The God Squad: Introducing the God Squad Podcast | Opinion
In all these years of writing The God Squad column with father Tom Hartman and now alone, one thing has been missing and that thing is the sound of my voice. There is so much you can learn and I can teach without my voice. You can read my words but you can’t hear their inflection and the way I want you to hear them, but now technology has arrived to provide the missing link in how we connect with each other. It’s a podcast and it’s called (what else?) The God Squad: A Podcast You Can Trust. .”
All you have to do is go to the Apple podcast app or the Spotify or Amazon or Google app and enter “The God Squad Podcast with Rabbi Marc Gellman”. You will then be instantly offered the first 13 episodes. You may recognize some of the stories in this column, which I will happily continue to write each week. For the second season of the podcast, I hope to be able to record and answer your questions, which will also allow me to hear your voices. We might even have a conversation! I’m very excited about this. I hope it suits you. I know Tommy would have been happy too because he always believed that religion should use the latest technology to spread the word of God and the meditations of our hearts.
Here is a summary of one of the 13 episodes that are now on the podcast site and a story you’ve never heard before,
Salvation Ditch Walker
This episode is the story of a ditch walker. Being a ditch walker is a job that hardly anyone outside of the western United States and very few in the western United States have ever heard of, but to me it’s a really deep job filled with both spiritual and environmental significance.
Michael Kiernan is the ditch walker I know, and he works for the Salvation Ditch Company. Every day except Sunday, early in the morning for 30 years, Michael has walked more than 10 miles along the Salvation Ditch in Aspen, Colorado, which diverts a precise amount of water from the Roaring Fork River and Woody Creek to help water the fields of ranches, farms and estates of billionaires along its 18-mile run.
Michael and his new assistant, Tucker, who will eventually be Salvation Ditch’s next ditch walker, make sure no one steals water and no blockages have accumulated from pesky beavers. Michael and Tucker can’t listen to music because they have to listen to Salvation Ditch’s “water music” in order to know that water is flowing properly at 57 cubic feet per second.
The Salvation Ditch Company was founded 102 years ago by 12 ranchers and farmers in the Roaring Fork Valley who needed water for their livestock and crops. Michael told me of his wonder and joy, even after all these years. He loves to walk in ditches because it takes him out into nature at a time of day when he encounters all kinds of wild beauties and wild animals.
This episode uses ditch walkers as symbols of all the people who keep our civic life running smoothly. The episode then becomes a reflection on the need for more ditch walkers for our world. We need them in the form of referees to play any game. We need them in the form of soldiers, police, emergency medical services workers and firefighters to keep us safe. We need them in the form of clergy to teach the ethical boundaries taught by faith. We need them in the form of politicians who will transcend personal privilege to support our government. Ditch walkers help set the boundaries of our lives. They prevent us from succumbing to greed and our desire to win at all costs.
This episode is also a reflection on the terrible loss of trust and civic unity that is the consequence of not having good ditchwalkers to help us live together. I hope the God Squad podcast can become a benevolent, non-judgmental electronic ditch walker for our culture.
The episode also uses a verse from Deuteronomy to remind us that common laborers were specifically included in the list of those who were present during the revelation at Mount Sinai of God’s laws.
This story also teaches us a very important lesson: beware of beavers!
Send ALL QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS to The God Squad via email at [email protected] Rabbi Gellman is the author of several books, including “Religion For Dummies,” co-authored with Fr. Tom Hartmann. Additionally, the new God Squad podcast is now available.