Have you ever received backlash for questioning your faith?
Deconstruction means asking questions. Asking questions means what you believe now might not be what you used to believe. Changing what you believe means people are going to call you a backslidden heretic. This week, we are talking about how to deal with people who aren’t exactly supportive of your new questions.
Faith is a personal thing and when we begin to question our previous beliefs, people who still hold to those will often act out of defense. Why? Because they inadvertently feel as if you are doubting them. It is our human nature to want to be accepted and deconstruction tears at that very thing. Our desire for truth shakes our acceptance and pushes us out of our comfort zone.
But not everyone will agree with you and not everyone will support you. But no matter how someone questions you remember that it is our of defense and continue to respect them wherever they are in their faith journey. It is exciting to share your new perspectives and understanding but the ultimate goal is to find God for ourselves and who He is to us.
If you have ever received backlash for questioning your faith, this one is for you!
Cody Johnston 1:26
is episode 78. And today, I really just gonna have a heart to heart about dealing with people, whenever you are changing your mindset. dealing with people, whenever you’re questioning beliefs, and how to just mutually respect people that maybe you were previously in, like circle with, maybe they were like kind of from church past or whatever it is, they just they have more of a traditional view. And you’re starting to change some of these beliefs, you have a little bit of untraditional beliefs, this stuff and just how to interact those people how to show those people love and how to just be okay with questions. And so that’s really what we’re going to be getting into this is going to be more just sharing our heart on some things because we’re about to get into some really heavy stuff. So before we want to do in that I think this is a good episode to really just kind of set the atmosphere for what’s coming down the pipeline. And before we get into all of that, just a real quick thing. You guys hear this almost every single episode, I’m going to say it again. nomads is a group that is a safe place a safe community for all of us to come with our unsafe questions. And we invite you in to come to be part and to come with all of your questions, all of your thoughts. We want to hear them there’s no wrong answer, right? It’s just, it’s a place to just to come and rest
Elaine Johnston 2:59
without judgment without ostracization. That’s a big word. But yeah, just without the hate just just come freely, unload your baggage and just kind of just let go of some of those things that just kind of been holding you down.
Cody Johnston 3:14
And so the reason we say this every time guys is there’s some really awesome conversation going on in there. And we know that you have a voice and that your voice is just as important as anyone in that group. Just as important as ours, any pastor, any leader, your voice matters, and we want to make sure you have a place to express it. So we invite you to come and be a part. Also a quick plug for my new show, itinerant, I just dropped a new episode about Solomon and his ties into the terminology. So it was a fun episode to talk about. So it is out, you can head over to itinerant podcast, com or grab that link in the show notes to get that it came out Thursday. So it’s only been out for a few days. But with that being said, we’re going to get into just sharing our heart on just relationships and dealing with other people whenever you’re changing your beliefs. So let’s get right to that.
It can be really hard. Whenever you start to question doctrine, it can be really hard whenever you find yourself realizing that maybe I don’t believe in hell, maybe I don’t believe in penal substitution, airy atonement, maybe I don’t believe in just a lot of these little concepts that we have in church. And those are, of course, a couple of the bigger ones. But there’s a lot of things I maybe I don’t necessarily believe that we were all born sinners. Maybe I don’t believe this, maybe I don’t believe that. Whatever it is, you’re deconstructing, we all have different things that we question at different times. Right. And that’s the beauty of God is he’s big enough to encompass all of that. But it can be really difficult. Because whenever you start to question things, my first reaction, I’m just going to kind of speak personally, my first reaction was, oh, wow, I wonder what the Bible says about this. Or I wonder what God thinks about that. And so you take those things, and a lot of times, we want to take them to spiritual authority of some kind, maybe a pastor, maybe a teacher, maybe a mentor, and the reactions mini and I’m not saying everyone but many of us get are very scripted. They’re very like, well, the Bible says this, and this and this. And there’s just not a lot of life in that. And and I’m not saying everyone does that. But a lot of times, it’s just like, Hey, here’s this cookie cutter answer that we have generated way down the pipeline somewhere. And it’s just very, like old. Roman says this any fusion says that and First Corinthians states, and then we’re giving these little bullet point faith blips, I guess. And it really kind of almost, at first, I think a lot of us were like, oh, okay, that’s what the Bible says. And then we go back and read it. And once you’re in that mindset of starting to question, you go back and read, you’re like, well, I don’t know if that’s really the way I see that. You know, like, I don’t know if that’s just for some reason, when I read that, it’s not what I’m getting from that. And so you may want to go back, you may try to go back and say, Well, what about this view, and a lot of times, that’s when things can start to get a bit more ugly. You hear these things? Or maybe you take it to Facebook, right? Because that’s a big one like a Facebook, take it to Twitter, Twitter, Instagram, whatever. And you you start saying these things, and you start receiving a lot of backlash, especially online, I’m going to say this, especially online, because you can make a statement online and mean one thing