Podcast Week: Et Cetera

Podcasts have been a regular part of my life since before my daughter was born. I listen to them while I work out, in the van, when I’m cleaning, and anytime I have a minute. Music still gets high priority around here, but podcasts are a close second. I am dedicating this week to the podcasts I listen to. If you have some that you love, please chime in with a comment or two!

You can find day one here: For Starters

Day two: NPR and its relatives

Day three: Notable Women

Day four: Christian Thought and Humor

Today I’m just going to throw a bunch of random other podcasts at you. Maybe you’ll find something you like!earbiscuits

North Carolina natives and Campus Crusade alumni Rhett and Link have a podcast called Ear Biscuits. Last month they interviewed Rainn Wilson.

Because I am a sports fan from Massachusetts, I am required by law to read or listen to the Sports Guy, Bill Simmons. He writes for Grantland and ESPN, and his podcast is amusingly called the BS Report.

My favorite Food Network chef and all-around interesting guy is Alton Brown, who podcasts sporadically at the Alton Browncast.

The Rabbit Room podcast has gone dark, but it’s worth subscribing just for the archives. There are quite a few old Hutchmoot sessions on there, along with interviews.

One regular morning listen for me while I get my hair and face together is The Writer’s Almanac. This is a short little snippet with literary news of the day (like “born today in the year…”) as well as a poem for the day. Voiced by the aforementioned Garrison Keillor.

Nick Flora, a producer and artist from Nashville, has a nice podast called Who Writes this Stuff, featuring interviews with artists you might not know but might love.

I’m just starting to scratch the surface on some BBC podcasts. One I’ve started listening to with the kids is called Witness, which includes short interviews with people who were present as history happened. Last week we heard a conversation with a man who started the Greensboro lunch counter sit-in.

Hope Hidden in the Darkest Corners: Call the Midwife

Call the Midwife

Call the Midwife

Over Christmas break, I finally caught up on the BBC’s miniseries entitled Call the Midwife.  I suppose the correct term would be “binge-watched.”  The gentle, charming characters and marvelous storytelling meant I was hooked right from the get-go.  Midwife is inspired by the memoirs of Jennifer Worth, who was a young midwife in London’s impoverished East end during the 1950’s.  Jenny lives with the sisters of Nonnatus House, an order of the Anglican church.

As they move among the people of Poplar, the community they serve, the women are greeted with all types of situations. From the young African mother facing racism in her building to the mentally-ill teenager who mourns the adoption of her baby, Jenny and the other midwives must handle the women they meet with dignity and delicacy.

One woman in the series who has stayed with me is the mother of eight who finds out she is expecting again.  She is devastated to learn the news, because she and her husband can hardly put food on the table as it is. Jenny suspects that the woman may try to harm the baby in order to avoid having to support a ninth child. Jenny is compassionate with the mother, but there is no mincing of the vocabulary as there is in our culture. She says emphatically that if the mother kills the baby within her, she may also kill herself in the process.  It’s a baby — not a “pregnancy” — and the preservation of that life as well as the mother’s is strenuously encouraged.

But the show is also supremely sympathetic in displaying the family’s difficulties.  I guess that is what stuck out to me — the story didn’t shy away from having an honest look at life.  The writers did not feel compelled to cast the story into broad, black and white relief. The mother was neither vilified nor exonerated. The story was simply told.

There is never any question that the world of the midwives is governed by God, and as a result, that there is an “ought-to” and an “ought-not-to.”  Vows are taken seriously. Love in its various forms is celebrated.  Life is hard.  Faith is necessary.

“In the East End I found grace and faith and hope hidden in the darkest corners. I found tenderness and squalor and laughter amid filth.”  – Episode 1.6