It has become my habit to listen to audiobooks and podcasts as I work. The last two audiobooks were:
The Modern Scholar: Rings, Swords, and Monsters, by Michael Drout. I thought the subject would be broader, but more than half concerns Tolkien and LotR. It turns out that Drout is a Tolkien scholar. Still, I enjoyed it.
The Modern Scholar: Christianity at the Crossroads, by Thomas F. Madden This one I enjoyed less, but learned more. Why? When I began the series I didn’t know (or care) Madden’s religion. It became evident that Madden is Roman Catholic when every motive of every Protestant is chalked-up to confusion followed by vanity, love of money, or power-seeking–but every RC motive is innocent mistake which is pursued by restoration, conciliation, and protection of the people. Yet Madden faithfully reports the facts, and this is what makes it valuable: It’s like listening to a 250 lbs. fighter congratulate himself for fighting a 150 lbs. opponent to a draw.
As for the podcasts…there have been several.
Fighting for the Faith. It’s a Lutheran podcast. I’ve only listened to one episode about the “Code Orange Revival”. The host refers to it as the “2016 Heresy Olympics”. Featured were extended clips from the so-called revival along with the host’s scathing commentary. Honestly, I agreed fully with the host on every point, but I found his pattern of speech irritating; too much sarcastic inflection, and not virile enough; like a hipster with a beard. Beards are manly, but so is muscle and action and passion.
Jesus Changes Everything, by R.C. Sproul Jr. I wanted to like this. Instead it is lame; a limp, passive Christianity which doesn’t remind me of his father. I wrote favorably of Sproul Sr.’s work here. By the way: Sproul’s “Catholicism” was a great companion to the audiobook “Christianity at the Crossroads”.
Ascending the Tower. I’ve listened to five episodes, I think. Each is fairly long and often in two parts. I’d guess 10-12 hours total listening time. These guys are the core group of NRx–which is explicitly exclusive and, I believe, hierarchic. (For example: Nick B. Steves is a leader.) My impression is that I would like these guys in real life. However, I find little agreement with either their diagnoses or their cures. They rightly see that the various Puritan groups who fell to become the congregationalist and universalist heretics of the northeastern United States opened up a Pandora’s Box of problems; but they wrongly conclude that the spirits released were Puritan-Judaic. Pandora did not come out of the box she opened; yet every problem is to them systemic, and every system from a Puritan or a Jew. The prominence of Roman Catholics among the NRx plays a role in their monomaniacal myopia.
What tower, exactly, is to be ascended? Babel comes to mind. And for what purpose? There is a definite emphasis on grasping power, but the methods and ends are elided in their conversations. Perhaps these are covered in podcasts I have not heard.
Christian Hangouts, by Reactionary Ian. I found this when I was mentioned in a Tweet about this YouTube series. I’ve only listened to one, and haven’t formed any real thoughts about it except that I wish I had some suggestion to help them structure the format a bit. There’s 20 minutes of on-topic talk and 100 minutes of digression. Ascending the Tower is pretty good about this without being unbendable. Then again, I could be missing the point of CHs. My impression was that I would like a good deal of the contributors, but that the converse is far from sure.
The other thing I have listened to recently (though not at work) is The Revelation of Jesus Christ to John. I say listened to because it opens:
1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.
So I read it aloud in a couple hours. It’s been a long time since I’ve read it; with the exception of the letters to the churches. As better Christians than me will note there is A LOT said about Babylon in there, and it was during my reading in which I decided to pursue on this blog the theme of Babylon, the Necropolis.