Transcription #141

Hi guys, welcome to threads podcast life unfiltered. Thank you so much for joining us tonight or tomorrow or whenever you’re listening to the show we are recording threads, Episode 141 with Amanda Waldron, who has been on the show before, we’re going to talk about deconstructing and reconstructing a fate. So before we do that and talk to Amanda, Ben’s going to introduce what threads is about for everyone that may not listen to the show and the direction and yada yada, yada, yada. Yeah. Do you know where that comes from?

Is it like Yiddish? Yeah,

but you know, this, sheltered Ben, do you know where that comes from?

comes from Seinfeld. Thank


You didn’t watch reruns of that early. Not

that one. Oh, the Soup Nazi.

Okay, well, there you go. Let’s just start. Yeah,

I was having lunch with somebody today. And they started quoting Parks and Rec and talking about bowling. And I was like, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’m sorry.

I’ve watched it like three times. But I don’t know what the bowling references. I don’t know.

curricular something or other? I don’t

know. Maybe do you watch the office too? Yeah.

I am just so lost here to

the like making a list of things to watch the two

Connick shows in like the last two decades,

maybe I need to deconstruct my shelter.

There you go. Nice thread.

I know. Well, speaking of threads, this is a show all about the things in life that tie us together, we live in a world that’s so focused on being divided, putting things in categories, trying to neatly separate things, and it just doesn’t work. We want to be a place where it’s okay to find connection, where it’s okay to talk about things that are difficult to talk about. We do that by talking about topics such as mental health, faith. And as we do that, we have some uncomfortable conversations thrown in tonight, you can expect a little bit of each of those. And we’re going to be focusing on faith, but also mental health. And it might get a little uncomfortable to listen to or even to talk about. So that’s the direction for tonight. And we have Amanda joining us. She was on our show about a year ago for a mental health episode. And back tonight. So excited to have you back, Amanda. And as we get started, we’ve got an icebreaker question that all three of us will answer. It’s pretty simple. And that is how are you showing up tonight. It’s Monday, a little bit of a dreary, wet Monday night. I’ll go first. I’m showing up tonight feeling excited about this conversation. I think it’s something that I’ve been wrestling with myself. I’ve been doing a lot of examining of my own faith and my own beliefs and trying to figure out where I fit and what needs to stay and what needs to go when it comes to my faith. So when Amanda reached out and said she’d be interested in tackling this with us, I was pretty excited. So I’m showing up excited. And also, I was talking earlier before we pressed record, I’m in the season where things are apparently returning to normal back to what they were before COVID. And I’m just finding myself tired. just feels like there’s a lot going on. And it’s just proving to be difficult to kind of jump right back in and you know, hit it with the same pace that I had before. That’s me. I love you, Jason. Well, and

you were on vacation.

It’s true.

I mean, that tried to jump back in. Well, I know you were sorry. I know you were back last week, but it just it it does it and you were three hour time difference. So I mean, it does take some time to kind of Yeah, go again. But don’t you worry about pre COVID because you might be right back in it right. So it’s crazy. Anyways, I’m good. I’m back to work after having four days off, went to Nashville for a podcast conference, which was amazing. met a lot of cool people spend a lot of money on the trip, but it was totally worth it. So yeah, I was telling before the show again, of course, before I press record, that I worked 10 hours and I was like what is my boss doing? Like normally I work eight. I’m like, I’m fine with the overtime, but I wasn’t. I’m the kind of guy that likes to expect that. Like if I’m going to work 10 hours, just let me know. And then it’ll be fine. But like, I was supposed to go to the gym at 430 that came and went. So it’s all fine. And it was supposed to rain all day. So I was supposed to get things set up and I was scrambling when I got home. So but as Ben said, I’m excited for this this episode too, because I’m kind of going through some of this stuff a little bit. What I found when I listened to an old show, though, that I’ve been I was going through that three years ago too. So this should be interesting as far as that goes. So what about you, Amanda? How are you showing up tonight?

Yeah, I think when you choose to do work in mental health, and with caring for other people, there’s a balance you need so you don’t burn out. So I am exploring rest in the season and what that looks like. But I’m super excited to talk about this topic tonight. And I would much rather verbally talk processes with other people than do it in any other type of format.

So are you someone that doesn’t do self care? Well,

which is, which is hard, right? Because when people see your therapist and you’re like, let me help you with that. And in my mind, sometimes I’m thinking I should take my own advice and rest.

Yeah, I’m terrible with self care. I don’t I mean, I Meccano is my wife Megan always says she’s jealous, because like, if I want to do something, I’ll just do it. But it doesn’t mean it’s self care. It’s like, Oh, I’m gonna work on the podcast, or I’m gonna mow the lawn, or we’re gonna do anything like that. But I have trouble just like sitting still. And just being like, this guy doesn’t I mean, he loves his hammock. And, and I’m, I’m jealous of that, because I, I feel bad if I sit and don’t do anything.

I’m wired toward productivity, do something productive. And so it can be really hard.

Yes. It’s extremely hard. Yeah. Just relax, unless I drink, because then I really can’t do anything.

There you go. I

don’t do that often. But nice. So we are going to talk about this deconstruction reconstruction, why don’t you give us a little bit like kind of an intro on what you’re working on. So this must be something new since the last time you were on the show. Obviously, you reach out to us. So thank you for doing that. So kind of talk about that. Your why you decided to do this and your story around that a little bit. And then we’ll, you know, jump into some questions.

