Summer listening: Podcasts to feed the mind and soul

Looking for a podcast to feed your mind and soul over summer? Here are my top five picks for Christians interested in people, the world and faith.

Hole in My Heart podcastHole in My Heart – married couple Laurie and Matt Krieg (from the US) “explore how the gospel is good news for everyone every day.” But has it been, and is it always? Against all odds, they hold up the goodness of Jesus and God’s amazing grace over Christian frailty and all the things we “should not have said.” Laurie, who is a licensed therapist, and Matt show great wisdom and grace as they talk about life, love, Jesus and getting along in today’s world. Guests have included Pete Scazzero (former head of New Life Fellowship Church in New York and co-founder of Emotionally Healthy Discipleship) and Sam Allberry, British pastor and author of a number of books including Is God Anti-Gay?) – both of whom have their own highly recommended podcasts.

Closer to Fine podcastCloser to Fine – Here, female friends in the US, one a Christian and one an atheist, discuss “the good, the bad and the really bad” as they manage their lives and mental health in real and raw conversations across a huge variety of topics. If you are wondering how to open a conversation about your lived experience of mental illness, then these episodes could be a great place to get inspired. These friends have diverse views and yet show great camaraderie and respect for each other’s positions. If you don’t have a diagnosis, how are you doing in friendships with those who see things differently from you?

The Modesty Files podcastThe Modesty Files – This unique offering aims to uncover women’s experiences in churches and cults, and the struggle to hope, believe and recover from ungodly teaching and abuse. From the mean to the extreme, women’s lives have been affected by distorted applications of what God never said. Some interviews will make you cry, but the hope is that these make us all repent and “stand in the gap” for the hurting. Listening in order to understand is a gift we can all give to others. What can we learn from these shameful files?

The Blunder Bus podcastThe Blunder Bus – have you ever made a mistake? What did you learn from it? What would you do differently or never again? It takes courage to speak about mistakes and problems, and as Christians, we seem to have as much trouble as anyone else in this area. The practice of reflection for learning and change is exampled uniquely in each episode. Host Edward Vaughan (Principal of Australian ministry training organisation, St Michael’s Institute) will inspire you in short, sharp episodes as he interviews a variety of known and unknown Christian leaders to see what can be gleaned together.

The Political Animals podcast The Political Animals – if you have lots of time (the episodes are long!) and want to “go deep” into politics and how it connects with Christian faith, I recommend listening to this. With leading experts, professors and teachers in world-class fields of study, Dr Jonathan Cole (an Aussie academic, scholar and writer specialising in political theology) brings his years of practical and academic experience to the table. He understands terrorism, politicking, fear-mongering and rhetoric, so his perspective – along with that of his guests – is one which it’s worth taking note of. He also understands the hope that only Jesus can bring.

Jo Vandersee lives and works on Larrakia land in Darwin, where she serves as a staff chaplain with a large NGO. She speaks French and enjoys reading, writing and world cuisines.