Full disclosure: I don’t regularly listen to podcasts for the following reasons: 1) I have already mourned, for many years, that unless I live to be 120, I am going to go to my grave with numerous fabulous books left unread on my various shelves, so, given an hour to kill, I’d just as soon spend it with Dostoevsky, Lewis, or even Christie (if I need a little escapism); 2) I am the son of a music educator who preached that all music–high-brow, low-brow, and in-between-brow–had merit potentially. “Warren, there’s good classical music and bad classical music,” he’d preach. If he were alive today, he’d say, “There’s good screamo and bad screamo,” I have no doubt. There’s just too much good music for me yet to explore; 3) I am also my father’s son in the sense that I function best doing something if I’ve going to be “held captive” by someone talking for any great length of time. The ADHD strain in Anderson males takes root more noticeably in my brother, but I’ve got a touch of it, too, and because I don’t want to think too much when I’m engaged in other affairs like chores around the house, music is usually my background noise of choice.
That said, if I were to begin listening to podcasts, I’d start with these. In the endless sea of talking heads available, I’m happy to suggest you consider the following. I have a personal relationship with each of these entrepreneurs, and three are former students of mine. That said, as the opening paragraph would suggest, I have only casually listened to two of these, and, for the other two, I am featuring them based solely on my experience as their hosts’ professor in recent years. In other words, you listen at your own risk, and any opinions expressed on the podcasts, though they come from the hearts and minds of Judson University alumni, do not necessarily represent positions (political, theological, or otherwise) consistent with any similar positions espoused by Judson University. (Once such a disclaimer would have been unnecessary–when the benefit of the doubt was offered far more universally–but that era is long gone, and, in our fractious times, it feels important to emphasize this.) With that caveat, consider these for your podcast pleasure, offered in alphabetical order of the entrepreneur:
Dr. Karin Anderson Abrell is a former psychology professor, a terrific author and speaker, and my sister, so I’m stupid biased when I say she offers great things to anyone in any circumstance related to relationships. She has a complete-package social-media world encompassing numerous platforms under the general umbrella of Love & Life, including a Monday podcast. She writes, “On Love & Life we explore research methods for happy, hopeful, positive living. I delve into all the good stuff–how to have true intimacy in romantic relationships, more meaningful friendships, healthier family connections, and more fulfilling careers.” You can access all of Karin’s materials at her website.
Matt Calio serves as the worship pastor at Crossview Church (EFCA) in DeKalb, IL. I’ve known of Matt all his life, as his mom and I were at Judson together in the 80’s, but I really came to know and appreciate his deep thoughtfulness regarding the Christian faith when he came to JU, and he has continued his lifelong learning via his current pursuit of a master’s at Denver Seminary. His podcast, called Bible, Books & Culture, airs every Friday. Of the podcast, Matt says, “Our tag line is ‘seeing the grace of God in our literature and lives,’ so our hope is whether we’re reading a book, talking about our lives, or engaging in the world around us, we’ll be able to point out the grace of God in it all.” You can access the podcast at Spotify and Apple Music.
I have worshiped under numerous worship leaders, and I’ve had the distinct privilege of helping to train many others who are truly excellent. That said, if I could be led in worship by only one person, it’d be Aaron Niequist. Raised low-Church evangelical, Aaron encountered high-Church liturgy in his late 20’s and 30’s, and it changed his life, a process eventually leading to his writing the excellent The Eternal Current, upon which his podcast is based. He writes, “Even if your faith container seems to be failing, don’t give up. You may give up on certain versions of religion, but let’s learn how to enter more deeply into the way of Christ.” Aaron’s big-tent, both/and approach to worship is refreshing, and you can access the podcast and a bunch of other resources here.
The final podcast entrepreneur, Sarah Reynolds, was a student in Communication Arts, one of Judson’s most eclectic majors, so it’s no surprise that hers in the most idiosyncratic, perhaps, of all the offerings here. Her brand-new Fresh Out of Spoons podcast features a look at how to survive and thrive, even while living with chronic illnesses. Sarah’s goal is to “create a fun and safe space to discuss life with chronic health conditions. We also enjoy sharing tips on finding great doctors to work with, pain management techniques, and any other advice we can share based on our experiences with various conditions.”
I’m pretty stoked to share these with you. I might have to become a podcast convert myself!
The Lord be with you!