First Things Podcast


First Things is published by The Institute on Religion and Public Life, an interreligious, nonpartisan research and education institute whose purpose is to advance a religiously informed public philosophy for the ordering of society.

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Recent Episodes
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Recent Reviews
  • The Dude Avoids
    Non partisan?
    After listening to the Mark Bauerlein’s interview of Jamie Glazov on Obama’s legacy, I do think First Things has to renounce the non-partisan label. Glazov maintains that Obama opened the border when in fact he deported more people than any other president. He said that the US withdrawal from Afghanistan would never have happened under Trump, when in fact Trump negotiated the deal without talking to the Afghan government, which virtually guaranteed a Taliban takeover. A suggestion? Stick to theology and philosophy, since you have such a shaky grasp on current events. Or rename the whole enterprise “MAGA Things”. It would be more truthful.
  • BryanMoriarty
    Conservative Echo Chamber. Listener Beware
    Don’t let the “nonpartisan, interreligious” part of the description fool you. This is a show dedicated to pushing a hardline conservative/traditionalist Catholic perspective. The show’s host frames the questions of their interviewee deceptively, and makes it clear to any information-literate person that it favors confirmation bias over true dialogue. Don’t listen unless you’re the type of person who re-watches old episodes of Fulton Sheen.
  • K. Keaton, N. Haven
    Great content. Often frustrated by inconsistent audio quality. Especially Rusty Reno’s episodes…sounds like he’s on a speaker phone on the other side of the room.
  • Minnesota fam
    Technical issues aside, great podcast
    It would be a real service to the podcast to have the audio quality issues fixed. It’s hard to manage volume and often there’s a disparity between interviewee and interviewer. That said, the podcast content is fantastic!
  • clayzimz
    Thank you for upgrading the sound
    Good pod
  • scottdon
    Please Improve Audio
    I enjoy your content, but would greatly appreciate better audio quality. It’s a bit too “tin can.” Thanks
  • Faramir3
    Great Content, Technical Help Would Improve
    I am really enjoying the content, even as one of your “separated brethren.” It builds up Christians the world over. Audio issues make it a hard choice for listening in many situations (driving, on public transit, etc.) where I may not be able to get to my phone quickly to adjust volume. I don’t think I am the only one with this issue.
  • Ray Hylton
    Spend some money and fix audio
    I love the content but the audio issues make it hard to listen. Mark’s voice is way too loud so I adjust for his voice, but the guest’s voice is hard to hear, so I increase the volume, only to be blasted by Mark’s voice. Had to stop listening. Are you reading the multiple feedback to this issue?
  • stuartsquires
    Time to buy real audio equipment.
    It is 2022.
  • natanalevin
    Insightful but poor sound quality
    Upgrading the sound quality would make the podcast significantly more listenable and shouldn’t be all that expensive
  • zozomazo
    Great interview, but sound quality sub-par. Can we not invest a few $ in a sound quality upgrade?
  • Neither Left Nor Right
    Election Issues
    I am appalled by the politics of some of your work (example: election issues). No more listening for me. Shame!
  • Mikeat4112
    So frustrating
    I really enjoy the podcast content, but the audio quality is so poor, I can hardly listen. Sometimes the guest is clear, but the interviewer is not; other times, vice versa. PLEASE FIX!
  • Fitz3891
    Great content, bad sound
    This is an amazing podcast. But either the host (usually mark bauerline) or the guest is loud and clear, while the other is quiet and unclear. It’s distracting to what should be a wonderful podcast
  • SWHam1966
    Audio quality is often poor
    The audio quality is often poor. Often it sounds like the host is inside a closet or a barrel.
  • Max_B_
    Audio quality needs to improve
    Great content, but dampened by the awful sound quality. There’s no way that FT can’t get better microphones and production software.
  • Hangman2013
    Great Content - Poor Audio
    I’d listen to you every day if the audio volume was the same throughout. There is great content on here, but I am constantly adjusting my volume because it’s not clear/too quiet or hurts my ears. The additional editing or equipment will work wonders for your show.
  • WestchesterRich
    First Things podcast
    In general I very much enjoy the offerings. However, I beg you to fix the frequently awful audio. Rusty Reno’s podcast is typically very bad quality audio. I usually turn it off. Mark Bauerlein’s sound is generally better except when he uses the studio “hands free” microphone. Why can’t you all use headsets with a microphone? It would sound so much better and your important message would not be so hard to hear. Please!