and 15 different people will take it 15 different direction. Yeah, everyone’s going to have a new interpretation of what you have to say. And it’s easy to store scripture, it’s easy to throw doctrine and stuff around in these moments. And, and that’s what happens all the time. You get handed these are almost like spoon fed these, these basic statements. And it kind of reminds me of the whole like, like baby Christian. Nope, it’s not my favorite analogy in the Bible, to be really honest, it’s not one I really relate to well, but it’s kind of the whole thing of like, we’re spoon fed for so long. Yeah. And I feel like that was an issue early in the church. And that’s why the church expanded. And then that’s kind of becoming an issue again, because we’ve gotten comfortable in our doctrine to the point of spoon feeding people this doctrine and not giving them the room or I guess, culture, I wouldn’t say given, okay, everyone has the room, we have the freedom to have that room if you are in. I mean, if you’re in a modern country that has freedom and has access to the Bible, which I understand a lot of people don’t still but if you have that access, you have that ability, most of us listening, if you have the freedom listen as podcasts, like let’s be honest, you have the freedom to listen, and to find out for yourself, God to read the Bible to understand all these things. But we don’t really cultivate that. We don’t cultivate asking questions. We don’t cultivate seeking out God. And trying to gain this, this understanding, it’s, you should read the Bible. But here’s the lenses in which you should look at it through. And so a lot of times when we start questioning these things, anything, feel free to interrupt whenever but a lot of times we start questioning these things, we start realizing that people have certain beliefs. And these beliefs have been taught traditionally. But just because they’ve been taught traditionally doesn’t mean that’s the overall encompassing teaching, right? That doesn’t mean that’s the only teaching. And I think that we start to shut down. In those moments, it becomes really hard. Because let’s be really honest, when you start questioning your doctrine, when you start questioning your beliefs, you don’t have answers anymore. We’re so often given opportunities or is not the right word. We’re given bullet points to defend our faith in church, we are taught ways to defend certain doctrines. Yeah,
Elaine Johnston 8:59
that’s something like that has always been like, well, if you’re going to talk to an atheist or non believer agnostic, or whatever somebody of another faith is like, well, you need to study apologetics. Understand why you believe what you believe. So you can tell people while Jesus is good because of this, and then point them to Scripture. And like you said, it’s been passed down. And the truth is, most of these pastors and people in leadership are not trained to actually counsel people and actually understand what people are asking. And a lot of people go to Bible College, and they read about the different, I guess, denominations, the different teachings of different religions and stuff like that, and studying scholars and all of that stuff. But when you come, when it comes down to it, people aren’t trained to actually have those Heart to Heart conversations with people because they’re told from their professors and religious leaders have like, Okay, well, if somebody asks you this question, this is where you point them. This is what the scripture says, This is what it means. But when you are actually faced with these conversations, you are actually taught how to handle people’s heart with it to actually be with that person and understand where they’re coming from. Yeah, like you have scripture to throw at them. But do you even know what that scripture means? Do you even know the context of what Jesus or whoever it was in the Bible was talking about? Is this really what God said? Or is this just an opinion from one of the authors of the Bible? Like there’s a huge difference in that and that you can’t just throw scripture at somebody? Because odds are they already know the Scripture, then that’s what the problem is. They don’t know what that scripture means. Or they know what they’ve been taught about what it means. But that doesn’t resonate with them and who God is to them.
Cody Johnston 10:46
Right. And so a lot of times we we start questioning, but when you start questioning, you don’t have answers anymore, because that’s why you’re asking questions, right? And then people start almost belittling you, or not even intention, I’m not trying to say it’s like an intentional thing. But people get defensive about their faith, because faith is such an intimate thing. It’s taken personally, when you start saying, I don’t know if Hell is real, or I don’t know, if I believe that a Genesis is an accurate account, I kind of believe in a long, I kind of believe in evolution, or I kind of believe in a long creation instead of short, short world creation and or shorter earth. And people start getting really defensive, because that’s tied directly to their faith.
Elaine Johnston 11:29
And not just with faith is gonna be politics and beliefs and science, just everything. But one of the issues is of people, not just Christians, but of people is when somebody starts questioning your belief, not directly to you, but just questioning a belief that you hold dearly. you view it as a personal attack. And you if somebody says, Hey, I don’t know what I believe about how or Hey, like, maybe God’s character is actually this way, or a certain teaching just is actually bad theology and bad teachings and stuff. And those people who have been holding those scriptures holding their theologies that they’ve been taught by other people pass down. They feel like that’s an a personal attack on them and on their character and on their personality. And so that’s whenever you have people on Facebook blasting people out trolling people, meeting people and and just belittling people and judging people and hating people, because they feel attacked because they feel their personal beliefs are attacked. But what if those people because you pose that question, they feel attacked, because that’s the thing they’re questioning too.
