I was a very casual podcast listener for many years. However, a little over a year ago, while in-between jobs in the midst of a pandemic, I became a hardcore podcast consumer. In honor of International Podcast Day yesterday (September 30, 2021), I am sharing five of my favorite podcasts.
Many of the podcasts I enjoy are related to my own professional development as a software engineer and probably aren’t of much interest to Rambling Ever On’s typical reader. The following recommendations should have a more general appeal. If I’m incorrect in my assessment, and you’re dying to get tech-related podcast recommendations, let me know.
The Rest is History
Historians Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook are interrogating the past, attempting to de-tangle the present for their new podcast “The Rest Is History”.
They question the nature of Greatness, why the West no longer has civil wars, and whether Richard Nixon was more like Caligula or Claudius.
They’re distilling the entirety of human history, or, as much as they can fit into about thirty minutes.
Tom Holland (the historian, not the spider-man) and Dominic Sandbrook are both knowledgeable and entertaining, and their passion for history is infectious. I really appreciate how they seem to be able to “don their historian caps” and discuss topics that are often controversial with objectivity. When the topic is outside of their expertise, they bring on a guest expert.
I was introduced to Tom Holland through my next recommendation, the Unbelievable? podcast.
Unbelievable? with Justin Brierley
Each Saturday, in the award-winning radio show and podcast Unbelievable?, Justin Brierley asks questions like: Is there evidence for God? Can we trust the Bible? Did Jesus rise from the dead?
Justin tackles these and other issues, on a show that gets Christians and skeptics talking.
Each week, Justin brings together two or three experts on opposite sides of a given topic. The topic could be doctrinal or ecclesiastical or scientific or philosophical in nature. I tend to prefer the more scientific episodes which generally feature an atheist or agnostic scientist and a Christian scientist who are both experts in the given scientific field. I’m sure some would favor the more theological discussions which generally feature two Christian leaders who have opposing views on the matter. I appreciate how the discussions are (usually) friendly and respectful. Sometimes the panelists even find themselves agreeing more than disagreeing. Occasionally the debate can get a bit heated.
Unbelievable? is part of the Premier Christian Radio podcast network which, at the time of this writing, includes eleven podcasts. Of those, I listen to and enjoy Ask NT Wright Anything and The C.S. Lewis Podcast with Alister McGrath.
The Habit Podcast is a podcast in which Jonathan Rogers discusses writing with other writers.
I do not consider myself to be a writer, regardless of the fact that you are currently reading something which I have written. My creative talents lie in other, more subtle areas. I originally started listening to this podcast simply because I was a fan of many of the guests (and host). I have continued to listen partially because I find the writing process to be fascinating, but mostly because the conversations are so engaging and refreshing.
The Rise & Fall of Mars Hill
Founded in 1996, Seattle’s Mars Hill Church was poised to be an influential, undeniable force in evangelicalism—that is until its spiraling collapse in 2014. The church and its charismatic founder, Mark Driscoll, had a promising start. But the perils of power, conflict, and Christian celebrity eroded and eventually shipwrecked both the preacher and his multimillion-dollar platform.
Several of us here at Rambling Ever On are listening to this podcast. I think I’m actually the last to join the club. We have long been troubled by the fall of prominent pastors and celebrity Christians. This podcast, in addition to telling the story of this specific case, asks (and at least attempts to answer) the questions of why this is happening and what can we do to avoid it. Some have criticized this podcast as a “liberal” organization taking too much pleasure in the demise of a more fundamental one. I don’t believe that to be the case. However, I would caution potential listeners to approach this podcast in humility with the goal of glorifying God and furthering His kingdom rather than reveling in the disgrace of a powerful church leader.
The Rise & Fall of Mars Hill is a Christianity Today original podcast. They have several other original podcasts both current and archived as well as podcasts they have sponsored. This is the only Christianity Today podcast to which I have listened thus far, however.
Join bestselling authors Brandon Sanderson and Dan Wells as they search for the perfect podcast name and talk about the weird things they love—such as food heists, the perfect popcorn salt, and whether any art can truly be perfect. Listen for commentary on movies, TV shows, books, video games, and wherever else their conversation leads them.
Brandon Sanderson is probably my favorite living author. I’ve listened to and enjoyed a couple of books by Dan Wells. In this podcast, they talk about random things, usually related to “the arts” and usually completely off-topic. As a fan, I like getting some insight into who these authors are as people; but, honestly, they are just very entertaining and each episode is like a mini Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.
If you like Brandon and/or Dan, and especially if you are (or want to be) a writer, you should also check out their Writing Excuses podcast.
That’s it for my recommendations. What podcasts would you recommend? Please share in the comments below.