Wrapping Up season two with Allison Maus and Ben Wideman

“Wrapping Up” with Allison Maus and Ben Wideman

~ing podcast Season 2 Episode 26
Full Episode Transcript

Season 2 Episode 26: “Wrapping Up”, with Allison Maus and Ben Wideman was released on June 28, 2022. The audio recording is available on all major podcasting platforms. More information is available here.

Episode Description:
Thank you for listening to the second season of ~ing Podcast! Host Allison Maus sits down with producer Ben Wideman to discuss and reflect on this past season, and to look forward to our upcoming third season of leading, growing, and being right here on ~ing Podcast!

Allison Maus, Ben Wideman

Ben Wideman  00:00
Welcome to Season Two of ~ing Podcast, a production of MennoMedia’s Leader Magazine.  What does it mean to authentically follow Jesus? Each week ~ing Podcast invites you to join us on a journey. Join us as we talk with people of faith who are creatively thinking, growing, and being people who are reimagining and exploring what it means to enrich faith in a complex world. Our conversation begins now. Join us as we journey together.

Allison Maus  00:34
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of ~ing Podcast. This one’s going to be a little different than the normal ones you see on our feed, because we’re going to do a little season two, reflection, a recap. And I’m here with Ben Wideman, our producer, and you are probably more familiar with his voice this season. So hello, Ben.

Ben Wideman  00:55
Hey, Alison, I as you were saying that I immediately started thinking of a song that my kids are singing a lot lately from Encanto – “Family Madrigal” – and they do the Grandkid Round-Up, but we need to create a little theme song.

Allison Maus  01:12
I’m not much of a singer. So I’ll leave that to you.

Ben Wideman  01:15
I did some retrospective listening to our intro episode. And we it turns out, we were thinking ahead, I guess, and had some hopes and dreams for this season. So I thought I’d recount those for for those of us who have forgotten or maybe just started listening. One of the things – sort of first and foremost – was to continue to create connecting space through the pandemic, if it was still going. And sure enough, still going here.

Allison Maus  01:42

Ben Wideman  01:42
Unfortunately, continues to roll on. We wanted to focus a little bit more on our authors from MennoMedia’s Herald Press book publishing. We acknowledged that we cast a broad net in season one to try and get lots of different sort of perspectives. But we wanted to sort of hone in a little bit more on the folks that were most closely connected to, to sort of highlight what was happening.

Allison Maus  02:09
And I honestly was surprised that even though we did focus in-house, it felt like at least the interviews I did felt like there was a lot of diversity of different topics and things that we different experiences that people brought to the podcast. So I think that wasn’t at all a loss to that. I don’t know, diversity of conversation. So that was a good, good goal, I think.

Ben Wideman  02:35
Yeah, I was thinking that as well. I think it says something about the folks who are reaching out and finding these authors that they are really intentionally trying to think pretty pretty broadly, while still really claiming a sort of peace, church tradition, peace, church theology. There’s still this like, really wonderful kaleidoscope of voices that we’ve had here.

Allison Maus  03:01

Ben Wideman  03:03
In the midst of that we we acknowledged that in season one, we we missed the chance to talk with Reverend Dr. Dennis Edwards about his book. And we corrected that in season two. We wanted to hear from Dennis about his book, and just a few episodes ago, if you missed that one, Alison got to interview him about that and future project that he’s got on the backburner as well. We wanted to be aware, a little bit more aware of the seasons and the calendar. And that really just meant like, when it’s Women’s History Month… when it’s Black History Month… you know, like finding finding guests finding authors that would that would fit that. And I think we did that pretty well. There are a few moments where perhaps we could have done a better job of naming that. But… but I think generally, I think we did pretty good job.

Allison Maus  03:57
Yeah, I do think it was interesting to use the calendar as someone who preaches and sometimes uses the lectionary, right. Like I think having those rhythms guide us call us to have certain conversations or reflections that we maybe wouldn’t invest time in. So I think that that was a helpful thing to pay attention to. And hopefully future we can do even better about lifting up voices and prioritizing the people that these calendars are are trying to get us to pay attention to

Ben Wideman  04:31
I think that the challenge – and you know this as a pastor and a planner, trying to organize different kinds of groups – if you get a little too focused on the seasons, sometimes you can miss the big thing that happens, right?

Allison Maus  04:46

Ben Wideman  04:46
Yeah. So there is that balance of like, we we want to talk about Women’s History Month, but we’ve got this really incredible other thing happening here. We don’t want to overlook that either and find…

Allison Maus  04:57
And we don’t want to boil people down to like, “Okay, you get this one month,” either, right? Like, there’s a lot of trickiness in navigating that.

