252 episodes

Each week the editors of Christianity Today go beyond hashtags and hot-takes and set aside time to explore the reality behind a major cultural event.

Quick to Listen Christianity Today

    • Christianity
    • 4.5 • 416 Ratings

Each week the editors of Christianity Today go beyond hashtags and hot-takes and set aside time to explore the reality behind a major cultural event.

    Why We Can’t Stop Talking about Hillsong's Celebrity Pastors

    Why We Can’t Stop Talking about Hillsong's Celebrity Pastors

    Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries.
    At the beginning of this month, Hillsong NYC pastor Carl Lentz was fired. A day after the news went public, he posted a picture of his family on Instagram admitting he was unfaithful in his marriage. Both before and after the news, Lentz made headlines across Christian and secular media for his popularity and successful ministry—as well as the “hipster” pastor look he popularized.
    When Lentz co-founded Hillsong NYC with Joel Houston in 2010, the church drew lines around the block and caught the eye of A-list celebrities, none more famous than Justin Bieber. Lentz, who became famous for his wire-rimmed glasses, plunging V-necks, and designer sneakers, himself became subject of a number of profiles, including this 2015 GQ feature from Taffy Brodesser-Akner:
    “The music! The lights! The crowds!” begins an incredulous woman narrating a CNN segment on Hillsong NYC . “It looks like a rock concert.” The chyron reads “Hipster preacher smashes stereotypes.”
    They call Pastor Carl a hipster. Carl says he doesn’t know what that means, and he wears a motorcycle jacket when he says this.Pastor Joel is unwilling to acknowledge that there’s something going on here. Yes, he tells me, sure, he likes clothes. But that’s the end of it. I should ask Pastor Carl about the clothes, he tells me. What Pastor Carl does, he says—that’s intentional, and then he laughs.
    This week on Quick to Listen, we wanted to discuss the attention around a new generation of fashion-forward pastors. What does it reveal about ministry? But what does our fascination with this aesthetic reveal more broadly about the American and Western church?
    Anthropologist Katherine Ajibade, formerly a researcher with the British think tank Theos, joins CT’s Morgan Lee and Kate Shellnutt.
    What is Quick to Listen? Read more
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    Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder
    The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola
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    • 59 min
    Spiritual Formation as COVID-19 Gets More Depressing

    Spiritual Formation as COVID-19 Gets More Depressing

    Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries.
    We’re right on the cusp of the holiday season. Except this year it doesn’t feel much like it. Each day this month, thousands of American—record numbers—have tested positive for COVID-19. Even as several vaccines are now on the horizon, many public health authorities have asked Americans to not reunite with extended family over Thanksgiving, requests that will no doubt continue during the Christmas season. 
    Millions of people have already spent hours more this year inside, apart from their loved ones, houses of worship, and beloved activities. While the summer offered many a respite from their homes, the arrival of cold weather will likely keep people there. This bleakness, of course, comes on the heels of a year of postponed weddings, never organized baby showers, and drive-by birthday parties. And, of course, one of the year’s most agonizing elements has been the disparity with which community and individuals have adopted and practiced social distancing and mask-wearing. These relationship tensions have had both personal and societal polarizing effect. 
    This week on Quick to Listen, we discussed the reality between the joyous expectations of the holidays—and the darkness we’re all feeling this year with Chris Hall, the president of Renovare, the spiritual formation organization started by Richard Foster.
    Hall is also associate editor of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture and has written a great four volume series of books on what we can learn from the early church, and was one of CT’s theology editors and advisers. He joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to talk about growing in your relationship with God and practicing spiritual disciplines during a pandemic.  
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    The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola
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    • 38 min
    How Faith Issues May Shape a Biden Presidency

    How Faith Issues May Shape a Biden Presidency

    Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries.
    This week, Maryland megachurch pastor Harry Jackson passed away at age 65. Over the last four years, Jackson was a member of President Trump’s evangelical advisory board. That consulting team was a marked shift in the role that faith communities had played in the executive branch in recent decades. The focus in the Bush and Obama administrations, by contrast, had been on the ways that faith-based and community groups could work with the federal government on social problems, and on hiring officials who would work on international religious freedom.
    What role will religious leaders, religious groups, and religion policy play in a Biden administration? And what lessons might Biden take from his presidential predecessors on how church and state can work together, and how they should work separately?
    This week on Quick to Listen, we wanted to discuss the future of faith in the Biden administration.
    Stanley Carlson-Thies is the founder and senior director of the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance (IRFA), a division of the Center for Public Justice. He served with the White House Office of Faith-Based & Community Initiatives from its inception in February 2001 until mid-May 2002, and later served on a task force of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. He joined global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen on Quick to Listen.
    What is Quick to Listen? Read more
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    Follow Stanley Carlson-Thies’ work: Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance
    Read the Brookings Institute report: A Time to Heal
    Read more about Fairness for All and the Equality Act
    Music by Sweeps
    Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder
    The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola
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    • 1 hr 1 min
    Rerun: Why Latino Christians Vote Beyond Immigration

