When is unity a necessity? What opportunity is there in tragedy?
Well, I think it is safe to say life is a bit weird right now. But that doesn’t mean that through all the negativity and bad that good cannot be found! This week, we are talking about how to find the good in hardship. We discuss how we can join together in unity to overcome trials and howe taking care of our mental health goes a long way to solving problems down the road.
This week’s questions asked were:
- Positivity in times of tragedy
- Cultivating community amidst social distancing
- tending to your Faith during hardships
- Tending to our mental health amidst national crisis
- Unity over diversity and coming together for the greater good
- Utilizing the tools at our disposal
- Positive mindset and bearing good fruit
- Looking beyond your own life to see how your actions affect others
- Seizing opportunity in every circumstance to learn and better the world around you
Cody Johnston 1:14
Hey everyone, welcome to the reckless pursuit. My name is Cody
Elaine Johnston 1:17
and my name is Elaine
Cody Johnston 1:17
and this is episode 107. And today we are sporting our new apparel. So if you watch this or see the screenshot for this episode from our website, we have our new apparel line. So let us know what you think you can check it out at our website, the reckless pursuit.com that’s not what today’s episode about. Today’s episode is a special endorsement feeder kibble. Yes, but you can find it from our website. Yeah. Anyway. So today’s episode is about you guys. It’s about questions that you asked us and we’re really excited about this because it’s gonna be a little lighter hearted episode. Maybe Maybe
Elaine Johnston 1:59
you don’t get it Don’t get deep. It’ll get heavy. But there are some fun questions, right?
Cody Johnston 2:02
So we’re gonna rattle off questions you guys asked us in our Facebook community group. By the way, if you’re not a member of nomads go down to the show notes and ask to be a part we would love to have you. And we’re just going to go through and do our best to answer the questions you all asked us. So strap in and get ready because we’re gonna get right into this because there’s quite a few of them that we got to go over. So here they come.
Elaine Johnston 2:27
So the first question in our nomads community is do you foresee regularly attending a brick and mortar church worship again?
Cody Johnston 2:37
Okay, Who wants to go first? Yeah, okay, I’ll go first. Well, we still do often on we do still attend worship at brick and mortar churches from time to time. It’s kind of our whole nomadic approach to church. As far as being a member of a brick and mortar church. That’s really hard to say I want to preface saying like, I don’t see a problem with that. If you enjoyed That if you like that, if you benefit from it, if it brings you joy, if it bears good fruit in your life, I don’t see an issue with going to a brick and mortar church for me where I’m at in life right now. The biggest thing that a brick and mortar church would offer to me is community and there’s just not a lot of churches around here doing that in a way that would benefit me. I feel like that being said, I do still enjoy trying out churches and whenever I find a church that’s good at something, I I’m happy about that. I’m happy to find a church that does good in certain areas, you know, churches, very, they’re good at certain things. They’re not good at other things. You’re not going to find a perfect church and I don’t expect you to find a perfect church. I know we talk a lot about leaving church and deconstruction, all that my shirt literally says deconstruct, and that being said, I know that churches for a lot of people, and there’s nothing wrong with that budget for me where I’m at right now, church doesn’t look like a air quote. brick and mortar building as much as it looks like a gathering of people. Sometimes that’s at a brick and mortar building. Sometimes it’s at our house, which I guess you could consider a brick and mortar building, but it’s not brick or mortar on our house other than our foundation. But you can consider that coffee shop gatherings you consider that all of that. So, to me, I guess more than anything the way to answer this question, in like one shorter sentences, I’ve grown to see churches more than just a brick and mortar building. And that’s the best way to describe that on my end.