Yeah, I have my own deconstruction story from 10. My big deconstruction story, I call it and then I’ve gotten little deconstructions that are happening all the time. But yeah, just seeing kind of a rise in chatter around deconstruction. And having gone through that. And knowing that I wanted to add something else to what I’m doing, kind of as long term plan of as I’m working in mental health, with other people doing that type of caring work, that I think I will reach a capacity where I can no longer do like one on one. And so what could that look like to do support groups in some way. And as I was thinking through that, deconstruction came up, and I was pretty adamant, like, I don’t think I want to do that. I don’t feel I don’t know, like, Am I qualified to do that? Do I have enough theological background to do that? Do

I have a certificate.

And so I was gonna head in a different direction, but, uh, pulled back to this. And it’s really come into alignment. In the last couple months. I’m putting stuff out on Instagram, getting feedback from other people that this is something that they want that there, there’s a need for a space to talk about this, because a lot of people are going through it right now.

Can I get like, what a definition as what is deconstruction? Like? I understand what it is logically, but in the faith, what is what does that mean?

Yeah. And deconstruction is kind of the term that stuck. For a lot of people that doesn’t necessarily feel like the correct term. But I think it’s the one that’s becoming more universal, and the language that we use around this, whatever this is, yes. So kind of how I define it is this reexamining of assumed beliefs. So something that you thought was true all the slot all this time, suddenly you get new information, or have your own lived experience where it’s no longer congruent? It no longer lines up? Okay. So you’re trying to figure that out? Yeah. So now there’s, in therapy term, we call it like, cognitive dissonance that these two things no longer match up. And what do I do with that tension?

Okay, so going back to your story, you talked about something 10 years ago? Is that something you want to touch on? Or do you? It’s totally fine if you don’t want? Yeah, yeah. So

kind of, I think I had always been a questioner when it came to faith in some ways. So like, I would have questions about what I’m learning or how maybe something my friend who goes to another church was telling me that was different than what I was taught. And I could always go to my dad and ask these questions, and he helped me try and figure these out. But I came kind of who I had in my mid 20s. I was thinking about doing some long term mission work, had been going to a mega church at the time and was deciding that that was no longer necessarily a fit for me. And so I needed ascending church. And so I went to my home church that I grew up in, sixth generation in this church. Oh man, so holy cow long roots within this church. and asked if they would be my Sunday church? And they said, Yeah, we’ll consider that. And throughout the process, it became apparent that there were theological differences between the mission agency and my Sunday church to the point where the church was like, we don’t, we don’t think we can send you with this organization. Oh, wow. So they pulled out basically, yeah. And we’re like, we can’t do that. And I back in my younger years. Before I did a lot of self examination, I was trying to make sure that everybody was hearing what they needed to hear, just to get it right. Yeah, trying to make this work and manipulate this, and I couldn’t. So I got to this point where I’m like, how can there be so many different Wait, like, this is the Christian faith? How can there be some ways and I was like, I’m gonna, I’m gonna find the one right way to believe and that’s what I’m gonna believe. And so that sent me on this journey that just sent me over a cliff. Because once you start examining, like one view of the faith, it just opens you up for everything.

Then you’re like, Oh, wait, why did I do this? Yeah. Now I have no idea.

Yep. And I’m learning terms I’ve never heard of I’m learning that there’s all these different denominations that believe multiple different things, there can be any number of ways to believe on one issue. And so I’d start with one, and then it would open up another and then open up another and I fell down this spiral of deconstruction of like, what is true? Yeah. Can I even be a Christian anymore? Because I don’t like, how can nobody agree on this stuff?

And that I feel like at 25, that’s pretty early to do that. I feel like, I would think people in their 30s, like mid 30s are like, okay, you’re kind of farther away from your, your home church, or your parents or whatever, like 25 to seems early, like, I feel like 20 to 30. You just kind of follow what you learned. And then you’re like, yeah, and your 30s. Like, you start hanging out with people like, this is crap. That’s just my opinion. That’s pretty. That’s pretty thoughtful out of 25 or 25. staples

super important to me. Yeah. And so it just, it actually sent me into this depression, anxiety Shire. I

totally get that, especially if it was really important to you. And then you have all these questions like,

Who am I? Oh,

yeah. Yeah, I think I agree with Jason, I’m just thinking of my own story. When I was 25. Really my entire 20s you knew me back then, towards the end of our Cornerstone days, I was like, I don’t know if zealot is the right term. But I was passionate, I was very firm and my beliefs and what I stood for, and there wasn’t room for questioning it was this is the way and I’m going to follow it. I’m gonna do these things. But towards the end of my 30s, and or sorry, into my I’m

like, wait a minute. Yeah, right


Towards the end of my 20s, things started shaking and my 30s has really been a deconstruction phase. So you get that early? Yeah, I

do think what I’ve observed, I feel like there’s like a, almost an identity crisis that happens in each decade. And so maybe, maybe mine just happened a decade earlier, which now I’m prepared to help all of my fellow millennials, right? They’re going through.

Clearly it’s taken a lot. I mean, I you said 10 years ago, so I assume you’re 35 around ish. But I’m just saying it’s taking you a while to get to that point. Like to process through all that right? Because now you’re thinking about it more trying to help other people so it’s, it’s or did it not take that long?

I feel like I, I don’t know it took maybe it’s hard to like, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to deconstruction I brought my faith is always going to be intermingled with doubt. But now I feel more comfortable with that than I did in my mid 20s.

Yeah, that’s amazing, because I have a lot of doubt.

There’s hope it’s okay. So, where I want to go from here as we get started, Jason and I were talking before we started the show about how it seems like with COVID over the last 18 months, and churches closing down, it kind of it was like, I don’t know, the the spark on the woodchips that set the whole thing ablaze, I don’t know. But from your perspective as one who’s lived deconstruction, you’ve been in your own journey for the past 10 years. When do you think this started being a thing for people in the church to start deconstructing or examining some of these belief systems?