    Rerun: Why Latino Christians Vote Beyond Immigration

    Hi Quick to Listen listeners. We recorded this episode in 2018 but given the headlines from this week's election, we thought you mind find it constructive and helpful so we decided to drop it in our feed again. As always, send us your thoughts and questions at podcasts@christianitytoday.com or on Twitter at @CTPodcasts.
    Elections often call attention to white evangelicals whose votes and voices play a significant role in national elections. But their attitudes and values don’t necessarily represent those of evangelicals from different racial and ethnic backgrounds.
    Case in point: Latino evangelicals. According to data from the Billy Graham Center Institute at Wheaton College and LifeWay Research, 41 percent of Hispanics with evangelical beliefs voted for Trump in 2016. What were the issues that most influenced their vote?According to the same survey, 19 percent said improving the economy, 14 percent said helping those in need, and 14 percent said a candidate’s position on immigration.“
    Most Latinos will tend to be socially conservative on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage but will tend to be social liberals on issues like education and immigration, so we’ve tended to be divided on how we spread the vote,” said Juan Martínez, who currently serves as professor of Hispanic studies and pastoral leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary. “This isn’t new; it just stands out more because we’re a larger percentage of the voting block. Those of us who have voted have struggled with this for years because the Democrat/Republican way that this is broken out doesn’t fit us well.”
    Martínez joined associate digital media producer Morgan Lee and editor in chief Mark Galli to discuss the history of Latino evangelicals and what unifies and divides the community.
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    • 59 min
    Evangelicals and Election Day 2020: What We Know

    Evangelicals and Election Day 2020: What We Know

    Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries.
    This week on Quick to Listen, we wanted to discuss the election with those who have been following this race closely. On this episode, senior news editor Kate Shellnutt, print news editor Daniel Silliman, and researcher Ryan Burge join global media manager Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen.
    What is Quick to Listen? Read more
    Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts
    Follow the podcast on Twitter
    Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen
    Follow our guests on Twitter: Kate Shellnutt, Daniel Silliman, and Ryan Burge
    Music by Sweeps
    Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder
    The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola
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    • 1 hr 5 min
    Confronting the Darkness in a Year Full of Death

    Confronting the Darkness in a Year Full of Death

    Transcribed highlights of the show can be found in our episode summaries.
    Halloween has always been a tricky day for conservative Protestants. It has long been seen as a celebration of the dark—joking about bloody gore, the living dead. But this year, death and darkness doesn’t seem quite so amusing. October 31 comes as more than 1.1 million people around the world have died of COVID-19. Nearly 20 percent of those deaths have occurred in the US, a country where COVID-19 cases are once again on the rise.
    As parents are making last minute decisions about what to do about trick or treating, as churches cancel their harvest festivals and trunk or treat events, and parties are moved to zoom and even schools forego their annual costume parades, we wondered: Is this weird Halloween in a very weird year the opportunity for better Christian thinking and discipleship? Can rethinking this season where we oddly engage death and darkness help us deal with death and darkness the rest of this covid season, and the rest of our lives? If so, where do we look? Back to Halloween’s connections to All Saint’s Day? Or to other ways that the church has formed its spiritual disciplines around death?
    CT columnist, a priest in the Anglican Church in North America, and author of the forthcoming book, Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work, or Watch, or Weep, Tish Harrison Warren joined global media producer Morgan Lee and editorial director Ted Olsen to discuss what our celebrations of Halloween say about our beliefs about death, how we might confront our own darkness, and how prayer provides a place for us to wrestle with the night.
    What is Quick to Listen? Read more
    Rate Quick to Listen on Apple Podcasts
    Follow the podcast on Twitter
    Follow our hosts on Twitter: Morgan Lee and Ted Olsen
    Follow our guest on Twitter: Tish Harrison Warren
    Music by Sweeps
    Quick to Listen is produced by Morgan Lee and Matt Linder
    The transcript is edited by Bunmi Ishola
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    • 47 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
416 Ratings

416 Ratings

KristenS123 ,

In depth podcast on issues affecting the church

I appreciate how the podcast tackles various issues affecting the global church. This is one of the few podcasts I commit to even if the current week’s topic seems uninteresting. In the end, I almost always feel that it’s worthwhile. This podcast has expanded my mind and given me knowledge of issues I otherwise wouldn’t know about. Also, I’ve never heard of anyone having more diverse hobbies than Morgan Lee! I enjoy hearing her “Precious Moments” each week.

R manor ,

Thoughtful and theologically grounded

This podcast is a breath of fresh air. Resisting the fracturing so rampant in the Evangelical world, the hosts are both thoughtful and theologically astute. They express wisdom and a deep love for Jesus and their fellow image beaters, resisting the urge for simplistic and divisive generalizations. Their capacity for nuance and grace speaks to a spiritual maturity that is, sadly, lacking from a lot of Christian podcasts. Keep up the excellent work! In many ways, this podcast makes those of us resisting the pull from theological and political extremes feel less alone as we try to walk in the tension between grace and justice, faith and materialism.

Dsdesalvo ,

Wish I would have found it sooner!

I’ve been searching for good Christian perspectives on current events and this is a winner! I wish I would have found it much sooner but I’m thoroughly appreciating the content on this podcast.

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