  • Danimals1612
    Great content, but please fix the audio quality
    I thoroughly enjoy this podcast, but please fix the audio quality. Otherwise, keep up the good work!
  • Niko Iba
    Religion as a Scapegoat for Regressive Theology
    A profoundly narrow-minded, reactionary, and isolationist podcast purporting their arguments for xenophobia, classism, sexism, and medieval takes on social hierarchy.
  • __Matthew_.___
    Calm, Thorough, and a Wide Range of Topics
    One can’t ignore the wisdom. Some critics say this information is distasteful yet I imagine that’s likely due to their preconceived notions on a particular topic. Yes there can be different views on a subject. However, historical facts can’t be ignored and Mark is a fantastic host bringing these to light with varying guests.
  • Megerik
    Good Conversations
    I’d recommend writing the guests name in the episode title rather than the host’s... Otherwise it’s great
  • enelsonpa
    Two Right Catholics Have Fun Hate Mongering against modernity
    Under the pretense of a reasonable theological discussion, these two guys mis-characterize modern theology, science and spirituality, as having to purpose of being anti-God. Ironically, their malicious twisting of modern spirituality, is a call back to Medieval reactionary thinking and is drenched in hate.
  • cremefracas
    Deep thinking about Christianity today
  • Irishcatholic1934
    Perfect opening for this segment. Thank you for you high quality podcasts.🕯
  • redshift13
    A one-stop podcast for conservative religious views
    The good: Worth a listen even if, like me, you’re on opposite sides of most of the issues. The variety and quality of the guests is mostly decent. The not as good: The show host, Mark Bauerlein, is adequate to the task. Although you’ll quickly pick up on an annoying habit of his, which is is to repeat in his own words a point that was already made, but gives the impression of having come up with it first. A bit more self-awareness would be in order, if I dare say so.
  • Gnome chopper
    Great Podcast about Howard Zinn and his idiocy. I am going to get the book. He was a pathetic ideologue who didn't mind people dying for 'his' cause. Thank you Mary Grabar for the book.
  • ::Kitty88::
    Au Contraire...
    In response to the other reviews: While the sound quality can be sketchy, I appreciate the more classic, academic approach to the podcast. It is more in keeping with the magazine (which I read cover to cover every issue). Of course, if you’re a Vat2 happy-clappy Catholic, the topics in the print and podcast will challenge you. Good for you for listening! But please don’t disparage First Things for not being another America Magazine... we have plenty of that 60s drivel driving Catholics out of the Church. This is an island of sanity and orthodoxy. Peace be with you.
  • night_shade
    Please bring back Yost and Schmitz. Bauerlein is a fine writer but a dull host.
  • Admiraldinty
    Bring back Yost and Schmidt
    Mark Bauerlein is a smart guy, but a boring podcaster. The show is currently unlistenable. Bring back the old format.
  • tlchapman
    But Why?
    I keep listening so that I can have some conservative voice in my ear. But the question I find myself asking every episode is “But why?” There are a lot of assertions, but very little background or reasoning for the conclusions. Also, the production quality is violently terrible. Occasionally some good guests.
  • Pius Aeneas
    Incompetent production betrays the podcast
    Mark’s sound level is ridiculously low and the guest is waaaaaay too loud. If you can’t set up the sound levels competently learn how. You embarrass yourself, First Things, and the guest when you present incompetent work like this. You need to be better to be worthy of the outstanding content you provide.
  • Bernardo Weaver
    Declining quality
    As of 4 months the guests and topics have been underwhelming to say the least
  • Aquinas69
    Why do they give mark Bauerline a forum?
    This the archaic vanguard of First Things’ classically liberal Catholicism seemingly unmoved by developments in catholic thought which take the whole of catholic tradition on its own terms and look forward to an illiberal catholic politics. Rusty’s first things is an institution fading into obscurity.
  • Reflect101
    What happened to Julia Yost?