Yeah, I mean, I think it’s always been there but the the rise and talking about it is something that I have haven’t observed before and I don’t I don’t think it’s because I wasn’t observant. I think it’s happening more. My guess is that the the woodchips For like the last four years of political upheaval, that I think there has always been kind of this tie between political party and faith. And that experience kind of was torn apart for a lot of people. And then I think COVID just exposed a lot of things like anything that was already there. COVID rose to the surface.

Yeah, I was, like I say, an event. I think it was always kind of the elephant in the room. And then everyone kind of pick sides about like, masks and all that stuff. Because we experienced that in our church. Like, we lost over a third of people that they went to another church that were weren’t masking up. So we’re like, man, like, why is this going on? You know, I know that’s a little off topic. But

no, but I think that’s part of it, too. Right? Like, how do we respond to this? I asked. Yeah, also, everything that happened with racial discussions. This is for a lot of people, I think, kind of first time they recognize this, even though this has been going on and part of like, how that interacts with the church. Yeah. Wow.

And I know, and I think the political thing has always gone on like, Ben, you know, we’ve had numerous conversation on the show about political in church where I’ve actually come his way a little bit, honestly, which I’m happy Actually, I that, you know, mostly the flag issue in church. But why is politics in part of church that literally has nothing to do with what politics has nothing to do with a lot of things, but why is it so ingrained in our church?

Have you guys read Jesus in john wayne? No, but

I’ve used Brian and

Mike did Mike, Mike keeps telling us that we need to read it.

Pretty good history of nationalism and the

faith and okay. And it’s written by somebody from Calvin, I think, yeah, I’m blanking on

her name. Right. Yeah. So my Well, I

think it’s more I think it’s more Christianity. In America. I don’t think there’s other religions in America that don’t do what we were that so very true. I don’t know if in another country, if they have the same thing. If it was Muslim, or Hindu or whatever, I don’t know.

I was talking to a Christian in Canada, actually, recently. And we were just kind of comparing notes about what the last five years have been like. And I was like, Oh, she’s describing Canada. Like, that sounds like

it’s a lot of nice things about Canada.

The partisanship. Here,

yeah. Going back to the flag in church, I think that was honestly the beginning of my deconstruction story. Oh, car? Because I was zealot Ben the, no at all, like I am the king of the world. No, not really. But I had a much firmer stance about things in those days. And I think it was Derrick Webb, who put out the song wedding dress. I don’t know if you’ve heard that. Yeah. And this is probably going way over Jason said, but that’s okay, that’s fine. But it was that song, and it was the flag. That’s what kicked it off for me. And from there, it kind of just grew. And I don’t know if it was all doubt, there were certainly elements of doubt. But it grew and grew to a point where I couldn’t contain it. And I would say within the last three to five years, certainly, with threads being part of it. I feel like threads has helped me kind of start that process of reconstructing of figuring out okay, well, where do I stand? What does my faith mean? So it’s been an interesting journey, for sure. So for those of us who have big questions about faith, sometimes church can be like the scariest place to talk about those questions,

which is hilarious. Hilarious. It’s actually sad. But have you found that to be true? Well, yeah, you’re not going to go up to your elder or your your pastor and say, you’re questioning that stuff, because then they’re going to look at you like you’re a bad Christian.

Yeah, right. Yeah. And it’s like the shame of asking questions keeps us from connecting with others going through the same experience. Have you experienced that in your your walk, Amanda?

Yeah, I would say that. A lot of people feel like they are out on their own trying to figure this out, even though they go to church pockets like we are everywhere. The people like people that are deconstructing asking questions are everywhere, but nobody wants to bring it up. So nobody knows that other people are having these kinds of questions.

Well, I think it falls like in mental health, especially for men too, is that kind of same thing, like there’s people experiencing the same things but no one wants to say anything about it. That’s one of our, you know, things that we’re trying to crush on the show. Is that not the stigma? I guess I tried to get away from that word, I think. I think it’s getting better. I think the younger kids are helping that. And you know what I mean, especially like with Gen Z. Yeah. I mean, seriously, as much as I hate the younger kids, not just are the millennials are all that the Gen Z is like really making it like it’s okay to get it. So I just I think it’s kind of kind of the same thing as with going to church. Like, even if I was in a small group, I would feel a little weird going, Hey, can we talk about? Yeah.

And shame keeps us isolated and disconnected. And so it wants to keep us in that silo? Because then shame can do whatever it wants. Yeah.

Life for sure. I think back to my last church experience, and you’ve heard me saying, I think Amanda probably has to at various points. But I’ve made it clear that I have no intention or desire to ever do ministry as a vocation. And I love your Well, let me but I think that’s the bold statement. But the unfiltered and maybe vulnerable statement is, I really changed who I was, and I, you know, held on to certain beliefs, because similar to what Amanda was saying, I needed those because my paycheck was dependent on it. And if I’m doubting these things, that core truths of the church,

never thought of somebody being in the ministry down stuff.

It was rough. I mean, this is during the the span of time towards the end of my 20s, where the, the bravado and the confidence and the, you know, Mike always calls it the upper echelon, Ben at Cornerstone,

if you weren’t gonna bring it up. I was, I know,

all of those things like came crashing for around me. And I found myself really doubting a lot of the things that I was saying about my faith. And in this place where I am supposed to hold up these tenants in these doctrines and these beliefs because I’m on staff at the church, and they’re paying my check. And so when I say I don’t want to go back to that, I think that’s the, you know, the macho way of saying, I’m never going back to that. I think what’s underneath that is there’s a lot of pain from Yeah, pushed in a position where I had to believe a certain way. And that was really difficult.

