Monday, January 18, 2016

My Favorite Podcasts

pod·cast  [pod-kast, ‐kahst]
1. A digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or portable media player, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.

A podcast is basically a radio show broadcast to the public via the internet. There are thousands of podcast shows on various topics ranging from talk shows, news, religion, science, tech, etc. If you have a smartphone, you probably have the ability to download podcasts via a “podcatcher” (AKA an app that subscribes to and manages your podcasts). iPhones come standard with an app for this. Other podcatchers include Stitcher Radio and Overcast. The neat thing is, when you subscribe to a podcast, they will automatically download to your phone when new episodes become available.

Most of my favorite podcasts are religious talk shows. I love to listen to them while I’m in a car or bus while traveling. My faith and knowledge of the Bible has increased due to the convenient technology of podcasts. In an age when we often see technology being used for such evil purposes, podcasts can be such a blessing.

My good friend and teammate, Jeremy Daggett, recently blogged about his three favorite religious podcasts and inspired me to do the same.  Here are my recommendations in no particular order:

Newsworthy with Norsworthy
This one was also on Jeremy’s list. It’s an interview show hosted by a young Texas preacher named Luke Norsworthy. He interviews writers, theologians, preachers, bloggers, and professors about various theological topics. I think one of his goals is to get Christians thinking about the issues and open the conversation up to different points of view among believers. Many interviews are from authors promoting their new books. I think Luke asks a lot of the same questions I would ask coming from a Church of Christ background and does it in an entertaining, sometimes sarcastic way which I enjoy. He seems like just one of the guys I would hang out with. He’s always done his homework and has read the book the author is promoting. Regulars on the show include Jonathan Storment, Scot McKnight, Richard Beck, and Rob Bell. My absolute favorite interviews have been N.T. Wright and Richard Rohr.

John Eldredge and Ransomed Heart
This podcast is hosted by one of my favorite authors, John Eldredge (from Wild at Heart fame). He’s usually accompanied by his friend Craig McConnell. Eldredge is a counselor with a background in theater. I think this mix gives him such an interesting and unique perspective on the human heart and what captivates and speaks to us on a deeper level. Most of what he says and believes is based on life in the trenches counseling real people with real problems, never just theoretical jargon. Eldredge and McConnell are long-time friends and you can tell they draw out the best in each another. McConnell brings to the table his own wealth of experience from his ongoing battle with cancer. One disclaimer is that some of the episodes of this podcast are hosted by other staff members of Eldredge’s “Ransomed Heart” organization. I listen to these too, but the ones with Mr. Eldredge are the best. I would highly recommend the ten-part series of episodes they did this summer called “The Sacred Romance” and a four-part series they did on the topic of suffering.

The Theonauts
Here you have two guys whose hobby is talking about the Bible and Christian life. They will pick a topic in theology, both study it separately and come together on the podcast and work through what they learned and believe. They show us that serious theology can be fun when you do it with grace in community. Apart from the theological topic of the show, they also do a segment on Christian current events and compete against each other a few minutes every show with Bible trivia questions. I recommend scrolling through their episodes and picking one on a theological topic that you’ve always had questions about. The strengths of this podcast are 1.) their way of bringing complex biblical topics down to a level we can all understand and weigh the options and 2.) their manner of “doing theology” with grace and humility that is a model for the rest of us to go out and have meaningful conversations about topics that really matter with our friends.

The Village Church – Sermons
I do enjoy a good sermon via podcast every once in a while. Matt Chandler is one of the preachers for The Village Church in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. He’s not always the one preaching on this podcast, and when it’s not him, I usually skip that episode. Chandler is a no-nonsense type with a flair for the comedic. He’s always passionate and keeps your attention.

Timothy Keller Sermons Podcast by Gospel in Life
Tim Keller is one of the best preachers/teachers I’ve ever heard. He is consistently good, especially in the area of apologetics of the Christian faith. This podcast publishes the sermons he preaches at his home church, Redeemer Presbyterian in New York City. All of his sermons are good, but my favorite in recent memory is titled “Friendship.” 

These are some of my favorites. I'm always looking for good new ones. Share yours in the comments section below.

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