For more information and resources go to www.achurchdismantled.com.In May of 2020, in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, I wrote what I have called for years my “Weekly Email” to the congregation where my wife Heidi and I have served in a ministry role for nearly fifteen years. My email that week was “Why the church cannot be reopened,” and addressed the ongoing calls for reopening local congregations along with retail stores, restaurants, gyms, and so on. That little piece caught the attention of folks who passed it on to others and so on. I posted it on Facebook and received the same positive reaction. This began a series of blog-like postings that immediately attracted an audience on Facebook along with dialogue with readers who resonated the essays. As a result, I decided to try a podcast. The primary theme, from the beginning, was based upon research that I had conducted in 2006-07 when I carried out a survey of members of Mennonite Church USA, with the results reported in a book entitled Road Signs for the Journey: A Profile of Mennonite Church USA (Herald Press, 2007). One of the questions that I began to raise during that time was: “Is God's Spirit dismantling the church because we have so failed God's mission?” Prophetic or not, the idea I posited fifteen years ago of a dismantled church has only gained traction since I first posed it. The response to the podcast has been quite unexpected, beginning as I did with such little sense of what I was launching at the time. More than 27,000 episodes have been downloaded in 61 countries and nearly 1,100 cities. I recently created a website where I post the podcast episodes as a blog and you can find the website at www.achurchdismantled.com. The mission of the podcast is to understand more clearly "what God is up to in the world, the church, my life and your life." The podcast seems to particularly resonate with what I call the diaspora of the church--those on the run from the church, those who feel alienated in the church, and those who are marginalized by the church. And as research shows, this group is growing rapidly in the U.S. The podcast has represented for me the intersection and integration of various areas of my professional and personal life that had been disparate entities in the past. It has allowed me to draw upon nearly three decades of teaching sociology, thirty-five years of sociological research, fifteen years of church and denominational consulting, twenty years of ministry, my childhood and coming of age in a conservative Mennonite/Amish community, and my diagnosis three years ago of Parkinson’s Disease. In many ways, the writing of these seemed to emerge as a Pentecost like experience where for nearly every morning for three weeks as I met with the Lord, a new word emerged. And that experience has in many ways continued to the present. Thank you for listening and reaching out with your own thoughts. I can be reached at [email protected]
Conrad L. Kanagy, Ph.D.