Cody Johnston 12:38
Yeah. And we all have questions. If you’re in nomads, this is a recent resurface lately, and it’s one of the funniest memes ever, but so if you’re a nomads, you get you already know because you can start laughing because you already know what this is. But it’s like this picture of this guy. And he’s like, dressed formula in the front. And then like, there’s a mirror behind him. And he’s like, dressed in like lingerie from behind. It’s like, my face at church versus my faith. Spiritual my spiritual beliefs. Yeah. And it’s how I relate that was I shared over a year ago and nomads and it felt a pin it to the top. Yeah, it’s found its way back up to the top which is hilarious, because I absolutely love it. And we all have that we all have things that we don’t know if we believe we all struggle with doubt. Let me just go ahead and clear the air. You’re doubting is not a sin. You’re not sinning against God. We did a whole episode on sin Episode 7576
Unknown Speaker 13:33
maybe 70s Yeah, I think it was 76
Cody Johnston 13:38
honestly, anyway, go bang go back and find it on the reckless pursuit calm. It’s really not very far back here just a few episodes ago. And we did this episode on sin and we were talking about how sin is not what people think it is. Sin is more of a it’s a nature, right? It’s not, oh, I wouldn’t did this thing. I sinned. We put action we make them into verbs, right? I sinned, I’ve committed this sin. In reality sin as a mentality, it is a mentality and you can sin. You can be a you can. Sin can be a verb, like there are things is kind of we can it’s almost interchangeable with like, I did a bad thing, right or I did something that is not beneficial. You know, it’s permitted but it’s not beneficial. And so like that’s basically what in essence we we kind of refer to when we say sin, but sin is mentality. It is a mindset we take on to live in this fallen state instead of living in a mental state of victory to live in a mental state of overcoming to me focusing so much on I’m a filthy rag and everything is sin. But doubt is not. If you go and look at the story, you know, we all call him Doubting Thomas, because he’s like, I don’t know if I truly believe you raised from the dead. What did Jesus say? Did he was he like, Thomas, you terrible person for doubting, he was like, Thomas, here’s, here’s my nipples, like please put your hand in to the wounds of my flesh. Like, here’s your proof. What is the verse in Jude it’s be patient with those who doubt. Doubt is not a sin. Doubt is a gift. Doubt is a is a mental gift. It is a is a it’s really like a firewall, like kind of put it into like computer terms here. Doubt is God’s pre installed firewall, to help us filter through nonsense.
Elaine Johnston 15:27
And God welcomes your doubts and your fears and your struggles. Because that means you’re questioning that means you’re thinking and believing and feeling for yourself, not just taking what other people told you. Therefore, understanding who God is to you, and that personal relationship that you have with God, God welcomes your questions. There’s no question too big or too small that God can’t handle their questions that people can’t handle and that people feel uncomfortable with. But that doesn’t mean God can’t handle those questions. Yeah,
Cody Johnston 15:55
that’s really good. I really liked that, babe. Thanks. So, to me, whenever we start doubting, it seems like we start receiving backlash and likely, like, kind of going back to what he was saying is like that is that’s, that’s because people think it’s a personal attack on them. But how do you handle people? Whenever you start having these doubts, what does what does that look like? A lot of times our relationships with people change, we find ourselves growing closer to certain groups of people and further from others, we find ourselves it’s hard because people we’ve always looked up to and people that we’ve always been close with, we start to feel ostracized, you start to feel isolated and alone. And it’s even worse because you have all these questions. And so there’s like, you’re losing that foundation, that foundation, whether it built you know the whole build your house on the sand, build your house, on the rock analogy, whatever you’re built on, you had some kind of foundation, you realize that you’re more built on a sand base foundation. So you’re trying to get to higher ground, you’re trying to get to safer ground. But the more you do that, it’s you’re having to leave this village. Mind you, all of them may be built on Sandy doctrine. I’m not calling out any doctrine or group in particular, but it’s like hey, I don’t vibe with this. This isn’t who God is to me. And I’m not sitting here saying like, oh, God can be a true to you or I’m what I’m saying by that is who God is to us. And like it’s not sitting right, the Holy Spirit’s dealing with you’re like, this isn’t right. This doesn’t feel like God, this doesn’t bring me life. This doesn’t bring me and show me the love of Christ or show me the heart of the Savior. And God and Jesus was the same person. Right? If God and Jesus was the same person, and this kind of goes to the whole thing of like, you know, was Jesus a punching bag on the cross? You know which Feess a light went on when I say that, like I literally think about Jesus hanging up on like, the little metal rack and God is like, this is for Cain killing his brother. This is for Adam and Eve eating the fruit just beating him up, right. So God can finish frustration will know that’s like God’s literally dying to himself. God is literally dying to himself to say, hey, like, I come humbly, to my people to show you. I’m showing you the way of the father because just as Jesus washed the disciples feet as he died, God died, to show man that humility and how to love, right rabbit trail in there, but we feel so isolated. We feel as if all these people are coming against us, even though these things just don’t sit well with us. And it can feel lonely.
