As many of you know, the parish where I serve as assistant priest is not large enough to support two full-time priests. Because of this, I work a “secular” job (I put the word “secular” in quotes because technically, no job is truly secular. Whatever your line of work, it is a means of service to God. But I have yet to come up with a suitable alternative to the term, so I continue to use it, albeit with quotes).
In my “secular” job, I spend about 75% of my time sitting at my desk, working at my computer. This would drive many people crazy, but I count it as a blessing, not the least because I am able to listen to podcasts nearly all day long. I discovered the outstanding podcast lineup at Ancient Faith Radio (AFR) just over a year ago, and listening to their excellent variety of programs has helped me a great deal in my striving toward theosis.
(In case you’re wondering: Yes, I do also listen to several of the podcasts produced by the Orthodox Christian Network. But nearly all of my favorites are on AFR.)
Last May, I wrote a post in which I listed my ten favorite podcasts on AFR. I still listen to all the podcasts on that list, with the exception of Simply Orthodox, which is no longer active (although all the episodes are still available for download). In my list, I ranked “Search the Scriptures” as my favorite podcast. I still love it dearly and listen to it every week (and you should too). But last November, a podcast debuted which quickly became my new favorite.
The podcast is called “The Coffee Cup Commentaries,” by Fr. Lawrence Farley. If you have been reading this blog for very long, you know that Fr. Farley is the author of a series of commentaries on the New Testament that I absolutely love. His commentary on
The podcast’s whimsical name comes from its informal nature. Each program is designed to reflect a casual conversation about the Scriptures that you might have with your priest over a cup of coffee (or tea, if you prefer--or any other beverage).
If Search the Scriptures is “Orthodox Bible study for busy people” (as its introduction says), then “The Coffee Cup Commentaries” is Orthodox study for VERY busy people. Fr. Farley’s comments are short, sweet and to the point. He obviously has a great depth of knowledge of the Scriptures, but he speaks primarily as a pastor rather than a scholar. Fr. Farley occasionally delves into the Greek text, but only when it is absolutely necessary. His emphasis is always on how to apply the Scriptures to our lives. He properly treats the Bible not as a mere repository of head knowledge, but as a guidebook for how to live the Christian life. And, he has wonderful, dry sense of humor that makes each study a lot of fun.
Best of all, the Coffee Cup Commentaries comes out daily, excepting weekends. And each program is only 10-15 minutes long, so it doesn’t take forever to get through one. Perhaps the reason that Fr. Farley’s Bible studies “click” so well with me is that his teaching style is almost exactly like my own. If you have enjoyed my devotional reflections on
So if you are Orthodox, you love the Scriptures (and if you don’t, we need to talk!) and want to increase your understanding of them, you really should listen to The Coffee Cup Commentaries. As is true with all AFR podcasts, you can listen to the podcasts while you are at the computer, you can download them individually as MP3 files, or you can subscribe via iTunes or some other podcast catcher. I suggest that you start from the first episode and work your way through Fr. Farley’s series on Philippians (my favorite epistle!). Don’t delay; start listening today! Your spiritual life will be enriched if you do.
By the way, there are a few other excellent new AFR podcasts that I would like to recommend. I’ll do this tomorrow.