Transcription #131

Well, hello, this is Ben with the threads podcast. And this is not Jason Jason is on vacation. And speaking of rhyming, here’s Mike. Hey, how’s it going? I don’t know how that’s rhyming but sweet. Let’s go. Yes. So Mike has been on the show a number of times, he’s essentially become our biggest fan slash participant slash friend. Lots of different things.

Yes, I am. I am the one that they talk about all the time on every episode. Now, it seems like

it’s true. You’ve stirred the pot of drama. Yes. So you’ve interjected yourself into our podcast and into our lives force myself, really? What happened? Well, thank you. It’s been great. So you’ll hear more candian talk sometimes. You’ll hear more from Mike in a little bit. But I’m gonna go ahead and do all this housekeeping stuff that Jason and I usually do. Hopefully, it’ll be a little bit shorter, because I feel like I’m the most recent episodes, it takes us 10 minutes to get through this stuff. Somebody

does it. I kind of fast forward through it. So I think

everybody else does, too. So if you’re a fast forward air, here’s your spot to press fast forward, but she might miss something. This is the threads, podcast life unfiltered. We are all about having unfiltered conversations about faith, mental health, and uncomfortable stuff. Tonight is our personal format. It’s been a while since we’ve done this, and it’s really been a while for me, because the last personal format was Mike and Jason. And now it’s Mike and Ben. So you can expect to hear a recap of our lives over the last few weeks. And Jason is up. I think he’s on his way to the family cabin for the weekend. This Memorial Day weekend as we’re recording. So Best wishes to Jason. And while he’s not here to do all these ads and things, you’re dealing with me and the next up is buy me a coffee. I like coffee. And I like spending money. But something I’m realizing in my family life is budgeting is hard. And we’re spending a ton of money on silly things like Starbucks and fast food. And it’s almost embarrassing sometimes how much we spend there. So people maybe should buy you for coffees? Yeah, they might they might have to to support this, this habit that I’ve developed. But no, actually, if you go to buy me a coffee, calm slash threads podcast, there, you will be able to buy us a cup of coffee. That’s the tagline. It’s the platform we use. But in all honesty, as much as I would love to stock up on Starbucks, that money goes to support the show. Things like hosting all this fancy gear that I just learned how to use tonight. Maybe man, right? Hopefully you’re hearing this. Hopefully I did it right. But at any rate, there is a price tag with this. It sure is a passion project. And we don’t mind footing the bill for some of these expenses. However, if you’d like to take on some of that responsibility, we’d certainly be very grateful. So head over to buy me a slash threads podcast. And also apparently we’re starting a newsletter, but we only have one person signed up. Thanks, Larry. We need a few more people to sign up for the newsletter to make it worth it. So go to our website threads and click on the newsletter link. All right. I think that’s

it. housekeeping done. Yeah, take Okay, man. So the next thing we’re going to do, I feel like such a bad MC Jason is just like, smooth and trans transition. Well, except for the last time I was on here. He he was trying to do your part. And that was pretty that was pretty cringy to even be part of so I think you’re doing a great job. And

we talk about stuff. I think he said that. He said we talk about shit. Talk about shit. Yeah, yep. So we talk about shit on the show. And we have a lot of fun doing it. Well, let’s talk about the last episode or two. Honestly, I’ve been feeling a little bit. Create Tivoli. Wow. See, I can’t even talk I’m so creatively drained. Yeah, I feel like it takes a lot of energy and thought to make threads happen. And I’m just I don’t know,

when lacking you guys guys have done like 130 of them. So it’s true. That makes sense that it’s sometimes like Okay, what else can I come up with? What else can I talk about? Right?

Right. And it felt like the month of May for whatever reason was just It was like, Okay, what are we doing? And now we’re gonna sit down and play in June. I think. So come back soon. Jason

Yeah. Mays flown by, at least for me. So

yeah, it was a crazy month, weird month. But the last episode that we did, Kashi, I’m thinking of the one that we recorded, but that comes out tomorrow. So I’m all mixed up. But the last episode that we had was

physical and mental health conversation, and all those were tied together. And I loved it. It was great.

Unfortunately, I don’t think many people listened to that one. For some reason. Really? That’s what Jason was saying. Hmm. Well, maybe

it’s because you said that I was I was overweight. In the description of the podcast. That was that was fun to wake up to on a Friday. Wait, what? Yeah, send Mike is Mike, Jason, Jason, Mike and banner all overweight? Well, I mean, it’s true. But those kind of weird to wake up to. So maybe they’re like, I’m good at this.

I’m not listening to that garbage. No, that was the AI that wrote that. I didn’t write that. Yeah, I’m kidding. I must have. Clearly you can tell where my brains been. I’m just a little bit like how what what’s happening. But that is life unfiltered. But yeah, we talked about the physical and mental connection. And that’s something the three of us have really observed recently. And that’s been a lot of fun. Yeah. Do you think that people just don’t think about that kind of thing?

Probably not. Like, I mean, it’s unless you’re really digging into your mental health. Right. Think about that. But like, yeah, I’ve just noticed, like, just that tie together. It’s so tied together. It’s so like, I’ve noticed my mental health has gotten better, the more physically healthy. I’ve gotten. I would agree 100% over the last couple months, but I also noticed before that my mental health was getting worse as my body was getting more and more out of shape. Yes, in so many ways. So it was it was really cool. Just to hear you guys talk about that. And especially with those nurses. Yeah. Wow. Like that really put it at the forefront and made it like Yep. See, not just making it up. Right.

Yeah, it’s a real thing. And what’s so interesting to me about my family life, a child growing up, that’s one thing that my mom always tried to stress was this idea of your mental health, your physical health and your spiritual health are all tied together. Yep. And it’s interesting to me, because I think that was certainly talked about, but I don’t know that it was necessarily lived out. Yeah, life of my family. But then when I got to college, we had the What was that?

You probably didn’t have to take it because you transfer No, I did. That was like the foundations of health, something like that, where we track all the exercise. Yeah.

And I would count walking to the church across the street for chapel nice as part of my points. But in that class, I don’t remember the professor’s name anymore. But she was amazing. And she made me uncomfortable. The way she talks about her depression, okay, and her experience and how she talked about, there were times where I would go home and just sit in my living room and close all the blinds and just sit in the darkness. And freshmen, Ben is like freshmen sheltered. Ben is like, how in the world is this person teaching a class if she deals with depression? Like that’s not okay.

Wow, you’ve changed a lot in that and right, I would say so. Wow. So I probably would have been the exact same way. Yeah. If it would have stuck out to me that she said she was struggling with depression.

Yeah, it was so uncomfortable in an off putting at the time because up until that point, you just don’t talk about that thing you don’t know about your mental health, but somehow it’s okay to talk about your physical health. I’ll never understand.

So I actually have a confession about that class. You know how we were supposed to keep a journal of like exercises we did and you make it up? No, but I found out that the exercise bike was really easy, and it gave you a ton of points with doing it. And so like I got all my points in like one time of doing it and like on another bike and the easiest gear but it counted the miles. Totally cheated the system. I should have failed that class. But Cornerstone you cannot take it back now.

Right? Wait, you give him the diploma for better or for worse. Haha. Okay, so I was looking ahead as I was giving the intro and the housekeeping items and I saw this line. Porn Convo at supper table. Do tell.

Yeah. So you guys were talking about talking with your kids about sex. I think Jason was talking about how for their family can be a little little uncomfortable.