Elaine Johnston 18:22
So let me ask you a question. Yeah. So you’ve been more bold, brave and reckless. And what you’ve been posting on Facebook, and not necessarily sharing your exact views, but kind of posing questions and getting people to think about what they believe in how have you handled that rejection? Because you’ve had rejection? You’ve had people try to isolate scripture at you. How do you handle
Cody Johnston 18:45
it’s weird? I’ve been pretty vocal about questioning things since 20, beginning of 28. I understand. I’ve been more vocal about it in 2019, even the last few months, but this podcast is new. Like, it’s
Unknown Speaker 19:01
literally This is Episode 78.
Cody Johnston 19:03
Like, if you go back to the beginning, you can pretty much document our deconstruction of what we’ve believed in our changing views and us questioning things. Like that’s been our premise since the beginning. It may not sound exactly the same. I may have I don’t I don’t go back and listen to our old episodes very frequently. But it’s that’s always been our premise is questioning why we do what we do, why we believe what we believe how we can be better as humans, that’s been, that was the founding thing. You know, our slogan used to be modern Christians asking questions and chasing truth. It’s a little burpee, or like, it’s a little strange and the verbiage on it and it’s a little spiritually more spiritual than we are now. You know, but I mean, we saw ourselves as like, more modern Christian, New Age Christian,
Elaine Johnston 19:50
I would say it’s more religious back then. It’s more spiritual. Now. I feel I
Cody Johnston 19:54
agree it was more religious back then. Because that’s what we’re coming out rooted
Elaine Johnston 19:56
out of specific church and ideas from different experiences that we had. And no, it’s more spiritual of our spirituality with God.
Cody Johnston 20:05
And so if you’re new to this podcast, and like, you’re just now coming out that, hey, you can go back to the beginning, and you can document our journey. So you’re not alone. We don’t we don’t take things down, because we want to show you exactly where it came from. So like modern Christians, we saw ourselves as like this new form of Christian we know which call it we knew we were Christian. But we didn’t really share some of these traditional views was like this. And we’re chasing, we’re asking questions, and we’re trying to chase whatever truth is. Now, I understand to me personally, truth is a bit more subjective than it used to be like truth is a little less absolute. Which that phrase in and of itself, will garner untold thousands of backlash, because they don’t take time to like, truly understand
Elaine Johnston 20:45
what you realize that most of these things aren’t black and white issues. There’s a lot of gray area on both both sides of the fence. But yeah, so how do you deal with that rejection?
Cody Johnston 20:55
So how I would have dealt with it? I’m just going to tell you the stages of Cody rejection, right? How I would have dealt with that. And I have a bit of I don’t know if it’s people pleasing. I really, I’m, it’s not people pleasing. But it can be perceived as that I value people thinking that I’m right. I am a knowledge based person, and I don’t ever like to feel stupid. Yeah. I don’t ever like to feel an educated. There are many things I don’t have the answers on. I don’t have the answers on so many things. And I’m coming to, I feel like maybe that spiritual growth in me is understanding that’s okay. But my comfort and the way I have always dodged the bullet or dodge hurt or dodge pain was to educate myself. You know, my anxiety about health that I’ve struggled with is, well, I need to learn more about symptoms, and all this kind of stuff, which just leads you deeper down the rabbit hole, right? Like, that’s my defense mechanism is to learn about stuff. It’s also my gross net Islam, I love learning because it’s enjoyable to me. So I learned out of wanting to grow, but I also learned in self defense. And so before the first time, like whenever I first sort of start receiving any how little criticisms which happened a lot, my GU happened when I was in church. But my first reaction was to kind of like, tilt my perspective to try to appease that person. It’s like, Well, yeah, I mean, I kind of viewed it this way. But what I really mean is this, and like, I would dance around and tiptoe around the issue to try to express my feelings and my uniqueness or my, my opinion or my change. But I was also looking for justification from that person to kind of say, Oh, yeah, I understand your point of view, don’t get me wrong, I still struggle with this, I still have to be careful, and not feel like I have to dance around my own emotions and not dance around what I truly believe, in effort of like trying to appease someone else. There’s a lot of backlash I’ve received from people who were teachers to me, who were spiritual authority at one time in my life, right? And to