Sunday, December 21, 2008
Zeph featured in local Albuquerque Journal Paper
Communication Mixed With the Communion ;
Zeph Daniel Enourages 'Early Christian' Discussion Online
November 22, 2008
Kate McGraw For the Journal
Anyone who thinks discussion of spiritual issues has gone stale hasn't been on the World Wide Web lately, or on the blogosphere, podcasts and satellite radio. The ether teems with ways to attend church without leaving the house -- online-churches.com is one example. There are Bible studies and discussion groups, most of them sponsored by a more-or-less official group or coalition.
Then there's Santa Fe's Zeph Daniel, a man who believes it's important that "communion" and "communication" have the same root. Daniel was mentioned in a recent Newsweek article for his real-time communion service, done with streaming audio. He's not doing that now, being temporarily between radio station gigs, but his passionate approach to Christianity in what he calls the everybody- talks style of the early Christians is evident on the podcasts that he intermingles with broadcasts of his own electronic music on Lesea Broadcasting. Visit zephnet.com or ZephDaniel. com and he's there, opining about Christianity and decrying organized religion.
Predictably, Daniel is controversial. Adherents say his "Leave Religion/Find God" motto is just what's needed. Detractors -- mostly among fundamentalists bloggers -- call his tolerance for gays and dissenting views everything from just plain wrong to guided by Satan.
"They can't pigeonhole him so they just make things up," Daniel's wife Patricia says.
In Santa Fe, of course, he fits right in. In lengthy online and telephone interviews, the Journal explored Daniel's views. He doesn't discuss his spiritual past, except to allude several times to being a victim of "Satanic abuse." He and his wife moved from Los Angeles to a home south of Santa Fe seven years ago and he told the Journal that "New Mexico has healed me."
"I was all tight and turned inward when I got here and now I'm much more whole and turned outward," Daniel said.
He had been a writer and director in Los Angeles, he said, and has written two selfpublished novels, available on Amazon.com. One, "Lamb" (2002) is a book exploring the battle for a man's soul. He thinks people would understand him better if they read that book. He describes the other, "Glass Backwards" (2003), as a satirical novel with a lot of expletives. It "got a lot of things out that I needed to get out at the time," Daniel said, adding that he doubts it would help anybody.
At this stage of his life, he considers himself primarily a musician, creating electronic music in his home studio, making it available for MP3 download at Amazon and broadcasting it on his 4 a.m. Saturday shows on LeSEA Broadcasting. That's the home of his satirical comedy show "Z and Frankie" and that's where he slips in his verbal blogs about religion and Christianity that are duplicated as podcasts. The podcasts can be downloaded at Zephnet.com.
His podcast from Nov. 18, for example, notes that "the current crisis -- when are we not in a crisis? -- is an encouragement to rely fully on Jesus, to walk in the supernatural, to live in the spirit. Scriptures: 1 Peter, Ephesians 5, Revelation 22, Jude 1."
Although he has been known to lead his listeners in a homemade Communion, Daniel insists he is no preacher, and leads no church.
"I'm not a professional religious person, just a guy in the desert putting out the word of God, teaching, observations and Communion with Jesus," he said. "Many of my listeners don't go to 'church' as defined by our society, for a number of reasons. Many just don't think people ordained by other men are vetted by God and therefore consider the commercialized churches illegitimate.
"And we have listeners who do attend church regularly and see no conflict with this show, he said. "I must say something though: the word 'church' or 'ecclesia' actually means the Body of Believers in Jesus, not some corporation. But when I use the term 'church,' sometimes I just mean the taxexempt organization housed in a building."
Daniel was a full-time presence from 2005 through 2007, on international satellite and shortwave radio. It was not American mainstream, but presented in Europe and Africa along with mainstream American shows, he said.
"That was mainly a guestdriven show where we were on Hotbird 6 out of Israel. My broadcasting today is limited to the podcast, which is listened to from Tasmania to Romania, from Alaska to South America. (Back on the old show) we had one guy in Beijing, a Russian, who enjoyed our comedy show -- particularly a show I would play the Russian national anthem and warn vociferously of a coming financial meltdown, employing testimony of experts who educated the audience about derivatives and just how far all that has gone.
"Then in the second hour I would do a sermon and sometimes a live Communion," Daniel said.
A self-described born-again Christian, Daniel said he rarely uses the term "because it's been taken over by the right wing of Christianity."
"I use the term 'awakened' instead," he said. "I am a Christian who has experienced the salvation and love of Jesus Christ and I try to bring people to that love and share it."
His tag line on Zeph-D a n iel .c o m r e a d s " N o Religionistas."
"I absolutely advocate being in the world, meaning to work at your job, pay your taxes, be at peace (as much as possible) with others, and so forth," he said.
Communion, fellowship and preaching done online are just as valid as going to church in a building, he said. "My belief is that the true church of Jesus Christ are the believers in Jesus Christ, wherever they may be. And yeah, ultimately, the best possible scenario is for people to realize it's not about us but about God and that it is crucial that we trust him, serve him, and obey his commandments, or strive to even if we fall short."