Top 10 Best Podcasts of 2011

(1) NPR: Religion
– A few years ago my car radio was almost always tuned to NPR. More recently I have taken to listening selectively to my favorite NPR segments. Since I’m a huge religion nerd, I love being able to listen to the religion-themed excerpts of “Morning Edition,” “All Things Considered,” and other NPR programs without necessarily having to listen to each of those hour-long shows each day.

(2) Homebrewed Christianity
An astonishing number of great interviews with world-class theologians.

(3) NPR: All Songs Considered
– An incredible source of new music I might otherwise never hear.

(4) NPR: Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me
– There’s no funnier way to keep up with current events.

(5) Real Time with Bill Maher
Maher is tendentious on the topics of Western medicine, religion, and marijuana use; however, he has original opinions on almost every other subject. Another entertaining way of keeping up with politics.

(6) Buddhist Geeks
– A short podcast, averaging only about 20 minutes. Sometimes you can gain perspective on your own religion by being in dialogue with other traditions. Don’t believe me? Check out Paul F. Knitter’s Without Buddha I Could Not Be A Christian.

(7) Sounds True: Insights at the Edge
– Tami Simon taps into her years of experience as founder of Sounds True to interview a diverse spectrum of spiritual teachers. Her interview subjects always challenge me to consider that Shakespeare is often right that, “therefore as a stranger give it welcome. / There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

(8) Slate’s Culture Gabfest
Easily my new favorite podcast from this past year. You’re invited to be a fly-on-the-wall each week for a wide-ranging conversation on the latest cultural happenings.

(9) Freakonomics
– I appreciate the unusual, left-brained, coldly-rational perspective of economics meets culture.

(10) Filmspotting
– A key resource for finding new additions to your Netflix queue or motiving yourself to catch up on classic cinema.


What podcasts do you look forward to most that aren’t listed above? What should I be listening to in 2012?


The Rev. Carl Gregg is a trained spiritual director, a D.Min. candidate at San Francisco Theological Seminary, and the pastor of Broadview Church in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland. Follow him on Facebook ( and Twitter (@carlgregg).
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