During the pandemic, podcasts have offered a spiritual lifeline to those unable to attend religious services. This week’s clergy discuss podcasts that engage them in current religious issues, assist them in scriptural studies or inspire their ministry.
The Rev. Marie A. Tatro
Vicar for Community Justice Ministry, Episcopal Diocese of Long Island
I’ve recently spoken as a guest on two faith-based podcasts: Blessed Are the Feminists (blessedarethefeminists.com), which examines religious traditions and spiritual communities through a feminist lens, and Frankly: Faith and Culture in Brooklyn, which explores the intersection of faith and culture, and is hosted by the Rev. Canon John Denaro, rector of St. Ann & the Holy Trinity in Brooklyn Heights. The latter was a half-hour conversation about my ministry in the Episcopal Diocese, generally, and how we were coping and serving others during the peak of the pandemic.
Last year I listened to a 10-part series titled “Heaven’s Gate,” which tells the story behind the doomsday cult near San Diego where in 1997, 39 people committed mass suicide. The host, Glynn Washington, tells this tale with great insight and suspense, and partway into the series, you find out why: He himself was raised in an extreme Christian community that he left behind and that he later realized was a cult. Washington currently hosts Snap Judgment (snapjudgment.org), which is not a religious podcast, per se, but covers areas of culture that inevitably include religion.
The Rev. Henrietta Scott Fullard
Presiding elder (retired), Long Island District, African Methodist Episcopal Churches
Podcasts help us to comprehend the written language and interpretation of the Word of God in the Bible, often from new perspectives and in new translations. I listen to podcasts that offer comprehensive Bible studies that probe the depths of the Word of God. The podcasts help me absorb the content of the Bible as heard from a multitude of believers.
One that I return to regularly is the weekly Bible Study Podcast (thebiblestudypodcast.com) by Chris Christensen, who looks at Scripture from a Christian point of view. The podcast confirms my understanding of the application of the Word of God. For instance, in Episode 667, posted early this month, Christensen discusses the Death of Sarah in the Book of Genesis. He says that among the lessons to be drawn from this passage is that, in the middle of the pandemic, “The people in our lives, as Sarah was in Abraham’s life, are precious and irreplaceable.”
Such podcasts help us to understand the presence of God in our lives. They enhance Bible study in a way that helps us live up to God’s expectations of us.
Rabbi Chaim Grossbaum
Director and spiritual leader, Village Chabad, Stony Brook
Happiness and tranquility are in reach when life is lived within the guidelines of the instruction book — the Bible. Thus my favorite podcasts are Bible-based.
I especially like the podcasts by Rabbi Simon Jacobson of The Meaningful Life Center (meaningfullife.com), a spiritual health center in Crown Heights in Brooklyn. Jacobson, the author of a bestselling book, “Toward a Meaningful Life: The Wisdom of The Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson” (William Morrow, 1995), is posting “Spiritual Antidotes” on the center’s website to counter the negative impact of the coronavirus. He begins one such podcast with the words, “Every one of us is blessed with unique talents and skills,” then goes on to talk about developing one’s own uniqueness.
What I like about Meaningful Life’s podcasts is that they help reset our thinking, the way a chiropractor might adjust one’s spine to its proper equilibrium. They help us to find the perfect balance that God has created in the world and our place within it. Listen in and begin your journey in finding your real self, creating your personal mission statement and guiding life to the place you’d like it to be.
DO YOU HAVE QUESTIONS you’d like Newsday to ask the clergy? Email them to LILife@newsday.com.