Yes. Which is surprising to me. Yeah. Chase,

Jason can say a lot of words. No, no, but again, it’s so my previous job like I, I lead a team that went around to schools and churches and talk about sex. So my filter for sex is gone. And like, I also learned, like, you’re supposed to talk with your kids young about things about sex. So we’ve even had, like, talks about porn at our supper table. You know, we’re talking about our son is talking about, hey, this kid got this new phone. And we’re like, hey, just so you know, like, it can be great things but it can also access things that are harmful, right to have a phone yet he does not have we are holding out. Now. He’s also a school where not a lot of kids have the smartphones yet. Okay. So Praise Jesus. I know. Otherwise, even just the money. He’s gonna have a cooler phone than me like, and then I’m gonna be like, show me how to use my phone. I don’t I don’t want that. Yeah. So no, he doesn’t have it yet. But we just had those conversations and other conversations about sex and body parts. And just but you know, yeah, it’s it’s a weird, difficult conversation, talking about everything else with them. But that.

Yeah, I think that came up on the Oh, it was the uncomfortable conversations episode, the one right before the link between mental and physical health, hence, hence why I have it down. Yes. That was a doozy of an episode. It was a lot of fun talking about uncomfortable things. But from me recording that episode, it didn’t feel uncomfortable talking about uncomfortable things, because it’s like we do this every week. Yeah. So I wonder what it’s like for a new listener to tune in and hear these two random guys just divulge all kinds of personal stuff on a podcast. I don’t know. So if you’re new out there, I’d like to know how it is for you. Send me a message at Hello at threads podcast calm. That was very slick. How you just like slip that rock. You’re right in and write us a review on Apple podcasts while you’re at it. Yeah, I’ll

buy you a coffee or Ben Ben said that he will buy by a US state he’ll buy you a great steak at a nice restaurant for that review, because it has been almost a year now since anyone’s done that

it has and I was getting I was getting on mic one time because I swore up and down. He didn’t write a review. And I was like, dude, you’re a biggest fan write a review. And then he took a screenshot of the review that he wrote a year or so ago. And I was like, Oh, thanks, Mike.

But everyone else of you who hasn’t yet you should write it. Or I should just write it with a different name. There you go. Let me do that.

Do you see how easily that rolled off my tongue pseudonym. This is Oh, this is like, not Jason because Jason struggles with big words, suiting them? That is a great use of words. It is. So all right. Well, one of the things that we are doing, as an icebreaker on these personal format episodes is revisiting our early episodes. And man, Episode One and two. It was certainly interesting to go back and listen to but there was just a lot in episode three that I was like, Whoa, I’ve come a long way since then.

Do you notice that that you cringe when you listen back to the old ones?

I almost feel sorry for myself in this way. Okay, in this, we’ll get to it. But I just I sense a level of like nervousness and even Yeah, bit of timidity. Which brings up that wonderful Bible verse. God has not given us the spirit of fear. Or timidity, I don’t even remember. But you know what? We’ll just kind of like skate over that one real quick. You can just set it that out if you want. Jason when Ben thought he knew a Bible or something really been, you know, he’s gonna leave that in and yeah, I’m sure he will. That’s okay. He should. Yes. So but I could definitely tell from the way I talked from the tone of voice. I just sounded depressed. Yeah, to certain degree. Sometimes anxious, sometimes not so sure of myself. So it was really good to listen back to Episode Three especially and just see the progress that I’ve made.

Yeah, I’ve noticed that you’ve personally made a ton of progress. Yes. In life. So let’s make setting to dig into more.

Yeah. One of the things that was ironic, and we’ll play the clip in a little bit, but I was talking about how awful a physical shape I was in and at the time I was dealing with gout.

We had gout no and I barely heard of Normally I thought it was for like people who are at 90. And I didn’t know that about you at all like gout. What in the world

all I knew about gout before I had it was Adam Sandler talked about it in the lunch lady song. Oh, he did. The cafeteria lady. She had gout Hmm.

never paid attention because she had orthopedic shoes. Well, so did you have those shoes? When you had gout? Did you have orthopedic shoes? Oh, I wasn’t sure how those were together.

No, I probably should have had something but I didn’t so but yes, the derailed. Wow. This is such a weird place to be sitting in. There’s so many screens in front of you. I’m so I’m so overwhelmed.

But I have to say like, I was laughing so much during the end like not like at the serious stuff. But like cuz there’d be times that Jason would be talking to you. But like Jason more cuz he was doing stuff and all sudden he just go away from like this, and then come back and then go away again. Yeah, I was just like, What in the world that was so wild. It was awesome. It was awesome to look back on and see how much you guys have grown his podcast. Yeah. to like, like, that doesn’t even sound like the same show.

I know. It’s crazy. So where I was going with the cow, the gout conversation was the irony of this is last night, I went out for a bike ride. And I came back and I listened to this episode was like, Here I am on episode three, almost three years ago, lamenting how poor of health I am in Yeah, how there’s these like, crystals in my bloodstream that are exploding and causing big toe pain and, and it’s largely due to my lifestyle choices. Just how stuck I sounded. It was like, whoa. So the irony of it all was just finished a bike ride. It’s like, just the polar opposite. So just seeing how far I’ve come is. It’s great.

Yeah. And it wasn’t it wasn’t just a mile bike ride that you went on. Like last night. It was a it was a good length bike ride.

Oh, yeah. So it was 10 miles 11, something like that.

which is short for Ben even. So that’s me cool. Like you were on a short bike ride right? Of 10 miles. So you’re in quotes. And then you come back and listen to yourself with Gao and being like, hey, like I’m here. And I don’t know what to do. And yeah, I was it was crazy. How to be awesome to like, had it be a moment where you’re proud of yourself a little bit? For sure. Cool. Yeah. Anything else stick out to you. Yeah, I think you great growth as podcasters. But I’d love to see how much you both have grown like, you’ve gotten much more healthy, like, and when both of you like, listen back to it. You both have grown so much. Right? And I think that that’s a testament to all of us, just not all of us have it like on tape of, Hey, this is where I was three years ago. So it was really cool to see that that change in both of you guys can see where you’re going and how much you’re improving and health in so many different ways. Absolutely. It

was awesome. All right. Well, I want to play the first eight seconds of the show. And I’m not gonna tell you why you can probably just pick up on that. Oh, let me navigate back to that. Such a newbie at these controls Jason. Wind, it sounds like there’s a lot of wind, it sounds like. Alright, here we go. Do we just forget to cut that out? Or do we leave that in on purpose?

Yeah. So when I went back and listen, I’m like, wait, what in the world? First of all, I think I know what you mean by when I think was breathy. Is that what you meant? Maybe the Holy Spirit was moving. I don’t know, rushing through this studio. And then Jason uses his very deep voice and I was like, What? I loved it. I just love that beginning. And I don’t know why it stayed or what? But it was. It made a fun. Listen back.

Oh, yeah, time, for sure. All right. Here’s the we’ve touched on this a little bit, but you can listen in for the real deal here. I started the week, actually about a week. In the last two weeks, I’ve been down with gout of all things. So which is actually a direct result of my own unhealthy life patterns. Yeah. So. So there again, I know what I need to do to be healthy. Do I do it? Nope. Haven’t in the past, and then I find myself up on my back off my feet cuz of my own choices. So did I know better? Yeah, this was my second time dealing with this. But apparently I didn’t learn my lesson the first time

we feel we are are pushed health wise to take action when there’s something wrong. Yeah, you’re like, Oh, it’s fine. It’s fine. It’s fine. I don’t I don’t I It’s okay. I’m alright. I’m gaining a little weight, but it’s fine then all sudden, oh, I really need to work on myself.

