Tuesday, September 30, 2008

NPR Roundup--stuff that I liked on public radio

As I have confessed before on this blog, I am a public radio junkie. I listen to podcasts on my Ipod, stream it on my computer while at work and listen to it on the radio all the time. You may charge me with selectively filling my brain with a particular political point of view--a charge that is as true for any of us as it is for me--but I maintain that the programs on NPR, PRI and those produced by local stations across the country remains one of the last bastions of thoughtful analysis of our culture.

Anyway, agree with me or not, here are a few stories/commentaries that have moved me lately:

NPR is running a series called "This I Believe" where people from all walks of life offer--as the name suggests--what they believe. When I hear the intro music for this segment which airs on various programs, I usually have a gut reaction of distaste, because sometimes the content seems sappy to me. About half the time, however, I am more than pleasantly surprised and end up being deeply moved by what is said. That's what happened this past Sunday morning while I was getting ready for church. This particular "This I Believe" segment was offered by a Michigan prisoner and convicted murderer who tells what he learned from a stray cat that wandered into the prison yard. It was so good that I thought about including it in Sunday's sermon, but feared that since it involved a cute little kitten I would be the one coming off as sappy.

One of my favorite shows of all is This American Life. On September 5, a show aired called "The Devil in Me" and the last segment was particularly moving for me. Its title was "The Devil Wore Birkenstocks" by a commentator called Dave Dickerson. He grew up in a conservative evangelical home but began to challenge the beliefs of his upbringing when he took a college course on paranormal psychology. One class the professor brought in a medium who claimed to channel the spirits of the dead, so Dickerson thought it was his opportunity to face down an honest to goodness demon. What ensued left him questioning not only the validity of the medium but also his own beliefs. For me, it was an excellent reflection upon the meaning of faith.

I've got more--but that's all I feel like posting at the moment.

Grace and Peace,


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