Elaine Johnston 4:30
So going off of that there is a difference. I want to preface between a perfect church and a healthy church. A healthy church admits when it’s not perfect. So I just wanted to say that that that what you were talking about your experience with that and how you would answer that question, and that just kind of came to mind. So for me personally, like Cody said, we have more of a nomadic church. So we do frequent different churches. We haven’t maybe recently in like a month or so but we do try to stay active in our community, we do struggle, we do try to visit different churches that our friends are at and stuff like that. Outside of that, because we have a nomadic lifestyle, church wise, we also want to kind of have more of a nomadic style anyway, just with our personal lifestyle, and we want to travel more, we want to be able to visit different places in our country, outside of the country, stuff like that. And so I feel like we couldn’t I don’t mean this in a bad way. But I don’t feel like we could be quote, tied down to a physical brick and mortar church every Sunday, we may find one that we really enjoy and for the time being visit, but recently, the churches that we have been around and our community where we live, we haven’t found that one where we’re just like, yes, we absolutely love everything about this. It’s okay. If you don’t love everything about your church, that that’s fine. That’s part of Being healthy. But we just haven’t found a physical brick and mortar, traditional church in our local community that we feel benefits us. However, we do have people over at our house we do meet with people at coffee shops, we still do have a community it just doesn’t look like a traditional physical church setting in a traditional Sunday morning sense
Cody Johnston 6:27
on something I want to add to that too is it’s not necessarily like finding a church that’s air quotes, like you said, good or bad. The The hardest thing to me is finding a church that respects people with alternative beliefs. The one church we were going to pretty regularly for a while, their website, everything claims that they’re open to alternative views. You’re welcome to have these and everything but when you hear them talk, they’re they’re not and that’s a big problem with a lot of places. And so, if you have any views outside of the traditional evangelical vein, it gets kind of shunned in like the Let’s be honest, these aren’t like life or death issues. Literally, they’re not. Even if you’re evangelical, they’re not life or death issues. It’s just it’s simply respecting different interpretations. So anyway, we’ll move on from that. I think we covered that pretty good. Our next question is, besides us, us being our community, nomads that you should be a part of, besides us, where do you get fellowship? And how do you strengthen your faith? Oh, you go first.
Elaine Johnston 7:25
Okay, so kind of reiterating what I just said about going to a physical church. We do have a community of people. It’s rather small, but I think I like it that way. Where we just sit and talk about Jesus, we sit and talk about what we’re going through. We talk about our struggles, he talks about things that are going on in our lives and different questions that we have, even if it’s not necessarily regarding faith or religion, but just having a safe community a safe place, Cody and I pride ourselves in having a safe place in our physical home. And we want to cultivate that we want to strengthen that and We do have those conversations. I also mentioned that we go to coffee shops and meet with our friends and stuff. And so that is outside of our nomads, Facebook community online community. That is where we get our physical community, and how do we strengthen our faith? So for me specifically, I feel like asking questions is a big one, but also reaching out to the community, whether it’s our nomads online community, or our friends and family and our local physical communities. I like to read different books, different even podcasts about these things. We have a lot of friends who are podcasters, specifically with deconstruction asking questions and so once a month we get with friends and hop on a Facebook Live not in our community, but just on Facebook and and talk about different issues. So I feel like I got one coming up this weekend. Yes, yeah. So we actually do have up Saturday morning this Saturday morning.
Cody Johnston 9:00
If you’re listening to this the week it comes.
Elaine Johnston 9:02
Yeah. And so for me, that’s how I strengthen my faith is just being around other people who are doing the same. Yeah,
Cody Johnston 9:09
I want to touch on that real quick, and then we’ll move on. I agree with everything Elaine said, to kind of emphasize a couple things. Really, specifically, we need to have a lot of amazing conversations with people online. And we get to hear all these things while you bring it to us or we record it and all this so really, I mean, it’s, it’s a way for us to grow to we get to hear authors and their perspectives behind the scenes, all these different things, you know, people who have been through amazing experiences in life or not so amazing experiences in life and get to share what they’ve learned in their aspect of God. That’s been a big, a big thing on how my faith has grown personally. It’s just seeing God in people. And that’s been my big thing from like, late last year into early this year, and I foresee it continuing on probably the rest of my life is just seeing God in people because we are His temple. The next thing with that is kind of going back to the fellowships. Absolutely small groups, smaller groups of people gathering where you can have actual conversations instead of just being preached at. I think the one thing that local churches shifting towards its doing right if they can get a good grasp on allowing people’s opinions to be heard, and not just becoming mini sermons, is small groups. I hate the term because it’s become like bastardized in church. But I love the idea of small groups. That being said, as long as opinions are open to be, like, shared and received, and you can be vulnerable with these people, and you trust these people, those are my two, like my few caveats to that. And I know a lot of small groups that just become come over here and listen to me preach from a book or preach someone else’s sermon again, but whenever it’s actually authentic, small group settings where it’s like, Let’s come together, let’s dive into who God is completely, you know, and try to figure it in here, each other’s perspectives. I think it’s a beautiful thing, even what’s our next question?
Elaine Johnston 10:55
Our next question is, have you experienced a particular hurt or event at church that you’d be willing to talk about that started you on this journey?
