Nomad
Tim Nash, David Blower, Jemima McAlpine, and Nick Thorley

Nomad was probably the first podcast I ever listened to. That was back in about 2009, and I still listen to it today. 

This intelligent and relevant podcast looks at issues, dilemmas and areas of concern for Christians of a more progressive persuasion. In the 12 years that Nomad has been in existence, not only have the personnel hosting it changed slightly, but the tone has undergone a subtle change as well.

Podcast Nomad

 

"Nomad also tackles all sorts of topics...and they approach the topics with honesty, intellectual curiosity and an openness that is remarkably refreshing."

Currently hosted by Tim Nash, David Blower, Jemima McAlpine, and Nick Thorley, the vast majority of shows follow an interview format. The calibre of interviewees over the years has included the likes of NT Wright, Brian McLaren, Rachel Held Evans, Gary Burge, Rob Bell, Cynthia Bourgeault, Brian Zahnd, Brad Jersak, and Vicky Beeching. These people, and many more of the interviewees, are major influencers in the Christian world. 

Nomad also tackles all sorts of topics. Some of them include spiritual abuse, doubt, climate change, homosexuality, the Israel/Palestine conflict, and near-death experiences. The hosts have shown that there is no topic they won’t approach. And they approach the topics with honesty, intellectual curiosity and an openness that is remarkably refreshing.

The origins of Nomad go back to when the friends who eventually became the hosts began meeting to talk about how much they liked Jesus but also how frustrated they felt about organised religion. They eventually moved into the same street and spent their time exploring community and faith. They then started recording their conversations and inviting Christian thinkers and activists to join them. And so, Nomad podcast was born.

It’s an interesting fact that when you find a niche area that makes you come alive, you generally find yourself wanting others to hear about your thoughts. These creative friends did just that by not only creating the Nomad podcast, but also setting up an informal online community, monthly recorded devotionals, and a book club. As well as this, they created what they called a listener map where you could possibly find others in your area of the world who are also avid Nomad devotees.



Like many thinking Christians, the hosts of Nomad have undergone a faith deconstruction of sorts over the years. Originally promoting Nomad as a podcast looking at what they called progressive Christianity, the conversations now tend to have opened up to explore a more general spirituality, although still with a distinctly Christian flavour. The Nomad website describes it as “asking real questions and enjoying honest conversation as they search for signs of hope in the post-Christendom wilderness”.

Depending on the Christian circles people gather in, it seems that many Christ-followers are working through some sort of deconstruction. I have had a concern in recent listens that the deconstruction that the Nomad hosts have been undergoing may lead to a drifting from a committed following of Jesus.

It’s a fine line, of course. The fact is that anyone going through an honest deconstruction of their faith will do so having come from a position and teaching of extreme conservatism or even a fundamentalist faith that leaves no room for spiritual growth into Christlikeness, or for an honest expression of doubt. This has certainly been the case with the hosts of Nomad. Despite the fact that they are from and based in the UK, their faith was grounded in what is essentially an American evangelicalism heritage that is more known for what it is against than what it is for. 

GK Chesterton once said that when we stop believing in God, we don’t believe in nothing; we will believe in anything. This is where a deconstructed faith may lead. Having said that, and having undergone my own partial deconstruction, I am convinced it is a healthy journey and one that must be undertaken for the Christian who wants to honestly look at who Jesus really is. That is also why I remain convinced that the journey the folks from Nomad have been undertaking is a healthy one.

I am also convinced that Nomad podcast is needed for many, many Christians who want to explore uncomfortable areas of their faith and don’t want to remain in an unChristlike attitude that is judgmental and moralistic, the very things that Jesus spoke out against in His confrontations with the religious leaders of his day. Therefore, I would recommend this podcast to thinking Christians anywhere.