Yeah, I can understand I just, you’re young, don’t just write it off. I’ve never gone back. Because you know, we all grow. I mean, I’m totally different than I was at 35. That was 10 years ago. You know what I mean? So yeah, I’m just saying that I’m not trying to say no, you’re you might go back. I just, it’s weird for me to hear you say I’m never doing something.

Because I know. It was weird for me to even say it. But that’s the that’s almost like the bravado I had to put over the wound

that I yeah, but maybe you just haven’t processed through it yet, then enough, potentially. Anyways, we’re digressing. Let’s get into this. I’m like having a therapy session. Let’s talk about this. therapist, man, I’m gonna get you back in a minute.

That’s why you had that’s what we have.

Right? So let’s go back a little bit. We kind of brushed over when the things the big questions that you had in faith, is there something you can touch on? Like maybe during that moment with the missionary trip, and your church? Like, where? What did you find out and that you were like, oh, man, I have so many questions.

I think it was the like the process of what’s the process of salvation? Like, when does salvation happen? Like what?

baptism baptism? Oh, really? That’s a big one.

sprinkling? Yep. And so that, that kind of spiderwebs off into like Calvinism. arminianism, which I had never heard of before, like these different structures of how to believe and then, like, it just spiraled spiraled from there to the point where I, yeah, I remember thinking, like, can I even believe this anymore? Like, not like, how can there be so many different ways that people think about this? and got to the point where I was like, Well, I don’t know. I want to completely change the foundation of how I see the world so what do I say? Like what do I still believe in? Let me start rebuilding on that.

That’s gotta be tough, cuz I mean, I know there’s other stuff out there too. But I try not to look at it. Yeah.

And I think that’s part of it, too, like, part of deconstructing is that you don’t know where to turn or who to trust to like, wow, if I want to rebuild who do I even believe anymore? Or I there were certain there was a Christian artist who I think had deconstructed and put out an album at the time. And I knew I had some wisdom, at least of like, I should not listen to that.

Cuz you’re like that’s

gonna push me over the edge

well I think even when you find out about all these different things I think you just go this is what’s for me because there’s so much out there yeah you know there’s so much to believe there’s so many different paths you know Catholic or Christian or all that stuff i don’t know i think

it’s yeah becoming comfortable with like okay maybe I have lost my certainty yeah and can I be okay in this uncertainty Can I Can my faith fill in the cracks of like, I hope this is true. Versus like, I know this is true.

Well, how can you know it’s true though, right? I mean, let’s

let’s certainty as a lot. Yeah, I

mean, let’s look at the logistics of it. I mean,

yeah. So it’s that replacing it with that hope or being able to hold the complexity of what faith is versus the like I know this

Well, I mean, that’s the definition of faith right? You believe in something doesn’t mean you can prove it I don’t know.

And it’s different ways of knowing right like there’s head knowing and then there’s like felt sense know your heart. Yeah.

Well, it’s getting deep.

I know you do it okay. I’m

doing I’m like asking all the questions.

We joke sometimes Jason and I you know, he’ll say that I’m super happy or you know, sometimes it’s broken down a little bit, but you’re you’re over here tracking just fine.

No, sometimes I jump right in and I fire on all cylinders. And sometimes I’m just like, Wow, my brains not working like that. But I’ve been thinking about this stuff. Like I’ve been, I had struggling going back to church after COVID Yeah, like I’ve been going because I work on the production team, but we’ve only been twice in 18 months, that we’ve actually gone as a family. Yeah, so I think

that’s a lot of like, so COVID I think a lot of people were thinking about that beforehand, but COVID has been this place where people I think had a little bit more freedom to be like what do I want to do? Yeah, I can I was gonna judge you can I engage in church? Yes, time

if you’re not if you don’t show up. No one’s gonna judge you. Yeah, no one knows. No one. Yeah, but now it’s starting to so you’re opening up you know, we joked about it earlier. not joking about COVID but it could get locked down here but let’s say as things are opening up now, it’s kind of like okay, such and such doesn’t see me at church anymore. Or maybe they think I go to a different church or something like that. But yeah, it’s getting just getting sketch.

Well, but yeah,

yeah, I do think some times it’s okay to like, put that as your boundary and be like, I do need a break from this organization because I want Yeah, I want to dive in and figure out what I think without that, like, without the scrutiny or without the expectation that I have to show up every Sunday. Well, the

thing is, if I don’t show up, I struggle in my faith. Yeah, I know that for a fact. Yeah. If I don’t go to church, I’m like, yeah, on the struggle bus with it. So I

church, just for me right now is I’m like it’s a spiritual discipline, because it’s doing something even if I don’t always feel like I want right.

Yeah. I mean, have you ever left church? So let’s be honest, let’s be frank. Have you ever left church gone? Boy, this sucked. Oh, yeah, have you? But I mean, you’ve not I usually leave where at least I feel Yeah, okay. I’ve left church like the message may have not been there. But I don’t know. I’ve never left church and being like, this was terrible. But clearly you guys have so I have a better Christian than both of you. I go,

I go through seasons where I’m like, wow, it’s church for me. Oh, really? Yeah. Now Yeah. And that’s I think that’s a doubt and faith part of like, Do I still believe this? Do I still want to show up like this? And some some days I don’t, but I still I still do.

