Transcription Episode #123

Hi, guys, thank you so much for listening to threads, podcast life unfiltered. Just real quick, if you’d love to support the show, we’d love you to have view app buy me a coffee, go to buy me a coffee, calm slash threads podcast there, you can support the show with a one time buy me a coffee or sign up for a membership. We use these funds to help grow the show, whether it be advertising, production costs, those kind of things. So definitely not using it to actually go buy a coffee, although if you specifically want us to, you have to write that when you buy us one, I will literally go buy a coffee with that. So thanks again for supporting us. Of course Ben wants you to write a review and he will buy you a cup of coffee, we would love you to go to Apple podcast, search threads, podcast, five star written review and follow the show or subscribe, we’d really appreciate that if you do that. And you haven’t done it in the past. Send that screenshot to Hello at threads, podcast, comm Facebook Messenger, whatever you need to get to us, text me personally, if you have my number, and Ben will buy you a coffee, we would really appreciate that support really helps us grow the show when we have those five star written reviews on Apple podcasts. And just as a personal note, I want to thank each and every one of you that reached out to me personally, and gave me some thoughts of encouragement and prayers through all this paternity stuff that’s going on. I don’t have a ton of news for you on that aspect of it. But, you know, I’m sure we’ll talk about it in the future. But I just want to thank everyone that’s reached out personally. It’s meant a lot. It means a lot in those who haven’t been thinking about me, that means a lot as well. So I really, really appreciate alright guys enjoy the show. Hi, guys, welcome to threads podcast life on filter. Thank you so much for joining us tonight tomorrow or whenever you’re listening to the show. We really appreciate it. We have Joe Hello Rico on tonight. is

traveling that pronunciation. You’re welcome. Wow.

I love that last name. Hello Rito is just is that Irish?

Italian, Italian, Italian.

All right, well close enough. You’re like no, no, no, not at all. And we’re gonna talk to him about some another faith base episode again, pounding the faith lately. And before we do that, though, Ben’s gonna tell everybody who is new to the show what threads is all about? And then we’ll kind of move forward.

Yeah, well, if you are a friend or listener of Joe’s show, just want to say thanks for coming over to this side and taking the Listen, I think you are going to be in for a treat today. Tonight, whenever you are listening. On the threads podcast, you can expect to hear three main topic areas. Those are faith, mental health and uncomfortable conversations. And on this episode will more than likely hit all three. We call them buckets. Some episodes, we fill all three of them equally. other episodes a little heavier on one of the buckets. Sometimes we don’t even get to all three. So but those are the things that we’re passionate about talking about. We feel like in our culture, it’s important, especially for men to have those conversations about those things. Even though it may not be easy. And even though we may not be inclined to talk about those things. threads is a space where it’s okay to have those conversations. So that’s what threads podcast is in a nutshell. Before we start every episode, we just take a minute to talk about how we are showing up tonight as we sit down to record. It is Good Friday. It’s Friday. We made it through another week and just wanted to touch base with everyone and see where you’re at

another day another dollar. No. Right Have you never heard of that thing?

Oh god a shelter.


it’s so a sheltered band. Oh my gosh. How I’m coming in I’m coming in with some energy. Yesterday was rough. I had my vaccine on Wednesday evening and then Thursday we didn’t work because of the wind show was going to be in like the the 20s and my boss is like I’m not gonna send you guys out there and freezing cold it was sunny but it was just bitterly cold. So I ended up taking a nap got real drained from the vaccine. But then I had a good night’s sleep and had a good day at work. So other than that, I’m coming in good.

Nice. I am coming in in the opposite. As far as energy levels go. I am just tired for about a week or so. My Apple Watch was telling me that my sleep was trash like four hours, three hours saying, like, now what was going to bed? You know, at a decent hour? What’s decent midnight? For me? Yeah, sure.

I keep forgetting he’s doesn’t start work at like 730 in the morning,

I roll out of bed. And if I want to shower that morning, I can otherwise I just go across the hall to my office. And that’s my work. Yeah, right now, so. But no. So turns out, I had some c pap supplies that were wearing out and preventing me from getting a good night of sleep a full night of sleep. It took a while to get that worked out. And so I feel like I’m paying back all this sleep debt that I built up. And then I too, had my vaccine on Wednesday. And so that definitely, the only side effect I really felt other than a sore arm was just tired. Yeah, just fatigue. So coming out of that. And yeah, looking forward to tonight, I think we’re gonna have a good show and excited to be here. Um,

this is Joe, and I’m bringing a little nervous energy today. I’m excited though to just because a couple reasons. One, you know, I started this morning with a swim at the pool. Slowly, I then went to a place and got my first c pap machine.

Wait, wait, wait,

wait, you’re on C peb.

I am now well as of today,

as of today, as of today. So

actually, as of tonight,

right first time tonight. So

originally, I feel like C pap was for people that were overweight. Like that was kind of an indicator that you needed it. But no offense to you. I’m overweight to big time. But you’re not that overweight. You’re pretty in shape.

Well, you know, I am about 30 pounds lighter than I was maybe a few years ago. Yeah. But I know I think the sleep thing is probably actually always been a little bit of part of me. I don’t know why my wife has definitely told me. Hey, you should go check that out.

And there’s I so need it. But I’m not getting I don’t I’m not getting this test. I know why you’re not.

Why? Because you don’t want to have to maybe shave your beard.

I wouldn’t ask on I won’t.

I got the nose going because i as i said the same thing. I don’t want to shave. Yeah, because if you

have the mouth one heel, yeah, height, right. Correct. Yeah, no, no.

So I’m hoping just the nose will do it. But we’ll see. Yeah. In short, though, I found out like my blood pressure was kind of going up and down at night. So that means

you’re under a little bit of stress that I guess

so. Then we’re like, well, let’s go check that. Let’s see what the sleep study would say. Yeah. And sure enough, you know, yeah, cuz

your blood pressure should be chill at night.

Yeah, literally sight, you know. So back to how am I showing up today? I’ve got a little bit of nervous energy. Because of some work stuff. It was supposed to kind of be a day off and things piled up. And it just happened. And I’m like, Oh, yeah, time to go over to Jason and Ben’s, but you know, being with you guys. This is exciting for me. Yes. I’m a redhead. Yeah, I love listening to you guys. And, and I don’t mind saying too, that my podcast would never have gotten off the ground without you guys. So

well, I got off the ground. But you you keep it going by the great content for sure. I mean it no matter. You can get a podcast going. But you know, there’s a lot of pod fade that happens. And in those and I’m glad you’re keeping going now. I was curious. That’s one of the questions I wanted to ask. Kind of jumping in. You were Do you do like every year you have this growth thing? I remember us talking about it. And like last year, or 2020 was podcast. Well, it was kind of a little bit. It was the word voice voice. Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. So are you

Yeah, so Okay, I gotta go back two years, actually, two years ago, was the word create? Okay, so I started creating this idea. I made a website for nobody. But you launched but I, but I saw I was sitting on this idea and kind of putting things out and then when the word voice came, that’s using my voice more, letting others use theirs. Yeah. And that’s where the podcast came to be.

But you’re still gonna continue it right. It’s Oh,

it’s still going on? No,

I know it is. But I just often wondered if I remember when we were on your show, or I don’t know how we talked. It was early on. You’re like, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just a year thing.

You all You’re right. I at the you know, in January, I decided to take my foot off the gas a little bit.

Okay. January of this year.

Yes. Okay. Not because it wasn’t doing well. It’s been doing great. Yeah. But, you know, you know, you already know what I’m gonna say, yeah, it takes time. It takes time takes time and and you You know, if I say family’s important, then I’ve got to make some decisions and and come up with some better systems. Yeah. So that I’m not spending all my time doing that. Right. my spare time, I should say

yes. So sure you can relate.

