I think last week was purging my system for a lot of this election stuff. I promise, no more political ranting in this column until after this gigantic, festering pit of an election has wrapped up.
On more a blog admin angle, I would really like to encourage more layfolk to submit material. Most of the stuff we’ve published so far is from various ministers and elders around the denomination, and while I’m thrilled to have so many voices from church leadership speaking, I’d really like to hear from the church at large. The site does have publishing guidelines, but if you consider the article we ran on Wednesday this week, I’m more than happy to consider submissions which stretch the boundaries, but still preserve the spirit of what we’re trying to do here. If you’re concerned that what you might be interested in submitting doesn’t quite fit our mission, send it to me and we can talk about it. I won’t say that we’ll publish everything we get, but we’re happy to have discussions about the vision for what the site may be moving forward.
Anyway, for the conversation this week, I’m actually just going to run down a list of some of the podcasts which I listen to regularly. I know I have sprinkled them piecemeal into many of the conversations articles in the past, but I wanted to put a more complete list of them down for the reference of any readers who might want to do more listening.
On the top of this, I want to say that I’m not going to include sermon audio feeds here, even though I really encourage you to find some ministers whom you really respect and put them in your ears often. Perhaps I’ll do a list for that service in the future, but this is not that list.
On another minor technical note, I would encourage you to use a podcatcher of some sort if you intend to consume very much media in this format. I used to simply listen through streaming service or snag a fistful of downloads, but podcatchers really do make the entire endeavor substantially easier. If you’re on an Apple device, iTunes is really perfectly suited to handling your podcatcher needs, but if you’re on Android (as I am), you might need to fish around to find a good one. Personally, I use AntennaPod, which is free, robust, and very simple, but there are any number of different services you could use. The only thing I find that AntennaPod lacks is Chromecast support, but since I don’t really ever listen to my podcasts over Chromecast, that’s not an issue for me. If that functionality is a dealbreaker for you, you might have to shell out a few bucks to download a more feature-rich podcatcher like Pocket Casts. If those last two sentences didn’t make any sense to you at all, just fish up AntennaPod and you shouldn’t have any problems.
Anyway, on to the podcasts I listen to regularly. Hopefully, this can help those of you who might be interested in podcasts to get a decent start.
The Briefing – I just did a review of this last week, so I’m not going to dig into it much, but I consider this virtually required listening. If you pick up anything off this list, I hope you pick up this.
Mortification of Spin – This is a weekly podcast, usually about 30 minutes, which is branded as a “casual conversation about things that count.” Appropriately, it is much more casual and conversational than many other theologically mature podcasts, but they really do dig into topics which are of genuine interest to Reformed Christians. I find that this one flirts expertly with the line between accessible and compelling, and there is rarely anything else that I’m more excited to see pop up in my queue. This is another one which I really think that everyone should be listening to, regardless of your level of theological acumen and interest. I sincerely doubt you’ll be bored.
The White Horse Inn – This is another weekly podcast, with Michael Horton (a name you may know), that surveys various theological topics. The usual hosts are actually from a number of different denominational affiliations (alongside Presbyterian, I believe they usually have Anglican and Lutheran co-hosts as well), which lends an interesting tenor to the discussion. Sometimes this has the unfortunate result of keeping things relatively shallow, as they tend to discuss matters which the hosts are likely to agree upon, but there’s still a lot of compelling conversation.
The Dividing Line – James White primarily does this as a webcast, so you lose something visual with the podcast version, but I find it quite adequate, as I rarely have time to spend at least an hour sitting and watching the webcast. As to frequency, he usually puts out episodes twice weekly, each at least an hour (frequently up near two), so it’s actually a comparable amount of content to The Briefing, taken as a whole. Nevertheless, The Dividine Line has been around for quite a while, and James White is a very big name within Reformed Baptist circles, even if he is somewhat less well-known within Presbyterian circles. His tone tends to be very forceful, and as he himself frequently acknowledges, “not for everyone,” but if you want a legitimately forceful polemic against many of the theological heresies of our day, James White is a good man to get it from. He does frequently expect a rather high level of theological knowledge in his listenership, but if all those qualifications sound more like challenges than deterrents, you probably should be listening to this.
Reformed Forum – This collection of pocasts (some of which are quality, some of which are less) is generally similar in weight to The Dividing Line than the other programs mentioned here. Basically, this is a bunch of content pulled out of the OPC, generally targeted at ministers and those in church leadership, on a number of different topics and in a number of different formats. Of everything on my list, I find myself skipping the programs the most frequently, but that is partially because they put out an aggressive amount of content. Nevertheless, they frequently provide very mature, deep dives on important theological topics that are worth your time to consider.
This is absolutely not a complete list of the podcasts I subscribe to, but these are the items which I think are likely to have a more common interest. Hopefully they are of some help to you.