We are living in a technological age. Luckily, ministry continues on the internet, and we can be connected to some of the greatest minds in our Church at the click of a button. Sometimes the amount of content out there can seem overwhelming. How do you know where to start? Don’t worry, your Publications Student Leader is here for you to create a curated and highly selective list for your consumption and understanding of Orthodox media. Take your learning outside of your meetings (or use one of these podcasts to get the conversation going at your next meeting), and grow spiritually on the go!
Here is my pick for 5 podcasts that can be found wherever you get your podcasts! for your learning and enjoyment!
We Are Orthodoxy
Christian Gonzales and Steven Christoforou have POWERFUL conversations with young adults and their relationship with the Orthodox Church. If you want to feel joy, sorrow, relief, caring, understanding, and empathy all within the span of an hour-long conversation this is the podcast for you. Hear people talk about real problems that they’re facing and how that has affected them spiritually.
“If you could describe your relationship with the church as a Facebook status, what would it be?
Pop Culture Coffee Hour
What do Star Wars, the Hunger Games, and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before have to do with Orthodoxy? Hear critical analysis mixed with humor and spiritual advice within the context of pop culture. This podcast even features OCF’s own Christina Andresen and a previous SLB Chairman Emma Solak! This podcast is the perfect Orthodox pick-me-up and perfectly fits any commute or long trip that you are on.
“Here is our list of top 5”
Hank Unplugged: Essential Christian Conversations
Hank Hanegraaff, better known as the BIBLE ANSWER MAN. Grab your scuba gear, because Hank dives DEEP in these podcasts. Hear conversations between him and the other Orthodox Titans of our day. There are a lot of podcasts that discuss huge problems. You should definitely plug in to “Hank Unplugged.”
“Dedicated to bringing the most inspirational, influential and inspiring people on the planet directly to you”
Becoming a Healing Presence
Dr. Albert Rossi talks directly to your soul in this podcast. This podcast is more than Chicken Soup for the Soul, its chicken soup, an electric blanket, and a carton of Vick’s vapor-rub, a full spiritual workup. Learn a lot of practical advice too about living your Orthodox life on campus.
The defining quote is the musical interlude which is a recording of Dr. Rossi’s late wife.
The Second Liturgy
The second liturgy is a brand new podcast. It pairs exceptionally well if you have participated or heard about a YES College Day.
“St. John Chrysostom speaks about two tables: the table of the Lord and the table of the poor. There are two tables, one where the Lord is present in the Divine Liturgy, and the Lord has many servers at that table, but He finds very few at His table with the poor.” – Fr. Roberto Ubertino, St. John the Compassionate Mission
Grab some headphones, a cup of coffee, and get listening OCFers!
A photographer can make an ordinary scene extraordinary, because they have an eye trained to see beauty. The beauty of Orthodoxy can be seen in the seemingly disconnected pieces of arts and culture. Some people consider the Harry Potter series to be inconsistent with Christianity because of their themes of witchcraft and violence, but in my opinion, the books happen to be very Orthodox in nature.
The main premise of the book is the classic archetype of good versus evil. However, J.K. Rowling is genius in her analysis and understanding of where ultimate good and ultimate evil come from. Harry is the symbol of ultimate good whereas his counterpart, Voldemort (or He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named for the more squeamish) symbolizes and commits acts of ultimate evil.
The two are inextricably linked but fundamentally opposed. This imagery parallels the imagery of passions. Human passions and virtues are two sides of the same coin. For example, the passion of pride and the virtue of humility both involve the perception of the self, one being a twisted over-inflation rooted in self-love and the other being a deep, truthful self-knowledge based in love of others respectively. Harry and Voldemort are both inextricably linked and even spiritually linked, but they fundamentally differ in one aspect: LOVE.
Harry Potter was able to love, and that was the source of his goodness. Voldemort was physically incapable of love and that inspired his evil. There’s the Orthodoxy, the basis of all good is Love, and in turn, God!
Harry Potter is born into a life of sacrificial love and is magically protected for years by the sheer power that his mother’s sacrifice provided for him. She commits the ultimate sacrifice and in that, surrounds Harry in her love and protects him from harm. Think of the power in Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection. His sacrifical love destroys even death itself. There is a God-given power in self-sacrifice that literarily manifests itself into a powerful force in a magical dimension.
Voldermort on the other hand, turns to dark magic in a desperate and contorted attempt at self-preservation. He splits his soul seven times and in the process, loses his humanity in his hubris. Voldemort loses his personhood because he engulfs himself in sin and is unable to love.
Harry had guidance and care from a more experienced and wise wizard, Albus Dumbledore. Dumbledore guided Harry in his pursuit of conquest against Voldemort and his associates. Dumbledore is like Harry’s spiritual father, guiding him and helping him minimize foreseeable obstacles. However, Dumbledore is not perfect, because he too, is human.
Harry finds familial love with his best friends, Ron and Hermoine. They never leave his side, are not afraid to tell him the truth, and fully support him in his endeavor. Harry loves them and fights hard for them against all odds.
Harry is victorious in his battle against evil because of one thing: his self sacrifice. In love, Harry voluntarily gives up his life for the lives of others, and in that, actually receives new life. In the story, he literally comes back from the dead from his self-sacrifice and that allows him to defeat Voldemort. Love is what the story boils down to, and we can use the story to better understand the power of love in an anecdotal way. But let’s turn back to The Book, the Bible, and its knowledge about love:
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. – John 4:16
Understanding that God has infinite love for us, and living it are two different things. How can we really live in God? It all starts with habits. The church fathers prescribe three things to help us develop a spiritual life and allow the Holy spirit come into our souls. Those three things are: prayer, fasting and almsgiving. When we pray we talk to God, and we build our relationship. When we fast we work on our commitment to God and our spiritual strength. And when we give out alms, we participate in God’s love by sharing it with other people. These are the starting suggestion for living in love and living in God. Living in love begins when we begin to see God in our relationships with other people. Harry Potter was good at understanding the sacrificial love that his friends and family exemplified. Harry, despite all odds, growing up in an awful household still finds the strength to live in love, and that becomes his source of strength.
Harry Potter wasn’t perfect. He was able to love and be loved and despite his weaknesses he was strong. For us, God is our source of strength and when we love, we are strengthened by His mercy. I challenge you to see how in our world, goodness comes from love and evil comes from the lack of it. If someone committing an act of violence truly loved the other person, would they dare touch a finger to the other person?
The next time you find yourself in a fight against evil, there is no need to fear, because if you are focused on Christ’s love, He will grant you the strength to defeat it! Live in love, and God will live in you.