On The Way
Peter Catt, Sue Wilton and Dom Fay

St Johns Cathedral Brisbane

St John's Cathedral in Brisbane where On The Way is hosted (pictured in 2009). PICTURE: Lance (licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0/image cropped)

I’ve always loved the description of the first Christians as “The Way”. So, when I found this podcast about inclusive Christian spirituality, I thought I would take a listen. I was not disappointed.

The On The Way podcast is a series of conversations between the Dean of St John’s Anglican Cathedral in Brisbane, Peter Catt, the assistant priest at St John’s Cathedral, Sue Wilton, and radio announcer Dom Fay.

"This podcast is an invitation for listeners who see their faith as a journey rather than a destination. It is for the strugglers, those who know they don’t have it all together. It is especially for those who either have been or are going through a process of deconstruction and reconstruction of their faith. As such, the conversations are real and authentic. They don’t provide pat ‘Christian’ answers to the nuances that life throws at us."

To gain an insight into the angle the podcast takes, Peter Catt is trained as an evolutionary scientist, is pro-same-sex marriage, and is not your stereotypical image of an Anglican priest.

Peter describes the podcast as being for people who want to explore the deeper connections in life, who might be somewhat jaded with their experience of the traditional church. He says it explores how spirituality and faith can give us a flourishing life. Peter is aware that many people see Christian faith as inhibiting a flourishing life, however he understands Christian faith as the antithesis of that. That’s one of the reasons he is part of this podcast.

Dom, who facilitates most of the conversations, adds that the podcast is also for people of any faith or no faith at all, and for people who are at any stage of the faith journey.

On The Way explores, in its own words, the deeper mysteries of faith, meaning, and beauty. Based at St John's Cathedral in Brisbane, the podcast invites others into conversation who are also "on the way"; its own description says that it is for people “seeking a transformative spirituality and inclusive faith that speaks to real issues of today'. It “seeks to make meaning and articulate a Christianity that expresses the liberating and life-giving message of the Gospel in our time".

This podcast is an invitation for listeners who see their faith as a journey rather than a destination. It is for the strugglers, those who know they don’t have it all together. It is especially for those who either have been or are going through a process of deconstruction and reconstruction of their faith. As such, the conversations are real and authentic. They don’t provide pat ‘Christian’ answers to the nuances that life throws at us.

Some of the topics explored include contemplation as a way of discipleship, caring for creation, the inner life, the death of Christendom, embracing our shadow self, and the economics of community. These are a representative example of the many issues that have been tackled in the three years this podcast has been running.

The benefit of having people like Peter, Sue and Dom in a podcast like this is that there is always a lively, intelligent and engaging conversation. They are also always open to sharing some of their own story. Personal stories are always powerful, and when they come from these people who all have quite different stories, there is nearly always something the listener can relate to.

As well as their own conversations, the podcast sometimes invites guest interviewees. In recent times, these have included people of the ilk of Rob Bell, Hugh Mackay, and Sarah Bachelard. 

On The Way shows how Christian faith is relevant to all of existence. Peter Catt makes the point that the podcast is for people who want to see their own story as being part of the greater story of existence.

The conversations that take place in each episode are intelligent and open. They seek to counter the narrative that Christian faith is known for what it is against rather than what it is for. The participants are more than aware that Christian faith has too often been on the side of the oppressor rather than the side of the oppressed, and that that is a major reason that many people have deserted the church.

In all that it stands for, this podcast seems to be aptly named. It seeks a return to the way of the Jesus who was on the side of the struggler, the poor and the outcast. It is for those who want a spirituality that is real, transformative and far from shallow. 

The sign of a good podcast for me is that I always look forward to the next episode. On The Way is definitely one of those podcasts.