Yeah, I can’t I mean, with two podcasts in a production company, it it. It takes some time. And I like the word you brought up the systems because I don’t really have them. They’re all in my head. But sometimes that gets clouded. And so then I’m like, wasting so much time that I don’t need to if I just had a system.


yeah, you got it. Yeah.

So when you say you take your foot off the gas, are you just just not recording as much? Or? Well, I’m

still recording one Saturday a month, and I kind of stalking them. Okay. But I am on purpose. not putting them all out once every week. You know, I’m instead. Maybe every other occasional bonus one.

Did you? Just this is completely behind the curtains. But that’s cool. Did you let your audience know that you were going to did? Yes. So

I can listen to that particular wall. Yeah, because it was pretty much the end of the year. Episode. So it was the final episode of last year. Okay. That was my goal. An episode every week. I said, I made it. Here’s what’s going on. Okay, perfect. So now that’s good. And it’s

my wife all gone fine. My wife isn’t really into podcasts now to listening. And she’s like, she’s had a couple of shows that they just ghosted or, like they just stopped recording like, no, so weird.

Yeah. Oh, you mean? Oh, I just stopped no closure,

no closure.

I see what you’re saying. Yeah. So

who knows? They may have had a fight or whatever. But like, whoever owns the hosting on that at least put a text message. Yeah, right. Hey, we’re done now. Like,

she really likes a five minute message, right? Hey, guys, here’s what’s up. I

mean, you’re so bad that you can’t even like let your fans know that. Even if it’s two people that listen


you just ghosted them.

Yeah, anyways, wow. Well, tonight, we are going to spend some time in the faith and of our podcast. In the the Genesis. The genesis of this conversation really came out of an episode that Joe did. One of his guests had a story about. I don’t even know if deconstructing is the right word, maybe just leaving the Christian faith. And Joe also has a similar story. And he had callers kind of chime in and share their stories. And I happened to listen to that episode as I was taking a personal retreat, which I would say was guided in large part by my faith. So it was like a kind of an ironic moment for me to be listening to a podcast about leaving the Christian faith, as I’m purposely spending time engaging in my own.

Trust me, it’s odd for me today on Good Friday. Yeah, addressing this topic, irony.

The irony? Yes.

Exactly. of that. Yeah. So I’m just gonna throw it over to you and just give you a chance to, I mean, don’t need to tell us the entire story, but just a snapshot overview of what has your faith journey look like? that’s a that’s a big one.

There’s a lot of chapters to that one. But I will say thanks for inviting me, because How often have I been asked about that? hardly at all.

Yeah, hardly. It’s uncomfortable, right?

Yeah. No one wants that. You know, I mean, people are a lot of times encouraged to share their testimony.

Right. Yeah. But the good part,

but what if testimony means something different? Yeah. You know what I mean, so, but but in short, I guess if I had to, like, encapsulate it. I’ve always been a seeker. I’ve always been wondering, and I’ve just come to the conclusion for me that, um, you know, I guess if I had to be put into a camp or a label. Yeah, like that agnostic atheist. But it was a long way getting there. Yeah. Long time. Interesting. Yeah.

Did you happen to listen to the episode with? It’s long as hell? I

know. I did. You did? Listen to it. What was the guy’s name?

Dave. And then Mike. Yes,

I heard both. In fact, I think Dave was the earlier one, right.

Yeah. But we actually had them both on together later on. Okay. Can we just ago and we talked about, is this a scam? You know what?

I did hear that? Yeah. Yeah. It went all over the place.

It did. It was. It was great, though.

Yeah. But I remember. Yeah, I remember listening to both separately, I believe. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

So where as you grew up, did you grow up in the church life?

Did your parents go to church, those kinds of my parents? No, I would not consider me growing up in a believer. Household Okay, though I believe my parents did go. They tried Catholicism for a little bit. In fact, I guess I was baptized. I didn’t realize that till later. Oh, I don’t remember any of that. Yeah, I remember any of that at all. By the time I was starting to grow up, I’m the fifth of five by 13 minutes. If you can follow that, brother. You know, we didn’t go to church. Now, where did I go to church though? I went where my friends were. Okay, so sometimes that meant their Reformed Church. I’m thinking of another set of twins I grew up with and I would say I learned a lot from that. And then during high school, I sang in a Catholic church choir. Oh, really? Wow. Why? Because my friends were there. Right. So there’s been a lot of like, little segments where I’ve been exposed to different spiritual paths, I guess. Right? For sure. Okay.

Yeah. Now into adulthood. Were you part of a church you in Judea? At some point? Yeah.

Yeah. You know, we went to a Methodist Church, okay. And at the time, too, we were thinking about adopting through Bethany Christian services. So I remember thinking, like, very go to church. Before we do all those. Yes. That studies and all that stuff. And, and I, I want to say I was very sincere. And because again, remember, I always said, I’m always been a searcher. Yeah. seeker and, and that. So I’ve always wondered, for sure. But I, I want to go back even further. One of my first memories was that an apartment complex was an elementary school, okay. And what I remember, is a bus coming by with candy.

Oh, boy, come

to our church, come to art. And I went in, and I grabbed the candy bar, and I went to the back of the bus and I went to wherever and then I came back, and I was dropped off. And I don’t, I was, well, I don’t I don’t remember asking them. But then again, it was so long ago, maybe I ran in and said, Hey, I’m going to get gas today. But back in the day, I’ll be back before dark. That’s pretty much it. Yeah. And I was dying young, but had a lot of freedom. Or chaos. However you


So but that’s that’s kind of what I think of. I also remember a kid named Sean, whose dad died suddenly. And his reaction was, well, we’re having a party, because he got to go first. We’ll see him soon. And I remember even back then, as a young kid going, do your dad just? Yeah. That’s pretty

cool. For a young kid. The

Yeah, think about that. Well, my mom said that he got to go first. And I mean, that’s, I guess that’s a positive way to look at if that’s what you believe. But I, I was a little floored. There was a part of me that thought, again, I hope I don’t offend people in this whole conversation on So, but there’s a part of me that when I when I look at Ned Flanders, you know, I think that’s it was that kind of family where it seems so. I don’t know if the word oblivious is the right word. Probably not that. But just and I’m a positive guy. Yeah, I really am. But you know, that kind of like everything. Everything’s fine.

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, it’s okay. This, you know, Timmy just got ran over by a dump truck. I mean, it’s okay. Everything’s fine.

Well, it’s not so. So that’s what I mean by many chapters, you know? And I know that’s kind of like early on. So back, back to your original question. Oh,

that’s fine. Yeah. Whoa.

I heard you say it like adulthood. Oh, I know. Yeah. We’re talking about when did he start attending a church? Yo, yo, you know, and that’s the first church and, um, well, the second church was the first church that I became a member. Okay. Yeah. And also where you stand up and say, Sure, I believe all this and I tried to give money and I promised to volunteer and all of that. And you know what, I took it seriously. I really did.

I feel like that’s your, your personality, though. Whatever you do, you’re when you commit to it, you’re, you’re going to do what? You don’t want to have to do


Right. It’s true. You want to want to do it. Yeah.

You wanna wanna wanna,

you wanna wanna wanna want to do it.

So tell us a little bit about that. What was it like, being engaged in the faith?

You know, I went to a guy’s retreat, which was pretty impactful. If you’ve ever heard of john Eldridge Wild at Heart. And it was there was a lot of really impacting concepts in that and of course, also a bunch of guys on a weekend hanging out doing ropes, courses, and all of that. I mean, there’s I was all over that. That was Yeah, adventure, man. I love adventure. But at the same time, I never really felt there was a lot of depth at the church I was and I’m not going to name the church, but

that’s fine.

But then I always considered that maybe it’s me because they’re getting plenty of people up. Yeah. I mean, they’re they’re drawing a lot of people, but when I see on Christmas Eve, light up drumsticks for effect, it just for me, I’m like, this is less about it.