Oh, man. I wasn’t expecting that to come. This part of that. Yeah, I mean, that’s good. I’m I mean it it makes me feel more human, I guess. I don’t know. Even when Ben said he struggles with it. I was you know, super Christian back in back in the day and it was a front it was it was you were you were This is a weird word. But you were groomed for that position. I was and that’s weird.

It was there’s a whole lot of weird and I was recounting some of that story with my old boss Tyler over lunch today. I know right?

So weird. I am. That’s different.

That is, but yeah, it that’s totally what happened. I was groomed by my youth group I was groomed. Even Cornerstone to a certain extent they essentially made me their poster child,

then well, you went in with the energy so of course they’re going to jump on that I appreciated

the scholarships and everything else but now being 10th Last year’s out of there, it’s just like, oh, no about that. That was a lot. Like we had. We had to write confessions as part of our theology course, like, this is what I believe about baptism salvation, and I read over those things. And I’m like, I didn’t write that based on what I believed I wrote that based on what I was taught to

believe. Oh, there’s an epiphany there.

Yeah. And it’s like, I’ll follow in Amanda’s transparency about church. Sometimes I look at theology and doctrines and I’m just like, why does this even matter? Like Who’s Who cares? outside of the church? Who cares about theology? Who cares about our mini interzum Calvinism to live all these things that I spent years of my life studying in college? It’s like, Who cares? Like what relevance does this have? Like my struggle it

could be like any college you go to school for four years you don’t use any of it and you get into your field and you’re like okay, everything you learned in the four years throw it out the window this is what we’re gonna learn

but when I was in it that stuff was like so important to me well

when you were in it you were at that school Yeah, I mean that’s all I mean, you went to a Christian school that’s it I mean, it’s not like you went to Green Valley but alright, let’s move on. I we’re digressing This is good conversation, but I want to talk more about you and your deconstruction or construction no just deconstructing recall. There we go. I just saw the word it’s um, so what about traps as we’re you know, moving through deconstruction, what are some thinking traps that maybe we can fall we fall into? Yeah, about that. That’s probably not a healthy thing to do.

Yeah. Well, I think this is where sometimes theology can come in theology, meaning like, the, the study of God, or how God shows up because I think sometimes our deconstruction starts with the challenging of like, a really poorly taught belief to us about who God is or what God wants from us. So some of the thinking traps and I’ll plug my quiz right here if you if you want to. Now I want you I want to know what you guys answered. Okay. If you go to Hey, Amanda Waldron comm slash quiz, you can find out what your thinking trap is. But basically a thinking trap is kind of a rigid way of holding something that ultimately causes distress. Yeah. So it’s, it’s the inability to bring in new information that could alleviate some of that distress, some

flexibility to think another way. Yeah. Yeah. Well, we all took it. You have the result? I do. You have it up? I do. Okay, go.

So the trap that I, my result was, and I totally agree with it. And I’ve seen this in other aspects of my life, the thinking trap that I get stuck in is all or nothing thinking, just this mentality of, if I don’t believe this, then I can’t believe any of it. Right? So if I have a doubt about this little section, just throw it all away. Cuz it’s not can’t hold that tension. I can’t do it. I really struggled to hold that tension. That’s exactly right. So that’s me,

you know, I was the same one. All.

It’s not surprising, because that’s the number one result. Me as well, that I’m like, I’m gonna find the one right way. And if I don’t, did you, right, they’re all gonna know the other ones are like shoulds. So I think that’s where some of that, like, Christian culture can come in American Christian culture of like, I should be reading my Bible every day, I should be doing quiet time. So those kind of extra things that get put on the faith that are kind of culturally specific. Yeah. So that’s where some of those shoulds can come in. generalizations might be like, I’m never going into or emotional reasoning. We’re kind of just what we feel in that moment. We kind of accept as truth. So if I’m feeling bad about this, I’m accepting that you know, that’s true, something bad must have happened versus like, oh, it could just be an interpretation. Well,

that’s what he’s doing with his whole you don’t have more than one thinking. But you know, going back to the bad experience in the ministry, well this is this is how it’s like forever although but yet you still go to church, and the people at that church are awesome. Oh, so you’re not you’re kind of like well, this this I can’t do this because these people are terrible. But yeah, I still go to church. So that’s why I say don’t shut the door on that right away.

Yeah, I think the doors low Being reopened

in this conversation tonight Holy

cow. Yes, let’s go have a beer.

No, I would say honestly, I’m certainly since joining city life like city life has been a safe haven. Yeah, for me to jump into. And yeah, so I think that’s a big part of it is finding a church where it’s okay to wrestle with deep things where it’s okay to talk about mental health issues, where diversity and all of these things that I have become aware of in my deconstruction journey to find a church that’s actually talking about and addressing and is involved in these things has been like a healing bomb. So though I’m certainly not ready to quit my job in sales and go work in a church somewhere.

No one’s asking you to No, I,

I’ll just say that. I’m realizing and especially after having two weeks of vacation, time to think like the doors not dead bolted shut, like it was maybe it’s cracked open a little bit. Yeah, it’ll swing open someday. But

I think the part of it you know, as we digress a little bit with this is that you kind of went to church, that change changes things up. You went from not boring, I shouldn’t say that. It’s okay. But even even our church I go, you know, alive. It’s, I wouldn’t say it’s boring, but it’s somewhat like, we go to church, we sing, bah, bah, blah, and I think your church city life is like, you know, diverse, and just something that maybe changes your faith up a little bit. You’re like, wow, you know, this, this is amazing. This, I’m excited for it. So I’m glad that you’re, I think you’re going to that church, I’m glad you that you are going to that church. Sorry, I was reading. Um, so I’m, I’m adding a question here, because this popped in my head. How does when someone comes to you with that, do you have I mean, I’m sure you have the process of what you want to do to help somebody? I’m just curious if you have like, some thought, like if someone was interested in pursuing this, how could we talk to them in a way without giving away your secrets?

