I love to listen to podcasts. In fact, I spend far more time listening to podcasts than I do watching TV or movies. There are some incredible resources available for free on iTunes (or any podcasting app – I use Downcast) if you just know where to look.
That said, the place to look is not the “Christianity: Top Podcasts” chart, though, it does say something interesting things about what Christians are interested in.
The chart is generally dominated by three types of content.
First (and most dominant), there is the prosperity-tinged, self help stuff. Preachers promising 5 easy steps to take your life to the next level.
Second, there is the “guru” stuff. Men (it’s always men) peddling a strange mix of internet-conspiracy theory and end-times theology.
Third, there is the firmly conservative stuff. Men (again, always men) yelling a lot and getting very angry about a bunch of different threats to conservatism.
A common theme is that most of this content builds a cult of personality around one person, as the one with all the answers.
Another observation is that we Christians seem to be overly keen on preaching as some kind of “cheat code for life.” Like Popeye’s spinach, we’re looking for something concentrated that will allow us to live more successful lives, or unlock the secrets to the universe, or know all the answers to all the difficult questions in what is a confusing world.
There isn’t a lot of stuff focused on equipping people for the long, slow obedience that is what life as a Christian should be. There are lots of easy answers, but not so much to help Christians think critically for themselves.
The good news is, there is a some good content if you dig a bit deeper. Here are five of my favourite podcasts, which you can grab with a simple search of the iTunes store. Continue reading