Yeah, like I went to the doctor finally. And stepped on the scale. And that’s honestly one of the reasons why I waited to go to the doctor because I knew I would have to step on the scale. Yeah, to face it. Yeah. So I had just, you know, corresponded with my doctor over the virtual visit. Man, it’s almost painful. Yeah, in a good way. I don’t know. Just to think that that’s where I was and how stuck and hopeless it felt at the moment.

Yeah, so that was the second time you would get it was now like, what is gout? Like? You’ve talked about it like, yeah, Is it painful?

It is insanely painful. Okay, it’s almost like, can’t walk painful. Really. It’s so I need to google it just so I can give you the proper medical definition. But it’s, it’s crazy. There’s basically let’s see. It’s a form of arthritis characterized by severe pain, redness, and tenderness in the joints. pain and inflammation occur when too much uric acid crystallizes, and deposits in the joints. Symptoms of gout include severe pain, redness, and swelling in the joints. Often the big toe attacks can come suddenly, often at night. And that’s exactly what happened. patients with chronic gout can use behavioral modifications such as diet, exercise, and decreased intake of alcohol to help minimize the frequency of attacks.

So that’s right there. You were drinking a lot back. Sure was. I was just a heavy drinker.

Sounds like, Wow, that sounds painful. Oh,

it was horrible. And it’s in your big toe. So the first time it happened, it was late at night, I woke up, my big toe just hurt. And I’m like, What is going on? Why does my toe feel like it’s on fire? And it was like swollen and red. And just like, so painful to get up out of bed. So Andy was sound asleep. So I went downstairs to the office and hopped on messenger and was like, who’s up? Who can talk to you? Like, what am I gonna? What am I supposed to do? Yeah, so I found a friend. And she’s like, sounds like that might be gout. And sure enough, it was Wow.

So well, because otherwise you go to web, Web MD, and you try and get cancer of the toe or something like that. But still, that there had to be a we

Wow, it was the craziest thing because I was like, did I stub my toe? not know about it? or What is going on?

Yeah. So so so. So when you listen back? Like you said, like, you talked about how you’ve come so far, like how does that stick out to you? Like, how do you feel like listening back to I had gout times to

Yeah, like listening to it. Now. It’s just like, I wouldn’t ever be in that position again, because a I’m physically active far more than it was back then. And be what’s the biggest thing because when you’re physically active, your body has the ability to flush out some of those things. So if you’re just sedentary, which I was, then those crystals that form that deposit in the joints, they kind of just build up and build up. But if you’re moving, like your body naturally, like it flows through your body and they don’t get stuck. Oh, that’s the biggest thing. And then I really adjusted my and really adjusted my diet as much as I’ve limited the portions. Okay, and watching that kind of thing. Yeah.

So So was there like a turning point with the gout because because because this was three years ago, it was I had gout since I’m assuming no. So what was their flipping point back then? Or?

I think having it for the second time was like, Okay, I really need to do something different.

Let’s stop this. So. Okay.

Yeah, whole stuff. And then it didn’t happen again. So that’s good. That is good. All right, the next clip I’m recalling a memory of being teased in middle school hated Middle School. I did as well. My oh my.

Maybe we should put them in a separate pile. Not even back in the deck.

Yeah, I got a good one that you’ll really enjoy. Okay, so. So are you answering first are you asking? I’ll ask first. All right.

Here’s the number one. Tell me about a time when you were teased. See, these

are tough. Yeah. Like, well, I’ll give you the one that came to mind. These are tough. Like, I listened to that. And I’m like, tell me about a tiny routine. Three years ago, that might have been tough. But now it’s like, that’s a cakewalk to talk about on the threads podcast. Yeah. But anyway, here it is signed, immediately. I was in middle school, probably seventh grade. In middle school was hard for me. Like, I was not the cool kid at my middle school at Zealand Christian, I was kind of the nerd the odd one out whatever. We were doing a science lesson on fruit flies and reproduction. And we had a greenhouse and I was in the greenhouse. And all these fruit flies were like swarming me. So somehow, the joke became about ban and fruit flies. And teasing me about being a fruit fly. And just like, what makes no sense. And in seventh grade, the seventh grade band was like, deeply hurt and embarrassed by it. But the 34 year old band looks at that and was just like, seriously, do you? That’s nothing

right. Well, that’s normal for seventh girl. Yeah.

So after that happened, I I went home from school early, because I was so impaired early. It was back. Yeah, like, because they were making jokes about re productivity and fruit flies and bends of fruit fly. I can remember now as a 37 year old. Just how awkward it felt for some reason. Yeah.

So yeah, that is I’m in such a hard age and write little things. Because because you already felt like an outsider. Yes. And then that on top of that,

I think it was just the fact that I was almost okay with being the outsider because the focus wasn’t on me.

And then it was but then all of a sudden, it was because I’m being swarmed by fruit flies in the greenhouse. And they probably like we’re calling you like the smelly kid or something of why they were coming in. Oh, I’m sure. Yep. Because like Middle School in high school, like, like, this is how bad this is how weird it is when you’re there. So I was called gumpy. Mike, because I was skinny and tall. So I was not the most coordinated person in the world. But like, that stuck out to me now, like if somebody called me Gumby, Mike, because I was tall and skinny, I’d be happy. I’d be like, sweet, I’m skinny again. But like at the time, like it’s, it’s stuck with me for all these years later. So yeah, I get that. Oh, middle school here.

Yes, here what age something. And it’s always hilarious when my kids try to pull out these insults that they hurl at each other. Like my son the other day, I was like, Dad, you’re such an introvert, or I don’t know what he said. You’re such a weird introvert. And I’m like, thank you. I know. Like, that’s a compliment.

I appreciate that. And it was not at all the response he was looking for. He was trying to get me riled up. Yeah. Didn’t work isn’t awesome as a parent when you’re able to do that back to your kid. So you know what my favorite line is? When they do that? Or when when my son does that, I’ve been called the worst things by better people. It just ticks off my son. I’m like, see, right in his era, right in your kids era. Like, right now? Like, that’s the worst thing you can we call this a big dork or whatever.

Yeah. And now it’s like, I wear that as a badge of honor. I’m a nerd. And I’m proud of it. Yes, that’s what it was. Now you’re a nerdy introvert? Like, Yes, I am. What’s it to you? Alright, the last clip that I will queue up here is one that Mike picked out. And we’ll follow it up because I think this one needs some revisiting.

Yes. You know, I read your original one. And as like, it just popped into my head. Yeah. And basically is do you struggle talking with your wife or significant other in our cases, wives about your spiritual experience? And I do. You know, we go to church, we worship together, and it’s great and everything, but we don’t talk a lot about where we are. Yeah, with that. And

I don’t know why.

I hear you. Like, why we talk about everything. Everything. I mean, is an open book from A to Z. Yeah. Except be where Bible is or see where Christianity is, or whatever. It’s like, why are we talking about this? And I honestly don’t have a good answer.

I don’t either. It’s something that I’ve observed. And then I’m also in a men’s group at church. And it’s one of the things that we’ve mentioned, too, is it’s just really awkward to talk about your faith with your wife. And it’s just like, why is that and how? All right so Pastor Mike in the house, what is your response to that? Like,

I get it. I don’t know why it is, like the talking about faith. I think Natalie and I, we do fairly well, we probably did actually better when we were dating, which is ironic. But like, it’s the praying that is still the awkward one. And like, I think the first time I was on we talked about it and like so I tried to start praying on my wife again, like just before bad. Yeah, and I did for like a week. Okay. And then like, it just stopped and it went away. Hmm. I think it’s easier to pray with, like, a million people. And yeah, right then with just your wife, it is. Oh, so when you guys said then listen back. I’m like, Oh, man. I’m there to I don’t know why it’s the most difficult weird thing in the world.