Cody Johnston 11:05
Okay. loaded question hitting that road the so I’m going to do this as brief as possible because we can pick up episodes on this. And we actually have taken up episodes on this. So if you follow back to the start of this podcast, we started this podcast literally, like a month after I left working at the church. And so this podcast while I have always been wanting to question things, and I know what my deconstruction journey is very fleeting compared to many we use that term a lot on this show, but I haven’t been through any major deconstruction. I mean, I guess all deconstruction is major. I don’t want to belittle anyone’s journey by saying that. But in comparison, okay, let me backtrack just a little bit. When I was a teenager, I went through a big phase of deconstruction, my first round of deconstruction, it’s whenever we quit attending church, our lead pastor left we stepped away from church for a while and I was out and that’s whenever I was studying. And really into witchcraft and that kind of stuff. And when I say that, like, I found it interesting, and I was studying demonology and all this kind of stuff, from an unhealthy perspective, to the point of that stuff started, like really causing me a lot of depression, anxiety, and that kind of stuff had to step away from that. And we ended up going back to church and like, it was good for me at that time to be back in church, to be really honest. But then things started going south with just the way my church was treating we were doing we had a worship band, and you know, like they completely ran us, like we’ve talked about, I’ve talked about this before on past stuff, so to not spend a lot of time there like basically, we were just figureheads to make us happy. So we left that church completely. I was really hurt, never want to go back to a church started working at the church that I served at for eight years, worked out for eight years, seven and a half years. And there were some situations there that we’ve talked about before that were were messy. There are some times where my opinion was asked for but it wasn’t really asked for there’s obviously Question a whole lot and it just, I knew it was my time to leave. They knew it was my time to leave. Neither of us paid attention to it until it got to the point where it ballooned Elena Don’t get involved in it, she got hurt really bad. And so it just became a big convoluted mess. And I, I guess I don’t none of those things started my deconstruction is much as I was able to come out of all of that, look back and acknowledge what I believe versus what I believe because I was told to believe it. And whenever I came out to the other side, I can look back and go, Okay, wow, I have a lot of interesting beliefs. It’s one thing that some people have told me a lot is Cody, well, you just believe different, you’re just different when you think about that. And so many times I would conform my thoughts, especially online and how I portrayed them to reflect what people wanted from me. But I did not believe that in my head. You know, I do not share the same opinions on speaking in tongues and all these other weird denominational divisions and all this crap. And I just I wasn’t allowed to share those because of my position. held. But now coming out of that and being free from that, I can share exactly how I feel which changes and that’s the beautiful thing of deconstruction is, to me deconstruction is a blanket term. It doesn’t necessarily mean demolition. It means renovation, which is a lot of what we were talking about in last week’s episode on our hike is deconstruction is a is a renovation process. It’s an updating process. It’s keeping things modern and fresh, and evaluating Why do I believe what I believe and now I feel like I have the freedom to explore God and actually feel God’s presence in a deeper way than I was allowed to before because I’ve always been into meditation. I say always like from like, I have journal entries dating back for the last seven or eight years of meditation, but I didn’t tell you when I meditated and when I say meditated, I mean like, going out into a dark field in the middle of the night and sitting by myself, you know, centering my thoughts for an hour and like that was shunned upon a lot in the kind of stuff that I come from, you know, it was more like go to the church and paced back and forth and pray in tongues. And like, I just I had to shift. And now I’m able to explore God in a way that benefits my relationship with God. If that makes any sense. I think I answered that.
