It’s hard to believe there was a time when podcasts were not a part of my life, because now they comprise a big part of my education and entertainment, and “my shows” are a highlight of each day. The list of podcasts I follow is long and always changing as I subscribe to new shows and say goodbye to others, or move some shows from the never-miss-an-episode category to my growing list of podcasts I only check in on occasionally. With so much amazing podcast content being produced, I need to (and can afford to) be choosy with how I spend my listening time.

In recent months I’ve grown increasingly convicted about choosing positive, uplifting, TRUTHful content when it comes to the books I read, the shows and movies I watch, the music I listen to, and—particularly relevant for today’s post—the podcasts I’m following. This doesn’t mean I no longer listen to podcasts of differing religious or political persuasions, or that I never listen to a show that’s pure fun and offers little educational or inspirational value. But I’m prioritizing “the good stuff,” and the podcasts I’m sharing today all fall under that umbrella. Each of these shows is an always-listen for me, and they are podcasts that I am eager for you to tune in to, too.

A Drink With a Friend

Apple Podcasts Description: Conversations between writer friends Seth Haines and Tsh Oxenreider about living sacramentally, usually over drinks. Pull up a chair and let’s chat about faith, books, music, films, family, nature, and other signs of the divine.

Logistics: Episodes are 30-50 minutes, release Friday mornings

My Take: Tsh’s original show, Simple, was one of the very first podcasts I listened to, and I’ve been along for the ride with Tsh’s podcasts through their many iterations. They’ve all been great, but I think this latest version is the best yet. Tsh and Seth discuss topics that are interesting to me, and their thoughtful conversations always leave me with plenty to ponder. Tsh and Seth make excellent cohosts—similar (and respectful) enough that their discussions never turn into debates, but with enough personality and perspective differences to foster a dynamic exchange. Both are skilled conversationalists who bring unique insights and unexpected opinions to their subject matter, and I appreciate the male/female cohost partnership that’s a little different from similar shows I follow. Tsh and Seth are smart, sensitive, and nuanced in their opinions, and the tone of their show is perceptive but never heavy. As a fellow writer, Christian, and contemplative, I feel like I’ve found “my people” with these two.

Tune In If . . . you enjoy thoughtful discussion of deep but relevant topics, led by two hosts who simultaneously feel like exceptional tutors and good friends.

Episodes to Get Started: Matter Matters // Steeped in Stories // Dunbar’s Number // For God’s Sake, Go to Work

The Bible in a Year (with Fr. Mike Schmitz)

Apple Podcasts Description: In The Bible in a Year podcast, Fr. Mike Schmitz walks you through the entire Bible in 365 episodes, providing commentary, reflection, and prayer along the way. With this podcast, you won’t just read the Bible in a year … you’ll finally understand how all the pieces of the Bible fit together to tell an amazing story that continues in your life today! Listen and… Read the ENTIRE Bible, feel more confident about your understanding of Scripture, experience the transformative power of God’s Word in your daily life, and start seeing the world through the lens of Scripture. Each 20-25 minute episode includes: two to three scripture readings, a reflection from Fr. Mike Schmitz, and a guided prayer to help you hear God’s voice in his Word.

Logistics: Episodes are just under 30 minutes, released every morning

My Take: This is the first thing I listen to every morning, as part of my predawn ritual of unloading the dishwasher and making breakfast before sitting down to read my Bible and pray. It makes for a great start to the day, perfect for setting the tone of my morning before I listen to anything else. I love the soothing sound of Father Mike’s reading, his humor and enthusiasm, and his insightful/relevant/sometimes-funny commentary on each passage. I’m not Catholic, and since Father Mike is reading from a Catholic Bible, I’ve been introduced to a couple of books I’d never read before. This has been interesting, as has Father Mike’s slightly different take on a few passages, but I’ve really liked learning from someone outside my own denomination and have been surprised by how few theological differences I’ve noticed between his Catholic understanding of the Bible and my own Protestant one.

Tune In If . . . you want more of the Bible in your life! I listen to this to on top of my own Bible reading (following a totally different plan), but it would be great to listen alongside your own through-the-year Bible reading plan.

Episodes to Get Started: Start wherever you would like! You could begin with Episode 1 if you want to start at the beginning of the Bible and work your way through. I jumped in mid-year and that has worked out just fine.