come to a place where I’m like, I don’t know if I really agree with this. And then to tell me all these reasons why I’m wrong in mind, you know, a lot of them haven’t long just asked like, well, what makes you believe that way and stuff. And I respect that, and I respect all of them. And that’s something I want to get to in a minute here. But I’ve, the second part of me was I kind of just shut down. And I just kind of got to where I don’t want to say anything. Like I’m just not going to say anything, because I don’t feel like trying to explain my case. I don’t feel like trying to receive any kind. I don’t want to receive backlash, because I’m already questioning things. And I’m enjoying my questions, my view. But I don’t know if anyone can relate to this. But to me, personally, I really feel like I’m about to speak life into someone out there. I don’t know why I feel like this is going to speak life into someone. A lot of times I avoided saying anything controversial, because someone questioning my motives would cause me to question my question. And it would end up like almost pushing me back into the very thing that was damning. To me in the first place. It would push me back away from my questions, it would all it would almost be like, No, you have to follow this religious construct, Cody and I would start like putting back up the walls that I was tearing down, I would start putting like I can find myself like starting to mix the mortar to lay the bricks back to where I was going again, right to put the wall back up. It’s like, you know, so I backed off, I completely backed off. And that’s something else I still struggle with. I’m not saying that I’m over this. But like when someone’s like, Cody, you’re completely wrong. You’re out of line. The Bible says this. And I’m like, Oh crap, they’re right. Maybe the Bible does say that. But then I go and read it. I’m like, I’m still not getting that. Which brings me to where I’m at now. It’s like, I kind of got Okay, with not having all the answers. And when I say okay, I don’t mean I’m confident and not having all the answers. I am a type five, I thrive in information. I’m never confident about not having the answer. That is like, if you I’m just being dead straight with you here. If I tell you I don’t know, that is the most vulnerable I can be with you. Because my entire life my entire life. I have using air quotes here. I have known. I have known what I believe I have been the person that people 3040 years older than me comes to like,
Elaine Johnston 25:21
they still do.
Cody Johnston 25:22
Yeah, yeah, for different reasons. But different beliefs and everything. But like, I’ve always been the one people came to because I’ve always been confident. And I’ve always been eloquent and how I can relate. You know, I’ve always told people and I’ll be vulnerable here. And some people probably think that I am this now. But I’ve always felt that if I wasn’t a face leader, I would make a great cult leader. Because I can convince people I’m very convincing. And I’m very thorough and eloquent with my wording. And I’m in like, I’m not the not bragging on myself at all. Like I stumble over my words, just like everyone else have to edit out my message just like everyone else, but do a good job of painting pictures, I love using analogies and relatable experiences like that’s my heart is to like make God relatable. And to try to express like, God is like a door. God is like a river. Spirituality is like the ocean, like I love that kind of stuff. Like that’s how I communicate. That being said, like to say I don’t know, is one of the absolute hardest things for me to say one of the absolute hardest things for me to say. And I had to come to the realization that like, sometimes I’m going to ask questions, and I’m going to get those traditional answers. And I’m not going to agree with those traditional answers. And that’s okay. And then I’m going to get a piece of something else in a piece of something else, I’m going to start to try to try to construct for myself what I understand, but something that a friend of ours told us and that I’m trying to really trying to really like settle in my soul. And it’s Austin from New Age Christianity. If you spend 100 verses, trying to construct for yourself a theology and one verse and does all that it’s wrong. You have to rethink it. You have to rethink your theology, if there’s 100 verses that says Hell is a lake of fire and one verse that says, but it isn’t exactly like a fire, then you have to reconstruct, like, you have to review that, you know, if every verse says, we were all sinners destined for hell. And then Jesus comes along and says, Hey, actually, you’re not time to rethink that philosophy. And that’s been one of those things that I’ve realized, like, it’s okay for me not to know. Because, like, I shared something the other day on Facebook, and it was simply this, it’s okay not to have all the answers because when we get to heaven, we’re all going to be wrong. Anyways.
