Favorite Podcasts of 2019
Podcasts keep me company when I’m driving, doing chores, or running. Back when he was preaching every week, I used to tell people that I jogged with Tim Keller. I listen to be stretched, to laugh, to learn, to be entertained, and to grow. I also listen so that I can learn to be a better storyteller.
I’m not sure if I’ll keep making an annual list, like a do with my favorite books, but I thought it might be helpful to you this year.
For the sake of not repeating myself, every podcast listed below is easy to listen to, led by people who are likable in their presentation, and typically has excellent sound quality.
Every Thought Captive
Three professors and friends from Ozark Christian College frame spiritual, religious, and cultural events through the lens of Scripture. The show is thoroughly Biblically grounded. It’s obvious that they spend time together away from the show which frees them to challenge one another while also maintaining warmth. I just finished Episode 45 and it was bursting with quotable lines I’ll want to remember.
On a recent road trip, my daughter forgot a book she needed for a paper on George Washington. That led us to search for audible resources we could listen to in the car, and we found one of my favorite podcasts of 2019. Each episode covers one President. Lillian Cunningham interviews historians, biographers, or family members to tell about each President’s upbringing, personality, accomplishments, failures, and family. I’ve especially enjoyed learning about the lesser-knowns, yet her scholarship is so excellent that she’s captured my attention on the Rushmore Presidents too. I got teary-eyed listening to the episode on Lincoln – oh to have a man of that wisdom again!
This podcast changed my life this year. Their aim is to help you incorporate the Gospel into everyday life. Caesar and Heath helped our family think like missionaries in our own home. We’ve launched “Taco Night,” so we can easily invite friends, neighbors, schoolmates, and teammates to our home for an easy dinner. Our goal is to allow our home and our lives to be an extension of The Good News.
Most episodes are only twenty minutes, but they are theologically-drenched, practical, and fun. And they might just turn your life upside-down.
The Jude 3 Project
The primary mission of the Jude 3 Project is to help the Christian community know what they believe and why they believe it. It’s distinctive in its strong emphasis in both learning from and equipping those of African descent – a demographic too often ignored in theological circles. Lisa Fields brings in Bible scholars to unpack apologetic issues. She’s the right person for this important work.
The Holy Post
Phil Vischer (yes – the VeggieTales and What’s in the Bible guy) Skye Jethani (author, speaker, pastor) host this podcast that comes in two segments. If you can survive the theme song, they usually spend the next twenty minutes talking about current events. This is often hilarious, and they always make me think. The rest of the show usually includes an interview with a Christian leader. If my book, Dancing in No Man’s Land, resonated with you, this show will too.
Duolingo Spanish Podcast
I’m learning Spanish with the Duolingo app and this podcast. The episodes tell engaging stories, using intermediate Spanish. The beauty is that about one-third of the story is told in English, which is just enough to help me when I get lost.
Brant & Sherri Oddcast
Brant & Sherri’s dry, awkward humor makes me laugh out loud. I had to quit listening to them at the gym! Besides the hilarity, I appreciate their open-dialogue about their differences (cultural, skin color, and Brant being on the autism spectrum) and the way they naturally and lovingly teach about Jesus. It’s brilliant!
Casey Tygrett, who wrote a book on my favorite reads of 2019 list, pursues wisdom in every episode. He interviews a diverse group of people but keeps the conversation pursuing the same goal.
The Church Politics Podcast
I’ve never felt more politically homeless than I do now. I’m repulsed by the lack of integrity exhibited by both parties. I’m alarmed at Christians willingness to brush aside detestable policies and behavior in exchange for political wins. So it’s a breath of fresh air to hear Justin Giboney unpacking political issues from a Christian perspective and without respect to which political party might look better or worse on any given issue. If you listen, it won’t take you long to trust that they seek to serve God rather than party. And if your feathers get ruffled at some point, it would be wise to absorb his words and consider whether you’ve pledged allegiance to a political kingdom over the Kingdom of Christ. I’ve recognized some blind spots in my own life and am thankful for their counsel.
Honest review: this is my favorite podcast on politics, but there are times that one of the hosts stumbles homiletically. I never feel bad about skipping ahead.
Malcolm Gladwell knows how to turn months of research into a riveting story. In each episode he unearths evidence to give the listener a completely different perspective about a well-known event. Occasionally I don’t agree fully with his conclusion, but I always find them to be captivating and delightful.
Serial (season 2)
If you wonder why so many people in our country distrust our justice, this will rock your boat. The entire season chronicles stories found by two people spending time in the Cleveland Courthouse. I would not recommend this podcast for children, but I believe it has great value for those lacking empathy for those on the wrong side of the law.
Quick to Listen
Christianity Today produces this excellent podcast that goes beyond hot takes in order to listen to thoughtful voices about major cultural events. I’ve listened and learned a lot from them. I’ve also discovered some great new authors through their interviews.
Bonus: The Streetlights App
While not a podcast, I wanted to mention my favorite Bible audio platform. Streetlights was founded by a man trying to disciple younger, urban men who were audible learners. The result is the entire NT and some of Psalms (with more to come) dramatically read by Christian spoken-word and hip-hop artist (but you don’t have to like hip-hop in order to love the Bible reading). Background music helps set the mood, engage my mind, and block out distractions. I listen to several chapters almost every day and am so thankful for the both the product and for the hearts of those producing it.
Want to learn how to pursue truth AND peace? Check out my book, Dancing in No Man’s Land.