I’m a podcast addict. I haven’t listened to my car stereo forever. My CDs are collecting dust and the songs on my iPod are far outnumbered by all of the podcast sermons, lectures, radio programs I subscribe to. While I listen to my staple sermons each week by my favorite pastors (Greg Boyd, David Johnson, John Piper, Rob Bell) on my daily 45 minute commute to work, I have a few sources I specifically turn to for cultural commentary on current events from a Christian perspective. Here are my top 3:
1. Tony Campolo’s Across the Pond Podcast. Tony brings honest straight talk on what’s in the news from his more liberal Christian viewpoint. Campolo is a seasoned prophetic voice in the church today who is well-versed on the current social and political issues facing our country and was the pastoral guide to the White House during the Clinton years. He’s my favorite liberal Christian commentator who constantly challenges my more conservative tendencies.
2. The Albert Mohler Program. On the other side of the aisle you’ll find conservative radio host and president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Albert Mohler. I’m finding conservative talk show hosts harder and harder to stomach these days primarily due to their demonization of those on the other side of issues. Albert Mohler clearly articulates a conservative Biblical critique of current events and cultural trends presenting challenges to the church today, and most importantly manages to do so with respect and tact. He’s always bringing interesting topics to my attention.
3. NPR Religion. I also subscribe to the NPR Religion podcast. This podcast aims to “Explore the intersection between religion and society, with stories from Morning Edition, All Things Considered and other award-winning NPR programs.” This is not from a Christian perspective. This is hit or miss with me. They do a good job of bringing awareness to much international religious news with short, bite-sized stories. For a taste a recent broadcast featured the following stories: 1) Pro-Gay-Marriage Muslim Delegate Stirs Conservatives 2) Lutherans Prep For Vote On Gay Clergy 3) Ronnie Milsap: A Life In Music, Touched By God 4) Report: Atheism On The Rise In U.S. Each story is 5-7 minutes long and if you’re not interested the next story will be there shortly.
Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett. A somewhat related podcast that brings a wonderful variety of faith-focused conversations is Speaking of Faith with Krista Tippett. In their own words “Speaking of Faith is not so much about religion per se, but about drawing out compelling and challenging voices of wisdom on the most important subjects of 21st-century life; thereby creating a different kind of in-depth, revealing, illuminating dialogue than can be elicited by traditional journalistic treatments and debates. Topics range from “Einstein and the Mind of God” to “The Spirituality of Parenting” to “Diplomacy and Religion in the 21st Century.” While this doesn’t fall exactly into the “cultural commentator” category, I want to commend this program to every inquiring mind. Krista Tippett is a great journalist and interviewer.