So that you didn’t like the rock band aspect of

I love music. Yeah, I love music. But again, I kept thinking there’s something wrong with me that it seemed surfacey and it seemed entertainment, and it seemed we’ve got coffee for you. And you guys just sit back and in and consume what we’ve got for you.

But isn’t every church like that? I mean, huh? No. Yeah, I

think it is. To some extent, the guy’s got to worry about getting people in the door. Right. And I

go to a church tonight that and i that i love in the in they seem opening but you still no one’s ever come up to me. Right and been you know what I mean? Like, I feel like it’s still No, okay, I take that back are during the COVID our elders would text us and check in and everything. But I don’t know. I think every church is like that. Just kind of surfacey I mean, not that say they don’t walk the walk. But I don’t know. I kind of agree with you a little bit. But Ben does. Oh,

and when when you know, I know that as a desire of many churches is to create authentic community. Yeah, I know, the desire is there. And I know many people who are I’m like, that is a person who’s walking the walk, right? But there was just some like, this is gonna be a weird story. Okay, probably

won’t. But

there was a time where there were no greeters. And there were no. In the usual services weren’t being provided, and you walk in and the lighting is not going. And then the whole the whole shtick was see what happens when we don’t have volunteers. But the thing for me, it wasn’t a shame thing. For me, it was more of a, I was actually finally excited to be there. Like, wow, this is feeling this is great. Oh, shoot, really? To me, it was the other way. But then again, I always go back and reflect back. Or maybe it’s my problem, because there’s plenty of people here. Hmm, you know what I mean? So but that was kind of like a pivot point for me of i don’t i don’t know if this is it? Yeah. Make sense. At least from a church standpoint? Yeah. I don’t know if a big church is where I need to be. So

in general, you’re not saying that Jesus, isn’t it? You’re just saying the church the way it’s presented in America? Currently? Is not it for you?

Well, you know, the back then, no, it wasn’t the Jesus thing. I was still trying to figure that out. Yeah. You know, these days. I, you know, I, there’s a lot that I appreciate about the story. Yeah, of course. But I do see it more as a fable. I do see it more as a do I believe there was a Jesus? I think so. I think so. But I don’t know how much credibility at least from my point of view,

okay, then I this is what I always ask for people this like, so how did this get made? This is this inside of this body is the most unique thing that is incredible. It’s incredible. And the brain, they can’t even figure that out. Like, how did that happen?

I don’t know. Well,

but when I look at like the eons, and eons and eons of history, how long have humans been around? So I wonder if, well, who put that dinosaur perfectly together? and for what purpose? Yeah, who put, you know, you can look at really any species out there. beetles, insects, and you’re like, wow, they’re

the some of the things that these little things do. And you read up on them. You’re like, yeah, nuts, right. It’s

nuts. But I, I don’t necessarily assign that though, to to somebody tinkering. And going, this would be a really cool experiment. And we should try that and all that’d be great. And I just don’t see it that way. Hmm.

Yeah. But I often than I asked, how do you how did it come to fruition? You’re just gonna say you don’t know.

Pretty much. It’s not my expertise. I don’t know. Yeah. But I mean, I think about all the species that have come before us right off to

Yeah, like the dinosaurs,

like the dinosaurs. Or we would never woke up in space. You know, how tiny Earth is Right, right. And then we look at humanity and how tiny that is compared to everything that’s been on the earth. I don’t know it to me it I don’t see it as and so then God decided in the last minute. Let’s Let’s make humanity

I totally get it. It’s weird. Like my question into, like, I would say I’m more skeptic than Ben is, I think about it all the time. But then I often go back to like wall, this didn’t just evolve or when people say the Big Bang or whatever like that, I’m just like, there’s no way. Like, look how sophisticated

we are. I don’t understand. I don’t either, but I also don’t assign it then well, because I don’t understand it. There must be like I and I don’t know if I assign it to a being or a power. Yeah, or the force. Now. I’m not gonna go that far. But I’m sure some people do see it that way. Yeah, you know, I, I don’t know if that made sense.

I like I like what you said about the tinkering. I don’t think God I don’t if I agree, there’s something that made I believe that something made this whether it’s the God or a God, but I don’t I agree. I feel like it’s kind of weird that like, he’s like, RM, right. And this beetle, this beetles gonna do this. He’s gonna beat the shit out of this honey bee when he gets mad. Like, the tinkering

of that sounds like a video game or something. Right? It’s just

I don’t I feel like that’s weird, too.

I know there’s a bigger, like, it’s, I don’t. It’s like energy. Right? It’s energy. But I and I don’t even want again, I don’t want to dismiss somebody beliefs by saying it’s a tinkerer or something. I

always say what? Yeah, like that.

There’s room for that. It’s okay. Good. I’m

glad to hear that. Yeah, we I, whatever I want to say saying, I don’t know. Yeah,

I also okay, saying, I don’t believe from a Christianity standpoint, I don’t consider myself a Christian at this point.

Yeah. Yeah. Okay, fair enough. Now, one thing that I was thinking about is you were talking about how you don’t necessarily Place your faith in the story of Jesus or in the Creator God. I think that takes more faith, to not put it somewhere than it does to put it in the Christian faith or any faith. And I guess what I’m getting at is I can’t imagine not having my answers found in my faith. Yeah. And so to be able to hold the unknown and to be able to say, I’m not sure. I think that takes even more faith and

yeah, a person to say but are you unsure and don’t care? Are you unsure I am more settled and not knowing the answers I guess is what I’m that’s fair. I feel like if I have faith in something, it is more in. I see it as an acronym. And I know people hate accurate I love God. Yes, I think gratefulness, optimism and determination. So gratefulness, gratefulness means, I’m grateful for what I’ve been through. I’ve been through some stuff. Yeah. I’m also grateful for what I have. optimistic meaning have boy and that’s a choice sometimes isn’t that optimistic for the future, despite of what I see around me, sometimes optimism is a choice. and determination for me just means whatever I want for the future, I’ve got to be determined to make to achieve it in my own power, I suppose. Right? You know, or in bringing the right people around me. I also believe in Ah, a w. e. Adventure, meaning go take a risk. Yeah, that’s where the good stuff is. Part of my adventure is not knowing the answer. Hmm. And that’s I almost in a lot of ways I feel more spiritual now than I ever have. Interesting, you know, because I’m, and then w means world is a lot bigger than me. Yep. It’s learning about people who didn’t even grow up like I did. I have met some of those of the Muslim faith that I consider much more Christian than a lot of the Christians.

Oh 100%

you know, I totally agree that I don’t have that scenario in my life. But I believe that that is true. And and I think part of that worldliness is is looking at other people who are different going to places that just knowing people who didn’t grow up like I did, too.

Yeah, you bring out the the Muslim thing I talked to Megan about my wife after the episode with Dave and Mike. And I thought what about all those people that don’t believe in Christianity as God just like, peace out? You’re dead? Like whole nation? sia, yeah. Like, that seems like a weird God to me that he’s like,

as a very well, sorry. Yeah, it’s very weird to me. And the fact that you know, I think I’ve even like my parents. I remember shedding many tears over my parents thinking they’re going to hell. And then we go on, wait a minute, because and now today, because I can’t understand it that way. My assignment now is an eternal fiery furnace. Hmm, that doesn’t sit right with me. And I I don’t know how there are. There are many people in our history that have never heard of the Christian faith.

right and right, why is it not? That’s not fair to them. Exactly.

Yeah. And that’s what

makes me feel like there’s no way God would do that. Like, actually Dave brought bringing that up. He brought it up. I’m just like, that’s so true. Like, he’s just gonna smoke them because they’ve never heard of Christianity. Right? Like, that seems unfair.