Yeah. The only person that we’ve heard from that does this well is Larry. So Larry, I still don’t know how you do it. But kudos to you. You are the minority. Just No kidding. Wow. So what was I gonna say? rattled tonight. I

don’t know why I can’t keep a straight thought for it’s me that’s throwing you out with all my random. You’re looking me in the eye. Sorry. I’m looking at like, you know, Jason talked about that. But Jason did break eye contact either, though. Yeah. I think Jason’s love the look or two. So yes.

Well, what I was going to say was the fact that Andy and I don’t necessarily always pray together mean when we’re at the table, and we’re doing a family meal, which we’re trying to get back into the habit of, but it’s so hard with teenage kids my word. But one thing that we did and committed to you on a marriage retreat a couple of years ago was we set an alarm on our phone for 1205. And I think the significance is like December five. I don’t remember if it was that day or not. But it was around that time that we got engaged. Okay, so we just have an alarm on our phone for 12:05pm, five minutes afternoon. And we just pray for each other. And it’s just the reminder that once a day, I’m praying for my wife, she’s praying for me. So wherever we are, and it’s been really good. Like, it’s helped me in moments where there’s tension with Andy. Yeah, I’ve noticed that if I just pray about it. And sometimes my prayer is like, God, I’m so frustrated with my wife, right, like, right now, but I’m just gonna give this to you. And I’m just asking for some wisdom. I don’t know. It’s like, it really forces me to be intentional in how I’m praying about my wife and just going to God with whatever it is that I’m up against. Yeah. Most of the time, though. I’m saying prayers of thanks. Like, I am the luckiest man in the world. Thank you, Jesus, that she puts up with me and that she supports me and she’s just doing amazing things in our family. So that’s been helpful for us. Yeah, I guess I’m coming to the point where I’m, I’m thinking that maybe it doesn’t really matter. If we don’t pray together. Yeah. All the time. I don’t know. I wonder if that’s a false pressure that I put on myself. But

yeah, I don’t know. Do you guys find yourself talking about faith stuff at all hours? Yeah, for sure. So you’ve grown from there where you maybe talk about faith issues a little bit more?

Yes, I would say so. And I think at that time, we were both at a church that we really were comfortable with. Yeah. And I think in our comfort, we just kind of didn’t feel the need, because it was comfortable. Yeah, yep. comfortable with it. So it was like this, this, this thing that we could put in this compartment here. This is the church compartment. This is the god faith compartment. We go and do that on Sundays. And then we move on with the rest of our week. Now we’re at a church where each Sunday there’s something that happens that it’s like God’s meeting us in a weird, unexpected way. And so talking through things like during our outdoor service today, there were three homeless people that kind of came through and as the pastor was preaching, this homeless man just belted out God is good. The whole congregation replied all the time. God is good. You know, it’s like what is this? Yeah, and the fact that the pastor just rolled with it like no elder got up to escort this gentleman away, like, just kept going. This was a thing and the church responded with such grace and you should have seen this homeless man’s face light up as he walked through the parking lot where we’re doing our service like he literally went in front of everybody just walked through the parking lot to get to the sidewalk. There you go. No, no, no.

Are you guys able to talk With your kids about that suffering too, or is it a little more difficult with them?

It’s more difficult with our son, okay. I don’t think he’s closed off to face, but he’s a teenage boy. And he’s very much fixated on, you know, his current reality friends video game sports, to the point where sometimes he just isn’t interested. Yeah, in faith. But then our daughter is see a different story. She’s got a pretty strong faith. She’s in a dance program. And so her dance teacher is just this incredible woman of faith. So she’s going to dance practice several times a week. She goes there on Saturdays. She’s getting like this connection to God. It’s almost like, she’s soaking it up from her mentor, which is awesome. That’s awesome. And then sometimes her mentor will take her to church with her. Okay, so that miracle can have a black church. Oh, that’s what’s really hilarious is after church, she’ll take her out to lunch or breakfast or brunch or something. And they tried grits. Okay, that was the first time miracle had ever tried grits. Okay. And her mentor was like, Girl, I need to teach you the ways. Yeah. Clearly, US white folk or white family. Yeah, grits was never something we purchased when you

guys weren’t a southern family. So my wife likes grants, and she’s as white as white can be. But her grandma and grandpa on our mom’s side are from down south. Interesting. So grits are thing like, they’re weird to me. But no, that’s interesting. One, also your son, like back to it like your son saw you go through a lot of really tough shit. He did. And then with faith, right, because he’s seen what the church is able to do. Yeah. to people.

I mean, he went from having his claim to fame be my dad’s the youth pastor. Yeah. To Oh, we aren’t. My dad doesn’t work at a church. And yeah, we’re, and we’re moving across. We’re moving across the country and living in my grandparents basement because the church Yeah, kind of screwed over my dad. So yeah, I think that’s, that’s a really good insight. Thank you.

Well, we have dove deep and our icebreaker, I was like, so now we’re gonna go to the personnel update. And this is just a time where Ben and I are just going to talk about some things that have happened in our life, and maybe some of it a little shallow, but some of it may be a little bit deeper, and we just want to model it like, right, the whole point of this is living life unfiltered. And so we’re gonna dive in. So Ben, what was we’re gonna start with this what what, what was a valley or low point for you? This week?

Yeah, I still am dealing with this nonsensical anxiety. Okay, like, conjuring up in my head, the worst case scenario of things. Yeah. Like, for example, and it’s usually based at work, because I’m new in my job. Still, there’s reason to be anxious, but there’s really not the same time. So I was in a meeting the other day with a few other teammates, and one of them is just a very difficult personality for me to get along. Very nice way of putting it. Yes. So. And he was brash, I guess, I would say, okay, and this is like, my first time facilitating a meeting with various team members. And I just felt like it wasn’t going well. And so I’m spinning all these thoughts in my head as to that was a really rough conversation. What’s my boss gonna think of it? In just worry, and just getting into the cycle of, oh, boy, that was rough. That was rough. Yep. Am I gonna have my job still? just silly things. And so it just got to the point where I was like, Okay, I got to put an end to this crazy cycle. So I put a meeting on the calendar for my boss and I for today, okay, I just said, there’s a few things I like to touch base on after the last meeting. Yep. And he’s like, Great, let’s do it. And one of those was that meeting, and he just looks at me and he’s like, Ben, that’s just who this person is. That’s just their personality. You didn’t do anything wrong. Yep. And like, it didn’t even cross his mind that that meeting was a doozy. Like he didn’t see it that way at all.

So for your boss, it was a normal meeting. Yeah. And but for you, it was a meeting that was gonna make it where your job was gonna end. Isn’t that stupid? Well, I mean, it’s probably like, it sounds so stupid. sounds stupid saying that. But right. Our minds can do that and just dig really in and yeah, case scenario.

So that was the valley. But one thing that I’m really trying to do is when I experienced the valley, climb the hell out. Yeah, quickly, quickly, like, let’s not stay here. Let’s not sit in this. There’s a time and a place to sit in in grief or to sit in sorrow. Yeah. But anxious thoughts isn’t one of them

for sure why, like, I’m proud of you for scheduling that with your boss and say, You know what? because it’d be easy, like, even for myself to be like, you know, I’m just going to act like this didn’t happen, right? Notice that nobody did. But then what’s that gonna do to you? Your anxiety just keeps going? Yeah, yeah. Instead, you know, you’re like, Okay, let’s, let’s climb out of this. I’m gonna face it no matter what. Exactly. Awesome. So proud of you.

