Category: Religion & Popular Culture


Christian Novetzke on Kung Fu Fighting and Eastern Religions (Encore Presentation)

Get into the octagon with Prof. Christian Novetzke as we spar intellectually about the relationship between the martial arts and Eastern religions. Karate, jujitsu, tai chi, tae kwon do, and even yoga are discussed in our fascinating interview that also explores Buddhism, Zen, Hinduism, Taoism, Confucianism and the connection between Christianity and the mixed martial arts (i.e., cage fighting). We discover the importance of self-actualization that connects all these different philosophies and martial activities.

We are taking a break for the Easter holiday but will return with fresh episodes soon. Enjoy this great interview from our archives.

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Marion Larson on Bubbles, Bridges, and Multifaith Engagement

In an increasingly pluralistic world, can Christians break out of their bubble and engage individuals from different faiths while still retaining their own spiritual identity. Prof. Marion Larson of Bethel University discusses how she and her co-author, Prof. Sara Shady, have approached this subject theoretically and as a matter of practical experience. Prof. Larson shares her thoughts on the topics of ecumenism, tolerance, and approaching others with an attitude of hospitality.

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Kelsey Dallas on Religious Journalism

Deseret News journalist Kelsey Dallas joins us to discuss her path towards religious news writing, the importance of the Religion News Association, and a number of the stories she has covered throughout the years. We talk about stories regarding life on other planets (and how it would affect religious believers), pilgrimages to Chimayo (New Mexico), football prayer circles, and what has become of the faith of all these Millennials. A wide-ranging, uplifting, and fun conversation.

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Daniel Dreisbach on Biblical Rhetoric in the Founding Era

What role did the Bible play in the rhetoric of the Founding Era of the United States? Prof. Daniel Dreisbach discusses how various themes and particular passages of the Scriptures were used by political leaders during the late 18th and early 19th century to help frame the creation of a new republic. He argues that verses found in Micah, Proverbs, and other places were used frequently to connect to a larger political conversation with the American people regarding the nature of the United States, the importance of virtue in its citizenry, and why the diffusion of power was important. We also chat about the role of religion during presidential inaugurations.

Search our archives for more great topics related to this episode and many other subjects!

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Paul Harvey on Religion in the American South

“The South” is commonly referred to as the Bible Belt in the United States today, and despite New England having a more explicit Christian identity during colonial times, the region from Virginia down to Florida and out to Texas has been shaped by religious dynamics from its most early days.  Prof. Paul Harvey, professor of […]

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Tara Moore on Christmas Traditions … and Krampus! (Encore Presentation).

How has Christmas been celebrated throughout the millennia and in different parts of Europe? Where do traditions such as decorating trees and caroling come from? And what is Krampus? Tara Moore, a part-time instructor in English at Penn State University – York, talks about all of this and more in an exploration of how we celebrate Christmas. Based on her book “Christmas: The Sacred to the Santa,” she provides us with many interesting tidbits that you’ll want to share them with friends and family during Yuletide.

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John Reynolds on “A Christmas Carol” (Encore Presentation)

An encore presentation for the Christmas season. Prof. John Mark Reynolds (Houston Baptist University) discusses the life, times, and writing of Charles Dickens, with special reference to his well-known masterpiece “A Christmas Carol.” He reveals a number of nuances that most people miss in this classic work, and best of all, we discuss Muppets!

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Ani Sarkissian on Politics & Religious Civil Society in Turkey (Encore Presentation)

In light of the interesting political developments in Turkey this past year, we dip into our archives to feature an encore presentation with Prof. Ani Sarkissian discussing the relationship between religious civil society and politics in Turkey.

More new episodes on the way.

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Thomas Kidd on the Pilgrims (Encore Presentation)

While Tony takes a break for the Thanksgiving holiday, we offer you an encore presentation about the Pilgrims. Thomas Kidd (Baylor University) enlightens us about the history of the Pilgrims, tracing their roots in 16th century England to The Netherlands and eventually to the Plymouth Colony in what is now today Massachusetts. Prof. Kidd discusses the differences the Pilgrims had with the Church of England and their Puritan brethren. We also explore why the king of England would allow a group of his critics to settle land in North America, the hardships that this group of religious refugees faced in their first years in the wilderness, and the imprint the Pilgrims left on U.S. history.

A great podcast for high school educators and homeschoolers, as well as a nice refresher course for those of us who think we remember our American colonial history. Plus, you get to hear your host recite poetry!

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Lerone Martin on Preaching on Wax and Phonograph Religion

Beginning in 1925, Columbia Records and a number of other independent record labels began to record and distribute the sermons of African American preachers. These recordings became enormously popular and represented a “folk worship” stream of African American religiosity in the first half of the 20th century. Dr. Lerone Martin (Danforth Center, Washington University) explains the origins of this phenomenon that lasted for several decades, as well as the dynamics and lasting impact of “phonograph religion.” We include three clips from popular preachers in our interview, and more can be found on by clicking “read more” below.

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