The Rise of the Christian Podcast

I got nothing against a good podcast.  In fact, while I’m riding my bike on long rides ( sometimes up to 4 hours,) I often download some of the world’s greatest thinkers right to my phone.  Technology is GREAT, especially when you can sneak a peek into the hearts and minds of your favorite intellectual mentors.

This morning, I had a long drive, so I decided to download one of those trendy Christian podcasts to see what my tribe is actually willing to talk about and post up online.

BOY, was I disappointed.

There seems to be this rise of young radio hosts who want to talk about culture through the lexicon of their own “Christianeese” language.  These particular guys were from the South Eastern part of the country, and I found myself several times asking out loud (by myself in the car) “Do people really talk like this in the real world?

I guess there’s an audience, as the podcasters boasted of hundreds of thousands of downloads.  But as I listened for almost 2 hours, I was taken a back by how many times the language repelled my sense of interest.  I’ll give a few examples:

Trying to be culturally Relevant by Cursing

There’s something about a generation running from the place of legalism they grew up that is highlighted when they curse?  I’m not sure I get that.  With some kind of blanket grace, the “culturally relevant” Christians threw in their various variety of curse words when trying to explain salvation.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say that Christians need to refrain from cursing (although it seems to be a good practice when representing the King of Kings) but it was awkward.  Normal people don’t use curse words like these podcasters were using them.  It was almost like they were trying to show how free from legalism they were as they threw in various offensive language.  Like that time when you learned a bad word in elementary school, and it took you a few times to figure out how to use it right….Yea…it was kind of like that.

All the way through the podcast it just felt awkward.  I wanted to reach through the phone and just help by saying, “nope….try again.”

Honesty is Awesome, but Vulnerability doesn’t have to just be about your latest sexual problems.  

I’m from the Generation X.  We introduced the world to the concept that “Nothing Matters” and we were so disgusted with the way the world was going through the 90’s, we invented grudge music and alternative styles of art to say to the planet “Here we are, in all our honest glory, and we don’t care what you think.”  So in the spirit of my Generation X’er friends to all you Millennials; sometimes honesty can be a little much.

I don’t really care to hear all your sexual expletives in the name of vulnerability.  That’s really not that impressive.  To hear someone say, “Well, I used to struggle with…..” is great for an AA meeting, but we really don’t care to hear it coupled with high thoughts about reformed theology or soteriology.  Some may call that honest, I call that cheep shock value.

We all know sex sells, and evidently it sells even in the discussion about how we follow Jesus.  I may be ranting a bit here, but I kept wondering why Christians are so focused on their sexual experiences.  Whether it’s pre-marital sex, Gay sex, Transgenders, etc.  etc.   etc.  I’ve never had that conversation in the real world.  Real people don’t sit around talking about spiritual enlightenment as it relates to sexuality.  (I least I’ve not met any in my town.)  Even Jesus only talked about lust through  the eyes of Lust in Matthew 5, and it was only a few verses.

Look, I know sexual addiction is a real thing. Online Pornography is the biggest shot in the fight for purity the world has ever seen. (See former Congressman Anthony Weiner this week)  I believe pornography is the greatest weapon against relationships the enemy can ever use; but come on.  Are we really at the point where Christian podcasters are detailing their use of pornography all in the name of honesty and vulnerability?

There are some things where there’s a line, and  I feel like we need to open these conversations in the privacy of people we trust and know can help.  (again…I’m just stating an opinion, no need for gross comments.)

Addressing Spiritual Behaviors of Others IS a form of Judgement

All through the podcast, I kept hearing subtle jabs at others who do spiritual life different than they did.  As a matter of fact, I listened to a liberal theological bent episode, and then turned to another conservative one.  Both were calling the other out masked in this “I don’t mean anything against them, BUT….”

As believers, I do think there is a space where we can have good discourse to discuss the differences in the way people think about theology, but at the end of the day, aren’t we all following the same Jesus? (I’m talking about those who follow Jesus here)

I might tend to speak out against the actions of a televangelist who profits off the gospel (I think there’s a pretty good precedent for that) But if Jesus is at the central core of who we follow, isn’t there a space to say something like “In my opinion I think Jesus says ……” instead of “I’m not judging….” and then precede to judge someone else for the way they are trying to follow Jesus?

Just because you say “I’m not judging..” doesn’t mean you’re actually refraining from judging someone else.  Like the old Office Episode where Michael Scott was counseled to declare bankruptcy to avoid his debt, you can’t just walk in the office with your hands raised and yell  “I DECLARE BANKRUPTCY.”  That doesn’t mean anything.  It’s the actions that speak louder than words.

So for my friends who are all getting on the podcast train, keep going.  I think the ideas are awesome, but a little pre-planning might help guide your sessions.  Just because a thought comes in your head doesn’t mean you have to say it.  That’s not vulnerability, that’s a lack of self control.  And Self control happens to be one of the fruits of the spirit.

That’s my take.  Agree or Disagree?

Let me know what you think

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