards and many more people - the great news is we have even more interviews still to come from our trip to Creation Fest earlier this year.
God has blessed One Man In The Middle through many connections and friendships and we are still finding our voice to appeal to more people each day. I have been particularly blessed to have my wife "One Woman In The Middle" doing a brilliant job of finding new artists for us to review and keeping all the contacts in place, making sure people are informed when their review goes live. Despite her illness she works as and when she can to develop relationships and keep on top of everything else - every listing has to be entered manually and for the last 6 months this has been her gift to the website! This allows me to listen, read, watch and write content for the site.
I don't know the future that God has for this website, or for us, but I know that this is a good thing and a God thing. Communicating and building up fellow believers through the Christian media is a desire that God put inside me many years ago. I have had to go through a lot and given up a lot of things that I felt called to at the time, but even through the worst storms this desire has remained.
Can you help?
So that is our first year. As we move into a second year of development we need your help. We really desire your prayers and your support, whatever that looks like and whatever God prompts you to. Please share our reviews, reflections and anything else that strikes you through your social media, this will help us immensely.
Thanks for being part of our first year!