Monday, May 12, 2008

Top Ten Podcasts

Okay -- as promised, here are my ten favorite podcasts on Ancient Faith Radio, “Letterman style:” (I never miss any of these)

10. Glory to God, by Fr. Stephen Freeman. This podcast is normally 10-15 minutes long and contains insightful commentary on various aspects of Orthodox theology. Fr. Stephen, the pastor of an OCA church in Tennessee, also authors an excellent and very popular blog site called “Glory to God in All Things.” He posts daily, and I try to read the blog every day.

9. Close to Home, by Molly Sabourin. Normally less than 10 minutes long, this podcast emphasizes the difficulty of living an Orthodox life in a non-Orthodox country, especially when you have four small children. Stay-at-home Orthodox moms will find this podcast especially helpful, but there is something for everyone. Close to Home is based on a blog with the same name.

8. Our Life in Christ, by Steve Robinson and Bill Gould. This podcast features two very well-read former evangelical converts to Orthodoxy who mainly discuss the basics of the Orthodox faith, particularly those that contrast with Protestant doctrines. Our Life is aimed primarily toward Protestants exploring Orthodoxy, but it is valuable for any Orthodox Christian seeking a deeper knowledge of their faith. Each program normally lasts about an hour and features breaks during which some beautiful Orthodox music (choral and chant) is played.

7. Orthodixie, by Fr. Joseph Huneycutt. The program description says it all: “Homespun wit and wisdom from the Orthodox South.” Fr. Joseph, a personal friend of mine who serves here in Houston, will make you grin (and occasionally laugh out loud). But he always has a serious point that we all need to hear. Normally lasts about 15 minutes. Be sure to also check out his blog.

6. Simply Orthodox, by Dr. Brad Nassif. In the Orthodox Church, it can be easy to get overly caught up in rules and rubrics, while neglecting the essence of the faith: our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Dr. Nassif helps remind us to keep the Gospel central in our Orthodox faith. Normally lasts about 10-15 minutes.

5. Speaking the Truth in Love, by Fr. Thomas Hopko. Hey, it’s Fr. Hopko! Need I say more? In case I do, Fr. Hopko is the Dean Emeritus of St. Vladimir’s Seminary and one of the most popular Orthodox authors and speakers in the world. Anything he says is worth listening to. Lasts anywhere from 15-45 minutes.

4. The Path, by Fr. Thomas Soroka. Daily readings from the Lectionary of the Orthodox Church, with commentary from the Church Fathers and from Fr. Thomas himself. Listening to this podcast is a great way to start your day. It is also a great way to increase your knowledge of the Scriptures, especially if you find yourself with little time to read them. Lasts about 10-15 minutes.

3. Faith and Philosophy, by Dr. Clark Carlton. Carlton, the author of The Faith series by Regina Orthodox Press, discusses current and theological issues from the Orthodox perspective, with an emphasis on contrasting the Orthodox position with that of evangelical Protestants. His four-part series on the afterlife is especially good. Lasts about 10-15 minutes.

2. Pilgrims from Paradise by Matthew Gallatin. Matthew’s primary purpose is apologetic; that is, he defends the Orthodox teaching on issues including salvation, confession, icons, the Church, and others against evangelical criticisms. He also demonstrates how Orthodoxy is firmly grounded in Scripture and history. His series on Virtual Righteousness, Confession, and Lust are must-hears! Lasts 15-25 minutes.

And now, the number one podcast! Drum roll, please.......

1. Search the Scriptures, by Dr. Eugenia Constantinou. When I left the Baptist church for Orthodoxy, I did not leave behind my love for the Scriptures. Unfortunately, I have found that contemporary verse-by-verse exposition of the Bible from the Orthodox viewpoint is hard to find. Dr. Constantinou solves that problem, providing (as the show’s title indicates) “practical Bible study for busy people.” The author is an adjunct professor of Scripture at the University of San Diego, a former professor at Holy Cross Orthodox Seminary, and the wife of a priest. I firmly believe that every Orthodox Christian should listen to this podcast.

Honorable Mention: The Saint of the Day (daily readings from the lives of the saints - would that they were a little longer!); The Illumined Heart (interviews with Orthodox priests, scholars, and other leaders on crucial topics); Let Us Attend (Sunday’s Gospel, told for children), and Readings from Under the Grapevine (readings from a variety of Orthodox books for children); My kids love the latter two podcasts; we listen to them together.

One other note: As many of you know, there is another Orthodox internet radio network, the Orthodox Christian Network. They also have two internet stations, The Ark, and The Rudder, and they produce several excellent talk programs. The most popular of these, Come Receive the Light, is available each week as a podcast. It features brief interviews with various Orthodox leaders (sort of like The Illumined Heart on AFR, but shorter). I listen to it regularly, and you won’t go wrong if you do too.


Eddie said...

There are a lot on this list that I haven't tried yet. Thanks for the recommendations - I better get downloading!!

Molly Sabourin said...

Well thank you, Father James! I am certainly in the most marvelous of company! I just recently started listening to your number one pick, "Searching the Scriptures," and have been blown away by the richness and breadth of Dr. Jeanne Constantinou's
Scriptural and historical knowledge. How blessed we are to have immediate access to such a wealth of spiritually edifying material.

Fr. John Whiteford said...

I agree with your high opinion of Presbytera Eugenia Constantinou's podcast. It is something I have been encouraging my parishioners to listen to. I would disagree, however, with recommending Bradley Nassif's podcast. While he often makes good and valid points, he also often expresses a renovationist approach to the Church. A few weeks back, he had a podcast that was so back it was taken down by AFR, but not before it had been up at least a week. He also participated in a book entitled "Three Views on Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism". He took the view that Evangelicalism and Orthodoxy are compatible. In Christianity Today, he often takes shots at Orthodoxy... and in that case his audience is about 99.9% non-Orthodox. In short, he essentially argues that Protestants are OK as they are (though perhaps they could use a little incense and the like sprinkled on top), and that the Orthodox need to "get saved". I intend to blog on the subject in the future, but I would not recommend his podcast at all.