That was amazing. Cool. And then the last thing that I put down is therapy can be hard. And so in my last session, I basically verbalized and talked about the worst moments of my late childhood, early adulthood days. Just the, the moments where I felt so insufficient, and yeah, and like, overwhelmed, and just going back and, and re feeling those feelings. It was like I was in tears. Yeah. Just like, Man, this is hard. Yeah. So I went out and went kayaking, after therapy. And that was my wife’s brilliant idea. And by the time I got back, I felt so much better. Yeah. Does that mean how that can do that? Yes, it is therapy in itself. It really is. So how about you, where were some low points for you?

Well, work, work was shitty this week. Church can be shitty churches, shitty. So I actually haven’t here sucked. But I decided that’s not a strong enough word. I don’t want to go into too many details here. But there’s just a perfect triangle of things that just happened this week. And I just, it sucked. It was shitty. And that’s hard when it’s, you know, 40 hours of your week. And like, they really kicked off on Monday. So I’ve been dealing with this since Monday. And you’re like, oh, man, like, Yeah, not sleeping as good as I should? Thinking about it. Yeah, kind of the thing that’s helping though, is kayaking. And I know like, apparently, we should be sponsored by or you guys should be sponsored by kayaks, but like, right, it was just a moment just to like, physically move my body and then just hear the water. And just deal with it. And like, I wouldn’t call it praying, but just thinking about it and just letting my body process through it. Instead of just sitting there on the couch trying to act like it didn’t happen. Right. So yeah, it’s been it’s been it’s been a shitty week. But yeah, so that’s, that’s my low point. This week, hopefully, it will turn a little better next week. But maybe I get much worse, can’t get much worse. I might as well pull up man and like just call a meeting and then hopefully go somewhere from there.

Right, man. I love that both of ours involves kayaks. And one of the things that we talk about too, is the meaningful interactions that we have. Yes. And I gotta tell you going kayaking with you last week was awesome. That was the first trip that I had done this year, which meant I had to get everything out of storage. And my arrival time kept changing. And Mike was so patient with me but there again, I was like Mike is just gonna be upset. Like he’s probably got things he needs to do afterwards and I’m slowing him down. And again, anxiety kind of popped up, but you messaged back and you’re just like, All right, I’m just chilling in the car. Yep, you’re good. I was like, Okay, I don’t need to worry about a thing.

Yep. I was listening to Tic Tac and I said that because I would be the same way though. If I was holding somebody else up because the right shit happens. So I was just like, no, like I’m sitting here with my smartphone like it literally doesn’t matter I’d be doing this at home. So I might as well be sitting here while you know you’re figuring out all the all the kayaks on that so

yeah, and I couldn’t find a strap for one of the things and what well, it all came together and I loaded up the kayaks made the drive over. And it was just so good to put the kayaks in and yeah, talk and honestly be a little bit challenged by you. You paddle hard and fast and I was having a little bit of trouble keeping up some time.

Well, my my my thumb’s are very sad Yeah, no one else can see these but I blisters and blisters. Oh, bikes. No, it was it was good. And so Ben so convinced me of kayaking. We actually bought three Well actually we bought four we brought one back because of there’s some confusion with me in the salesman Of what? kayak I should have. Like, I don’t want to take an open one where water gets it right. But it doesn’t sink. It just takes in the water. That’s weird. It was really weird. I was But anyways, got a much better one out of that. But like, so got one for myself, my wife and my son and every night since then, except for the night. We’ve been out in the water. Wow, that’s more than I’ve been. I know. I’m at I’m at 19 miles this season so fine. Just barely how to your your close with your two times? Yes. Was Nine Mile I think you’re ahead of me. I’ve only been out twice. Yeah, but nine in six.

Yeah. It’s 15. Jason, your math skills are rubbing off on me. Dude, Matt. That’s brand new podcast. Let’s do it. Oh, man. Yes. 15. Yes. 15 miles. You don’t trust me on that? No, I do not. I promise I won’t pull out a calculator like I did with Jason. He

is right now. You’re wondering. No, no, no. So so the first was kayaking. It was a meaningful interaction. I agree. What was what was another one you had?

So I wrote this last night knowing that I was going to have a conversation with my boss’s boss’s man. Okay, yeah, there you go. I did. So I did have a conversation today. It was my attempt to pull myself up out of the anxious hole I was in. And at the end of the conversation, he was like, Ben, this has been a really good meeting. How about we just schedule these once a month? Oh, nice. Like, yeah, I love that. Yeah. So. And this opportunity that I’ve been given the company, basically gave me my laptop and two monitors and told me to go set up your home office and, and did a little bit of orientation and a little bit of training, but it’s been completely up to me, it’s like, they gave me the tools. They gave me a blank canvas, okay, and the tools to paint. And then they said, Go paint. And I’m just like, where, what? Okay, so I made my own way. And I was asked to lead a couple of trainings for other staff. It’s just like, this is so cool. And then having such good conversations, like the one I had today, like that was definitely meaningful to me just to have that that conversation to be able to go to my boss say, I’m not sure what happened, but it just didn’t feel right. Yeah. And he totally respected that. And we worked through it. And it was awesome. That’s so cool. So those are mine.

Now, is that not normal? Where you would meet with your boss? Like, once a week, once a month? Is that not common? there? It’s not. Not at all. You know, I’m actually kind of jealous. So so my job we meet once a once a week. Yeah. And I feel like that’s too much. Like one on one. One on One once a week. I’m like, kind of like an every every other week guy like cuz Yeah, enough time to actually get stuff done. It’s so true. Because otherwise, sometimes you just have weeks that are just full of like, crap you have to do Yep. Like, I didn’t really do anything. All I did was respond to this and send out this sorry. So what are we talking about this week? You know, it gets a little weird, right? kind of jealous. Yours will be once a month.

Yeah. And but the crazy thing is, is I initiated that, like nobody came to me and said we need to meet once a month. So I am so jealous on 1000 levels. Yeah. So that has been so good. Because two jobs ago, my sales job that got me into the world of sales. We did Friday morning, one on ones and I didn’t sleep well, Thursday nights, because I was always so worked up about the one on one the next day. Yeah. So that’s been good.

ag glad to hear was a positive conversation. Absolutely. Well, how about you? Yeah, for me first, it was yakking, as I put in here with bad because I think that’s the term but you know, the kids are gonna be like, that’s, that’s dumb. But no, it was really nice. We had about what two and a half hours. And I think for two of them, we actually talk then the last half an hour we just paddled hard. But it was just get like I got to know you on a different level. And yeah, you know, like, because we always assume things about each other in college. Like we thought each other’s life for the beginning and just even unpacking that more of where we’re like, wow, that’s different than I ever thought so No, it’s just cool. And yeah, spending the time and you brought out two kayaks and now you’ve got me hooked and so that was good. Another meaningful interaction is with our neighbors. So like we’ve really tried to make it family. That’s really been our purpose. And so last Saturday, we had to do a ton of yard work, like putting edging and while we didn’t put edging and we cut like our grass, I mean, the edging for the mulch, we put mulch and we planted some plants, right, this is gonna suck in tat. Well, we’re talking with our neighbors and they said they had to do it sometime or like, do it tomorrow with us. Oh, so we both went out our front yard. They had this big ol speaker out there on that big ol speaker, but like, a big enough and you know, loud enough and so we blasted some music. We did our yard work together, and it made it so much better. That’s so cool. Yeah, like it makes because it because it sucks to do it. It was like almost 90, right? I was sweating like crazy, but at least it made it feel better. Maybe this is the mess that made me feel better that somebody else was suffering with Yes, I know. That makes total sense. So did that and then the same neighbors. After we got the kayaks, we knew that they were kayakers and yet they got a new vehicle but did not have a roof rack. Like their last one. Interesting. And we had two vehicles big enough to fit all five kayaks. Right, three plus two is five. Yep. By doing math on my fingers. So you know we got the five kayaks out there and we were just able to spend you know, an hour and a half when neighbors again and there’s no these neighbors have become family like we actually call them cams, aunts. And so it was just good to deepen that relationship. Nice. Something amazing about right a kayak is there’s no noise. Yeah, other than the water. So yeah, those that was a meaningful interaction for us.

