While researching my previous post on podcasting, I uncovered podcast concerns Christians may want to consider when using this useful technology.
1. Be aware of pseudo religious podcasts
The iPod Alley listing of over 2,500 Religion & Spirituality podcasts, for example, contains many Pagan podcasts in their top 50 listing. Pagan and Wiccan podcasts total 120 of iPod Alley’s listings. Both of these streams of belief are contrary to Christian, Jewish, and Islamic belief structures.
Rather than using iPod Alley one might use a more reliable Christian podcast listing source such as GodCast 1000. Their listings rank podcasts by popularity on an ongoing basis. GodCast also categorizes podcasts in this manner:
• Bible Study
• Christian Music
• Christian General
• News, Culture & Politics
Finally, and possibly most importantly, I find Apple iTunes to be an extremely dependable source of Christian podcasts. When I last checked, they were offering 2,227 Christian podcasts for subscription and downloading. I like the iTunes popularity bar showing those podcasts that have been most popular for downloading and subscribing, as I understand how it works. And…the most popular podcast right now is a video podcast “Mosaic Video Podcast”. Apple iTunes is a good place to start.
2. Beware of unfounded belief structures
Many Christian podcasts confound, bewilder, and dismay. Rather, look for recommendations from other listeners for sites of merit. An example of a popular and respected religious podcasting source is “Through the Bible”, based on the J. Vernon McGee radio broadcast of many years standing. This is used for illustrative purposes only. Even this deceased preacher has detractors, as does almost every preacher. I suggest looking for extensive use of the bible in sermons, rather than reliance on demagoguery or storytelling. It’s easy to tell a story but more difficult to draw a complete lesson together from scripture.
3. Watch out for money pitches
Sometimes podcasts openly ask for financial support channeling a stream of cash into organizations not necessarily on the up and up. Some do so under the guise of being a master site for religious podcasts. Remember, Apple’s iTunes site, the originator of podcasting, is available for linking to thousands of podcast sites and is totally free. Many “support me” sites, plead for money to cover their operating costs. In reality, these are merely businesses fronting as “evangelism” playing on the heartstrings and looking for an audience. I take a dim view of the use of Christianity as a profit-making enterprise, but many do not. Don’t forget that you are their target. Your dollars are highly prized and sought.
4. A Religious Podcast is Not Church
It’s tempting for some Christians to treat podcasts as church. A podcast is not a substitute for church attendance. It can serve to facilitate review and recall of a sermon already heard, expose one to material missed during a live service or introduce you to new material.
One of the more incredible experiences I witnessed was a church service where a video recording was played, and the parishioners treated the recording as a real service including the prayer and alter call. This is robotic behavior to an extreme showing the hold the electronic church has taken on the hearts and minds of living, breathing, and thinking beings. Unbelievably, you can find the electronic church at work, pre-recorded, 24 hours a day with heart-rending appeals for money and offers of prayers. If you call one of the numbers displayed, a real person will take your credit card information. This is big business at its best.
I’m concerned podcasting is beginning to take the same path.