Ben Wideman  05:07
Absolutely. Hopefully, we did okay, and can continue to pay attention to that. We wanted to learn – that was one of our goals. And we wanted to get better at asking questions about timely things and relevant things. And I think, well, I’ll say at least you as a host are really good at that, Allison. I want to say thank you for doing that. We got a couple of episodes with Dennis as well. And I think he’s got that gift too. And I think just the example, we have provided to remind people that they can be asking big questions about their faith, about their spirituality, about what they believe, I think is, it’s so crucial, especially in contexts that often kind of quiet doubt or quiet questioning. I really appreciate the space that we have tried to cultivate here.

Allison Maus  06:04
Yeah. And I think part of the success of you know, Dennis, and I getting to ask those big, good questions is the vulnerability and authenticity that the authors and different guests that we’ve brought, because I feel like so many of our guests, I still get a little anxiety. I’m like, “Oh, am I going to ask the right questions? What do people want to hear from this person?” But so often, these guests have just been lovely people to talk to. And it feels so natural to ask them questions, because they’re already sharing these beautiful parts of their story that I just get to like, take them one step further.

Ben Wideman  06:46
Yep. Yeah, absolutely. Well said. I think in the midst of cultivating that… the one, the one sort of maybe growth area that we probably still have to work on is trying to figure out a way to bring the voices of our listeners a little bit more into our episodes. We’ve talked a number of times about trying to create community. And every once in a while, we do get really lovely messages, either through social media or our email addresses to folks affirming what we’re doing. And we can see that you are listening based on the the tools that we have at our fingertips. But having something a little bit more interactive, and maybe you as our as our listeners can help us imagine what that might be, continues to be something that we’re wrestling with about what what that might look like to to have a podcast that highlights the voices of the people who are actually listening to each episode.

Allison Maus  07:42
Yeah, I do think that’s a difficult part of this platform to write because often times, I’ve done an interview, and then it’s released weeks later, and someone in my circle will bring up oh, I just listened to that. So did I’m like, Oh, that felt forever ago. Yeah, I wonder if there is some way that we can, I don’t know do an episode where we’re answering questions directly or commenting. Could be really cool… To hear from you all too.

Ben Wideman  08:15
I think so. So that’s our looking back at what we were hoping for this season. I have a bit of a numbers countdown. Some of you might want to fast forward through this. Those who don’t…

Allison Maus  08:30
I’m curious to hear though, what are what are some of them?

Ben Wideman  08:34
I’ll start with the biggest number that I could find. And I’ll work my way down to number one. Not every one has… not every number has a footnote. And you’ll see why here in a few seconds. The biggest number 760. That’s the number of minutes, not including this final episode, this wrap up episode – 760 minutes of ~ing Podcast in season two. So those of you who’ve stuck around and have listened to every minute, congratulations! That’s a lot of time to devote to something like this. And we really…

Allison Maus  09:09
They deserve a certificate or something. Can you help them with that? I listened to all of season two.

Ben Wideman  09:16
Yeah, clubhouse patch or a button?  Yeah, I think that’s great. Yeah. I like that. Next number moving down… 406. That’s the number of plays – at least as of recording this – of our most listened to episode of season two. It was episode number 14, which we titled “Searching” with Shari Zook, she is one of our Herald Press authors of a book called Peanut Butter and Dragon Wings. So thank you to the 406 folks who have listened to that one. It’s always fascinating to me to figure out, you know what rises to the top I still don’t you know, even after a couple years of doing this, I don’t always understand why or how something really catches on but that was really neat to see that and find, find that out. From 406 we drop all the way down to 38. 38 is the minutes of the longest in podcast episode in season two. That was the second one in the MJ Sharp series with author Marshall King, interviewing three of MJ’s, Eastern Mennonite University classmates; Rachel, Jason and Clinton. It’s not too surprising, I guess in looking back at a beloved friend that that one would run a little bit long. But that was our longest episode of season two. 32 is the number of guests that we’ve had in in season two. It’s, it’s exciting to see that we have 27 episodes. That’s our next number. But 32 guests among those 27 episodes, because of a few that had more than one guest. 25 minutes is our shortest episode. That was part one with Ted Swartz, but don’t feel too bad for Ted, because it was a two part episode, it’s much more than 25 minutes! We were able to find 15 Herald press authors during season two. So if you remember just a few numbers back 27 episodes 15 with Herald press authors, so just a little over half. And I’m still trying to figure out if that feels like an appropriate balance. If we need to be working to get even more of our own author’s in or perhaps a little bit less, maybe that’d be something for our listeners to weigh in on. As we keep going. This next number is one that I know we do want to continue to try and increase we had eight bipoc guests that’s black indigenous people of color guests. Among the among the 32 guests, eight of them were people who might be classified as bipoc. And that seems like a number that we can do better at continuing to increase the diversity of our of our guests. 6 months, six calendar months of publishing an episode each week. I think that’s why it feels like I need a bit of a break to have weekly episodes feels like feels like a lot. 5 episodes on mental health! We focused on mental health, specifically during mental health awareness month. And I think we actually had a few more episodes that would have touched on that. But 5 were part of that, that series. 4 episodes highlighting women’s voices during Lent, which coincided with Women’s History Month this year. A 3-part series talking about Disarmed, which is Marshall King’s fantastic book about the life of MJ Sharp. 2 parts with actor and author Ted Swartz. And 1… I don’t have one for the number one Allison…

Allison Maus  09:18
A button! Oh no!