No noise except for if you’re on the Grand River, the bridges. Yeah, that’s how I always tell where I am. Yeah, like listen for the cars. Yep. So I was so cool. The last thing, any new connections formed over the last week? Yeah, that week, however long however long it’s been.

Um, yeah, just, um, once it was on my heart, and another, the heart of another guy on the street is we just want to gather the guys, it seems like, the moms are always talking really well. And yes, and figure things out, or we’ll go on walks, right. Sweet. That’s awesome. So I actually reached out to the guys on the street, and we’re trying to have a bonfire together price like beer and bonfire. So finally reached out to them, and you can get some Bible in there too. And your three B’s, we probably will at some point, your Bible bonfire. You know, I, you know, I actually kind of imagine that. You guys are gonna love this kind of like this conversation here. But with dudes around a fire, hey, what’s what’s going well, what’s just life? Because, again, right, I think it’s just such a lonely time for a lot of men, and they don’t know what to do. So yeah, I’ve been able to reach out to some some guys that I kind of barely know, on the street. And so that’s awesome. How about how about you and the new connections?

Yes. So with my new job, I’m going back to the office, I say back to the offices. If I was there. I was there a day, and then they sent me home. But being back at work, and there’s like three or four different companies that work out of our building. Okay, and so, but they’re all under the same company name. So it’s like same ownership, but different departments, I guess. Yep. And we have this big cafe in the basement, which I walk through to get to my office. And so you have an office down in the basement. Yeah. Oh, yep. And you can hear everybody walking upstairs. It’s a nice basement, though. Like, I’m not not bashing it. But it is a basement. Yeah, so. But the cafe is down there as well. And so many people just stream through there to get coffee or to get their lunch out or whatever. So I’ve just been intentional about spending time in the cafe. And that’s super hard for me, because as an introvert, meeting new people is not my top priority all the time. And I’m already working in sales and dealing with a ton of new people as it is. And so sometimes on lunch break, I just want to be by myself, but I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and spending it in the cafe. So the other day, I brought a jar of pickles. For lunch, because why not? Because there’s a refrigerator and I can store them. They’re nice. And one of the girls I don’t even remember her name, but she just looks at me and look at the pickles and she’s like, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody store pickles in our fridge before. And so that was how we met was over pickles. So so like you’re talking about firm pickles or is that because like you had you’re just doing that as a funny joke on here. Well, the firm pickles is something she said okay. Which really? I don’t know if she was trying to be innuendo. But she’s like, man, I do love a firm pickle. You’re like,

oh, awkward, Andy. I’m not sure if so, okay, so now is a serious question, but not really. So I grew up only thought there were like canned pickles. Like, like there was a jar. But then there was a metal tap. Oh, that’s all I thought there were like the glass jar. Yeah, the glass jar with the metal tap and the pickle juice. Yeah, yeah. So I thought that it was the only way pickles. But apparently like my wife’s family like they weren’t as Dutch and cheap. There’s like the plastic jar ones that are fresh. So they were not handing. They taste a little fresher. They’re a little less processed, huh? See, you also grew up dacha. Okay, I was gonna ask you. So apparently you do like the glass jar?

I do. These were definitely from the middle of the grocery store, far away from the fresh. Okay,

so somewhere in there in the frigerator section, you can find pickles, really, in a plastic container and are fresher. I’ve never known this, you should maybe bring them to work and see what happened. Well, first, you got to find them at your local grocery.

Yes. So that was a little bit of an awkward interaction was this girl talking about how she likes her pickles firm, but okay, Ben, Ben is getting hit on it work now. Something. And then along with that. We have a like a couple of conference rooms off of the cafe. And I’m in a networking group, with area business people. And it’s through the chamber. And I guess in June, the chamber space is being used. So everybody’s like, Oh, no, where are we gonna meet? And then new guy Ben was like, Hey, I got this sweet conference room. Let’s go there. Nice. That’s what we’re doing.

And you guys gonna have pickles? Yeah.

And maybe I’ll even get the fresh plastic bottle, pickles. Bottle, jar, whatever container. Yes. All right. Well, that wraps up our personal update section. The next thing that we like to talk about is just touching base on our mental health. We mentioned it in the beginning of the show. We’re all kind of catching on to this link between mental health and physical health. But one of the things that we’re very serious about here on the threads podcast is normalizing men seeking mental health help. Yeah, like, just like you were talking about the guys on the street? Yep. Why isn’t it normal? That guys don’t hang out? Like, that’d be so cool. If that was normal. Yeah. And it’s the same thing with mental health. So often when we think of the therapy setting, at least, from what I’ve seen him like TV and movies and whatnot. Guys are always so like, turned off to the idea of therapy. Yeah. And anytime they have to go, I’m thinking of one show that I’m watching right now. The dude keeps putting it off and putting it off. And he’s like this first responder who absolutely should go, but he keeps putting it off. And I think that mirrors a lot of feelings that men have about therapy. Yeah.

Because most shows, it’s like their wife drags them along the marriage therapy. Yes. And there’s always the weird couch that you lay down on, which I don’t know of any therapists that does that. But yeah, it has this girly feeling to it does.

And I just, I don’t like that. So one of the things that we’re trying to do on this show is normalizing men seeking help for their mental health. So you told me your therapist was the kayak this week? Yes. Anything else you want to share on that?

Well, again, it’s a good thing. Jason’s not here to peer pressure me because because my wife and Jason been trying to peer pressure me back into therapy, you need to go I know, it’s just so expensive. We’ll find one that’s covered by your health insurance. But last person was basically Jesus in the flesh. Like, he was that amazing, but no, overall mental health is is doing good. Right? talked about having a shitty week, but like, I’m amazed at how that hasn’t bled into other parts, right? And like I take I’m proud of that as a sign of work I’ve done because in the past if work was tough, nailing cam would have an ass come home. And I would just because they’d all be coming right up to my neck and then you know, you know, my son would do something that just frustrated me and I would just, you know, lash out you know, I was never abusive, but I was just an ass and there’s just like, you know, and then Natalie to like, I just be short with her. And so I’m proud that I’m processing things in that, just letting it boil. So yeah, I’ll go on the kayak and just the sound of the water and just literally thinking through the things and not burying them because again, growing up, yeah, we share a lot of childhood. My family was really good at acting like things and that happened. So we would get in a huge fight like screaming at each other yelling, saying, like, hurtful, insulting things, right? We would all leave. We’d storm out. Yep. And then an hour later, two hours later, we’d act like nothing happened.

Yes, I know exactly what you’re talking about. And never talk again. Yeah, about it ever. Yeah, it’s you just carry on with whatever you were doing before the fight started.

