Welcome to 2019! I wanted to take a few moments to first thank you for your support of the What If Project in 2018. The project kicked off towards the end of August and I’ve been so overwhelmed by the encouragement, love, support, and positive vibes that came from so many different people. The response was much greater than anything I anticipated and I’m all the more excited to see where it all goes in 2019.
Just to give you a peek behind the curtain ...
On iTunes the podcast received 17 ratings.
The podcast episodes were downloaded a total of 1,230 times in 5 different countries.
The blog was visited by 573 different people who visited 863 times to view the various pages / entries 2,348 times.
We had an online discussion group that met via Zoom video chat from September - November that had 11 participants from various places on the East Coast. We read through the Gospel of Mark together, shared our thoughts, and even shared communion together.
Pastors from around the country and even on different continents have reached out to me via email and Facebook messenger to ask questions and talk about their own process of deconstruction that they don’t feel comfortable sharing with their immediate circle of friends, family, colleagues, etc. I’ve messaged with a few of them and talked to some on the phone.
... And so much more.
It’s been a fun few months and, again, I can’t thank you all enough for your love, support, and encouragement. What started with an idea on the drive home from school a year and a half ago somewhere between New Jersey and North Carolina has been birthed into something that is impacting lives in a way that I never imagined.
And now we enter 2019 and what I wanted to do today is just give you a general idea of where things are headed over the next few months so that you know what to expect. Plans are tentative, of course, but as I near the end of my dissertation writing (it’s due February 1!), look to defend it this Spring, and graduate in May, I will have a little bit more time to do some things I’ve been putting on hold for the sake of time and not spreading myself too thin.
So, a quick word about (1) the podcast, (2) the blog, and (3) discussion groups.
For starters, there will be ONE interview on the podcast every month. New episodes will still drop on Monday’s, but sometimes the interview will be the FIRST Monday of the month, sometimes it will be LATER. The reason for a lack of consistency in terms of timing is because a handful of people I’m interviewing have new books launching and so to help them spread the word I want to drop their episode the Monday after their book launches.
This month we heard from Brian McLaren on Monday and next Monday we’ll hear from another author who has a book launching the following week. I figured we’d start the year off with 2 interviews instead of 1, just to get off with a bang.
Then the last 2 weeks of January it’ll be major crunch time for me as I finish up my dissertation which is due no later than February 1 and so rather than push out new content, I’m going to re-release the 2 podcast episodes that received the most downloads in 2018 with a little bit of commentary before the episode.
Once we hit February there will be 1 interview every month through the month of December with MAYBE an extra one thrown in here and there. And the weeks we don’t have a guest on the podcast, there will be a solo episode with me talking through whatever blog posts I put up for that week.
Which leads me to ...
Right now I have 2 blogging / podcast series on deck that will take us through Easter.
February 4, 11, and 18 will be a short series called BURN THOSE BOOKS where I talk about the 3 books that made the biggest impact on me in 2018 and the ideas I took away that most likely wouldn’t make the typical evangelical church person too excited.
Then we’ll have an interview on February 24 and another on March 4 before jumping into a new series called “LITURGY OF THE ORDINARY” on March 11, the title of a book by Tish Harrison Warren that I’ll be reading for Lent. The book is a series of short chapters that talk about how to find God in the ordinary and somewhat mundane things of life ...
Making the Bed
Fighting With Your Spouse
... And more. Each week leading up to Easter I’ll share something from the reading that impacted me and challenge us to implement into our lives.
Which leads me to the next thing ...
(3) DISCUSSION GROUP
I’ll be inviting FIVE people to read the book with me and we’ll Zoom video chat together THREE times - once at the beginning, once in the middle, once at the end. The sessions will be 1 hour long and we’ll talk about the reading and share how it’s impacted our spirituality. A link to sign up will go up on Facebook and WhatIfProject.net February 25 along with more details of what to expect.
And it’s possible that Tish might even make an appearance during one of the sessions to share some personal insights with the group.
And so there you have it - exciting interviews, a couple of blogging / podcasting series, and a new discussion group. Once we move past Easter and I graduate we’ll talk about the Summer and a couple of exciting things that are bubbling on the back burner. Stay tuned!
Thanks again for you love and support.
Much love to you all.