Where do I start with The Sci-Fi Christian? I love this podcast.
Co-hosts Matt Anderson and Ben De Bono share a real gift through their show. They provide excellent insight and natural conversation on a wealth of topics ranging from Free Will to Star Wars (of course), and they do so in a way that makes the listener not only informed but better suited to engage content going forward. Over the next two weeks, we’ll get to know both Ben and Matt better, but I assure you that my interviews will not do justice to who these guys are and what they do.
If you are a Christ-follower and invested in the arts of science fiction or fantasy, you must listen to this show. Actually, the 390+ episodes of the Sci-fi Christian go well beyond analyzing fiction. Those who enjoy philosophy, theology, and doctrine will also get their fair share of treasures from their archive.
Today we’ll spend time with co-host Ben De Bono, a well-spoken Baptist-turned-Catholic who has tackled such topics as Fantasy and the Academy, Misconceptions of the church, and very recently, theories on the untimely death of Stanley Kurbrick. Ben is the saltier of the two hosts– fans of Star Wars might see him as the Han Solo to Matt’s Luke (or more obscurely, he could be said to be John Jansen to Matt’s Andy Siems). He loves beer, squirrels, and A Song of Ice and Fire (plus the classics, like Dante, for good measure); plus, he has one of the greatest Disneyworld stories of all times.
2. Why do you choose that term?
Two reasons: 1. I am quite proud of my identity as a Roman Catholic. I try (sometimes imperfectly) to avoid the sort of sectarian attitudes that have been so destructive in Christian, and I truly value my fellow, non-Catholic Christians. Nevertheless, my identity as Catholics is extremely important and shapes my thinking. 2. I also like the word in its non-capitalized form where it means universal. I have a wide range of interests and enjoy learning about almost anything.
3. In two sentences, tell us about the show, The Sci-Fi Christian—what it is and for whom it’s intended.
The Sci-Fi Christian is the podcast Matt Anderson and I have been doing for the last four and a half years in which we cover a wide range of topics, most of which tie somehow back to our Christian faith and/or genre fiction. We have a pretty wide variety on the show in with episodes that range from humorous easy listening and movie reviews, to philosophical discussion and literary criticism, with a lot in between.
4. What led to the creation of The Sci-Fi Christian? Was it a specific event or was it a more progressive development?
The site got started for the sake of having a home for the podcast. Matt and I had been doing a rather unsuccessful podcast for the church plant we were a part of at the time. On average about three people listened to it. What it did succeed at was giving us a taste for podcasting.
The Sci-Fi Christian let us engage a broader audience (thankfully!) and be more wide ranging in our topics.
The idea was all Matt’s. He called me one night with the suggestion and I was sold instantly. The rest is history.
5. How has your podcasting required you to sacrifice?
Sometimes finding the time to prep and record can be tough, but really it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice to me. I love doing the show
6. What is your primary goal when you podcast?
I want to make people think. I try to bring perspectives that are unique and perhaps controversial. I care less about convincing people (though our listeners know I give that my best shot too!) and more about getting people to think about an issue/story/topic in a way they haven’t before.
7. What is your largest hope for your listeners?
Similar to the last question, I want to expose them to new ideas or literature/movies they haven’t experienced before. Earlier this year I did a guided reading of Dante’s Commedia. A bunch of our listeners who had never read Dante before took on the challenge, and many who didn’t read along were still exposed to Dante’s ideas through our discussions on the podcast.
The more I can accomplish things like that, the more satisfied I am with what we’re doing on the podcast.
8. What are two key ways that your podcasting benefits the online community?
Both Christian and “Geek” podcasts are a dime a dozen. There are even plenty that combine the two (though that wasn’t the case when we started). Nevertheless, I think we stand out because of the wide range of content we provide and the unique perspectives we bring.
9. How have you seen God’s goodness and faithfulness in your recording work?
The biggest thing for me is the friendships I’ve formed through this. Obviously most of that is through e-mail and Facebook, but there have been plenty of times where I’ve been able to meet people who listen to the show in person.
10. How can readers learn more, donate to your work, or get involved?