I do have to finish the acronym. Okay, sorry, that was empathy. And oh, that’s which I think we’re all in this table. We? Yeah, I think that’s partly why you do your podcast, right is is understanding where others come from. And so that’s, I guess, when I think of faith, I don’t I don’t hear faith as much as spiritual to me, and and spiritual. I feel again, back to saying, I feel more spiritual today than I ever have. Because I feel like I’m actually thinking about it more. Am I? I’ve always been a seeker. Yeah, I’ve been thinking about it a lot. But one thing I haven’t done is speak. Okay. What you know, so this is an opportunity when you brought me here today, okay. Just to be okay. With what I think, yeah. Bryce in the past, I’ve just been silent and filtered. And I didn’t want I don’t want to challenge people number. And I don’t even see this as a challenging mom. It’s just more of a Hey, this is where I’m at. Yeah, and I’m okay with where you’re at. Yeah, yeah.

So in your household, your wife, Judy. Right. Yeah. And then Danny? Yes. Is your son. Any faith with them? I mean, obviously the kid probably no, just because, or maybe he’s going with friends.

I say, I love this. I, today, I were in an interfaith marriage. So I grew up in a Christian household. Okay. And she still is, she consider herself herself Christian. Okay. We’re both. I said this recently to another friend. I said, we’re fine being interfaith. And I was like, maybe that’s me talk. Yeah.

Talk to your wife.

Yeah, no one. And she knows where I stand now. And part of the hiddenness for years. And I mean, several years, I, I felt like I couldn’t voice any of that. Yeah. Because that means what could that mean for our marriage? What could that mean for and, and so it’s, it’s many times just been easier. The path of least resistance is just

that uncomfortable conversation and

just go with the flow with what everyone else is doing. I

think it’s more impactful when you’re dating. And you’re both like, one’s one way and one the other. I’m like, this can be a problem. Like, it’s not that it can’t work. But yeah, we

did the premarital counseling, through through her hometown, you know, the church there. So, and again, there, there are a lot, I’m, what I’m not doing is I’m not throwing it out, because they’re, they’re really great lessons to learn from a variety of spiritual backgrounds. There’s also some Bologna and a lot of spiritual backgrounds. And so that’s part of the adventure is a responsible, true or responsible search for truth and meaning, that is a part of that. And not just

why things happen. Even if you are a Christian, you shouldn’t use you should be response, I would hope to because just getting comfortable in the faith or in church is not. I don’t think that’s what God wants anyways,

you can get so passive there, right? Yeah.

Yeah, including me, like, I go to church, and then I go home. And then, you know, a day later, I’m like, I don’t know, I feel like I forget it. And then

we know that’s one way we connect, though, because what I think about is how, because even back when I did consider myself a Christian, it was, I want to be more true to God, I want to and I felt I fail sometimes of those great acronym words, I just said, there are times I fail and being grateful. There’s times I fail and not being determined enough. So I’m going to go back to it. And all right, what what am I do differently next time? Yeah, you know, that’s a part of the continuing to grow. Mm hmm.

Did you ever with the with the church? Did you ever have a bad experience with people that might have been in the church that didn’t act accordingly that you thought they should? Was?

Did you ever have I wish I had this big of a burden. I feel like everyone does. So I thought, well, let’s just say I’ve talked to many, many people, including pastors that are no longer pastors. Yep. That that has happened. Big time. And I’ve heard I’ve really digested those stories. I mean, I remember one of my first memories. This might make you laugh. So I was at my friend’s church, and you know, I already feel like a heathen because I don’t you know, yeah, as the season right, are running around here, right. And we were doing a Sunday school thing and there was a quiz show, right? A different biblical question.

They have a hot seat. It was something like that, like you got zapped if you got it wrong or an actual zap.

Well, it wasn’t. Early

youth ministry Really?

Oh, yeah. Young Life stuff.

The reason why I thought hot seat is I know you were in the seat to answer and if you get it wrong you switch to the next person. Oh, it wasn’t an actual shock. But I remember being incredibly embarrassed because because you didn’t know. Well, number one, I don’t have the biblical knowledge. Right, right. But secondly, the woman who is running, I can still see her face. She goes true or false. Mary was a virgin. So here’s my head. Pain. She gave birth to somebody.

Yeah, logically. Yeah, I’m

logically processing this and going. Well, no, false. She’s had to have done it. Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking. So I say false. And her look of disgust. Just get out of my way is wrong with you. That is incorrect. I don’t know what you’re trying to pull here. But go sit over there. Right. And I, I was not I wasn’t going false. I just was like, Oh, yeah, false. And that’s how I was treated. You know, so that that’s funny. I mean, even thought of that for decades, man. Thanks. You bet. You made me flashback. You’re like, was there a time that you were alright. But beyond that? No. I mean, there was. Yes. Have I seen hypocrites? Yes, they’re everywhere.

Right? So not just in the church

exactly there. But in terms of real, I have seen mistreatment, or I have heard people say one thing, except in with those people. are, you know, I have definitely seen plenty of that. But I can’t, I’m not going to pinpoint and say there was a falling of a pastor that I knew or with though I do know of some but in my eyes, no, it doesn’t really. It wasn’t a big thing for me. Yeah.

So today is Good Friday, we talked about the irony of, of having you on this show, for such a time as this. from your vantage point, I’m just curious. What is your perspective of the Easter holiday? And the the lead up to it the Good Friday, the Monday Thursday of the Lent, we live in a very aware system society in West Michigan. You know, people are kind of tuned in to this, whether or not they believe in it. They’re aware of it. So I’m just curious from your perspective, as one who doesn’t subscribe to the Christian faith. What’s your view of this season

we find ourselves in? first memories are Easter bunnies and peeps and stuff? Oh, yeah. I remember. I started buying my mom’s some tulips around this time when I was a kid. Okay, because I thought, so for me, what does Easter mean? And then of course, I do remember the several years where it is a serious thing. And let’s nail some nails to the cross. Yeah, basically. And that’s why I feel that this dark moment, let’s, maybe what show up portion of the Passion of the Christ. So we really understand Oh, right, you know that I remember all of that as well. But you know, on the on the positive, I see this as a time of rebirth. Okay. I think, too, if you look at the history of Easter, it’s very interesting to me, because I think it’s more tied to paganism than anything.

So as Christmas,

yes, it was Christmas. But I see the I am a big seasonal person. Like in the fall. It’s kind of like going dark, you know, you know, being very introspective and, and spring rebirthing of something new. And so I see it that way. I thought that way. There’s a new rebirth.

Yeah, very cool. What’s a good way to look at it? And I think finding it is, and I think rebirth really fits well. Even from the faith perspective, the way I see Easter, it is marking the day that Jesus rose from the grave, and conquered death, like like death no longer had a hold over him. And that that’s rebirth if he asked me, and so I feel like he invites us into that same thing as well. So I think we’re on the same page. I love Easter. Even though, you know, it’s so interesting how the calendar is set up and how these pagan festivities around the moon got established. And then somehow they got into my intermingled with Christianity. And it’s just really interesting, but I think there’s definitely a lot to be said about the rebirth that happens at Spring happens at Easter. And that’s what gets me excited. It’s just that you know, it’s like things are melting away and hope I was born and there’s new life. And I love spring, except for the allergy season.

Yeah, that’s that’s the one thing, right?

Yes. That can that can die forever. Yeah. So do you have any traditions that you observe? You mentioned buying tulips for your mom? Is there anything else that you any traditions you observed?

Go get some tulips because I forgot growing up traditions this time of year. I mean, I still honor if it wasn’t a COVID year, right? Yeah, still honor. You know what, Judy’s family I know. Really love Easter. And of course, I’m gonna participate in whatever way I can there. Danny’s birth family, you know, they invite us over for Easter. And when I can go, I’m gonna go. That’s awesome. But am I thrilled to go to an Easter service? I can’t say that these days. I do actually attend church, though. It’s it’s a Unitarian Universalist Church. And many times they they base their traditions on a lot of the natural world. So that that’s the way I see that.