Ben Wideman  11:38
Maybe, maybe we can just give one to our audience and say you are part of a whole.

Allison Maus  11:38
You’re number one!

Ben Wideman  11:38
And we’ll close off the countdown that way. Anything in particular stands out to you from this season, Allison?

Allison Maus  13:20
I think I mentioned it before just the wide variety of guests. I still feel like I’m just so I don’t know if surprise is the right word. But every interview I finish, I’m just like, Oh, that was the best interview. That was such a lovely conversation. So meaningful. And I can’t wait for listeners to hear the reflections of these guests. So I don’t know, I’m surprised because it just keeps happening. But yeah, I guess maybe surprise, just by the joy of connecting with people, as an introvert. And meeting new people sometimes causes anxiety. But it’s, this has just been so much fun.

Ben Wideman  14:04
I wonder if that has to do with our posture early on of worrying that we would have enough guests. Or, maybe surprised by the continued wealth that we’re finding there?

Allison Maus  14:17
Yeah, you’re right.

Ben Wideman  14:18
There’s something about that. And there were folks that we didn’t get to hear in season two that we’d hoped to and we’re sort of holding them in our back pocket for season three and wondering how that will will take shape as well. I resonate with

Allison Maus  14:33
Maybe a surprise to, is just that like, some of these incredible authors want to talk to us! Like they want to talk to our listeners. And that just feels I’m just so grateful for that. Because I am excited that I get to help share some of the wisdom and expertise that they hold that I get to ask them questions. Feels a little surreal sometimes.

Ben Wideman  15:03
I love that. What about hopes? Is there anything that we hope for in the next season? For our listeners, our hope is to kick off season three sometime this fall. We are, we are heading towards a significant date. That may not be on your radar as a Presbyterian minister Allison, but we’re approaching 500 years of Anabaptism. It’s not for a few more years. But there’s a big Anabaptism at 500 project that is launching here in 2023, I believe. And so we may include some voices from that project here moving forward. But the fall is looking like when we’re hoping to launch our next season of ink podcast, any any hopes, as you imagine what that next space might look like.

Allison Maus  15:53
I think for me, it’s more of like a personal goal. I think that as a Presbyterian who has entered into this Anabaptist, very peace-minded space, I feel like that understanding of of peace and what that looks like in a very active way, for so many of our guests, has really had me questioning and asking how am I living, living into that in my own personal life, in my role as a campus minister and pastor in my preaching, in the books that I read, and the people I talk to as well. So I think maybe mine’s not a podcast goal. But a personal one that I think that the podcast is helping me in is to just yet understand more and more of what that means in these little pockets that the guests share that are important to them.

Ben Wideman  16:51
I hadn’t thought much about my own personal self. But yeah, I think sometimes being in the tradition, I assume that a guest isn’t really going to have much new to tell me about. I’m always pleasantly surprised when something shifts or gets nudged or is an angle that I’ve never considered before. And it it happens frequently happens at least once an episode, it seems where were some things is explained to me about the tradition I belong to in a way that I never considered before. And I’m really grateful for that and hope that it can continue in into our next season and beyond as well.

Allison Maus  17:33

Ben Wideman  17:35
Well, thank you, Allison. And thank you, listeners, it continues to be a pleasure to be able to create this and we wouldn’t do it if you weren’t listening. So thank you for continuing to be part of this journey that we’re on together. And as Allison said earlier, if there are ideas that you have, if there are thoughts that you have, please be in touch, and let us know how we can continue to create this together.

Allison Maus  18:01
Yeah, we’d love to be connected with you and continue… Yeah, creating a podcast that you want to listen to.

Ben Wideman  18:08
Thanks, everyone.

Allison Maus  18:10
Thanks, everyone. Thanks for listening to an excellent season of ~ing Podcast. It was a fun one to make we’re glad you enjoyed it.

Ben Wideman  18:21
Thank you for traveling with us this year on ~ing Podcast. Next week we will be reflecting on season two as we wrap up this time together.  As always we’d like to thank our guests and all who support ~ing Podcast. Thank you for joining us on the journey. If you enjoyed the show, please leave us a review in your favorite podcasting app. And if you have something to share, send us a message at [email protected] or by leaving us a voicemail. ~ing Podcast is hosted by Reverend Allison Maus and Reverend Dr. Dennis Edwards. And produced by me, Ben Wideman. Views and opinions expressed on ~ing Podcast are those of our hosts and guests and may not represent that of Leader Magazine or MennoMedia. ~ing Podcast is a production of MennoMedia, a nonprofit publisher that creates thoughtful Anabaptist resources to enrich faith in a complex world. To find out more, visit us online at MennoMedia.org.