Six Podcasts for People of Faith

by Annalise Deal

 

1) Pray-as-you-go

This daily podcast from the British Jesuits offers guided prayer through one of the readings each day. Each episode begins with some kind of music--often a chant, hymn, or psalm. The second part of the podcast offers an opportunity to pray and meditate on the reading through a series of repetitions and questions, that seem to loosely base themselves on the Lectio Divina model. At around ten minutes long, the podcast is loosely designed to be listened to on a commute. It’s perfect for listening to while eating breakfast, walking to class, or as a quick moment of mindfulness in the midst of a busy day. 

2) Catholic Stuff You Should Know

This podcast is created by four young priests from The Companions of Christ, a “private association of diocesan clerics” in the Archdiocese of Denver. According to their website, the idea for their podcast came out of Pope Benedict XVI’s call for the New Evangelization through technology to reach younger generations. After listening to podcasts on a road trip to Banff, the priests decided to use audio as their medium for evangelization. For seven years, the priests have been recording their conversations on various Catholic topics. Their material ranges from conversations on suffering, to vestments, to the saints, to relationships. Their style is simple and conversational, which allows intellectual theological questions to be grasped by the average lay person.

 

3) Pints with Aquinas

The basic idea behind Pints with Aquinas is: “if you could have a pint with St. Thomas and ask him one question, what would it be?” Each episode seeks to answer a different question using Aquinas own words from the Summa Theologica. The host is Australian Catholic apologist and author Matt Fradd. Fradd is not a vowed religious, but has devoted his life to “defending the Catholic faith,” in part through this podcast, which puts St. Thomas—a doctor of the church—in conversation with contemporary faith questions. Plus, Fradd had Boston College Prof. Peter Kreeft on the show twice, once to talk about angels, and once to share twelve short stories about Aquinas.

 

4) Word on Fire

Word on Fire is hosted by Bishop Robert Barron--an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles--and Brandon Vogt, who works for Bishop Barron’s popular website wordonfire.org. The podcast focuses on issues of faith and culture, addressing topics ranging from evangelism to social media, and regularly stopping to answer listener questions. Bishop Barron’s podcasts, like his homilies and blog writing, are successful because they frequently address all things related to faith which arise in the news and entertainment media. Word on Fire is somewhat like a more in-depth recorded version of The Jesuit Post in its style and attempt to find God in all of life’s contemporary questions.

 

5) 10% Happier with Dan Harris

Dan Harris describes himself as a “fidgety, skeptical ABC newsman who had a panic attack live on Good Morning America.” After his panic attack, Harris began an exploration process that led him to meditation and mindfulness, which he believes has made him a happier and more stable human. Harris is not a man of any particular faith tradition, and the podcast tends to be rooted in science, explaining why mindfulness and meditation can actually make you 10% happier. He hosts a variety of guests, ranging from surfers, to meditation teachers, and civil rights activists. His conversations with guests address all kinds of human questions through the lens of mindfulness. Some episodes are loosely guided by the Buddhist tradition, but most focus on contemplative spiritual practices more broadly, and invite the listener to consider how those practices could improve their lives.

 

6) The Liturgists

The Liturgists is hosted by Michael Gungor, lead singer of the band Gungor, and his friend Science Mike. The two invite guests each week to explore all kinds of issues of faith, typically through the lens of experience. Gungor, who used to be associated with the contemporary worship scene and evangelical Christians, has in the last several years distanced himself somewhat from that group in favor of a more progressive, and sometimes liturgical expression of the faith. Science Mike spent several years in the world of atheism and secularism. In rediscovering his Christianity, he has still remained attached to scientific convictions. Together, they ask profoundly interesting questions and do their research well before drawing any conclusions. 

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