Is that the church that Judy goes to? She does,

okay, because, you know, it’s it’s a theologically diverse place. So you have people who are agnostic, atheist, Christian, Buddhist, pagan, that mean people who say I’m a pagan. So you have a variety there. So how does this house in the synagogue By the way, too? Oh, it is? Yeah. So you know, it’s a synagogue Saturday. It’s it’s the church on Sunday. Yeah, also as Community Church in West Michigan, and I shopped man, I shopped I went to so many churches looking for something that would kind of I don’t know, the word sad, I guess the word satisfy satisfy both Judy and I in terms of our faiths, and I kept circling back to all souls because of the way they accept people for what they bring. You heard me say earlier, responsible search for truth and meaning. I mean, that’s one of their core principles. Okay, is that we’re gonna honor that. And I’d like, well, shoot,

so what kind of like what’s a service there? Let, I’m just so curious. If it’s like, sure. Yeah. I mean, is it rock band? Is it

I would not say rock band? No, sometimes, though. They like. And again, I don’t want to use this as a brochure for a church right now.


yeah. I what I’ll tell you though, is that it’s, there is an honoring of Christian tradition there as well. So there’s a hymnal. Okay. The words might be a little different.

Oh, sure. Oh, no.

So it might be familiar tunes from like the Protestant church. Okay. But it’s been tweaked a bit to be a little bit more all encompassing. I guess. That’s strange. Yeah. But they’ve they’ve first small as we are killer music. I mean, they’ve got an oboist and a violinist and Oh, me and clarinetist. And singers and acquire and our kids choir and all of that. And again, it’s a I don’t know, I for for people who kind of want that tradition of being able to sing and that that is there. But then every now and then there’s something that you’ve never seen that a church do. Yeah.

Imagine. Yeah.

Yeah. So what would you say? He said, I can imagine I can imagine I said,

Yeah, the magic. I was like, What? I mean,

there might be magic.

In as far as like, the sermon, like, do they mention God?

they quote from the Bible sometimes. They also quote from other spiritual books, though to spiritual face.

Yeah, I actually kind of like that. Yeah, the the coating from different faiths but and they’ll they’ll make me so confused going there, though. Like, from what I know, you know what I mean, be like, huh?

Yeah. Well, I’m like every Christmas Eve, people circle around with candle and we sing Silent Night. And, you know, a lot of the Christmas carols actually come from Unitarian Universalists. Yeah, I’m interesting, too. There’s actually a really long history of Unitarian Unitarian Universalists. I mean, and I mean, back to, you know, 1600 1700s in terms of in America, wow. In fact, a lot of the founding people that you can think of many of them practice that, that. So it was, I mean, they didn’t call it you, you back, right? There was a Unitarian Church, there was a Universalist Church. There was a history there in terms of when that came together and all of that.

I think one of the major questions that Ben wants to ask I’m going to ask it for four hail boys. Is there an American flag in the church? Yes, please

enlighten us.

I don’t think so.


I’m trying to think if there is one there might be well, I don’t think so. Yeah. That’s a perfect segue into where my brain was going. So though you will find on the outside of the church, on the days of the services, you’ll find a rainbow flag, you know, you’ll find an affirming atmosphere for people of different sexualities of different really upbringings. Yeah, so there’s that honouring part of it, too.

Wow. See, I love that there’s a there’s a Lutheran Church in jennison that has that. Or maybe it was hudsonville they actually got vandalized because they had a door. That was rainbow.

Oh, yeah. Georgetown, United Methodist.

Is that what it was a Lutheran Church, but whatever. So I actually really like that. And I wish more churches would do that. As far as the LGBTQ. I feel like that’s such a hard topic. But I mean, I just look at like, God is love. Like, that’s right. I don’t think I align with a lot of the Christian faith where I’m like, God loves these people regardless, like why would you say you’re not? You can’t be part of it. I don’t think our church would ever come out and say that. Yeah.

I mean, but would your church allow an openly gay woman to be a pastor?

I don’t know.

It’s a good question. I don’t know. I don’t think it’s been presented. And it’s, you know, every church is like, if we don’t have the opportunity to talk about it, we’re not going to talk about it, but

path of least resistance. They want to take a stand on that particular there’s

definitely some a gay singer in our church. That’s a really good singer. And there’s a couple of gay people that I know, but not in leadership, as far as I know. Yeah.

Yeah. And I think, I think what’s not said sometimes speaks a lot. Yeah, that’s very true. Maybe depressed, thinking about that. speaks louder than what is spoken. And, and because I say, I’ve shopped so many churches. Yes. If I am looking for the perfect church, then I might as well just like stay at my house. Yeah.

Because the church of Joe doesn’t exist.

I don’t want that either. I mean, I want to be included, and I want to be a part of something bigger than me. Yeah, I want all of that. I just, but I want to be okay, that this if this is the way I believe, am I still can I do? Can I still serve with you? Yeah, you know, I love that, for example, our church during the year, there was a point where one month we would go to us and a god. Okay, some another month that we would go to another, another face. And they would welcome us to and we could ask any questions we wanted, you know, so there’s that’s what I mean by, you know, you were individually responsible for developing our theology in terms of this is what I believe to be true. Yeah. So

how is so when you say individual, like you, your person are responsible for that? Sure. But how can you feel guided in Yeah, in your question? Yeah, it’s backwards.

For me. I think back to the the principles of that Unitarian Church have, you know, and there’s, there’s several of them. I mean, I’ve already named a couple. But, you know, in general, yeah. There’s some core core values, core values of respect for the individual. Yeah. Great. You know, and I’ll just leave it at that

I’d be curious is, is if you were struggling with something. As a Christian, could you go to this pastor, and if you were Muslim, and you were starting to do something, could you go to this? Like, what is the pastor as far as like, what she’s Reverend she’s

Yeah. Or she? Yep. And she, the the time that I’ve been with her in terms of one on one, let’s have some coffee. I mean, that’s, that’s what she does. Okay. She’s a chaplain for hospitals. She, I mean, that just like, think of anything what a Christian pastor would do. Yeah, this is what she does.

Okay. I’m so intrigued about your church. Like, I’m like Ben roadtrip. He’s like, let’s go to the church wants to just see I don’t know. Yeah, I’m scared. I would be scared. shitless like, I give Ben so much credit because having a black daughter, he’s like, you know what, I need to engage us a little bit more just more diversity, cuz like my church. He was like, literally, I don’t think there’s a black person. I go there. Like every time I go there.

I don’t think there is I swear that. To be frank that that was definitely one of the things that bothered me as well. Yeah. Yeah. Growing up of we’re, we’re all very similar people following each other. Yeah. And that bothered me. And and it’s also not a one time deal to I’m going to go to the city. Yeah, I do this one thing. I say I’ve done

it. Yeah. Mission.

Yeah. Oh, man. I’ve read some books about mission trips that how popular is it by the way? How popular is it to question a mission trip?

Okay, I gotta I gotta slow though. I What do you mean like mission trips like people Just go

going going to what’s wrong with that?

I loved when I saw this, huh. They’re self serving they can be they do more benefit for those who go than those who are still living in the places that you’re going to serve.

But so what do you what? What? What do you consider that? What’s the definition of benefit for that person?

Are you no matter?

What’s in it is I feel good. I

feel good when I get bought to Yeah,

yeah, right. But what I’m saying is the the feeling of satisfaction of I just did something really good. Yay, me. Yeah, God, yeah, a church, we feel that more than the people that we’re actually going to serve. And in fact, sometimes the idea of, of sending groups of people to these, these places, it becomes in a toxic environment to where the recipients kind of just plan on it. And instead of helping them move from their current situation of, of being poor, or of being disenfranchised, it’s almost like this culture of mission trips enables them to stay there, because their short term needs are going to be met, the Christians are going to be happy, and the recipients are going to be happy. But has their life really changed? Or did they just receive a token expression of benevolence? Are we really moving people towards growth and development and wholeness and everything else? Or are we just every year, sending a youth group to Mexico to build more huts?