    I used to listen to this podcast Religiously and forward it to others and listen to it repeatedly. As a 59-year-old Executive and practicing Catholic with eight kids, this podcast was my GPS To the world of young Executive’s and professionals, explaining the culture and dissecting the religious and socio cultural ramifications of the shows my kids binge watch and the trends that hold their attention. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy the conversations and current format of the show. However, the show has lost the place it held as a unique interpreter of popular culture for people who have an old world, normatively religious perspective. I would’ve given it five stars because of the depth of quality, but it would be consoling to know where I could also find commentaries by Julia Yost and her snarky but interesting guests.
    More Yost, please.
    In the early days of the podcast I simply couldn’t wait to catch more of Yost each week, but have since stopped regularly listening. Bauerlein is an accomplished and interesting writer, but a somewhat colorless podcaster.
  • Katie Joy B.
    Religion Reimagined
    Mark and his wide variety of knowledgeable guests have done an excellent job at building a platform on which everyone is equally entitled to their own journey through spirituality and religion. If you’re looking for a place to learn and grow intellectually without judgement then you’ve come to the right place. Thanks for putting out such a superb show Mark - keep up the great work!
  • Elisiepoo
    Bring back Ms Yost
    Ms Yost was the delight of the podcast. Her cheeky, sarcastic humor paired with the jazz intro gave the heady subjects some levity and accessibility. By contrast, it seem Mr Bauerlien has doubled down on the elitist, dare I saw snooty, feel...even if his politics claim to be of the common man.
  • TDK03
    Bring back the jazz
    Bring back Yost/Schmidt. Matthew was unbearable but at least I could make it past the intro music.
  • Sfefelstan
    The most important cultural musings in podcastland.
  • Be a Triz
    You should get me to do this podcast
    I am an aficionado of podcasts. I listen to Catholic stuff you should know, which is really a good podcast. They are able to be friendly, personable, and convey their great love of the church and their dedication to evangelization. They try to be timely and relevant and most importantly personal and joyful. They convey their humanness. Your podcasts are good, but a little personality or charisma might be helpful.
  • professoressafrey
    Julia Yost is great!
  • raluke
    I like Julia Yost
    Actually I like all the hosts, including Julia Yost. Fr. Neuhaus would be proud of this wonderful podcast!
  • sph01
    Julia Yost is just terrible
    I find Julia Yost unlistenable. Her tone of voice and intonation make her sounds like a complete snob. Good material though.
  • Huskerfraz
    The Church as Counter-Culture
    Interesting, compelling, timely, elegant, thought-provoking, informative. The premier source of conservative, religious commentary on culture and politics. Always enjoy listening to First Things, we are blessed to have their voice today.
  • Richard (not Clark)
    None better
    If I were allowed to listen to only one podcast, it would be the First Things Podcast. There is no better podcast, and there is no better host than Julia Yost. Both are first rate.
  • Henry the Puffy Taco
    I tried
    I really wanted to love this podcast. But the faux-NPR vibe is eminently grating, and I cannot take Julia Yost's flat, just-below-the-surface condescension. I'll stick to the written word, thanks.
  • Tall New Englander
    Best podcast out there
    First Things is an essential listen - intelligent and witty commentary that likes to scour the landscape for the most interesting (and, often, correct) views on literature, religion, and affairs of the day.
  • PetitPasteur
    My Favorite Podcast
    I discovered this podcast three months ago and was hooked after listening to just one episode. It's a breath of fresh air amidst media so often dominated by the left. Julia Yost is a charming and witty host and is supported regularly by Rusty Reno, Mark Bauerlein, Matthew Schmitz, and Alexi Sargeant, who contribute each in their own unique and positive ways. Keep up the strong work!
  • DougT_WMU
    Yost Rules!
    I agree with all that's been written--even the one-star reviewer who was put off by your snarky Dylan comments. I wasn't so much put off, as disappointed. RJN could be snarky too, after all. It's just that he was, well, older. So his snark had a little more heft. For the most part, however, the show is excellent. But I'm surprised that no one has noted how Julia really has the most wonderful voice for radio and podcasts. Combined with the soft jazz bumpers, it sets a lovely "weltschmertz" tone. Like RJN must have been after cigars and port: sweet, mellow, reflective. Sadly, I never met the great man. But I do get to listen to Julia each week. And that's some comfort. Do get your editors to spring for a new sound-board and mics, will you? You folks are definitely worth it. And try a little Benny Goodman some time. Maybe when you review the next Henry Kissinger book. He must have another one coming out soon.
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