The Wrestling with God Productions Story
The seed was planted in me eight years ago when my wife and I moved to Boise Idaho. I’m Irish McMahon founder of Wrestling with God Productions. At the time, I was starting to think about retiring from my career in the radio industry. I’d spent much of my professional life identifying, developing, and coaching unique and successful radio personalities for major broadcasting companies in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. I learned a lot about the traits of great communicators and what it takes to attract and influence an audience working with these personalities.
My wife and I are Catholics so we joined the Church community closest to our home right after we arrived in Boise. I was immediately blown away by Father Len MacMillan, the pastor of Holy Apostles Catholic Church. His extraordinary ability to explain the gospel, inspire people to apply it in their lives and make religion appealing and relevant was on full display at every Mass. His deep knowledge and understanding of theology, the history of religion and human nature is stunning and captivating. His joy and skill in teaching are unmistakable. His personality and style like no other priest I’d ever met. He’s informal, down to earth, witty, fun and entertaining. He frequently pokes fun at his flaws, foibles and Irish heritage. He gets right down there with the rest of us in the mud, the muck, and the messiness of this crazy life.
I began to imagine the effect of publishing and promoting Father Len’s teachings beyond our local parish and how to use my knowledge, skills and experience from my years in radio to get that done. I approached him with multiple ideas. We had many conversations about what we hoped to achieve and the best vehicle for Father Len’s distinctive personality and teaching style. We finally landed on creating an audio podcast to confront our shared concern about the growing number of people, particularly young people, questioning the existence of God and giving up on religion as a means of discovering truth, meaning, and purpose in their lives.
We launched the “Wrestling with God Show” in March 2020 to “grapple with the big questions about faith religion and life.” The response to our conversations and banter has validated everything I hoped the podcast could accomplish. It has been downloaded nearly 44,000 times and has regular listeners in 49 of the 50 states. Pretty amazing considering there are more than 4 million podcasts from which to choose and the only publicity for the podcast came in the beginning with a few mentions in the weekly Holy Apostles Parish bulletin. This has me wondering how many more listeners we’d have if we had the resources to promote the podcast. The most rewarding news of all is that Father Len’s teachings have excited listeners about the positive effects faith and religion can have in their lives. The podcast has generated intrigue and interest in the Church Jesus founded and it has literally changed lives.
Here’s a sampling of typical listener reactions to the podcast:
“Father Len always makes me want to become a better person. He’s so down to earth and human, yet somehow he always lights the divine spark inside that inspires me to love unconditionally.”
“Your podcast allows me to get answers to questions that I am too embarrassed to ask.”
“Father Len is a genuine person who is willing to share his struggles as well as his joys with all of us.”
“Father Len’s stories and analogies really help me understand what he’s talking about and how it relates to my life.”
“Father Len and Irish don’t dance around serious and controversial questions.”
“In this day and age it seems like messages from our pulpits are nothing but a synopsis of Scripture readings. There is no takeaway to help us see the message and relate it to today’s life – good or bad. For me anyway, Father Len is filling a vacuum.”
I’ve come to realize producing the podcast and working with Father Len is the most meaningful and rewarding work I’ve ever done. Far greater than anything I’ve ever accomplished in radio. It’s been a volunteer, self-funded, part-time, do-it-yourself project so far. The success of the podcast makes me want to expand what we’ve been doing and make this work my full-time vocation until I retire. My wife predicts that time will never come and she may well be right. I love the work and God knows it’s so needed right now. Our country and the world are becoming more secular by the minute. That’s why I’ve formed Wrestling with God Productions.
Our mission is to identify extraordinary teachers of the Catholic Faith, like Father Len, and publish their teachings far and wide to promote the importance and value of faith and religion in our lives. My goal is to create timeless content like the Wrestling with God Show. Content that is available on demand to help people discover truth, meaning, and purpose in their lives.
Here are some things we plan to do right away:
Create a new Father Len podcast. We’ve recorded hundreds of hours of Father Len’s homilies and his talks on religion, theology, spirituality, church history, psychology, and human nature. It’s really good stuff. We’re going to comb through these recordings and from them craft a weekly podcast episode with the title: “Life Lessons from Jesus and the Church He Founded.”
Set up WWG social media platforms to promote our podcasts and other content we create.
Build a robust and interactive WWG community website that will be home to all of our podcasts and a place where we can communicate with you and you can communicate with us and other community members.
Create a WWG digital newsletter to update podcast subscribers on news about our plans and activities.
Set up a Wrestling with God Productions 501©(3) nonprofit corporation so donations we receive can be tax-deductible.
Speaking of donations, this is where I really need your help. I ask you to please prayerfully consider making a donation, large or small, to help us grow and further our mission. It’s going to take talented people to work with me and resources to support our work to make all this happen.
Finally, I can’t thank you enough for listening to the Wrestling with God Show. Your response to the podcast has inspired me to jump headlong into a new vocation I’m super excited about.
Wrestling with God Productions
PS If you’re a website designer, social media maven, or an attorney and would like to contribute your talents and skills to help further our mission, please shoot me an email at the address above. If you haven’t heard the Wrestling with God Show podcast you can listen or wherever you get your podcasts.