Welcome to the virtual "Center for the Study and Practice of Prophetic Imagination" that relies upon the Biblical text to show us alternative realities to those that appear in front of us--often not acknowledged by progressives who have given up on the beliefs and practice of Christianity or by conservatives who create categories that confine faith and religion. While the work of dismantling and deconstructing Christianity in its present forms and structures will continue, this center offers alternatives to those reimagining the Gospel for a church and nation in crisis.
Conrad L. Kanagy, Ph.D. is a graduate of Wheaton College (IL) and Penn State Ph.D. He has taught Sociology at Elizabethtown College since 1993 and is an established scholar in the study of American and Global Christianity. The author of eight books and many research articles and popular essays, he currently writes for Anabaptist World Review. He is also an ordained Mennonite minister. He was introduced to Walter Brueggemann's study of prophetic imagination in 2006 while conducting research on his own denomination that revealed a social reality that was deconstructing Christianity. His work of about the dismantling of the church over the past two years has been part of his larger work of reimaginging the Gospel.
This path of developing a center for the study and practice of "prophetic imagining" emerges from six months of walking with and listening one on one to theologian Walter Brueggemann, the most prolific Old Testament theologian of the past five decades. My assignment? To write Walter's biography. Why? Because after two decades of ministry I was in an existential spiritual crisis and needed help to find my way back Home. I asked Walter for his biography. He did not have one. So with his permission on February 24, 2022, I began the project. On August 29 while visiting in person with Walter, I hit the "Send" key and submitted the manuscript to Dr. Carey Newman, Executive Editor of Fortress Press with whom I have contracted to publish the biography. The book will be published in 2023, in Walter's 90th year and the 45th anniversary of the publishing of his groundbreaking book The Prophetic Imagination, also by Fortress Press. That book would go on to sell more than one million copies. And Walter would follow with ninety more books in the coming decades. This new Center is dedicated to the work of one who has now become a friend--Walter Brueggemann-- as well as to all of those prophetic voices who have challenged the taken-for-granted reality of the church and the world. Those of Hebrews 11 who saw "a better country." And above all Jesus, "who for the joy" he saw in front of him endured the cross. In these perilous times for God's people, this is one of many efforts to keep alive the voices of that cloud of faithful witnesses who have gone before us.
But what preceded this journey with Walter Brueggemann was a two year podcast and the publication of four books in a series entitled "A Church Dismantled--A Kingdom Restored." The podcast is available at the link on this website or all major platforms. The books are available on Amazon.
You may also be interested in my blog entitled "Aging at Mid-Life: DIscovering Hope, Health, and Wholeness" based upon my six year diagnosis at age 52 with Parkinson's Disease, but that is largely composed of guest interviews discussing various aspects of the aging process. It is available at https://www.buzzsprout.com/1923064.