I never thought I’d say this, but I love podcasts. In recent months and years, there seems to have been an accelerating boom of podcasts, including numerous that align with my interests — and the purposes of this blog — centering around faith and/or mental health.
Here’s my current favorites, in alphabetical order because I can never bring myself to rank things:
- CXMH (short for “Christianity & Mental Health”) hosted by Robert Vore. Main topics: religion and mental health, featuring conversations mainly with mental health professionals.
- Exvangelical hosted by Blake Chastain. Main topics: religion and culture, featuring conversations mainly with “recovering evangelicals.”
- On Being hosted by Krista Tippett. Main topics: religion, culture, & creativity.
- Personality Hacker hosted by Joel Mark Witt and Antonia Dodge. Main topics: personality psychology, including MBTI and Enneagram.
- Queerology hosted by Matthias Roberts. Main topics: religion, sexuality, & gender, featuring conversations mainly with Christian LGBTQ advocates.
- The Airing of Grief hosted by Derek Webb, Kevin MacDougall, and Jamie Lee Finch. Main topics: religion, culture, & lament.
- The Liturgists hosted by Michael Gungor, Mike “Science Mike” McHargue, Hilary McBride, and William Matthews. Main topics: religion, culture, & science.
- The Social Work Podcast hosted by Dr. Jonathan Singer, LCSW. Main topics: mental health and social advocacy, featuring conversations mainly with social work professionals.
- Typology hosted by Ian Morgan Cron. Main topics: the Enneagram.
- “Where Should We Begin?” hosted by Esther Perel. Main topics: mental health and relationships, featuring live recordings of couples therapy sessions.
Note: My enjoyment of these podcasts does not imply my endorsement of the entirety of their views, content, and guest speakers.
What podcasts would you want to add to this list?!
The past few years, at the end of the calendar year, I’ve posted a list of my favorite books read, blogs read, and blogs written. But I’ve been less actively blogging in 2017 and more actively writing other things (because, well, grad school!), as well as pretty actively living, learning, serving, and so on.
So, this year I’ll try something a little different. I could be super cool like Barack Obama and share my favorite books and songs. But, let’s face it, his musical tastes are hipper than mine. So here’s 17 books I’m glad I read and 17 things I’m glad I experienced.
17 Books I’m Glad I Read:
- Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brene Brown
- The Prophetic Imagination by Walter Brueggeman
- Bipolar Faith: A Black Woman’s Journey with Depression and Faith by Monica A. Coleman
- God of the Oppressed by James Cone
- A Womanist Pastoral Theology Against Intimate and Cultural Violence by Stephanie M. Crumpton
- Darkness Is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness by Kathryn Greene-McCreight
- Coming Clean: A Story of Faith by Seth Haines
- Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror by Judith L. Herman
- Sacred Wounds: A Path to Healing from Spiritual Trauma by Teresa Pasquale Mateus
- Healing Spiritual Wounds: Reconnecting with a Loving God After Experiencing a Hurtful Church by Carol Howard Merritt
- Counseling Women: A Narrative, Pastoral Approach by Christie Cozad Neuger
- Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World by Henri Nouwen
- Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith by Barbara Brown Taylor
- The Book of Forgiving: The Fourfold Path for Healing Ourselves and Our World by Desmond Tutu
- The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel Van der Kolk
- Broken by Ryan Casey Waller
- The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients by Irvin D. Yalom
17 Things I’m Glad I Experienced:
- Decorating funfetti cupcakes with friends around a backyard firepit on my birthday
- Giving a eulogy at my Grandma’s memorial service after she passed away this year
- Having friends and priests and mentors who let me cry — when it was finals week and Grandma died, when it was Holy Week and Jesus died, when it was an ordinary week and sometimes my hope and joy had just up and died
- Having strong faithful older women in particular who prayed for me and with me and over me
- Disconnecting from one church & connecting with another (the six-word memoir version of a whole spiritual saga, friends)
- Making a home in a place I’ve only known for 1.5 years
- Wading in a creek in Bryson City, NC surrounded by fireflies and distant children’s laughter and sweet summer stillness
- One word: therapy
- Canoeing on the Eno River with an old friend — even if that included dropping my phone in the river bank, fishing it out with the assistance of humorous yet helpful bystanders, and resurrecting it to full functioning
- Attending my 1st Summer Institute for Reconciliation, where I got to manage the social media
- Attending my 2nd regional conference of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, where I got to be on the worship service planning team
- Researching theology, trauma, the problem of clergy-perpetrated sexual assault, and possibilities for pastoral care & counseling in light of sexual assault
- Being even a tiny, tangential part of the cultural dialogue around the #MeToo movement and #ChurchToo movement
- Sitting down in a couple of rocking chairs at church to talk with a homeless veteran
- Taking Eucharist to a remarkable older woman from my church who lives in a memory care facility — and who thought she was living in 1960’s Washington DC the last time I visited (while in fact it was the 2010’s in Chapel Hill, NC).
- Attending my first Blue Christmas service
- Preaching my first sermons — even if the congregation was a classroom of 12 seminarians, I had a blast!
