Etown Professor Explores Podcasting to Examine The Church
October 9, 2020   //   By:   //   Achievements, Campus & Community, Campus and Community, Real-world Learning, Research and Academics, Voices

“The problem is, the Church cannot be reopened, as the Church, was never ever closed,” says Conrad Kanagy in the first episode of the podcast, “A Church Dismantled — A Kingdom Restored.”

Conrad Kanagy, a sociology professor at Elizabethtown College and a pastor at Elizabethtown Mennonite Church, began his foray into podcasting in early 2020. His podcast started as an email newsletter entitled, “Why the Church Cannot Reopen,” which addressed the Church’s reopening during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the podcast, Kanagy explores global events and the dichotomy of positive happenings and negative happenings through personal experiences, experiences as a professor, and experiences as a pastor. It also includes viewpoints on these subjects from a sociological and theological perspective through his research. His diagnosis of Parkinsons disease three years prior is an underlying theme throughout the story and allows him to reflect personally.

Since May 25, 2020, he has written, posted, and recorded 83 episodes of the podcast. These episodes have received more than 13,000 downloads from listeners across the world.

Kanagy has since released three other podcasts, all of which correspond to a course that he taught in last spring. When the pandemic forced the College to move to remote teaching, he realized that podcasts would be a useful tool in this new setting. Thus, he decided to use these new episodes to condense the material he would teach in class and give students a project corresponding to the episode’s themes each week.

He made this project an interactive study, which examined how sociological ideas impact the world. He also aimed to show the real-world implications of sociology and the difference in how his students view the world as burgeoning sociologists versus how their family, friends, and others view ideas from an outsider’s perspective. Kanagy also hopes to have a project where his students create podcasts themselves and receive the same type of feedback from those outside the realm of sociology.

“My hope is that through these podcasts, students will learn and that we’re addressing the needs of the broader society right now,” said Kanagy.

Tyler Wagner, a first-year transfer student, has helped Kanagy improve the podcasts’ quality and taught him how to utilize audio editing software better. Kanagy hopes to have other Etown students get involved in the podcast and provide a new perspective towards issues, while also exploring what it means to see the world through a sociological lens.

“A Church Dismantled — A  Kingdom Restored” can be found here.

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