I am always being stretched by the technology out there. At the moment I am learning to access podcasts. I can listen on my phone while walking on the treadmill or elliptical at the club down the road and distract myself from my body’s complaints about the distance or speed—not that either of those is the least bit impressive to anyone who isn’t used to spending her day in front of a computer.
The two “channels” that have motivated me to figure this out are Quick to Listen from Christianity Today Magazine and Rewrite Radio from Calvin College’s Festival of Faith and Writing.
Christianity Today is a magazine my father subscribed to from the first issue in 1956. The vision has always been for “balanced reporting and biblical commentary on the social, cultural, and theological trends, issues and opportunities facing thoughtful Christians nationwide”—something we desperately need in the current political climate. CT presents a variety of points of view, but always with respect for people and for Scripture. I don’t always agree with everything I read or hear on the podcasts, but they always make me think and call me up short when I am inclined to assume that all “real” Christians must think as I do. This week’s podcast (posted pre-Superbowl, I think) is entitled, “Why Football will Never Be America’s New Civil Religion.” I’m eager to listen.
I have blogged before (2012 and 2014) about the biannual Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College. It is NOT an evangelical conference, but it is one at which I feel comfortable taking Biblical faith seriously. It also requires me to listen respectfully to other points of view. I don’t always have the time in my schedule to travel to Grand Rapids, Michigan, for four days to participate in person, but now they are busy putting recordings of sessions from previous conferences on the Internet as podcasts. (BTW, their recommended reading list for conference goers is a great place to find stimulating books even if you can’t attend.)
Today as I worked out, I listened to Rewrite Radio’s episode #005, an interview with Patricia and Alana Raybon, authors of Undivided: A Muslim Daughter, Her Christian Mother, Their Path To Peace. If you are an evangelical Christian like me, you probably can’t imagine how you would feel if your daughter telephoned to say she had decided to become a Muslim. Needless to say, Alana’s conversion produced stress in the relationship, although both women admit there was already stress between mother and daughter. It struck me that although converting to Islam is an extreme case (especially for the daughter of a respected Christian author), their path to talking about the elephant in the room is a model for resolving other serious mother-daughter relationships. They have not solved everything, as many reader-reviewers on Goodreads and Amazon point out. (I think some of those would only consider the relationship resolved if Patricia said her daughter’s decision was fine by her, something no mother would say who believed eternity was at stake.) The process that really only began with the writing of this book is still going on.
Is it possible to disagree and still love? An awful lot of news broadcasts and Facebook posts these days would suggest not. I for one would like to prove them wrong, and this podcast about two women in the same family, facing a conflict over their deepest values, helps me to believe we can.
What podcasts have you listened to? What do you recommend for stretching my mind?
P.S. You don't have to figure out podcasts on your phone to listen. You can also listen on your computer, but I find my computer hard to manage on the elliptical. Just sayin'.
LeAnne Hardy has lived in six countries on four continents. Her books come out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives.
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