Podcasts, Anyone? Let’s Serve Up a Smorgasbord



Some people scroll Facebook. Some YouTube. Some TikTok (at least for now). Some spend their online time on Pinterest or X or Insta or IG or Gram—and I’m going to stop there, before I pull a muscle.

If you can’t tell already, I’m not a big consumer of social media, but I do have go-to sites of my own. Most mornings I call up a collection of tabs for local, world, and Church news; sports updates; and several blogs. One site that I check daily is MinistryWatch, which helps readers make informed decisions about giving to Christian charities. A couple of weeks ago, MinistryWatch‘s editor, Warren Cole Smith, wrote about the recent online conversation concerning the drop in the number of American conservatives listening to NPR. He says that his “own experience reflects that change.”

“Part of the reason for these changes,” Smith writes, “is technological. The rise of podcasts means that we have a much wider variety of listening choices than we did even a decade ago. As recently as a few years ago, when I got in my car, I turned on the local NPR affiliate. Today, I plug in my iPhone and listen to a podcast.”

Some people listen to podcasts . . . but not me, at least not often. I have listened to season one of Serial (on NPR, oh, the irony) and The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill, but that’s mostly it. I don’t have an iPhone and my 2006 Honda CR-V doesn’t speak Bluetooth.

I know that many of you are fans of podcasts, though. So I’d like your help in crowdsourcing a list of them for your fellow ALO readers. What do you listen to? What podcasts do you tune in to to get your cross-cultural-worker information, insights, or inspiration? Maybe you host a podcast yourself. Let us know. Also, what podcasts not specifically in the cross-cultural-worker orbit do you follow—ones that tangentially speak into the CCW mindset and experience?

When giving podcast recommendations at his site, Smith notes the importance of moving beyond one’s own beaten path, writing, “If I am not careful, I’ll end up in an echo chamber of my own design.”

“[I]n media as in other areas of life,” he writes, “a balanced menu is the best approach.”

So let’s make our own menu. Normally, in a situation such as this, I’d prime the pump with my own ideas. But this time it’s all on you. I can slide in The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill for something tangential, but that’s really all I’ve got firsthand.

It’s up to you to provide your suggestions (with links or platforms if you have them) in the comments. Feel free to provide descriptions or plugs or caveats, but those aren’t necessary. My part is that I’ll compile the titles alphabetically into a list here in this post. I’m calling it simply “A Menu of Podcasts Recommended by Fellow ALOers.”

Thanks in advance, and bon appétit!

A Menu of Podcasts Recommended by Fellow ALOers:

[Warren Cole Smith, “Editor’s Notebook: Listening in on the World,” MinistryWatch, April 12, 2024]

[photo by Gil Medina]

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Craig Thompson

Craig and his wife, Karen, along with their five children, served as missionaries in Taipei, Taiwan, for ten years before returning to southwest Missouri. His experiences, as well as conversations with other cross-cultural workers, have made him more and more interested in member care and the process of transitioning between cultures. Craig blogs at ClearingCustoms.net.

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