Yeah, I think asking question like giving yourself permission to ask questions of like, where did this belief come from? Who benefits from me believing this? Is there another way to think about that? And could that be okay, so I think I think people just need space permission. Yeah. And permission to be like, this is what I’m thinking.

Yeah. Okay. Yeah. And someone to affirm that.

Yeah. Yeah. So my hope. And there, there are helpers on the deconstruction spectrum. And so kind of where I fall is that I, for me, when I got to the point where I’m like, I think I want to keep my Christian faith. Now, who do I look to for advice? I’ve kind of created a program that I needed or would have wanted, oh, my stage. So for individuals that are hoping to stay within the Christian faith, which isn’t everybody’s story. Yeah, some people have had experiences, some people get to such cognitive dissonance that this doesn’t make sense anymore. I am on the spectrum of if you if you are interested in stain, let me help you figure out how to hold hold this in a way where you can manage that dissonance.

But on the flip side, would you help somebody leave too? Or are you not comfortable with that?

I mean, my clinical skills allow me to do that, like people can be where they want to be my hope is that everybody lands someplace where that they that they feel like is the place for them. Right? So if somebody comes into my program and seeks me out, like I’m going to be for like for them? Well, of course, is what they need.

So it kind of brings up, you know, the mental emotional health through all of this. And obviously, you’re you’re a therapist, so like, there’s twofold. Like, you want someone to be better in the Christian faith, but you also want their mental health to be cool. Yeah, like, Okay, you know what, you need to get away from church like,

right? And sometimes that is the answer, right? sometimes there can be churches that are not good environments for someone to be in or aren’t going to allow them to go through this process that they would need to. And there are also helpers on this spectrum that that maybe aren’t within the Christian faith anymore, that have something to add to this conversation, too. And so again, I think, for people going through this journey, there are helpers along the spectrum of where they find themselves or where they feel like they need to go. So I know that I might not be for everybody. But if someone comes to me and they have any that I can’t fell, right? I know people that I can draw, of

course, I mean, we’ve talked to several people that would love to be that on the spectrum of not talking about faith. I can think of Katherine. So, Katherine.

Yes. Yeah. And that’s one of the reasons why having Amanda on was so appealing to me because we’ve given space to a lot of doubters and a lot of people who have left the

faith. Yeah, I think we’ve had probably more on that have laughed. Yeah, cuz I think that it’s funny. It intrigues me, but yet when we get them on, Ben and I are like, not fighting with them, like arguing, but and I’m, I’m like, they’re like challenging us. Then I’m challenged them right back. So it’s like, I’m in this Christian side of everything. But yet I doubt a lot too. So you’re full of shit, like, you know, blah, blah, blah. But then also like, they could be right? Am I wrong, right? But I find myself on when we’re interviewing somebody, I always lean on the Christian side. And like, you know what I mean? Yeah, you find that too.

Now lean on the doubter side. Yeah.

It’s always such a weird tension when we talk to those guests. Like, it’s just such a different experience for what we have tonight. Like tonight, I feel like we’re kind of all on the same page. But when we have those guests on and they left the faith, like, there’s part of me that’s like, you’re really hurt by the church. That sucks. I, I’ve been there too. And that is really hard. I am just so sorry, that happened to you. So identify with them on that side. But then there’s always a side of me that’s like, I made it through my season. Why can’t you or why did you choose to let go? Or what? What was so different about my faith versus your faith? In if I’m honest, one question that comes up is, am I a fool for staying on board? like should I jump ship? Like, I believe people like what’s

going on? Well, same with me, you know, I grew up in an abusive home, like where was God those Intel I could stop it? Well, the motion went on after I was strong enough to stop it. But um, that if anybody, I should be the one bouncing, you know what I mean? Like, what is going on this hypocritical life that I lived for 18 years until I laughed? You know, why am I still trying to deal with the faith because I should have been gone a long time ago.

And I feel like one of the things that keeps me in the faith is that I, one of the things I know, or one of the things that I observe is just that, I don’t know the presence of sin. And I’m like, if there’s the presence of sin, I am hoping that there’s something that can combat that. Yeah. And so for me, sometimes, yeah, sometimes that’s what I come back to of like,

what I what I end up arguing with people is on the creation story, that’s where we fight the most on there. Like, I’m like, look at, I say, look at the human body. It is so complicated. It is there are things that we don’t know about the brain and even some others, like, how did that just appear? That does not happen? And they’re like, yeah, Big Bang, like so an explosion happen. And then all of a sudden, we have a nervous system, and all those perfect intricate details. Yeah, that have a lineup because if they don’t, we’re dead. Yeah. Like,

yeah. Like, okay, I’m not sure I believe this anymore. But this totally.

Yeah, yeah, I know. That’s true. Like, we’re talking about faith. Like, I don’t believe that, you know, like, you talked about the communion thing. I know, I’m totally just jumping. I’m so sorry. We’ll get back into a battle get the next question. But the community thing like our church now allows you to take communion even if you have not professed faith. And that’s super weird to me, because I grew up like, Whoa, No, man, like, you know, if you have not done your due diligence, you do not take it. I had trouble with my kids doing it now. I don’t care. But it’s just those things that Yeah, what

are you went from that kind of rigid way of thinking of like, this is how it’s done to maybe opening that up a little bit of like, oh, maybe this is okay, too.