First of all, today’s you’re going to piss a lot of people off? And I can almost guarantee Please, I’m

glad No,

I’m glad that you brought it up. I agree in some situations where you’re not really teaching them how to help themselves, if they’re just like, expecting out here come the old green goes down to here and to give us a bunch of money and stuff like that. But I think it all depends on the situation like it does. When I when I mission trips, we went to orphanages, you know what I mean? So like, they don’t have they can’t, you know, what are they gonna do learn how to, you know, put bricks down? I mean, their two year olds, you know what I mean? So in that situation, but,

but I guess what I’m concerned more about is not necessarily the building of physical needs, but that orphanage was the expression of love just building buildings? Or are you somehow providing a longevity of service or something that’s helping them continue to grow and thrive? building buildings is great. But at the same time, what work is being done to invest in the organization? Are you who’s training the leadership who’s Yeah, getting to know the culture of where they are? Because one of the biggest red flags I see in mission work is the fact that we American gringos think that we’ve got it all figured out, and we’re gonna go down to Mexico, we’re gonna teach them how to do VBS that works in our culture. Their translator can’t even keep up. And it means nothing to them. It’s like, we think we’re the shit of the church. And like, you got to do things our way as American church. And then we go down to Mexico, or we go to Costa Rica, or Billy’s or any of these places. And we show up as if we are it. Like, we’ve got the answer. We got the answer. That’s

how Americans are anyways, we go to other countries, and

we invade them all the time. Well, and and certainly when I when I see things like your your place now has a Well, yeah, incredible. Yeah. When I and and yes, when I see a structure bill of now you have a place to meet for education. Yeah, that that warms my heart for sure. And I think there’s a difference between cynicism and skepticism. So the skeptic in me would be like, was that the best use of money? Yeah, right. The skeptic in me would be like, when I think about like, do we really want to take pictures of this right now? You know, I mean, like, the selfies and all that kind of Yeah. So that’s the skeptical side of me. I don’t want to it’s not all or nothing. It’s not like mission trips are terrible. No, that would be a bad position to take.

Yeah, I feel like I feel like Ben that you’ve had a bad experience with missions. But But I wait. Hi,

Ben. I, I mean, I overlap with you a lot in terms of what I’ve seen and what I’ve read.

Yes, I’ve,

yeah, I’ve read. I’ve read some pretty, pretty crazy things in terms of what people have done with money and how it becomes more of a business and more of a

Oh, no, there’s going to be shady stuff with all that. I mean, I totally get it. I agree a lot with you. There’s some I mean, I think going down and doing VBS for that seems like a waste of money. I, you can still witness to them. But like, do something like organize, like, build a building, I think that’s more important, or maintenance on the building is more important than teaching the VBS to these little kids. They’re just trying to survive, right? I mean, you bring it back to my experience with the orphanage

gift of where they can do something in the long term is awesome. Yeah. I also wonder, though, to why don’t we know our neighbors very well? Yeah,

I mean, in general,

I mean, in our own neighborhood.


What’s easier, go farflung somewhere for a weekend and I’ve done something or? No, what’s my lifestyle?

Dude, that’s such a good point.

You know, and that’s what I’m more interested in, in terms of and, and could I give more, could I do more? Absolutely. I could, but I just think more in terms of the FBI helping here and Invitational in my own home. Yeah. Let alone at a church. Right. You know, have I gotten to know people who are different for me? That’s, that’s what I mean by world and empathy and, and risk? Yeah, more risks.

It’s more risky. To get to know your neighbor and to build a relationship than it is to go on a that’s so true. Yes.

And hey, and I’m not saying I got it made, because all I know, it’s the same thing in my neighborhood. Yeah. Especially when I’m like, oh, shoot, that neighbor does not think like I do. And I right. Oh, you know, yeah. You know, this was the first and I’m not going to talk politics right now. But this is the first time we put a sign in our yard. You, that was a huge risk, because I’m like, I’m about to alienate a bunch of people, right.

Anyway, I know what sign you put in your yard.

Yeah, you never know. Yeah,

right. So I guess, where

do we go from here? Bang, you’re the

two diverging directions that I want to go.

You want to bash on missions? We got that check to make sure we put that in the title.

Yeah, no kidding. No. I guess I want to camp out a little bit longer on the whole idea of America and Christianity, because I feel like America has its own version of Christian that is, frankly, nothing like Christ. As far as what I what I know and believe of Jesus Christ. I feel like we so often associate Christianity with this idea of Republican GOP supporting whatever. And it frustrates me to no end. And I think a lot of people and I’m not saying you, but I think a lot of people have left the church because there was such a marriage of, of churchianity, and politics and Americanism and all of that. I feel like America has done a bigger disservice to the church than then being of service of furthering the mission of the church. I don’t know, I feel like America gets a lot of the church idea wrong. And I think that creates a lot of hurdles for a lot of people.

I like how you said the word marrying.

Ben hates America.


let me let me ask it to this way. What does it mean to love America? What does it mean to be a patriot?

Well, that’s what does that is a triggering word right now a patriot. But

a lot of times one side will accuse the other of being unpatriotic when they’re just being as patriotic as you are. It’s just that there. They have different believers seeing patriot differently. Yes, there’s they’re saying all Americans are they’re saying, you know, so I the the labels that get thrown around I think is Christian and patriot married. You know, is is keep in mind, I have taught most of my career at a district of 72 different countries represented. Wow. I would say it’s a very patriotic place. Yeah. You know, it’s speaking of flags, you go to the lobby of Kentwood High School, and you see all the flags of the different countries. That mean, we’re not patriotic. No, but you hear what I’m saying? Yeah, in terms of ban whether what you’re saying is that, you know, it’s American and Christian does not necessarily that it’s not they’re not married together.

Well, it’s it’s really stupid because yeah, just to put in perspective, you know, the, the Christianity always gets thrown on the right side, right, just just for an example like die. Donald Trump republican Christianity and then the Democrats, no Christianity, but Biden is way more Christian than Donald Trump was. And he’s a democrat. So it’s like, it’s just I think what Ben does, you

know, I don’t know, I’m Catholic. I don’t I don’t know what he’s got like, but back to what Ben saying. You know, and in terms of the disservice, I think there’s a lot of Fallout now. Yeah. And it’s not just because the pandemic paused church.

No, yeah. No, I

think it’s the the polarization of this past year. Yes. It’s called causing a fallout in the church. You saw the article in the last year week. I mean, about for all for the first time in our country’s history, there’s less than 50% that yes, the church I read that too. Yeah. But I but frankly, I think that trend was actually happening before it was

this just brought it to the surface. Yeah.

And that, so when you say, disservice, that’s what it makes me think of,

yeah, I’m, I’m mad. And, and it’s come out many times, but I’m mad at the church in America, like I just, I don’t even know if it’s a righteous anger. But I’m just mad. I’m mad that Christians in America have co opted something so beautiful and life giving and freeing and redemptive, and they’ve taken it and turn it into this one sided. Either you’re in or you’re out. And if you’re out, there’s no hope for you. And if you like, there’s no room for you at the table. It’s like, that is not what I see in Scripture. And that is not the faith that I’ve given my life to. So I often feel mad and alone, maybe less alone. I mean, there’s moments where the, the loneliness feels really strong, perhaps most when I’m with, you know, my family of origin, who would very readily identify with the christian right movement. And feeling less and less alone, but the Mad just doesn’t go away. It’s just

give me You’re just mad that you’re either in or out. Like, there’s no way I guess I’m trying to I’m mad that

Christianity has become something so far from what it was intended to be when Christ established the church, not just including politics, you saying just in general? Yeah. In practice, and in how? Yeah, we understand church based on our experience as Americans, and we’re so narrow minded. And

yeah, ask you this. What’s it mean to be bold? And our faith?

To be bold, I would say is to be like, Jesus. I mean, he didn’t pull any punches.

I mean, that’s another word that I think is the definitions weird, because, you know, go on, tick tock, and you’ll see some bold Christians. Were in their mind. Bold means to yell louder, right? Or to make my point, just perfect.

