The Podluck is a podcast that serves up bite-sized tastes of the best theology. Host and creator Megan Westra breathes new life into Christianity, scripture readings, and religion in a practical, modern way. Keep reading to learn more about Megan and The Podluck podcast.
The Creator Behind the Podcast
Writer Megan Westra is the creator and host of The Podluck podcast. She started writing after her and her husband moved across the country to serve as children’s pastors in a disinvested neighborhood. Megan began questioning her own religious beliefs after the birth of her daughter and much of her writing reflects this journey. Her first book, Born Again and Again, also covers this topic.
Megan holds a masters degree in divinity and writes “with an eye on the academic side of things.” That being said, she believes that deep and often complex theological topics should be accessible to everyone. Megan describes herself as an extrovert and shares her thoughts during live events and conferences. Events where she was featured as a speaker include the Milwaukee Multicultural Worship Leaders Network, the Christian Community Development Association’s National Conference, Northern Seminary, and at the Women Doing Theology Conference.
Themes and Topics Covered
Each season of The Podluck podcast examines one particular question or topic across all episodes. The name of the show is a play on the concept of “potluck”, a gathering of friends or family where each party brings a prepared dish to share. Just like she would at a potluck dinner, Megan invites her own friends and guests to “serve up their best ” on the podcast.
Megan believes theology is best understood when we “allow a variety of voices to inform how we think about God and the way God is working in the world.” On each season of The Podluck, she curates a variety of perspectives on different topics within theology on a deep level.
Here are three summaries of recent episodes:
In this first episode of a five-part series throughout the Christian season of Lent, Megan explains how this time of year is a time for reflection and repentance. Many Christians choose to fast from a certain type of food or “give up” something they indulge in, like alcohol or sweets. Lent is often a disruption from the normal flow of life, which Megan believes is a very moving space. Throughout the episode, Megan includes quotes from the books The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin and This Here Flesh by Cole Arthur Riley. Other episodes covering the season of Lent include invitations to move, drink, and lay it to rest.
Here, Megan begins another series of episodes on the holy season of Advent, which consists of the four weeks leading up to Christmas. It’s her favorite season and she walks through the passages in the weekly lectionary. Longing and hope are two themes of the Advent season. In this episode, Megan offers her reflections on three passages: one from the prophet Isaiah, a reading from the Epistle to the Romans, and a passage from the Gospel of Matthew. Each week during Advent, Megan ends each episode with a personal blessing, which can be found in the show notes.
In the Proper series, Megan pulls inspiration for each episode from the lectionary material through the standard liturgical year. In this episode, she digs into a passage from the prophet Jeremiah, who is known as “the weeping prophet”. The passage contains the image of a potter’s wheel and how it relates to God’s judgment. Sources mentioned in this episode include Dr. Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder’s commentary on Luke contained in True to Our Native Land and concepts from Dr. Scot McKnight’s commentary on Philemon in the New International Commentary series. Megan also shares a little on the wisdom of mushrooms from Adrienne Maree Brown’s podcast, How to Survive The End of the World.
Reach of The Podluck
It is a bit difficult to determine the overall reach of The Podluck podcast, as its social media presence is rather small. The show does not currently have a YouTube channel or an account on TikTok. However, Megan herself has over 2,000 followers on her personal Instagram account. The Podluck does have a Facebook page with a following of under 100, which appears to have been last updated in 2019.
The Format of the Podcast
Each podcast episode of The Podluck is roughly 30 minutes long. The episodes of the show are usually grouped together around a particular season of the Christian liturgical calendar. Host Megan Westra records most of the episodes on her own and sometimes a guest will join her.
Megan weaves her own perspectives on each topic with quotes from famous authors, thinkers, and artists. Many episodes dive into a biblical passage or group of passages from the week’s lectionary material. As she’s also a writer, Megan sometimes includes her own blessing or words of wisdom as supplemental material in an episode’s show notes.
Reception and Impact
The Podluck show has almost 80 episodes as of March 2023. Megan Westra started the podcast in August of 2019. The podcast is listed under Apple’s Religion & Spirituality category. The show currently has a rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars on Apple Podcasts.
If you’re interested in a fresh take on theological topics and Christianity, check out The Podluck. You can listen to The Podluck podcast on most of the major podcasting platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Podbean, and Spotify. You can also follow Megan and her writing through her personal website.