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Don't Forget the Earbuds: Episode 1

Updated: Jun 20, 2021

Every once in a while, I like to highlight what I am listening to or reading. As a college chaplain, my time is limited but I have a lot to learn and so I meticulously plan reading/listening time and choices to fit my life and Type A personality.

Today, let’s talk about what is coming through the ear buds.

I can be a sort of Podcast junkie. When I discovered that I could listen to interesting people, classes, topics, stories, and sermons all FOR FREE on headphones while I gardened, took a walk, worked out, waited in line, or cooked (J/K about that last one. Cereal only takes 30 second to prepare and so it’s hard to fit in a podcast) I was elated! For years I have been a slow reader and so this kind of information ingestion was just my thing. The first problem was - there are too many.

Over the years, I have revolved through various podcasts. Some were only a few episodes long. Others began to change and lessen in their quality over time. Some were meant only for a time. I once listened to three years worth of sermons by a preacher just because my brother loved him and I wanted to better understand my sibling. But mostly, I revolve through podcasts because it is so difficult to limit yourself. iTunesU began hosting podcasts of college classes from universities all over the world. I’ve been watching a video podcast of a Critical Reasoning & Logic class at Oxford and it’s all FREE (I will pause here to wait for your mind to explode). Between classes, sermons from world class preachers, audio books, and the variety of interesting podcasters, I’ve had a difficult time nailing it down.

The other annoying thing I like to do is start at the beginning. I just picked up two “new” podcasts that have been around for over a year and so, instead of just starting with the most current episode, I go to the very first one and work to catch up. This means that I am logging a LOT of quality time with the earbuds and eating all the cereal I want. Because I’m an adult.

So when you judge my list below, just remember that it is not exhaustive and many other podcasts are trailing in it’s wake. Also, I take recommendations.

Here’s how this works: I listen to podcasts each morning while I get ready for my day and either jog or workout. On the weekends I listen if I’m engrossed in a project, have a long drive, or I am just running errands.

Mondays: I alternate bi-weekly between The Calling and Christians for Biblical Equality.

The Calling is a podcast from Christianity Today publications and they interview people about their calling/vocation and current projects. Great guests and insightful interviews. This was recommended to me by a colleague.

CBE is a group committed to gospel fidelity and gender/ethnic equality. They have several publications but I am currently re-listening to all the sessions from a conference I attended last year in Orlando - Mutual By Design. The sessions were so good, I am listening to them again and any I missed during the conference. They are intelligent, insightful, and enriching.

Tuesdays: I alternate between Chasing Justice and Truth’s Table.

Chasing Justice is a podcast of the Justice Conference and they cover a variety of justice related topics from race to refugees, poverty, gender, and so much more. I found this podcast when I visited the Justice Conference website and I have enjoyed the education and well thought out interviews that mark each episode. This is a great podcast for anyone wanting to go deeper into the intersections of Christian faith and social justice. I am encouraged, convicted, but mostly I feel empowered by the information I glean from this podcast.

Truth’s Table was recommended to me by one of my students. These three engaging women of color get together and do everything from reviewing movies to commenting on issues surrounding race, gender, and church. Their friendship and brilliant articulation make this a fun podcast that might have you saying “Amen,” very loudly in a crowd of confused strangers at the grocery store (true story).

[Both of these podcasts speak openly and honestly about some sensitive but important issues. For my more conservative readers, I recommend that you tread carefully into these podcasts. Christianity and justice are some of my favorite topics to learn about and discuss but if “social justice” is a trigger phrase for you right now, I suggest easing into the topic before diving into these podcasts. If you are not sure where you land but are interested in learning more, I highly recommend sinking into a few of these episodes. But beware: they will challenge you and improve your prayer life.]

Wednesday: I listen to sermons from the church my husband and I attended in Nashville, TN for eight years.

This church holds a special place in our hearts and our years there were used by God to heal us into becoming the body of Christ. The preaching is so rich and it still nourishes my soul. I’m told that to preach better, you should listen to and study good preaching. The sermons from Midtown Fellowship are part of my self-care/soul-care and they keep the message of the gospel burning in my heart.

Thursday: Time for class! I listen to some kind of college/university class from iTunesU.

Currently, I am listening to a Christian Ethics course from Reformed Theological Seminary. Some of the banter and examples have led me to surmise that this particular class was recorded back during the Clinton Administration, however the course itself is insightful and a great refresher from my own seminary ethics courses. Deontological discourse, anyone?

Friday: Audio book day.

I just finished G.K Chesterton’s “Eugenics and other Evils,” and I have just started John Muir’s “Story of my Boyhood and Youth.” If you don’t know who John Muir is LOOK HIM UP. As an environmentalist, outdoor enthusiast, and fan of good story-telling, Muir is right up my alley.

Weekends: These few pop up either weekly or semi-regularly and so I just listen to whatever I have time for:

(Both Seminary Dropout and Not So Black and White are sponsored by Missio Alliance which I found because of Carolyn Custis James - who I love.)

Crackers and Grape Juice (Found this because of their occasional guest Fleming Rutledge - who I love.)

God Pod (Very British, very intelligent, always interesting. Was recommended by a colleague - who I like.)

I did not go as deep as I could have into these different ear-candy treats, but if you have questions, concerns, or just want to know more, do not hesitate to reach out. These blogs are an attempt at brevity (seriously. why are you laughing) but my usual self is much more verbose and inclined to talk you to death about each and every podcast. Enter at your own risk.

So, what pods are you listening to these days?


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