Hello and Happy Lughnasadh, dear listeners. As we near the end of summer, the upcoming academic year is most assuredly on our minds. Since Michael will be entering the second year of his PhD program and Patrick will be wrapping up his MA degree, we anticipate that we won't be able to be as active on social media as we've been over the summer. Therefore, we wanted to start a new series of blog posts to be published at the beginning of each month to keep you all informed about what's going on behind the scenes at Sects Ed, and what you can look forward to in the near future. We'll begin this first State of the Podcast with...
Something you may have noticed if you've visited our website lately is that we've update our homepage slightly:
There are now four handy buttons that will take you directly to our profiles on Google Play, iTunes, SoundCloud, and YouTube, four platforms where Sects Ed is currently available. Our ultimate goal is to make Sects Ed available on every major podcast platform. We've recently been added to TuneIn, and we're currently ironing out some issues to ensure that we're added to Stitcher as well. What are your favorite podcast platforms? Are there any others you feel we should investigate? We would love to know what our listeners think.
You may have also noticed a new Donate button below our podcast description. While podcasts are luckily quite inexpensive to produce, there are still some associated costs. We need to pay to retain ownership of our domain name and website, and we've recently had to pick up a paid SoundCloud subscription to host our many hours of audio content. Sects Ed will always remain a free show, but we'd prefer that it also be self-sustaining. In September, we'll be launching a Patreon campaign that will allow listeners to contribute to Sects Ed on a monthly basis, and we'll definitely provide more updates about it near the end of August. In the meantime, our Donate button will allow for onetime contributions through PayPal. Still, the best way you can help our podcast is by simply sharing it over social media or by telling a friend or family member why you enjoy it. Recommendations are something we appreciate even more than monetary contributions, and they're absolutely free.
A final update we've made to our website is that we've given each episode its own page for show notes. No longer will you need to scroll through a gigantic wall of text just to find sources for your favorite episodes. Simply visit the updated Show Notes page and click on the link for the episode you want. There are still some blank pages, but we hope to have them all populated with sources soon. Consider that and working to update the mobile site our top online maintenance priorities for the near future. On a related note...
If you've been following Sects Ed from the very beginning, you may have noticed how we recently started adding this icon to all of our social media profiles:
We're delighted that the new icon has received positive feedback so far, although we're currently in search of an artist who we can commission to craft something more original. For anyone curious, the image above comes from a tapestry by Peter Paul Rubens entitled "The Victory of Truth over Heresy." You can learn more about it here. With aesthetic matters out of the way, we can proceed to...
In our monthly State of the Podcast, we want to provide listeners with a look ahead at some of the unorthodox faiths we'll be covering. While the schedule can always be subject to change, here are our planned episode topics for the next two months:
8/8 - Episode 13: Savonarola
8/22 - Episode 14: Mahdist Revolution, Part 1
9/5 - Episode 15: Mahdist Revolution, Part 2
9/19 - Episode 16: Discordianism
As you can see, next week's episode will offer an analysis of Girolamo Savonarola, the Dominican friar who assumed a prophetic status in fifteenth-century Florence. Next, we have a two parter planned that will explore the Islamic concept of the Mahdi as well as Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah, a prominent self-proclaimed Mahdi who established a Mahdist state in the nineteenth-century Sudan that clashed with the British Empire. Finally, we'll discuss Discordianism in mid-September, something that Patrick has expressed interest in since our introductory episode.
We also have some ideas about what other religious groups we'll be showcasing in the coming months, especially in October when we'll have room for three episodes. More importantly, though, what cults, heresies, or new religious movements would you like to learn more about? We already have a few listener requests penciled into our schedule, and we would love to receive some more through our e-mail or social media. With that, we arrive at...
Sects Ed Recommends
To close out our State of the Podcast, we thought it would be fun to recommend a podcast that we enjoy and suggest some episodes you can listen to during the weeks we're not broadcasting. This month, we recommend Ben Franklin's World. We've mentioned this podcast before, but in case you haven't heard about it yet, it's a show about early American history in which host Liz Covart interviews guest historians about their recent scholarship. If you're a fan of Sects Ed, you may also enjoy these episodes exploring religious themes:
Episode 45: Spencer McBride, Joseph Smith and the Founding of Mormonism
Episode 47: Emily Conroy-Krutz, Christian Imperialism: Converting the World in the Early American Republic
Episode 73: Mark Noll, The Bible in Early America
Episode 108: Ann Little, The Many Captivities of Esther Wheelwright
With that, we come to the end of our first State of the Podcast. We wish you a wonderful month of August, and we look forward to teaching you more about sects.