There is soft, ambient music playing as suddenly, the voice of the speaker mellows to a hushed tone. You feel your heart rising inside of your chest as you expect his next words to be something related to giving your cares up to the Lord or making a decision for Christ.
If instead, he and his cohort start lifting up their twitter handles, you might be listening to Good Christian Fun, a relatively new podcast hosted by two Christian millennials Kevin T. Porter and Caroline Ely that is “diving in and going deep” into the world of Christian pop culture from the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. (And yes, it is absolutely filled to the brim with good, Christian puns).
If you grew up in the era of DC Talk, the Amy Grant “Baby, Baby” scandal, and the advent of Christian P.O.G.S, then this might be for you.
Episodes feature a guest who shares their faith history or “Guestamony” before they delve into the subject at hand.
Topics range from musical groups (such as DC Talk, Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Jars of Clay) to TV Shows (such as McGee and Me, Veggie Tales, Bibleman, and Davy and Goliath) to movies (such as The Star, Saving Christmas, Left Behind, God’s Not Dead, and Hell House). Each show wraps up with a vote on whether or not the subject matter gets a “Holy Toast,” a “Holy Roast,” or as established in the McGee and Me episode, is sent to “The Space Between.”
There are also rotating segments such as “The Hunt for the Worst Christian Song of All Time” (past contestants include “The Christmas Shoes” by NewSong, “Mood Rings” by Reliant K, “America Again” by Carman, and maybe the most disturbing, “The Big M” by Lust Control), “Thumper Bumper” where Caroline reads a mix of real Christian bumper stickers and T-Shirts as well as ones she has made up to see if Kevin and the guest can decide which is which, and a more recent addition: “Holy or Crap” where Kevin plays a few seconds of several songs to see if Caroline and the guest can distinguish between Christian and secular songs.
I have enjoyed this podcast for many reasons. Firstly, I grew up on “Jesus Freak” and choreographing routines to Amy Grant’s “Sing Your Praise to the Lord.” Every week, it’s like being drop-kicked back into my childhood and teen years, a much simpler time when I thought this was all just the normal teen experience.
Secondly, as a millennial and a pastor, it has been really interesting to hear the faith stories of their various guests. So far, I think my favorite guests on the show have been Travis McElroy (who I blame for introducing me to this podcast in the first place), Jen Tullock, Aaron Chewning, Melissa Gavarrette, and Erin McGown.
For those who wring their hands over the general disappearance of the millennial generation from the Church, this podcast offers some insight as to how and where things might have gone wrong. There are as many stories as there are guests: some threw in the towel after either a moment of disillusionment or a traumatic/wounding event, some have found a way to stick with it in a new iteration, some have flat out rejected the faith altogether, and some have just faded away with no real dramatic event as the catalyst.
The podcast is plenty hilarious and, in many cases, a light listen (and, let’s be honest, for those of us who grew up under the tutelage of a talking cucumber and a tomato, it’s a fun trip down memory lane).
Is this a podcast to listen to if you are solely into historical, literary, or theological criticism of church culture on an academic level? No. There are some flubs here and there and some wrong generalizations made on the fly, but overall, it is an earnest, thoughtful, and much of the time, a hilarious listen.