You know, what I think a bold Christian is, is going up to your neighbors and say, Hey, do you know Jesus Christ? So

maybe we need a patriot and bold differently? Yeah, well, we sometimes think

I think a bold Christian is someone who’s willing to, to own the fact that maybe we’ve messed this up. I think it takes that’d be bold, wouldn’t it? Yeah, it takes boldness to say, hold up a second. I don’t think this is right. Instead of just going with the flow.

So that’s tough to do, though, especially like if you’re in some sort of leadership role at the church, and you’re going to be bold and your definition of that. They’re going to be like, yeah, we’re good. Have a good day. ya know what I mean? Like you can walk out, but it’s really not going to do anything. And

speaking of timing, so my next episode on the read choice podcast, which probably an interesting title right there, right choice. Yeah.

All right.

I was gonna have it come out this week. And then I thought, this is a 35 plus year, Pastor that has left the faith. Is that the time to put this episode out, but that was honoring Easter, is that. So I deliberately said, Hey, his name’s Dave Warnock. Hey, Dave, I’m gonna wait another two weeks. Like even even my wife was, I mean, she would have said, Fine, do what you want. Yeah. I remember her going. Do you really need

Jesus in the face?

I don’t really, you know, again, let’s honor. Honor what this time means. Yeah, people and, and I just think it there’s a right way to be bold and there’s a real bad way to be bold, right? Yeah,

I would agree with that. So you’ve mentioned your wife and you mentioned honoring other’s faith and being sensitive to that. So what was your maybe not your family’s but your wife’s family? How did they react when this shift away from Christianity took place? or What does that dynamic look like?

It’s all pretty fresh man. You know, cuz it’s, you know, that episode you heard. I don’t know how long ago was now maybe a month or two ago. That that was I consider to be a probably my first public time of acknowledging, really, even though it’s been that way for years,

right. That’s pretty fresh as far as Yeah.

And I was out there. I mean, I disclosed my doubts and questions for just a very select few people. Sure. So I don’t know. I don’t know.

Yeah. So you don’t know what they think. You

haven’t I have suspicions, but I don’t want to make assumptions.

Right? Come on.

Just say it for the most and and maybe I should not just talk family but about friendships. Yeah. Because there’s relationship. There’s plenty of relationships I have with people who are definitely of the Christian faith that we’re probably surprised to hear that. Or, you know, I know that as I was starting to disclose there were definitely some people who ghosted me really, oh, yeah, that sucks. But I also as being empathetic. You know, I understand what it’s like to not know what to say. So I don’t want to like, totally disregard it. But it is weird. But

ghosting is weird regardless. Like, why can’t people be friends with people that don’t really believe the same thing? I don’t understand. I

pray for you. Okay.

Oh, man,

again, it goes back to a little bit of what I believe sometimes in terms of prayers, just not I mean, do I do we want to open up that can I mean, I don’t think so. Work? You get the point. Yeah, I was saying just now. Yeah, I’ll just leave it at that.

Yeah. That could be in a whole episode. Yeah. Self.

Yeah. Suffice it to say prayer without action is meaningless.

Yeah. So and, and people see it.

Yes. It? Absolutely. Yep. One of the things that I wanted to touch on, because I think, unfortunately, has become so inherent with the faith is this idea of shame. That you know, if you have this unconfessed sin, or if you’ve got you know, people, a lot of Christians walk around with a lot of shame, a lot of guilt, a lot of I messed up. And I think, unfortunately, a lot of that comes from the top and it’s taught like, it’s almost as if you should feel this overwhelming, overwhelming sense of guilt and shame,

because someone had to die for it. So I’m actually

building up to exactly like, Christ died for that. So you better feel bad about it. And I feel like so many people walk around. And again, here’s a bold statement, but I think the church in America Does, does more to interrupt the mental health of its congregants than it does to help the mental health of its congregants. Again, it’s bold, brash statement, but it’s kind of where I’m at. So I guess my question to you in regards to that is how do we, how do we move away from that? Like, how do we? I don’t know, what’s the way forward from a shame based idea of God?

Dang, I don’t know.

Don’t you think though, like, you’re saying the church, that’s their go to tool?

I can I mean, like, how

did they present that? Because like, I go to church, so I don’t think my pastors ever shamed me to do anything. I don’t carry that around. Sure. But clearly, you must. There was,

yes. I’m like, how

does the church initiate that? Like, how do you feel like they shame? You know what I mean? Yeah, I feel like there’s no nothing in scripture that says that you have to be that way.

Well, you’ve got all this purity culture, and I went to Cornerstone and that was a mistake.

Mike’s gonna kill me.

Right. So it’s funny, I meant to share a tic Tock video, but somehow I shared the same one twice, but I changed the caption of it. So the one I intended to share on threads didn’t get shared. Oh, but it was it was this whole idea of as a Christian, the author said, whenever somebody in the church said, hey, let’s get coffee. He said, I had immediate gut. Oh, like you were in trouble. Yes. That’s what I’m talking about. And I’m

here for you. Guess spell that out a little bit? Yeah. So more coffee is shameful helped me out.

So when he went on to say in this Tick Tock and I’ll share the link this week, because it’s it’s really good. He said, getting Chris you’re getting coffee with a Christian or somebody from the church quickly became a Hey, I noticed that you and so and so have been getting pretty close. Is she a Christian? Is she have the faith? Oh

gosh, I would slap some somebody in the face if they said

or, or Hey, how’s your walk going? Like? Are you reading your Bible? Or? Or? Or are you looking at porn and just like all this stuff, and I’ve been there, that’s a thing that has happened. A lot of well meaning people. Well, meaning I don’t know what that’s well meaning to them in their state of how do I say brainwashed without saying brainwash, I know that was gonna say that. But in their

status, they’re under accountability. That’s where they would come from, right? They would say, Hey, I’m your friend. And that’s why I’m holding you accountable. Right?

What are your friend? I mean, like, Ben said that to me, I would take it as the friendship. But if some my elder like I said earlier, that text, you know, randomly would tax it and check in if they said that to me, like on the other end of the tax. I’d be like, please don’t ever text me again. Like I literally would write that like, yeah, that’s not your place. Like, that’s his place. Like, that’s not the right.

The right to say that earned thing. And I think so many in the church, just assume that they have that. Right. Yeah. So that’s where a lot of the shame comes from, is this idea of accountability about

the amount of people that have been cut off from church because of a divorce, for example,

or having sex before

they were made? Or any of any of it? Right. any of it? Yeah. That you don’t meet the standard.


And again, whether it’s literally sad, which sometimes it actually is literally said you’re more read between the lines,

correct? Yeah. Right. To memories come to mind for me. I’ll share them real quick. So there was a an adopted son of a very dedicated church going couple. He burned down the shed the storage shed behind church. I don’t know why. But it happened. The church’s way of dealing it. I feel like they got it half right. But then it didn’t go much farther. They had a an evening service, where they brought this young man to the front of the church.

Nope, already wrong. Already wrong. He

acknowledged that it was wrong. And he apologized. And then the church was invited to come forward and just form a line. And that sounds horrible, horrible and COVID contacts, but I know it’s line up and shake his hand or give him a hug and just say you’re forgiven. That was beautiful. But it stopped short. Because beyond that, that kid after that service, was no longer no longer did he feel connected to the church, he stopped coming to youth group because he was embarrassed.

Yeah, what he did. That’s what I said, bring him up is like, you’re wrong, that if that’s not the wrong part, I don’t know what is like,

yeah, don’t. And similarly, I remember very well, two girls that were like junior senior in high school in the youth group. They ended up having sex before marriage and got pregnant. And both of them on a Sunday night service, went to the front of the church and spoke from the pulpit said, We messed up and we’re sorry. And similar. We had a long line of hugs and all night,

I think of the verse that addresses that. Right. Isn’t there a verse that says publicly acknowledged something? Something something? Yeah, yeah, like that.