Yeah, but like in life, that’s like taking poop and just putting it under a rug. And then I kind of like that’s gonna just Oh, it’s not there. I can’t smell it. Right. But I noticed good. I used to do that with myself. So again, right, a phone or TVs? easy way to do it. But kayaking. I’m forced to think about it. Yeah. Like I have to okay. This happened. What am I feeling about it? What? What hurts? What stinks? What am I excited about? So now, I haven’t met a therapist yet. But also, you know, I just keep using the tools that he uses. Don’t bury it. yank it out. You know, and even you and Jason, you know, you guys model this too. And it helps me go, okay. I’m not gonna bury this. I’m gonna deal with it. When I talk with Natalie, and things I need to talk. I’m gonna talk with Ben on the things I’m going to go kayaking. And so yeah, I’m just proud of them in a really shitty week. I haven’t, like taken out and those closest to me. And so that’s huge. Yeah. Like I just rambled for two hours there. How about how about you? How is mental health and therapy been going?

Yeah, I have a love hate relationship with therapy right now. It’s,

well, it’s just kind of like going to the gym. It is very much like you’d love what happens, but not always during

Yeah. Like, that’s very true. So earlier this week, I think it was yesterday, my therapist emails me and that’s not it’s not a normal thing. So it was like, you’re like, Oh, crap. Why? Why is Shawn emailing? Yeah. He’s just emailing me because we didn’t cover this in our session. But Monday is Memorial Day. So he was just like, so I’ll see you in two weeks. And I? I had a very happy moment. I was like, Yes. I don’t have to go to therapy next week. Yes. So I think I’m due for a break. And one of the things that we talked about recently is the fact that I’ve wanted to cancel. Yeah, but that stupid cancellation fee if you don’t cancel within 24 hours, and you get billed for it. Yeah. It’s my saving grace. But I told him in therapy, I was like, you know, there’s times where I really don’t want to be here, Sean, and just just so you know. Yeah. And didn’t rattle him at all. He’s like, okay, yeah. And you’re here. Yep. So. So that’s been really good. And then also just our conversations about the family life growing up. Yeah. Like, that was so rough. And so we talked about it while I was while we were kayaking. Yeah. And then I brought it up in therapy and further unpacked it. So it’s doing good things hanging out with you. Yeah. Thank you. Yeah. For that,

because it is right when you have those friendships where you can just let it out. Yeah. And I found with you Like, you and I very similar childhoods. Yeah. Again, it oddly, it’s kind of like the yard work with the neighbors. Somehow it weirdly makes me feel better, that somebody else went through it. I’m like, Okay. My life was weird. Yes. And I didn’t love all my childhood, but somebody else went through it. Yeah, I’m not the only one who had it, sir. Sure.

Sure. And then with Jason, like, you know, I don’t, I would not be where I’m at with mental health right now. If it weren’t for Jason’s pesky peer pressure into therapy. Yeah, he does a far better job than I do a peer pressuring people out if he were if he was here, you probably be getting your ass whooped about me going up the therapist right now. Mike needs to see you. So right now, so but now Jason has just been, it’s been so huge. Yeah, to have his influence. And I don’t think I would have ever stuck with therapy as long as I have. So

that’s so cool. And when you have those people in your life, it’s almost like Providence. So speaking of that, that was a really good train. Our next our next bucket, I don’t know if you guys still call them buckets. But faith is important to Ben and I and into Jason as well. So we do want to talk about faith. We understand that all of your questions and we’re gonna encourage you to look at your spiritual life for anything that’s spiritual like to you and just look at it, process it, ask questions about it. So We are going to transition to the faith bucket here. And Ben, you have this really interesting chart. Do you want to explain this? Yeah, to me and to all of us.

So this is coming out of something that my pastor has brought up several times over the last couple of weeks. Attendance is super low in a lot of churches since COVID. Yeah, like, some churches up to 60%. Or no, sorry, up to 40% of the church has disengaged. Yeah. And drifted. And so churches are operating at 60 to 80%. Of what they were pre COVID.

Can I can do some math here. I can give you an idea of with ours. Yeah, please, let me let me Don’t hurt your brain to pull up my calculator because I cannot do this in my math teacher in sixth grade, who said he would always have a calculator with me. Haha. If he only knew, yeah, we’re probably a 60%. app, at most of where we were pretty well.

Yeah. That’s just wild. Yeah. So I guess my thought is a couple of things. What’s your what’s your first impression of that?

I guess I’m shocked. But I shouldn’t be. But even I’m looking at this, like the people who have attended in all us in the last month. If I’m doing math correctly, 26 31% in the last month, post pandemic, yeah. But here’s, here’s what I think the pandemic did. It gave people who were going because they always had or they felt like they should or grandma made them. Or my family’s always gone here. They had a, a real excuse to not go yes. And so they stopped going, and maybe they watched online for a bit. But church online sucks. It does. Like there’s no way around it. Like for the first week, it was cool, because if church started at nine o’clock, I could wake up at 855 roll down to the couch and could watch. Yeah, that was awesome. But then it’s like, do you sing, right? That’s weird. And singing in your living room can because because like, I love to sing loud, but I, I suck at singing, right? So it’s fine when it’s 500 people, sure. 100 people, but when it’s the three of us, that’s like, okay, that’s loud. Yeah, it’s like dead. You’re not a good singer. So I think people got out of the habit. And, you know, there’s some students who still have health reasons of why they’re not back. Sure. There’s a lot who I think had just got out of the habit, and there was no pressure. And unless it’s important to you, like I would much rather do brunch if it wasn’t an important thing. Like you’d say, Mike, if this isn’t something that you’re going to dedicate your life to, do you want to get up? Or do you rather just have brunch, right? I would go have brunch at brunch at like, I’m in his house every single Sunday instead. So I get it. Like, I think people are just like, I thought this was important. And I took a break in it’s not important. Yeah. So that’s my rambling thoughts on that. Yeah. Do you have thoughts on? What’s going on?

I do. And I think you summed it up really well. And I don’t think there’s anything else that really sticks out to me. Other than I guess there’s maybe a grief or a sadness. That’s like, Yo, I always wondered if it was like that, like if something happened, and that would stop churches from operating as they normally did. Yeah. When people come back, and I guess the optimist in me always thought, of course, yes. It’s church church will always be important. Yeah. And what we’re seeing in in culture in America is Christianity is really kind of falling to the wayside for a lot of people. I think it’s to the point where the majority, like the majority of adults in America used to be Christian, I guess, in quotes. Yeah. Yeah. Like, like 50% plus claimed to be Christians, whatever that means for them. But now statistics are shifting. And it’s like 45 to 47%. Yeah, just like, Huh. So part of me is a little bit sad. But then there’s also a part of me that’s honestly, maybe a little excited. Yeah. For the 47 or 45%, who are actually in it. And, and like, it’s not just nominal for them. It’s not just this, this is what we always did. It’s actually this is important to me. So I kind of celebrate those people. But there’s also that wishing that it was different.

Yeah. I With you like I think I always knew it was there. Yeah, I hoped it wasn’t. And yet now we’re seeing out there was maybe I think it’s chaff. Is that right? Yeah, we there’s Yeah, the wheat and the chaff. I would say chafer chap, I never know. It’s all those words that you’re like, wait, which one is right, but the chaff of like. And again, like it’s sad to see. But also, part of me is hopeful. Yeah. Because maybe some of those who were cultural Christians have just said, this is not part of my life. And I think for the hope of Christianity, that’s maybe better.