Morning Wire

Apple Podcasts Description: Trust in the media is at an all-time low. And there’s a reason—endless virtue signaling and manufactured outrage. Finally, there’s an alternative. Morning Wire is presented by Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief, John Bickley, and co-host Georgia Howe. Get daily coverage of the latest developments in politics, culture, education, sports, and more. Wake up with Morning Wire and get the facts first on the news you need to know.

Logistics: Episodes are 14 minutes, released Monday-Saturday mornings

My Take: I’ve streamlined my news intake, and this fifteen-minute podcast gives me the headlines I need to know without the unnecessary commentary or bias. I like that Morning Wire touches on some important news items that aren’t being covered by other news outlets, while not giving excessive airtime to flashy developments that are being overplayed elsewhere.

Tune In If . . . you want solid news coverage without the partisanship or fluff.

Episodes to Get Started: This is a daily news show, so pick up with the most recent episode.

Relatable with Allie Beth Stuckey

Apple Podcasts Description: Upbeat and in-depth, Relatable with Allie Beth Stuckey breaks down the latest in culture, news, theology & politics from a Christian, conservative perspective. Allie’s fresh analysis of the most important issues provides an entertaining and effective way to stay in the know.

Logistics: Episodes are around an hour, released Monday-Thursday afternoons

My Take: This is the most polarizing podcast of today’s post. If you are not a Christian or a political conservative, this show might not be for you. Personally, I find Allie Beth very . . . ahem . . . RELATABLE, and resonate with her perspective as a Christian first and foremost, rather than a news commentator who happens to be a Christian. (In other words, her faith is the focus of her show, and it’s what drives her political views, not the other way around.) I admire Allie Beth’s firm convictions, her commitment to sharing truth even when her opinions are unpopular or get her “canceled” on social media, and—most of all—the positivity and graciousness she brings to the most difficult subjects. Allie Beth epitomizes someone who speaks truth in love, which is a stance we are seeing less and less of in today’s polarized climate. The show offers a great mix of interviews and commentary, and each day’s focus is a little different: sometimes Allie Beth addresses news headlines, other days she does deep-dives into heavier subjects (bringing plenty of studies, sources, and Scriptures to support her views), and she alternately discusses theology and politics. Allie Beth is younger than me by quite a few years, but I’ve grown to view her as a Biblical and political mentor from afar and am thankful for the hard work she is doing to bring Jesus into the political landscape.

Tune In If . . . you are looking to understand American politics from a Biblical perspective, taught by a teacher who stands by her convictions without resorting to defensiveness, trolling, or other unChristlike behavior.

Episodes to Get Started: Anxious About Everything: Addressing Anxiety Biblically // My Birth Story & Biblical Motherhood // On CRT, The Right is Winning // The Great Reset: Everything You Need to Know

Sarah’s Bookshelves Live

Apple Podcasts Description: Sarah’s Bookshelves Live is a weekly show featuring real talk about books and book recommendations from a featured guest. Each week, Sarah of the blog Sarah’s Bookshelves will talk with her guest about: 2 OLD BOOKS THEY LOVE, 2 NEW BOOKS THEY LOVE, 1 BOOK THEY DON’T LOVE, AND 1 NEW RELEASE THEY’RE EXCITED ABOUT. I’m getting real about all things books and serving you up a bit of snark on the side.

Logistics: Episodes are around 50 minutes, released Wednesday mornings

My Take: There are lots of bookish podcasts out there, and this one is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I like the mix of interview shows and episodes dedicated to discussing books Sarah is reading (or plans to read). Sarah’s taste in books is similar to mine, so I can generally trust her recommendations as books I too will enjoy, and she does a good job of explaining her opinions well enough that I can determine whether or not a particular book will be a good fit for me. Sarah’s author interviews are always interesting and have enhanced my appreciation for each author’s work; I especially enjoy discussions about books I’ve already read, and have gone back to listen to older episodes with the author of a book I’ve just finished.

Tune In If . . . you can’t get enough book talk and like hearing from a mix of regular readers and people “in the know” in the book industry.

Episodes to Get Started: Behind-the-Scenes of Indie Book Buying with Elizabeth Barnhill // Behind-the-Scenes of Narrating Audiobooks with Julia Whelan // Best Books of 2020 and Bookish Superlatives

Have you checked out any of these podcasts? If so, I’d love to hear your take. I’m also interested in hearing what other podcasts you’ve been tuning into lately—are there any you would recommend (OR recommend that I avoid)?

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