Yeah. Because I look at it now. It’s like, okay, we’re having the conversation about it. We’re going home at the end of the day and talking to our kids about instead of i would i was like that No, like, don’t you? I didn’t. Yeah, like she was asked my daughter and I’m like, no, that’s not happening. But she never asked why and then I would never explain so that a good you know, so.

So yeah, those assumed beliefs that we don’t like, there was probably no reason like that would have prompted you to question that verse. No, but when a new idea is introduced, sometimes it creates enough agitation where it’s like, Whoa, yeah, I


what what’s going on with this? Well, yeah, I’ve

totally opened up I mean, will will not jump down this road but lb GQ and all that stuff like before I was like, Man ain’t happening now I’m like, Who am I? Who? Who am I to judge? Like, why? why I’m just God, Jesus tells us to love people. I’m just gonna love everyone, you know what I mean? It’s like, their, their path is their path. It is not my path. But I’m going to love you because you know, you’re great person. So anyways,

that’s always the subject that like comes out on how to respond to that. You don’t have to deal in progress. Yeah,

you don’t have to respond. That’s, that’s just me. No, it’s fair.

And I think I do think that’s a question that a lot of Yeah, Christians are wrestling with now of this is the theology that I taught was taught about this. Yep. But I think there’s other voices that are coming with compelling arguments against that, too. Yeah. And then do you see a new way to think about that that could or is

biblical, you got the theology but if you go down to, I always say, kiss, keep it simple, stupid, what Jesus did, he just loved people, like there’s not a lot of verbiage around that kind of stuff. You just love people. So I’m just going to love people. I’m going to do that. So

I’m proud of you. Thank you, you stepped outside of your box and you’re going you’re going heavy. And stay

ahead. It’s just talking about love. Jesus loves people. Like I’m just gonna try to do that. Now let’s try to flip the guy out there cut me out.

Twice happens to you twice

my drive.

It’s always the same guy.

I just drive all the time. I have very I have a lot of opportunities to fly my flag if I wanted to.

Nice. Well, I have a couple of questions to wrap us up. The first being this is an important one because I think there’s not only like, okay, so going back to my story, because it’s what I know best. When I started questioning my faith and was having all of these doubts, that’s really when depression and anxiety just went crazy. Now, a lot of that was also in response to the trauma of the loss that my family had walked through. But there was also maybe even the trauma of questioning my faith. So all of that leads me to the question for you and you can put your therapist hat on for this one. How does deconstruction impact one’s mental and emotional health?

I would say immensely I feel like faith for a lot of us as an identity issue like it shapes who we are how we see God how we see the world and if suddenly that’s thrown into question or doubt of like is God good? It does God even exists if he doesn’t exist what does that mean about me? What does that mean about the world? Like it just totally blows up the

whole your whole your whole plan? Your whole idea? is a worldview isn’t as that

like? Yeah, your lens like it just you’re not Yeah, I think when we start to have questions about our faith that started it, it will affect every aspect of our life and what is this what does this mean? Which then of course can send you down into anxiety and depression that was my Yeah, that was my story to that after this kind of mission work and floated I think I like and I like literally, like two months straight cried at least once a day because I was like, I don’t know how to function if I don’t know if I don’t believe this anymore.

Yeah, I can totally see that. Yeah, especially you’re going around your day and something triggers and you’re like,

right, where what’s my place in this world? Like the Michael W. Smith song? Do you know the reference? No,

I know who he is, though. At

least Well, good. See, this is a sheltered Ben version of pop culture. This is the culture I grew

up with. Yeah, you can probably name five Christian bands. You can’t use skillet or 1000 foot krutch go.

Michael W. Smith. Okay, fine. Okay, regardless point of grace. Oh, Cutlass, and pod

pod. What about this sort of, like, God? Yeah, like the pod that I know. Yeah. They started as a Christian Really? Oh, Evanescence.

Evanescence same boat.

92,000 gold. Right, right.

I know. And let’s see super tones. No insiders. Wow. could go on in tragedy and I have a whole CD jacket full of the CDs, I don’t know why

you segment them in and list them.

Oh, my goodness.

Oh, right. Well, as we wrap this up, I don’t want to just end on this note of deconstruction, because as we’ve talked about, it’s depressing. It’s a dark place. Yeah, it’s hard to be in. But what I’d like to leave on is the idea that there’s hope that reconstruction is possible that you don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater as the saying goes. So for me, what does that look like? I would say, we’ve talked about Jason brought up Jesus as his example of who to follow. And Amanda talked about the idea of sin that if there’s all that’s wrong with the world, there must be something that’s right. I

hope there’s something right. Yeah.

Yeah. And we talked about creation. So I just wanted to wrap kind of by shifting over to reconstruction. And maybe each of us could take a stab at answering again, if we have anything else to add. How do you move from deconstruction to reconstruction? And for me, I’ll go first and saying that a couple of things that were super influential in my process of of reconstructing was finding a church body that valued the things that stand the test of time, that value people over doctrine over politics, that value diversity, and all of the things that I was taught to believe about what heaven will be like was that will be like this worldwide, like all the Christians from all around the world. Well, if that’s the case, then it’s got to stop being so politicized, and so Americanized. And so finding myself in a church that valued stuff like that was a huge step. So maybe if you’re in a church, and you’re deconstructing, and you’re feeling lost, maybe it’s time to look for a different church, that was a big part for me. And then the second one that I alluded to, Jason mentioned it already. But following the example of Jesus, I really believe that Jesus is the way the truth of life, just as the Bible says, and I want to be a part of his kingdom and the kingdom that he’s working to establish. So those are the things that I do. I know, the second one’s pretty heavy, but that’s what keeps me going.