Yeah, I think there. There’s a lot of truth there. And I also see a very powerful movement of Christians, quote, deconstructing unquote, yes. But in a lot of ways separating themselves from the Christian nationalism. Yeah. So many other toxic elements of the church. Yeah. And that excites me. Yeah, to think of what the church can look like without that baggage. Because it’s

like, it was never meant to be that never this power thing. Never this, and it’s become that and so I think this is part of that movement, right is maybe some people who were there, laughed. There’s those of us who are like, hey, there’s there’s this Jesus way, that maybe doesn’t look like the USA death version of it. So yes, yeah. I’m a little bit yeah. Sad, excited. Little bit like, well, at least at least at least we know where people are. I guess that’s where I’d always rather be. I’d rather know where somebody is, for sure. I would just had a conversation week, this week with somebody I was like, okay, you’re beating around the bush, tell me what you’re really saying. And so that we can deal with that issue? Well, just just so I rather have a question. Hey, are you following Jesus or not? Are you in? Are you Yeah, is this important to you? Sweet? Let’s, let’s let’s figure this out. And if we have 60% of us, it means there’s space for new people. Right? So come in. Yeah. And so let’s let’s do it together. Yeah, absolutely.

So with all of that, my my final question that comes to mind is what are the what is each of our church doing to reengage people to bring them back in? Does your church have anything strategic that they’re doing to open the doors and try to welcome some of these people back?

What does that look like? Yeah. And so I don’t know if we’re at the point anymore, where we’re really pushing for all of the, quote unquote, old people back, like I said, and I don’t mean age, but people who were there, we really reached out by phone conversations as staff members twice since pandemic and I think we definitely know where a lot of people stand now. Now it’s an opportunity to Hey, now we really have a chance to really to really in in our own lives as we work with non Christians, is there somebody we can invite to churches their work with who said non Christians? Yeah, yeah. Oh, sorry. I was like, Where did I What did I say it’s all those a week? So it’s your own word. I know. Oh, yeah. Pre Christian. As we work with pre Christian, hey, go, you gotta go. We work with pre Christians, we live with precautions, you know, their space. Now. There’s, there’s, and there’s less people there for fake reasons, or not fakers. Otherwise, pressures on them society wise, right. And so then they’re going to meet people who want to be there, which I think is true. Like, if you have people who want to be anywhere, that’s much more exciting. Oh, doesn’t matter where you are like a job if you have a workplace where no one wants to be? No one wants to join that right? Like, see ya. Stay away from there. So when it’s that I think it’s, yeah, so I think it’s really saying how are we going to engage with our neighbors? Because there’s, there’s opportunity now, so that’s where I think we’ve gone like we’ve reached out to people, we’ve tried to have conversations about mask and other things. Oh, yeah, hertz and all these things. And some people are just like, Nope, I found somewhere new or not going anywhere. And you know what? You keep loving them, but you also got, we can’t make your grown up. Yeah. Your own decisions. So how about for you what is what is your church doing?

So I just became aware of this within the last two weeks. I once put an offer out to my pastor, I was like, hey, if you ever want to do like a kayak and a bonfire type of event, love to do that for people in the church. And she actually took it seriously and just recently contacted me and said, You know, we’ve got this strategic plan that we’re working, we want to engage not only the core people that have been with us through the whole COVID craziness and stuck with us. She’s like, we also want to target the community level people, those who are Maybe not as deeply connected to our church and like she’s going off on this huge plan. And I’m like, this is awesome. Yeah. So yeah, our church is being incredibly strategic and putting events on the calendar that have a purpose. And including bonfires at the crockers. Yeah, it will be a ton of fun. Oh, nice. I think we’re having the worship team for one of them. So really cool stuff. So it’s been really fun to be a part of a church that is taking this. I would say seriously, yeah, but not taking it seriously. Like, Oh, my gosh, people are gonna go to hell, if they don’t get back to church. Yeah, it’s more. church should be a place where people want to be, and let’s make sure we’re making it that way. And let’s make sure that we’re creating opportunities for people to get plugged back into the community. That’s awesome. So it’s been fun to see that and to play a small part in it. Yeah.

So speaking of bonfires, you talk about these bonfires you’re gonna invite us all to and I haven’t seen an invite yet.

Well, I’m waiting for the church to give me the calendar dates. So I I know which ones are off limits, and it’ll come it will come we will have a will happen.

So I think I have to book a, a whole hotel room on the night of the bonfire because because grand Northside of Grand Rapids to Holland. Oh, man, he has a good good day’s trip away. It’s

a day’s journey. According to Jason, for those of you not in Michigan, it’s not far it’s 49 at all. Yeah, that’s great. Well, good stuff. This is the point where Jason would look at the time and say, we’re about an hour and 20 minutes in

Oh, that pisses me off, like so I told Jason that one time, because, like, as a listener, I’m like flowing with you guys. You’re having conversation. I’m doing something. Yeah. You know, and all sudden, it’s like, oh, like, I didn’t realize it was an hour and all sudden he points it out. I’m like, come on. Stop it. So,

yes. Well, I save it for the end. We have reached the end. And as we wrap up, we always like to share a takeaway, something that stood out to you from the conversation. You know, this show is not necessarily scripted. I mean, we have a rundown of what we want to talk about, but there’s always things that just stick out. And I’m gonna put you on the spot cuz I’m in the host chair. There you go. What’s the takeaway that you have from tonight’s show? Yeah.

So So again, I saw this coming. So I was listening to your last response. And I was formulating so. Here’s my take away from me. You are one tough badass person. And I mean that why, by why I mean that by it’s a good it’s ending because, like, yeah, speaking more words, but like even overcoming gout, overcoming? Yeah, you talked about when, in Episode Three, like you sounded like a guy who was defeated? Oh, yeah. Like, yeah, like, like, like, like, life had one. Like, looking back. I don’t think I started listening, then. I would have been like, I think Ben has done for the count. And to see where you come now. And even within your mental health, like just dealing with your boss, like, not dealing, but like just bringing that issue, right. Like, right, you’re tough. You are a badass, and I love seeing that. It inspires me. So yeah, you know, we had that even with our conversation kayaking, but I you know, even more an outline. And as a badass, so take that Jason Ben has a badass. He’s gonna. And I keep kicking things over here. And it’s me swearing like somebody has to soy if Jason’s not here, I’ll swear for Yes. So nice. How about you? What’s what is your takeaway?

You are just doing incredible neighbor. Like, you talk about the guys, you’re talking about the pastor that lives in close proximity, and then the lesbian couple, and it’s just like, I don’t even really, okay, that’s not true. I do know my neighbors, but I don’t interact with my daughters on that level. And that’s inspiring to me. You know, we’re called to love our neighbor. And you do that very well. Thank you. So that’s a really good example for me. So that’s what I’m taking with me. I want to be a better neighbor and put myself out there and it’s just so uncomfortable sometimes. Yep. But just the picture of you, your neighbors doing yard work together with like, Who does that? Like that’s just really cool.

So that is from the 1950s. But without all the weird, racist, oppression stuff that happened back then. For sure.

Awesome. Well, this has been a ton of fun. Thank you to everybody who has tuned in to listen to stories about our journey. In other words, I would

Dr. Jason up along and also how we pivoted on our journey and we circled back to some things.

Yes. Thank you for tuning in. This has been an update on Ben and Mike’s journey. And the funniest thing about all of this is Jason’s The one who asked to edit So, Jason, we missed you tonight but we are so glad that you’re able to step away from all of this and enjoy some time with your fam. So good on you for making that happen. And we will see all the rest of you next time on the threads podcast life unfiltered. I don’t know how to end this show. Jason, where are you?


We talk about shit. Alright, I need to go back to the video and make sure I know how to stop recording.

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