On Listening to Christian Radio

In our church bulletin this morning, there was a flyer for a Christian radio station.  I used to listen to Christian radio a lot.  In the days when I did not have a television, it was what I would do at night or on days when I was home from school, while I was doing my homework.  To be honest, I don’t have pleasant memories of listening to Christian radio.  I wouldn’t say that my memories are unpleasant, but they’re not pleasant, either!

One reason that I listened to Christian radio was to learn more about the Bible.  But I don’t feel that I learned a great deal about the Bible when I was listening to Christian radio.  Rather, I was listening to predictable evangelical spiels that I had heard repeatedly, some of them pretty kooky.

Another reason that I listened to Christian radio was to get inspiration.  The problem here is that Christian radio can be a mix.  Granted, one can listen to an affirming “God loves you” sort of message, or a message that offers practical insights on how to live life.  But one can also hear fear-mongering, legalistic messages.  In many cases, the same preacher can deliver both kinds of messages.  It’s like he’s using a carrot and a stick, or playing both good cop and bad cop.

The thing is, as I think back to the television shows that I would watch once I got television and watched it while doing my homework, I have largely positive memories.  I would watch The West Wing, Star Trek Voyager, Touched by an Angel, Little House on the Prairie, The Waltons, and the list goes on.  I see those times as good times.

But, come to think of it, I have some good memories about Christian radio.  It’s not so much on account of the preaching on it, though I do have a few good memories of that (i.e., the mornings when I would listen to Nancy DeMoss, before heading off to work).  Rather, I remember how I enjoyed listening to Christian pop music when I was driving to work.  I also remember with fondness Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey, which featured stories.  Maybe I like music and stories rather than pompous, know-it-all evangelical preachers talking at me through my radio!

In any case, I kept the flyer, but I probably won’t go back to listening to Christian radio.  I learn about the Bible from blogs, articles, books, and, well, the Bible itself.  And I get inspiration from books and television shows.  I don’t want to go back to eating styrofoam or (worse) raw sewage, which is what listening to Christian radio could be like for me.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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3 Responses to On Listening to Christian Radio

  1. Christian radio was big for me as a kid. Especially Carl McIntyre and Moody Radio kids shows. But I haven’t listened to Christian radio in decades.


  2. jamesbradfordpate says:

    I’ve listened to Carl McIntyre on the Sermon-Audio site. I knew of him because I used to receive Billy James Hargis books, and Hargis talked about McIntyre. I usually try to listen to four sermons about whatever Psalm I’m studying for a week, and I often pick McIntyre because his sermons are short. But I don’t feel all that spiritually fed after listening to him. By contrast, I actually enjoy listening to Bob Jones I because he’s so folksy!


  3. Yeah, I listened to McIntyre in the late 50s-early 60s. What I remember most was his preaching against communism and the National Council of Churches. And promoting his college in Cape May, New Jersey.


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