Favorite blogs, podcasts and sites

It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to find Catholic and Christian sites on the web. But it does take a sleuth to dig up the interesting and/or valuable ones. Here's a list:

Stupid Church People (www.stupidchurchpeople.com) is a decent site that hosts blogs and a very funny podcast by 26-year-old Joshua M. Sager and his 42-year-old friend, Stephen E. Chastain. These guys are based in California and their Christian experience is centered on mega-churches and small, non-affiliated, conservative Christian churches in California and Texas. They have both been pastors, but got sick of the politics and phoniness they felt went along with the role. They drink, they swear and they talk smut, but they are very funny, and very much in search of genuine religiosity.

The Catholic Insider (www.thecatholicinsider.com) is hosted by Father Roderick Vonhögen, an English-speaking priest from Holland. He's a young techno-geek who seems to spend more time with electronic gadgets than with the flock. But whatever. He is also a Harry Potter head and a Star Wars fanatic, and has interesting and positive views on both. When the previous pope was sick last April, his podcasts from St. Peter's had a moving, man-in-the-street immediacy. Fr. Broderick also gives "sound tours," but since he is pretty much stuck in Holland, they tend to be rather Dutch-oriented. I got tired of listening to The Catholic Insider a couple of months ago; it was getting precious and a little too self-involved. Still, it is one of the best-produced podcasts around, which reflects Fr. V's professional-level competence in the field of radio.

Infidel Guy (www.infidelguy.com) is actually a site and podcast hosted by an avowed atheist, making it an odd choice for this list. However, IG interviews very interesting guests, including people involved in the recent creationist/ID debates. He also brings on people like Dr. Kenneth Miller (a Catholic scientist and defender of evolutionary theory) and Dr. Robert Price, who, as "The Bible Geek," skeptically attacks biblical literalists. I find IG to be rather ignorant about religion personally. He's credulous and prone to amazement at anything that his anti-religion guests say. But you don't have to agree with the guests to get something out of the shows. In fact, if you plan to do any Christian or Catholic apologetics, you'd better learn the arguments used by the opposition!
Art: unknown artist; from "The Chronicles of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (www.siracd.com)