Over the last two years or so, I've discovered the joy of listening to good podcasts - great content and totally free. It's awesome. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a huge fan of music, but some of the podcasts I've found are so enjoyable I've almost stopped listened to music in the car entirely.
Here are my top three people to listen to:
Tim Keller is the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and the author of the best selling book, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. His church has been enormously successful with one of the least churched segments of the population - young, urban professionals - and I think I can guess why: Keller knows how to communicate. He is precisely the sort of preacher the Evangelical world needs more of: humble, engaging, Gospel-centered, wise, insightful, and capable of integrating Biblical study with a healthy awareness of history, philosophy, sociology, and pop culture. If anyone got into my car when I was listening to Tim Keller, I wouldn't feel the least bit awkward about allowing the podcast to continue - not because he compromises on communicating hard truths - but because he does and he's so good at it. You can find more than 60 of his sermons in iTunes if you search for the Timothy Keller Podcast.
When I listen to this man speak, it's as if liquid-joy is being poured into the cup of my soul. Kreeft is a 75-year-old professor of philosophy at Boston College and The King's College and the author of more than 35 books (I've read two, "The Journey" and "Love is Stronger Than Death." Both were excellent). He grew up in the Dutch Reformed tradition and received his undergraduate degree from Calvin College, but he converted to Roman Catholicism before he graduated.
There's so much I love about Kreeft. I love that he's a professor. I love that he's a charismatic. I love that he appreciates C.S. Lewis and Tolkein. I love that he's a surfer. Most of all, I love that his talks always manage to awaken my sleepy love for God.
Kreeft has a way of showing how Christianity makes sense and how it satisfies our deepest longings. He is, like Keller, incredibly insightful and a brilliant communicator. Unfortunately, he doesn't have a regularly updated podcast but he does have quite a few talks available for download on iTunes. His "Happiness" talk, an examination of the beatitudes, is one of my favorite messages of all-time, and his quirky lecture, "If Einstein Had Been a Surfer," is truly mind-blowing. I hope he stays healthy and active for awhile yet.
Brierley is the host of "Unbelievable?" on Premier Christian Radio in the UK, a program that seems tailored-made for people like me. Every week, Brierley raises an issue relevant to the Christian worldview and hosts a discussion on that issue. Usually the discussions are between Christians and non-Christians (i.e., "Where did the universe come from?," "Is it possible to have meaning without God?" "Do Angels Exist?," "Do Demons Exist?," etc), but sometimes the conversations focus on intra-church issues (i.e., "Women in Leadership?," "Was Jesus a Calvinist?," "Theistic Evolution?," etc). The show has been on for about five years and I only discovered it a couple months ago, but during that time I've listened to more than 40 episodes. Only about 200 more and I'll be all caught up.
Seriously, though, I think I will end up listening to all of them eventually. I spend enough time in the car and I enjoy them that much. The content itself is obviously a big reason, but Brierley deserves a lot of credit. He manages to keep order during potentially volatile discussions and he's aware and intelligent enough to ask consistently good questions. He's also unfailingly polite and kind, which is absolutely essential in this type of ministry. I'm so thankful for what he does.
One thing "Unbelievable?" has proven to me, though: British accents always make people sound more intelligent. You can even say wacky things with a British accent and sound reputable. I wonder if British people feel the same way about their own accents?
What do you guys like to listen to?