So again, trying to take literal, biblical? Well,

I think it’s okay, if the person that was quote unquote, at fault, does it free will. But yeah, I

don’t think they were I think it was pretty coursed. Because that’s what I mean at all. I actually know, one of the girls I think, really did it with the right heart, and she continued to stay plugged into the church, and I think she is to this day, but the other girl, I never saw her again, after that service. I would never go back either. And the

parents for making her do that too. Right. That’s just my opinion.

So that’s where I’m coming at with that question. The shame the we are, you know,

I certainly had a lot of shame for saying false instead of true.

Sure, you did marry her? No kidding.

No. What was that, by the way? I don’t know. I was Elementary, probably as it was, maybe Middle School.

You know, when you were telling that story. I could literally like, see the church and see that lady how you described it. I was just like, Oh my gosh, that would be a A moment where I would never go back after that, that would have because that’s that shame. She basically shamed you into. She probably thought you were being a smartass. Probably,

but you weren’t probably I wasn’t. I was. But you know. I mean, I think that’s a great universal topic, though of the word shame as what do we do with it? Yeah. Because we all do things that we,

you know, uh, oh, yeah.

We all do that time. Right. Right, but not religious shame. I mean, I guess I’m not carrying your cross kind of shame.

Well, I mean,

it’s funny that you guys brought up like, oh, someone died for that. So you should have shaved I’ve never even thought about that. Like, I’ve never thought, Well, Jesus died for me. I should be shameful. Like, I think it’s pretty bad asset. He died for me like, I’m, I’m kind of proud of it.

I like that, but I don’t get it. How does how does him dying? Pay?

This is what God wanted to happen. I don’t know.

I’m starting to see less of a transaction and more of just an ultimate expression of this is what love is love. Yes, go and do likewise.

So much, not so much a transaction. I like that. And then more of a,

because if you think about your relationships, like you and I, Jason, we don’t do a podcast because we get some reward for it. We do it because we genuinely enjoy each other’s company. And we enjoy creating space talk about stuff that’s hard to talk about. Oh, I would like a reward to though. I’m not gonna lie. If it went viral. I might be fine with that. So just throwing that out there. Right. But that’s not why we do it. No,

because if we were to quit long time ago, the other reason

it’s true.

That that would open up a whole nother topic, but that that is the one that is one for me of if Christ died for our sins is all forgiven. Is it? Yeah, you know, or I guess that and if I don’t claim to believe, is that a sin? Yes. And is that sin forgiven?

If you ask for forgiveness?

Yeah, I don’t know. I don’t know.

What was it? Who was it on that podcast that said, this is a God of so many second chances, but on the day of day of your entry, or he’s not going to give you that chance? Like he’s gonna be like, yes, you had. I gave you all these chances. You didn’t do it like peace? Yeah, I don’t know.

It’s designed in a way that I’m not buying it. Yeah. So So how does going to an eternal hell make up for that? I guess. Like, is that a payment? Is that that make? I don’t get it? It’s very odd.

I totally agree. I totally agree. I don’t believe in God. You’re,

you’re going to hell. And again, God designed me that way.

Right. He designed you to be skeptical too.

Yeah. You’re like, well, and it’s not just me. It’s many, many people. Yeah. Why? Why set up for losers? Yeah. And why the why the penalty for losing the game is eternal.

What’s the pattern

that you see in the world? When you’re gone? You’re gone. That’s the pattern I see. Yep. So like, for example, my my Nana, her ashes are spread all over the world. Some of her favorite places. Do I think she’s gonna be is she gonna come back? And, and, and a different form? I I would love to think that I’d love to think my dogs that I’ve had growing up are going to be there for me. But what’s the pattern of every other species? I just don’t Yeah. I know. Well, and I also sorry, I, I I don’t want to be a downer either. Too late. Because what I you know, I guess, not to really tie it to shame, but it doesn’t depress me anymore. See, that’s interesting. Instead, it brings more life to this life of I want to do the best I can with this.

Right? Yeah, this is Yeah. Then let’s move on to my

afterlife how I’m remembered. And how I’ve been. I see. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And that does matter to me.

Yeah. One thing that I’ve heard on Tick Tock. It’s funny how Tick Tock has become a thing. Yeah. Like No, my to

my, do you ever have that guy come up that says, hey, you’ve been watching for too long. Yeah, maybe you should set your

mind. Life when he comes out, yeah.

But one thing that I heard, I don’t even remember who it was. And it’s not like it was a popular message that was shared over and over. It was one, just one creator. And he talked about time in a way that really just made so much sense to me. And it’s in line with what you’re saying. Yeah. He said, basically, the past and the future only exists in your imagination. All you have to work with is right now, this moment, what are you going to do with it? Don’t get so stuck in your past mistakes in your past that you’re, you’re you’re crippled from doing something with the here and now. Because this is this is all you have to work with is now in each moment. And don’t get so caught up and fantasizing about your future that you miss out on an opportunity to do something right now. And that just really stuck with

a lot of wisdom in that. Yeah. You know, retroist podcast. I’m not I’m not meaning to plug it. No,

please. Wait. We’re like we’re wrapping here. We’ve been on a

lot. So it is. But yeah, you know, my tagline at the end is, you know, re reframe your past, renewing your present. reclaim your future. Yeah,

that’s good. That’s

the idea of, I’m gonna renew right now. this present moment, that’s what I’m in control of right now is what I can do with it right now. Otherwise, like you said, I get hung up on the past which I’ve been there for decades. And the shame, by the way, right, and shame of a terrible person, you know, vert, or the fear of I don’t know if I can because then I don’t know. You know, you’ve heard it said, I think in the Christian world fear is a liar. Yep. And I believe that, yes, there’s something I definitely connect with. Yes, fear is a liar. f e a r, false evidence appearing real.

I love all the acronyms,

acronyms, such a teacher.

But I’m glad you said that though. Because that that’s a reminder of, and I guess, to full circle here, back to the one word thing. Yeah. My first one word I picked was peace. Okay, because I wasn’t feeling in my present. Ben.

Yeah, right here.

I hear you. Okay. What practices Do I need to put in place so that I, I’m okay with where I’m sitting?

Yeah. Yeah. So good.

I think that’s a good place to end. I think. So. Joe, tell everyone how they can find your podcast. I mean, you always say this, like, yeah, just download it. Like wherever you get your podcast. Or tell them your website or what you’re up to, you

know, I think I will just say the website and you can find everything else from there. Yeah. And that is the real choice. So it’s our E ch. IC E. pod. COMM. Ri choice, pod calm. All right. You got it from there.

All right. anything, any interviews coming up that that you’re really excited about?

already said the Dave Warnock up in the former pastor that is in about two weeks from this moment. That’s April 15. All right. Some other ones that are coming up that are already in the hopper. Oh, there’s a guy named Dave berry who talks about his bucket list. Okay, that he’s had for 20 years. And he same Jalen things off air

that used to write for newspapers? I

don’t think so. Okay. I don’t think so. But I love that thought of what we call the limit list. You know what? Yeah, I know. Some other ones that are coming up.

Didn’t mean to put Yeah, no, it’s fine.

You know, one thing you’ll see in my podcast, though, is variety of people.

Yeah. I’ve noticed that of

background spiritual backgrounds, ethnic, geographic, people from all over the place. And but what do we have in common?

Here? here’s,

here’s how I decided to think differently. Yeah. And what I’m doing now?

Oh, that’s awesome. Well, thanks for coming on the show. I know we we kind of bounced around a little bit, but it was kind of exciting to do that thing. I was really liking it. So we really appreciate you coming.

And thanks for what you’re doing, guys. Keep them things real. We need more reality. Yeah, we need more reality in the world in terms of what people are keeping hidden. Right and just put it on the table so we can deal with stuff.

Yeah, let’s hear it out. Thank

you for that.

Alright. Have a good night, guys. Thanks.

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