Elaine Johnston 27:33
I’m a friend to I was talking with her on Instagram a couple months ago. And we were talking about deconstruction and asking questions and having different ideas and thoughts about God and religion and all that stuff. And, and we kind of were talking about things that happened in the past that were so like, solidifying for our faith. And then now we’re questioning and we’re like, maybe I don’t really agree with that anymore. And something that she said that was so profound is that it’s okay, if the things that worked for you, in the past no longer work for you now. Like, that’s a part of growth. And that’s where, you know, people came to you. Couple years ago, when you were in church. And when you were asked, yeah, you are pastor in church, people came to you about different things, different ages, different topics, whatever, and the scriptures or the answers that you had back then that was what your truth was. And some of those things. Yeah, they still are truth for you now. But some of those things that worked for you in the past that are no longer working for you now. That’s okay. You’re growing. Yeah. And God, God is in that God, God’s in your growth, God’s in your maturity and challenges. And he’s walking with you every step of the way. And some of those things that you’re questioning now, or things that he’s showing you who he is, and he’s showing you who his character is. And just because it works for you in the past, but it’s not working you now doesn’t mean that you’re wrong, or that doesn’t mean that you’re a sinner, or that doesn’t mean you’re backsliding or that you’re heretical, or all of that stuff, it just means you’re growing
Cody Johnston 29:10
well, and see, that kind of ties into like, where I’m at more now as like, for the next thing I went through was, you know what, like, there’s this video, and it’s like, the loan idiot, or the loan fool, or whatever. It’s like this guy at this festival, and he’s dancing by himself. He’s dancing like, ridiculously, then someone else comes along and someone else comes along. It’s like that, that first person dancing alone, it takes someone to do like, yeah. And I realized, like, you’re going to make people upset. You’re going in, don’t get me wrong, don’t intentionally try to upset people. But anytime you throw a rock in the pond, it’s going to disturb the water. Anytime you, you start questioning things, you’re going to start, you know, adding some, if you start moving the air around, it’s going to agitate the water, the surface of the water, right. And so the problem is the church needs some agitation, because without agitation water stagnates. I’m really on this water analogy right now. But if water said, still for too long, it stagnates. So it needs air, every person that every theologian that’s ever done anything in life was at once, one time called a heretic, the big famous CS Lewis, the one that all all of us seem to gravitate toward that, like the church’s quote and everything. Like his views were out there some ways, you know, he was a heretic to many, many people at the time, and even probably, still, in some ways, like if you really dove into some of his teachings that like, there are people like Richard Rohr, like all these people who are like, heretical in a sense, but also like, brought life and they started the water, they agitated the water. Jesus was a heretic. Yeah. You know, Jesus was heretical. He was, Jesus was a biblical scholar. He was a heresy. But he was a heretic, he was outcast from getting the label of heresy. Because or sad to see or whichever one I’m not, I don’t not claim, you know, which ones which here, but what I’m saying is Jesus was a biblical scholar scholar, just as the Pharisees insurgencies were, yet he was a heretic. And so I realized, like, I’ve got to be okay with stirring the water. But, and here’s the big butt here. And once you get to this place, where I’m this is where I’m currently at, literally, like the last week this has been or two weeks or so my mental shift has been, I’m okay to stir the water. But I’m going to stir it out of love. Yeah. So if there and this is going back to what you just said about your conversation with your friend doing, if someone is in the most traditional, conservative, evangelical tie, literal word for word interpretation of the Bible, which isn’t a thing, but whatever, like, they have their King James Version, I’m just trying to like paint a picture of like the most old fashion, Southern Southern, Bible bashing person ever, if that’s what gives them wife, personally, not only wrong, that’s not justifying their judgment toward other people or anything like that, because that’s a whole other topic. That’s not acceptable, like people use the Bible to bash people and all that, and that’s not acceptable. But if that is what gives them life, I’m not going to try to convince them differently, if hell is like, they need a depiction of hell, a lake of fire, and God dying on the cross to save them from that, to understand the beauty of God’s love for them. And if that’s the revelation of God’s love, who am I to tell them that’s not how God loves them? Who am I to tell them that that’s not how God appreciates them, it’s not a life or death. It’s not an eternal life versus not eternal life thing for that person. Like, whether I believe that whenever you die, if you’re not saved, by the grace of God, or by his action life, you’re not saved, that you’re just going to cease to exist or you go to purgatory, or if I believe that everyone is saving, they just don’t know it, or whatever, I believe are you believe or whatever. None of that, as long as you are experiencing the love of Christ, who might have tell you differently. So if I say something like, Hey, I believe this way. And someone else says, Cody, you need to read your Bible more you need to look at this scripture. Before my response would have been because I’m also a troll would have been, you know, I would just lead them on and I would have probably been rude about it. Or maybe I would have tried to combat them or something. Now, it’s like, yeah, I’ll share my heart. I’ll share a scripture or two about why I believe what I believe. But if someone is insistent on not accepting my beliefs, which aren’t, like, my beliefs aren’t so extreme that I’m just gonna like, maybe to them I am, I don’t know maybe I’m just complete heretic in some people’s eyes and I’m just gonna burn into like a fire and they’re scared to death for my soul, which is a lot of people react to it, which means they’re scared for people, which, in turn is actually they’re scared because they’re, they’re being questioned.