I don’t think it’s heavy. I think it actually is really simple. If you think about it, about following Jesus and doing what he does. I mean, if you want to crack open the Bible, and read through some of that, to me, that gives me comfort. As you know what he’s doing not all theology, I feel like the book is, the book is the book. But then these smart people got in and started breaking it down into several different pieces. And now it’s just a bunch of bullshit. I mean, like, I’m not saying that, please, go ahead and get the bowl.

But I did see a meme this week that talked about like, the Bible is not the fourth member of the Trinity,

right? It’s not, it’s not, I guess, for me, I don’t have what Ben said about the church is amazing, I just will probably reiterate that because I don’t, I don’t have anyone in my life that I feel like I can trust to do that, which we talked about in the episode so I don’t know where I go from here on that, maybe I just engulf myself in in the church, you know, we haven’t done a small group before we haven’t done any of that stuff. Maybe that’s something I need to do to kind of rebuild that. But you do make a really good point, you go to a diverse church, and it’s just all of these different people, which you would see in heaven. Like you don’t see a bunch of white people when you go to the church and jennison I go to

and it’s not just I mean, of course there’s the racial diversity but there’s also the diversity of socio economics all right just

a different thought on this we all technically you know, typically if you go to where I go we’re all middle class relatively everything’s kind of the same but you go to a church like you there’s you know, underprivileged there’s you know, wealthy people middle class and and even just not just the race part but just just thinking they have different thoughts. They grew up different than you we all grew up the same ad at a live I love the church but we all grew up the same you know, we all we’re all probably all church lifers for the most part, so I like that idea, but I’m scared to hell to to do what he did. I’m not gonna lie like I like love my comfort zone.

Well, I have to say it was People like Amanda, in a weird way, but go back a year or two. I’ve been there for a year now. So about two years. Over the course of two years, God kept bringing people into my life that were connected to city life. Joe Reid, Amanda, just so many different people. Megan, do weird. You go to city life?

Yeah. I didn’t even know that. I should establish that it doesn’t really matter.

Yeah. So all these people just started trickling into my life and it just weird and random ways. Okay. That’s the only reason that I made the switch was because there were people already in my life that were part of this church. And it made it that much easier to say, okay, we’re doing this Yeah,

that’s true. If you have people you know that go there. Is it sneaky that one of my customers is across from the church, and I have to fertilize it five times a year and look at your church. Oh, that Gordon foods right across division. It’s kind of jumpy, but you see all the semis or whatever. You’re done. Oh, no, not Gordon vineyard. Sorry. Yeah, not Gordon. Sorry. I was talking. I was talking to somebody about Gordon foods today. So no vineyard and yeah,

your yard? Yeah, no, I have to be on the lookout. It’s

junk. I don’t know why we fertilize it. They don’t take care of it. It’s totally it’s kind of hilarious. Some of the stuff we do. So what about you? What What is your thoughts about

reconstruction? Yeah, yeah, like, Well, for me, part of my reconstruction journey was like going to therapy for the first time, okay. And I ended up going to, I took three systematic theology classes and had to write confessions, and really get down to like, what do I think about this?

So it was like a writing exercise where you basically are forced, like, I

gotta do this in an academic way, my black and white thinking. But both were actually really pivotal in reframing that flexible lens for me of like, what is possible within the faith? And then, yeah, kind of just I tore everything down to the studs of my faith. And I was like, what, what do I still believe? And that’s where I started. I’m like, okay, I believe this, then what’s after that?

Yeah, and I know we’re wrapping up but then what did you do? Like Where? See that’s what we talked about earlier? Yeah. Where do you which path that you go down as you build the stud? Or you got you? You’re down to the studs? Yeah, where did you go?

So for me, what still felt true When I got down to everything is what I was depending on basically was like God’s faithfulness. Like, I don’t feel very faithful in my faith right now. So I’m gonna have to depend on like, what I’ve been told that God is faithful, that he’s gonna hold me in this. Yeah. And then I built on. Okay, so if that’s true about God, what else could be true? So it’s I think it’s just like, asking the questions and having those ripples go out. Yeah. Yeah. And sometimes I still go back to that. Sometimes I still wake up and I’m like, do I am I still a Christian? Like, what? Okay, what do I believe? What do I think about this? And I’m like, okay, yep, yep. For today. I am, like, 80%. Today.

80%. That’s hilarious. So why don’t you tell people where they can find you if they want to? You know, look at this a little bit.

Yeah. Yeah. So I’m launching a group coaching program, because again, I think there is power in sharing stories. Yeah. And breaking down that shame and aloneness. So I am at Hey, Amanda Waldron Comm. You can also find me on Instagram with the same name have been doing some reels, which has been super fun. But that’s where I’m kind of connecting with community. If you take the quiz on my website, you can get on my mailing list and learn more about that program. Opening up probably in November this year.

Okay, so this is just a you haven’t launched it yet. Just kind of working towards it. Yeah, yeah. So I’m already putting the coaching up. You’re still working with clients and everything right now though? Yes.

Yeah. So I work as a therapist in Grand Rapids. But then this coaching is is a separate venture. So we’ll be doing more of this kind of connecting, learning some skills and some tools. Yeah, to kind of work through the process.

Cool. Well, thank you so much for coming on. This was this was good. This is passionate. I always get down with these faith ones and do a big sigh like that. Like, I need to do some work. What about you, you going back into ministry? That we do it? Did we do it?

I’m just kidding. I’m in ministry. I’m just not

sure. You’re not paying and

so I’m the doors a crack. All right.

Well, guys, thank you so much for listening to threads podcast. We will see you in a week.

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