16 books I recommend:
- Between Midnight and Dawn: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Lent, Holy Week, and Eastertide – Sarah Arthur
- A Woman’s Place: A Christian Vision for Your Calling in the Office, the Home, and the World – Katelyn Beatty
- Garden In the East: The Spiritual Life of the Body – Angela Doll Carlson
- The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery – Ian Morgan Cron and Susan Stabile
- Strong and Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk, and True Flourishing – Andy Crouch
- Spiritual Sobriety: Stumbling Back to Faith When Good Religion Goes Bad – Elizabeth Esther
- Parables and Paradox: Sonnets on the Sayings of Jesus and Other Poems – Malcolm Guite
- Assimilate Or Go Home: Notes From a Failed Missionary on Rediscovering Faith – D.L. Mayfield
- Called to Community: The Life Jesus Wants for His People – edited by Charles E. Moore
- Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living – Shauna Niequist
- Soul Bare: Stories of Redemption by Emily P. Freeman, Sarah Bessey, Trillia Newbell and More – edited by Cara Sexton
- Original Blessing: Putting Sin In Its Rightful Place – Danielle Shroyer
- You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit – James K.A. Smith
- The Broken Way: A Daring Path Into the Abundant Life – Ann Voskamp
- Out of the House of Bread: Satisfying Your Hunger for God with the Spiritual Disciplines – Preston Yancey
- Night Driving: A Story of Faith in the Dark – Addie Zierman
8 blogs posts I enjoyed reading:
- Beauty will save the world – Andrew Petiprin (The Living Church, January)
- When Beauty Strikes – David Brooks (New York Times, January)
- I want a religion – Mac Stewart (The Living Church, April)
- Dear church: An open letter from one of those millennials you can’t figure out – Jonathan Aigner (Patheos, May)
- God Needs Women – Rachel Held Evans (July)
- Only the dumb ones go into parish ministry – Sarah Condon (The Living Church, July)
- And on the seventh day, many don’t rest at all – Lisa Wangsness (Boston Globe, November)
- Her Loss – Lindy West (New York Times, November)
8 blog posts I enjoyed writing:
- Happy (Still) Easter (April)
- Where Are All the Women? (May)
- Hey. Thanks For Caring. (May)
- From the Other Side (June)
- First Things First (June)
- Carry Each Other (July)
- Why Seminary? (August)
- Sacrament at the Soul of Me (September)
annual stack of (most of) the books I read this year
Bloggers don’t talk much about things we don’t know. We tend to nestle into a niche and become quite the know-it-all about it. So, to remind myself of how much I have yet to learn and to be real frank with any readers out there, here’s a list of things I don’t know (but might like to learn):
- How to ride a bike. Yep, it’s true. I don’t know.
- How to cook steak — or just about any meat for that matter.
- How to preach a sermon. Good thing I’m planning to go to seminary.
- How to understand some biblical Greek and Hebrew. Ditto what I said for #3.
- How to publish a book. Now THAT’S something I want to learn.
- How to discuss politics intelligently. Social issues I can sort of handle. But, on economic and international issues, I just don’t know enough to form a stance.
- How to make some sense of the insides of my car. I jump-started my car battery with help from a roommate earlier this year and was sure glad for the roommate. Left to my own devices, opening the hood of the car feels like opening a can of Spaghetti-Os.
- How to understand HTML code — without getting a headache!
- How to read a William Faulkner novel without falling asleep. Or Hemingway. Or Melville. God only knows how I managed to ace American Lit in college.
- How to manage my anxiety independently. Support systems are awesome, but people can’t always be there right when panic strikes. I’m working on preventing anxiety through healthy living and addressing anxiety when it strikes through breathing, meditation, and centering prayer.
- Most of the things that the New York Times crossword puzzle expects me to know.
- The future. Despite reading and writing about vocational discernment with unusual frequency, I definitely do not know the future. And that’s OK.
And the list could go on. It’s humbling to remember that there’s a great deal I don’t know and exciting to remember that, in time, there’s a great deal I could learn.
Below is a list of 14 of my favorite writings published in 2014. The first 5 are posts from my own blog that received the most feedback from readers, while the following 9 are works by more experienced writers.
These words have been a gift to me this year in one way or another, and I hope they could be a gift to you. Take a minute to read one or two of these, or consider reflecting on the writings that have shaped you this year!
BLOGS HERE AT (W)ORDINARY TIME:
1. “Ready or Not, Here We Go”
2. “The Reality of Difficulty”
3. “A Christian Declaration of (In)dependence”
4. “I asked God if it was OK to be introverted”
5. “Speaking Out About Spiritual Abuse” and “Recovering from Spiritual Abuse” part one and part two
6. “In which this is for the ones leaving evangelicalism” and “In which this is for the ones who stay” by Sarah Bessey
7. “Deacons and Elders and Me” by Micha Boyett
8. “Tips for Recovering from a Spiritually Abusive Church” and “Tips for ‘Moving On’ from an Abusive Church Experience” by Elizabeth Esther
9. “Choosing My Tradition” by Travis Pickell
10. “Dressed For the Moment” by Samuel Wells
11. Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus by C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison (May 2014)
12. Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor (April 2014)
13. Speak: How Your Story Can Change the World by Nish Weiseth (Aug 2014)
14. Tables In the Wilderness: A Memoir of God Found, Lost, and Found Again by Preston Yancey (Sept 2014)