Elaine Johnston 33:51
They’re out of fear,
Cody Johnston 33:52
right? But you look at like a couple of these big deconstruction stories that are happening in like modern church or authors and writers and music and all this with name dropping, you know? And then you have other people like backlash and like someone says, like, Hey, I’m questioning my faith. And like, the Christian post is like, major Christian worship writer stands walks away from God is completely okay with his decision. He’s a heretic, he is backsliding. And I’m like, You’re the reason he’s backsliding. You’re the calls.
Elaine Johnston 34:20
And something that I saw on Facebook from our guest. A couple weeks ago, Matthew challenger, had basically written this beautiful post, which all of his posts are last week. Last week. Yeah. Okay. 77. Right. Yeah, please check that out. Please check out his Facebook, all the goodness, he has to say. But he was talking about that specific thing. And he was saying, like, maybe they’re not wrong for walking away from these things. If people are operating out of fear and out of hate and not a judgment, and he’s questioning these things. And he’s trying to figure out who God is. And like, doesn’t believe in all the stuff that he was taught because it was taught out of the wrong theology. It’s not about things walking from the good that he’s walking away from that that’s good that he’s questioning that, like, maybe it’s not there the problem? Maybe we’re the problem. Yeah. Maybe we’re not helping them find a solution. And whenever somebody makes bold claims, or questions things and, and isn’t really share with what they believe in stuff. The church’s job isn’t to judge them and say, oh, they’re walking away, or they’re burning, and how and they’re these bad people. And oh, my gosh, I can’t believe we had them in leadership. That’s not how you operate in love. That is not how you quote, win them back to church. That is not you can’t just judge them and hate them and, and gossip about them and slander their name that that’s sinful. And churches are not all the churches, I’m just like, there are churches who are like, oh, like he, we knew it. We always knew there was something different about him and, and he, he or she had caused destruction in our church and all this stuff. But the not how if you are so worried about their soul, and if you are so worried about their faith, you would not be acting like that?
Cody Johnston 36:09
Yeah, I mean, a lot of times. Churches view people who question as wolves in sheep’s clothing. But in reality, they’re sheep in wolves coat. Yeah. They they look like wolves, because they’ve been attacked so much. They have to have some kind of defense. And, you know, you can call it those who stray those who wander but whenever you’re kind of pushed out when you’re the black sheep. The truth is, Jesus is therefore the one. Yeah, the whole the song reckless loves the whole verse of leaving the 99.
Elaine Johnston 36:41
And David Hayward, the naked pastor, yeah, actually has several comic strips about that very thing of Jesus being with those sheep. Yeah, who have quote, walked away from the church. And then all the other sheep were kind of judging him and he’s over there eating a sandwich with him, right? I just
Cody Johnston 36:57
chillin by so many times, like, it’s the sheet. It’s the sheep in Wolf’s clothing, because that’s they almost have to take on and I feel like it’s our reaction and take on an aggressive stance whenever you’re constantly attacked. You know, they want to David’s comments. It’s like all the sheep are throwing rocks at the sheep who got out. And Jesus is like, what are you doing? Yeah, like he’s not a wolf.
Elaine Johnston 37:16
Yeah. And if you just keep pushing those people out further and further and further, I pray that these people that their faith is so much bigger than what they’ve been taught and these religious leaders who are pushing them out, I pray that their faith is bigger than that. But I don’t blame them. If it’s not, I don’t blame them. If they do walk away from God completely. I believe that they’ll eventually come back to God. But the people that they’re walking away from the churches that they’re walking away from the things that they’re questioning isn’t because they have a problem. It’s because they’ve been taught all of these wrong theologies, they’ve had bad leadership, guiding them in the wrong direction. And I don’t blame people for walking away from that and questioning their beliefs. When you’ve been whole when you have been grown up and religious mindsets instead of a freedom mindset.
Cody Johnston 38:10
Yeah, when the truth is this instead of attacking someone to try to keep them in line, based on a fear mentality, that they’re going to go with story, be an anchor point for someone, because even if they’ve been taught everything, right, even if this person, or this imaginary person that we’re like talking about here, like say, imaginary person is grew up in this church that taught everything exactly right. And when we all get to heaven, Jesus was like, hey, that church over there that you grow up, in that you’re deconstructed away from, and like you deconstructed all those views, they were 100% correct. And everything which is not going to happen, never.
