Archive for November, 2012


Corey Olsen on J.R.R. Tolkien, Religion, and The Hobbit

Just in time for the release of the much-anticipated movie “The Hobbit,” we explore the life, times, and writings of J.R.R. Tolkien with Prof. Corey Olsen (a.k.a. “The Tolkien Professor”). We go over how Corey became enchanted by Tolkien’s writings and what Christians can take away from this genre of fantasy writing. Prof. Olsen reviews Tolkien’s influences, his fascination with mythology, and his ongoing relationship with C.S. Lewis. The conversation then delves into several spiritual themes that can be found in “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, namely the issues of providence, fate, and free will. This podcast is a great primer for those heading out to the theaters over the holiday season and will provide a richer viewing of Peter Jackson’s cinematic interpretation of this classic piece of literature.

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Tracy McKenzie on The “First” Thanksgiving

Just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday here in the United States, Prof. Tracy McKenzie (Wheaton College) takes us on a tour of the world of the Pilgrims who landed in Plymouth. We discover who they were, how they worshipped and the interesting (not commonly known) history of The “First” Thanksgiving. More than just a “grade school” understanding of this American tradition, Prof. McKenzie challenges Christians to engage in a deeper understanding of their own history. This interview will make for great conversational tidbits around the dinner table!

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Art Carden on Christian Ethics, Charity, and Economics

How does a Christian economist approach the religious charge of helping one’s neighbor? We talk with Art Carden about the relationship between Christian ethics and economic growth. The podcast starts out with a dose of good news in these troubling times, and we try to figure out why the past two centuries have been truly unique in human history. While a good portion of our discussion relates to economic history, we dip into the issue of how Christian ethics can assist or retard economic growth. Prof. Carden reminds us that economic growth is about getting the institutions right and getting the rhetoric right; it is the latter theme where Christian theologians and followers can make a big difference.

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Brian O’Neel on Saint Who? Some Holy Unknowns

St. Peter, St. Paul, St. Patrick. We know these saints. But what about St. Pietro Parenzo, the Blessed Sebasti├ín de Aparicio, or St. Faith of Conques? Who dat? Brian O’Neel, author of “Saint Who? 39 Holy Unknows” talks to us about Catholic sainthood, discussing the process by which one becomes a saint, how someone might be removed from sainthood (St. Christopher anyone?) and why saints are important in the life of the Church. Along the way, we talk about the life of a couple lesser known individuals who lived extraordinary lives and who serve as role models for Catholics and many other individuals of great faith.

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