When my son Gideon was born, sleep deprivation and constant feedings put a damper on my lifelong love of reading. I found juggling a book and a baby challenging and my eyes often struggled to stay open when I did. A couple months in, my brain and my heart started to struggle. I didn’t feel like me. My husband knew me well enough to realize that aside from the monumental life change that had just happened, it might be related to the fact that I wasn’t using my brain in the same way that I was used to doing through books. While I was learning a lot about being a mom, I needed to feel like I was learning about other things too. Before that time sermons, This American Life, and Serial (both of which are fantastic) were the only things I had ever really listened to. With the help of recommendations, I added a few more to my repertoire and it made a huge difference.
While the toddler stage and a more predictable schedule have allowed me to ease my way back into a modified reading life, I’m still quite thankful for my podcast feed.
Our spring break will be spent at home in Columbia, but in an attempt to live vicariously through those of you vacationing; I thought I’d share a list of some favorite podcasts to help kill time as you travel.
Revisionist History by Malcolm Gladwell
This series has been out for a while, but it’s my all time favorite if you haven’t had the time to listen. Each episode has made me think about things I wouldn’t have otherwise considered in a different way. Though each has a unique focus about a person or event, Gladwell does a masterful job of making connections about broader, more universal metaphors and their implications. My personal favorites are The Big Man Can’t Shoot and Halleluiah, though I think the entire series is fantastic.
Missing Richard Simmons
Listening to this series reminded me of watching a quirky True/False Documentary. While some parts appear merely humorous or entertaining, it caused me to think more deeply about empathy, relationships, mental health issues, co-dependency, fitness, and the longing all of our hearts experience that’s ultimately only satisfied in Christ. I particularly loved this line from the first episode and its implications for how people change/ministry.
“What’s most astounding (about Simmons’ workout videos) are the people exercising with him. They’re normal. It’s like he just went and grabbed people out of line at the DMV. All shapes and sizes and ages. Some are two or three hundred pounds just jumping around and looking like they’re sincerely having a great time. Compare that to the other options at the time. Jane Fonda was ripped and super precise. Even the pros she hired to be in the video are looking at her like she’s nuts…In a world of before and after photos, if you’re still in serious before territory, it can be really daunting to exercise with a bunch of afters.”
Culture Matters by The Village Church
From current events to politics to entertainment to vocation, this podcast hosted by The Village Church in Dallas encourages Christians to think deeply and thoughtfully about a variety of topics. I personally found their interview with Thabiti Anyabwile ahead of the election thought provoking as I did Jen Wilkin and Gloria Furman’s conversation about motherhood, though all have been informative.
More Perfect from Radiolab
I really enjoy learning about a variety of topics I’ve never thought much about before. This series examines the history of the Supreme Court along with several big cases that impact our lives today. Even if you don’t completely agree with their final conclusions, I think we’re all served by considering/understanding a perspective different from our own.
Persuasion by Hannah Anderson and Erin Straza
You might recognize the hosts’ names from their recent books Humble Roots and Comfort Detox respectively. Like Culture Matters, Persuasion digs into a variety of topics from race to cooking to sarcasm to specific Netflix original series through a Gospel-Centered lens. My personal favorite episode is When You Fancy Yourself a Prophet with guest Sharon Hodde Miller. In this episode, they discuss what I consider a must-read article for all Evangelicals from Hodde on Mere Orthodoxy entitled Evangelicals and the Loss of the Prophetic Imagination. (If that word prophetic makes you nervous/uncomfortable like it does me, know that it’s rooted in a pretty orthodox explanation where the way God primarily reveals himself to us is His Word.)
Happy listening! Feel free to share additional recommendations in the comment section. I’m always on the hunt for thoughtful things to listen to.