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Episode 500

For those unfamiliar, my name is Garrett Ashley Mullet. And I want to talk about everything.

In this five hundredth episode, let us recap the last hundred, and draw out some observations and take-aways from both the ten most listened to, and also the ten least.

To begin with, average podcast length is not a factor in popularity, relatively speaking. The highlights are almost three times as popular as the lowlights. And yet the most popular episodes are 10% longer than the least.

Besides that, in the last hundred episodes, I had two which were each over 2 hours long. One of these was about Doug Wilson; the other was about the Montana Free Press piece on the JD Hall situation. These were my longest thus far by a long shot. Yet listenership did not seem to be adversely affected by their length, judging by the number of listens.

I suspect this has to do with subject matter. Scandals and controversy, like train wrecks, can always be relied on to draw a crowd, for better or worse.

Yet it is preferable, when possible, to draw crowds with happier fare.

Contrasting the single most popular episode with the very least popular episode, there were over four times as many listens when I talked about a Biblical word study centered on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s song ‘Simple Man,’ compared with my episode talking about the Battle of Bannockburn. And not everyone wants to deep-dive into what the Southern Poverty Law Center found in polling Americans about their attitudes toward the legitimacy of assassinating politicians who are perceived to threaten the safety and well-being of the nation, apparently.

To be fair to y’all, the Lynyrd Skynyrd one was much more light-hearted and fun for me too.

And by the way, when it comes to the gap in listens between those two – the single most and least popular episodes in the last hundred – it’s not even close. We’re talking a factor of two to four here. That is, the ‘Simple Man’ got two to four times as much play as Scottish poetry and the trouble with our neighborhood dogs.

But I note as well that more names of notable men crop up in the most popular episodes. Lynyrd Skynyrd, G.K. Chesterton, Sinclair Ferguson, David Morrill, Doug Wilson, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, AD Robles, Jon Harris, and JD Hall. And these were not all fun characters to talk about. Yet this reminds me that there does seem to be something about focusing on a particular person that makes more interesting the exploration of general truths and principles in relation to them.

By contrast, consider Christian nationalism, Christian unity, Christian universalism, and the election. These were the recurring themes in my least popular episodes. They may have also been a turn-off for many. Or maybe they just don’t draw most folks in, when so many prefer concrete examples to abstract ideas. I honestly can’t say for sure.

Yet, as usual, there is a three month difference, on average, between when the top and bottom 10% of episodes were published. And something like this trend has been the case since the beginning. The longer episodes are out there, the more likely it is they’ll be listened to.

But in hearing from several of you, I know this audience goes back from time to time, and catches up on what they missed in recent weeks. It’s the equivalent of binge-watching your favorite TV show, you might say, and I feel deeply honored by it whenever you tell me you do it. But this last fact is important for me to remind myself, lest conclusions come on too hastily, and stick, about what is or isn’t being received.

It would seem podcasting bears an uncanny resemblance to farming. Seeds are planted, but they don’t grow up into fully mature plants overnight. Never ready to harvest and enjoy the day after you put them in the ground, you must plant them in good soil, where the sun and moisture will nurture their development to the proper degree, and consistently over time. Thereafter, when those seeds bear fruit in their season, you reap the benefit.

But this is our friendly reminder that patience is a virtue. And we must not give up on doing good and worthy things just because they lack immediacy. Indeed, the best and worthiest things always do, requiring both time and persistence. But I repeat myself.

On that note, or a related one, in the span of time between the average publish date of the most popular, which was July, to the least popular, which was October, we went from more summertime cares and concerns to some of us wanting to deep-dive about the election, while others of us wanted to run screaming into the wilderness, never to be heard from again, so long as that would give us a break from the news cycle.

Those in the former category certainly went elsewhere. They did not just tune into this podcast to hear about current events, particularly as the election got closer and closer. And that is well. It’s wise to diversify, and not put all one’s eggs in too few baskets.

To the latter category, however, I have something different to say.

To those who wanted nothing so much in recent weeks as to have the election over already, so we could stop hearing and talking about it, and move on with normal life again; you who may have gone elsewhere to get away from my talking politics – let me say that I understand you, and yet would challenge avoidance as an illegitimate coping mechanism.

Politics upsets most people. It stresses them out, especially these days. We must pace ourselves, and remember to prioritize what is most important over what is outside our control, or what seems beyond our grasp to affect.

And yet, at the same time, to the extent that last bit is true, or relevant to my analytics, that some of this audience tuned out as we got closer to the election because the news was stressful and upsetting, we must watch out for a growing weariness of the soul, or even fickleness, which we will be tempted to make too many excuses for.

All matters which we refuse to attend to will be beyond our ability to positively impact so long as we avoid them. The important thing to note is what we ought to do, what is good to do, and what does the Lord require of us.

Yet in closing, and on that note, and in looking back on podcast recaps 100, 200, 300, and 400, perhaps the single biggest thing that stands out to me is that there are now five hundred episodes of The Garrett Ashley Mullet Show available for listening online, from anywhere in the world you happen to be.

In total, these five-hundred episodes add up to over 415 hours of content recorded over four-and-a-half years. And I think that’s not half bad, particularly for something that started out as an experiment in improving my own ability to communicate. Mere talk may lead only to poverty, but words fitly spoken are like apples of gold in bowls made of silver – not just nice to look at, but also incredibly valuable in exchange for necessary goods and services.

So with an average episode length of 50-minutes each now, and five-hundred episodes of this podcast behind us, I want to take a moment to thank all of you, my listeners and readers. Whether you’ve subscribed since the beginning, or only started tuning in more recently, your ongoing encouragement and interest in this project has been a significant help, and this show has not happened without your input and encouragement.

God willing, we’ll live and do this or that. And here’s to the next hundred, or maybe even five hundred, if the Almighty will graciously permit them to occur in their seasons.

However many more there will be, I pray they honor the Lord, and all those to whom honor is due, and help us to think all the more rightly, speak all the more reasonably, listen all the more intently, and live all the more freely indeed.

Once again, as always, thank you for listening. Until next time, God bless.

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