Digging Into The Big Questions

Review of "The Liturgists"

Started by friends Michael Gungor and Mike McHargue in 2014, The Liturgists podcast isn’t afraid to try answering questions that the church might not be asking. Both Gungor and McHargue grew up in conservative Christian churches, and as they describe it, they “both lost their faith as adults and. . . both rediscovered spirituality through philosophy and mysticism.”

When the podcast launched, its popularity skyrocketed due to the niche the two producers had carved out: it was intended for “the spiritually homeless and frustrated.” The hosts sought to “interpret the most pressing and relevant topics of our time through the lenses of art, science, and faith.” It was made for those who felt left out of organized religion, but still had a longing for a relationship or even just an encounter with God. This body of listeners was religiously diverse, including atheists, agnostics and all manner of denominational Christians.

Ultimately, The Liturgists appealed – and still appeals – to a substantial group of Christians and non-Christians: those in the midst of deconstruction. “Deconstruction” might be a post-modern buzzword, but it’s an excellent descriptor for the content of the podcast. If anyone has questions about their faith, the podcast isn’t afraid to approach them. A lot of the time, it feels like a low-key conversation among friends. There’s a great freedom to be found here, and for the Christian finding institutional church a little stale, the show can feel like a breath of fresh air. Beware, however, as there is a great focus on deconstruction without necessarily giving the tools to reconstruct again, which can leave the listener feeling slightly shell-shocked.

One other aspect to note about The Liturgists is the lack of robust theology. No one is formally trained in matters concerning faith and Christianity. Oftentimes, the Bible isn’t quoted, unless it’s used to prove a point.

The podcast has its flaws, but it’s an excellent listen for those who’d like to hear diverse perspectives, think critically about their faith, and perhaps deconstruct a bit – or should I say “reform”? There is insight to be found if the content is treated as a conversation rather than face-value teaching. It might not be a comfort food, but it’s definitely food for thought – and potentially healthy food at that.

  • Dan is a freelance writer from Jordan Station, Ont. He enjoys writing about issues of justice. He lives with his wife and two cats, all of whom he loves dearly.

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