Unknown Speaker 38:48
Cody Johnston 38:50
say they are completely right in everything, and they deconstruct everything, everyone’s journey to find God, it can’t be based on your parents relationship. It can’t be based on your churches, religion, your pastors relationship, your friends relationship, your spouse’s relationship, or your dog’s relationship with God, it’s got to be based on your understanding of who he is. And so instead of attacking someone, or trying to form them into a mold, the mold provided, give them that freedom to venture out the be their Lifeline be their tether, and give them something to anchor to and
Elaine Johnston 39:24
offer offer prayer, but not in a condescending way of like, oh, the Christian gospel, I’ll pray for them or bless her breast, their heart, you know, but actually pray with them and say, okay, like, why are you questioning? What are your questions? How can I help you with this? Do I need to give you scripture as an anger? Do I need to give you some time alone? to sit with God? Do I need to counsel you with these things? Or do I just need to let you go and do your own thing, all of that is acceptable. But when you start slandering people, when you start pushing people out and judging people and hating people, and oh, they went off on the deep end, that’s not helping the cause. You are not actually caring about their soul, you’re caring about you and your name and your church. And the truth is, most people who are deconstructing from something, they’re not lost, they’re looking, they’re looking to go deeper into god, they’re questioning. And this is something that’s the Eli and I’ve talked about, and Matthew shared it on Facebook, it’s like it’s a common things coming up. It’s people are praying for a new type of awakening.
Cody Johnston 40:29
And people are waking up all over. And now all of a sudden, they look at it as if they’re backsliding, but they’re actually waking up. And the thing
Elaine Johnston 40:36
is, all these same people who are talking about spiritual awakening, and having coming on earth and and the Jesus movement, re incarnate and all this stuff, also talk about how it’s not going to look like anything we’ve ever looked like before. And then these people who are questioning and deconstructing and finding out God for themselves, oh, no, that’s not it. That’s exactly not what we’re praying for Rebecca, it is
Cody Johnston 40:59
you revival isn’t this outward thing, this time around, it’s an inward thing happening in every single person. And just to kind of wrap all this together. The biggest thing for those of us who are going through this is to a remember, when people are reacting, they’re reacting out of those fear emotions, they’re reacting out of maybe just a general, genuine concern for your soul, but also a genuine concern for their faith, because they’re struggling with questions, too. They’ve had questions too, and they’ve rested, they’ve come to a point of rest. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re comfortable where they landed. And the second thing is give them patience. If they’re going through if they if they come to this belief, and they need this belief, it may be damning to you, but it may be life giving to them, just for the opposite how you want that. That mutual respect for the understanding that your your new philosophy or your new understanding or take on who God is may be different to them. And you want that mutual respect offered to them. Remember who these people were in your life? It’s okay to question it’s okay for them to attack you. But don’t don’t reciprocate. Just give them that room. I’m not saying don’t try to explain. But I’m saying do it out of love, do everything out of love. And then the third thing is just remember to ask, ask those questions. And be okay that you don’t have the answers. I’m trying to be as okay as I can was not having all the answers with not knowing every scriptural reference or understanding every theologians theology out there, because there’s so many, and sometimes we just gotta shut up. Sometimes we just gotta ask God and say, God, I’m here with this question. I’m just presenting it to you and I’m just going to sit with it. I’m just going to you know, it’s kind of like a fine pot of stew isn’t made in an hour it’s it sits it simmers, it soaks up the flavor, allow yourself the room to soak up the flavor of God on these questions. And don’t, don’t expect to have them all figured out. And, and don’t try to have them all figured out to someone else. What’s the point in that? What good is it to have all the answers to every single question? Because we’re never going to, it’s okay to look but don’t, don’t take so much time looking for the answers to figure out or to forget who answers the questions in the first place. And so my final question that I would like to pose to anyone listening here is this, why do you feel like you need to be right? or Why do you feel like you need to have all the answers? And I think you already know the answer to that one. But just just allow that this isn’t like an open question. I guess this is kind of like, rhetorical. Yeah, just a rhetorical question. But just kind of, and you can sit there and ask yourself, why do I feel like I need to have the answers to this, and allow God to work in that? Because I think the beauty in deconstruction and ultimately reconstruction, whatever that looks like, is understanding that God is bigger than your questions. But that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t care about quite the opposite. Guys, we’re here for you. We are on your team. You are our tribe. And we love every single one of you, we encourage you to head over to the link below. Click that link and head over to nomads and we want to hear your voice we want to hear from you. It’s a safe place. And you’re welcome. You’re welcome to come and talk to us. Also guys, we have an email list where you can get all kinds of exclusive content behind the scenes stuff extra content, every single guest you get extra pieces of content, you can find out over at the reckless pursuit calm forward slash subscribe that’s also in the show notes below. And as always, we love you guys. Be brave, be bold and be reckless.
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