Category: Religion & Popular Culture

David Deavel on De Sales, Newman, Chesterton, and Hitchcock

Location, location, location.  That is the eternal cry of every real estate agent, and it proved prophetic for this week’s guest — Prof. David Deavel, an assistant professor of Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas — as he grew up an evangelical Christian in the shadow of Notre Dame, which gave him the […]

Dirk Dalhausser & Kerry Jones on Building Churches

How often do you think about what goes into building a church? Tony has thought about this a great deal and invites Dirk Dalhausser and Kerry Jones of Goff Companies to talk about the various dimensions of constructing a church building, from initial planning to post-construction visits. The discussion includes surprising insights about parking, seating, commons areas, and even baptismal space. This “nuts and bolts” discussion may help you plan your own church project, or appreciate the architectural logic of the sanctuary that you attend.

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Jeff Rose on Street Preaching (Encore Presentation)

Most people view street preachers as fanatical or crazy. Research on Religion takes the time to discuss the motivation, challenges, and benefits of choosing “open air preaching” as a means of spreading the Gospel. This is one of Tony’s favorite podcasts, dating back to 2011, as it provides and up-close-and-personal look with an actual street preacher, people we often don’t take the time to understand. This interview dispels a number of stereotypes people may have of those who preach the Gospel in open air.

We will return soon with a number of new interviews.

Aurora Griffin on Being Catholic at Harvard

What is it like to be a devout Catholic attending a secular university?  What steps can young believers take to ensure the integrity of the faith?  Aurora Griffin, a graduate of Harvard University and a junior research scholar at the Center for the Study of Statesmanship at the Catholic University of America, answers these questions […]

Anthony Esolen on Timeless Hymns

What makes for a “timeless hymn”? Prof. Anthony Esolen (Thomas More College) discusses his recent book “Real Music: A Guide to the Timeless Hymns of the Church,” and shares with us the importance of singing and poetry for the faithful. We review a number of important themes found within various hymns and reference a few of the greats over the past several centuries.

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Mark Lawson-Jones on Christmas Carols

Why was the partridge in the pear tree? This is all the more mysterious given that these birds can’t fly well. We answer this and several other questions related to the history of Christmas carols with special guest Rev. Mark Lawson-Jones, a chaplain for Mission to the Seafarers and author of the delightful book “Why Was the Partridge in the Pear Tree? The History of Christmas Carols.” We cover a broad swathe of history dating back to the medieval period when carols were used in various pageants, discuss the fun of wassailing, note that the Puritans almost killed Christmas fun, and then discuss the history and meaning of a few well-known songs.

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Jim Papandrea on Christology, Superheroes, and Science Fiction Films

Is Superman the representation of the Christ figure in the DC Comics universe? And “who” among science fiction characters most closely represents the orthodox view of Christ? And does anybody really understand what “2001: A Space Oddity” was about? Jim Papandrea, associate professor of Church history at the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and frequent guest, answers these questions and more as we take a journey through superhero and science fiction cinema to survey how religion is portrayed on celluloid. This is a conversation that not only will enlighten you on popular movies, but will help you understand Christology and soteriology all the better!

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Adam English on St. Nicholas of Myra, the Real Santa Claus (Encore Presentation)

While we are still on an extended sabbatical, we revive a favorite podcast from our archive. Prof. Adam Engish (Campbell University) discusses his book “The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus.” We learn about the true charitable bishop of Myra and his most famous act of charity, how that became transformed into our modern representation of Santa Claus, and many other details about this extraordinary individual who lived during an important era of Christian history.

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Michael Medved on Religion & Hollywood (encore presentation)

Film critic, radio talk show host, and cultural crusader Michael Medved joins us to discuss how religion is portrayed in Hollywood. We focus on Michael’s life story and the accidental manner in how he became a movie critic. Our main focus, though, centers on how Hollywood went from partraying religion in a positive light in movies such as “The Bells of St. Mary” and “Going My Way,” to casting clergy and churches as corrupt. We cover Michael’s role in the critic scandal surrounding Mel Gibson’s epic “The Passion of the Christ” and also tackle the question of why Hollywood has not been making more faith-friendly movies considering the box office success these films garner. There are many more insights in this lively interview.

Tracy McKenzie on the First Thanksgiving (Annual Encore)

We are taking an extended sabbatical to catch up with other academic-related work and to try to improve some issues with our audio files. In the meantime, enjoy this encore presentation with Tracy McKenzie (Wheaton) on a very seasonal topic — The First Thanksgiving. We hope to return shortly with some new episodes and fresh content, but until then please feel free to dip into our extensive archives that now contain over 350 unique episodes, nearly one for every day of the year!

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