Elaine Johnston 15:10
Yeah, so for me, I never really had like a a specific position that I had to completely deconstruct I’ve mentioned on this show before and other shows as well. I actually grew up with the with the ability to ask questions, and my parents always told me to question everything and to don’t take things at face value and to really research and everything simultaneously. I didn’t grow up in church. I didn’t go to church until I was about 14 or 15. My parents were Christians. And my mom did read the Bible with us and stuff like that. And we went to church on Easter and everything but all that to say my whole high school experience was amazing. I had a youth pastor who also allowed us to ask questions. We actually did an episode with my old youth pastor within the first year of public Casting journey. And it was really cool to get to talk to him about that. But going through college, I was in a campus ministry, and I led a small group and all this stuff. And then towards the end of my involvement in the campus ministry, there was a couple things where I was like, Okay, I felt like I was treated unfairly, but it didn’t really leave like a huge impact on my belief system and just kind of made me feel bad. But in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t really that detrimental. And then Cody and I started dating and about it was right after we got engaged and like Cody had mentioned, there was some things that I got involved in with some pastoral leadership and was just questioned a lot about who I am as a person, my personality, and everything. I just felt like really attacked and it honestly prohibited me from actually Fully worshiping on Sunday mornings for about a year after that, and it just really left like a huge impact on my worship journey, even specifically in how I should worship and what do I look like when I worship and stuff like that. So I really had to discover my own worship style within that I had never been questioned before. I’m more of an introverted worshipper or introverted person in general. So I didn’t always raise my hands and I didn’t always seeing and after being confronted with some of that stuff, I tried to force myself to sing I tried to force my self to raise my hands and I kept I feel like I had like an internal battle like a spiritual internal battle but with myself, not necessarily with God. But I was thinking like, should I sing because I need to should I sing because people are watching all of that stuff. So that was one that was the biggest thing that I kind of had to, I guess loosely deconstruct is what does that look like for me and not being afraid to Be, who I am and how God made me and being my whole self in that. And then, like Cody said, we started this podcast a month after we left the church. And it honestly has been a journey the past two years. And I feel like we didn’t even know we were deconstructing until about like, nine months into the podcast and our we started. I think we randomly saw the word or I don’t remember exactly how we like found the term. But we were like, Oh, that sounds a lot like what we’re going through or even just a little bit and then as we started diving more into it, we were like, Oh, this is a big thing. Like we’ve had these crazy stories about church heard and, and different things and being shunned for their questions. And so I feel like that specifically. We’ve been able to see both sides that we’ve had amazing experiences at church and with leadership, but we’ve also had some not so great experiences. And so I feel like that kind of this whole podcast is our deconstruction story.
Cody Johnston 18:57
Yeah, for sure. Next question. Instead of a church experience, what are your thoughts or views on home churches or small groups that operate like the early church? I think we covered this a little bit. But real briefly, I think they’re fantastic. I want to add one thing to this though. A, you don’t like if you still enjoy a brick and mortar church service, like there’s nothing wrong with that. And be the biggest caveat I want to add to home churches, is I think that people in deconstruction, whatever that is, do need a place to anchor themselves to because if you don’t, you can drift very, very far into a lot of emotions. deconstruction is a messy process. It’s an emotional process to relearn to unlearn to unpack all these things, you start questioning so many things. And I’m not telling you when I say like an anchor point i’m not that’s not me saying like, Oh, well, you need to make sure you’re aligning, you know, with this or that I’m saying like you to make sure you have a firm foundation that you can kind of build upon and you have to tear Some stuff out to get there. But you need to remember like, I don’t know, I think you guys understand what I’m saying, like you need to have somewhere that keeps you from going into a very dark place, you need to have people around you who will support you in that. And I especially feel like that’s what home church or small group or whatever you want to call it is good for is a solid group of people. So with that being said, I think that smaller groups, smaller home churches are fantastic, as long as you have a couple people in the group who are well anchored, who have anchor points outside of just that group, maybe in other small groups, maybe in other home churches that are accountable to someone, and can help keep everyone there, safe from drifting off into some really weird or bad theology that will cause even more hurt down the road because you can deconstruct to something and then end up reconstructing something that doesn’t work. You know, if you don’t put the shingles on your house, right, you’re going to start getting leaks. And just to deconstruct everything and build something back that’s not going to be long term suited you You’re just gonna end up going through the same process again. So I think having anchor points having a set of blueprints even maybe we call that the Bible, maybe we call that you know centering prayer, whatever you want to look out for that as long as you have some blueprints, you know, maybe just grab what Jesus Himself said, you know, love God love people, you start building and you have this, you at least have a set of something to look at and go, Okay, this is how this needs to be put back, where when you start building it back, it’s gonna look different because there’s a lot of crap that got added before, but it still serves a functioning purpose because there’s no use in reconstructing something without a functional purpose.
Elaine Johnston 21:36
And like I had previously mentioned before churches great if it’s healthy, and I feel like that principle goes with anything. If a small group is healthy, then I’m absolutely all for it. We both have a small group that we have in our home, we we have that community, we have that local community, but like I said, it’s a healthy place or we strive to be a healthy place we strive to be a healthy community. And have fruitful conversations, even if the topics are diverse, all of that stuff. But as long as it’s healthy, I think small groups can be amazing and can do amazing things for people, whether they’re traditionally going to a church, maybe your small group is formed from your local church, or maybe you formed a small group because you did. You couldn’t find that community in a traditional church. But I feel like regardless if it’s healthy, if it’s producing fruitful conversations, if there’s still love and grace towards everyone in the group, if if there’s an open invitation, ask questions, I feel like that in my mind constitutes being healthy. And if you have those things, I feel like those are necessary. I feel like everyone should have a small group and some capacity. Someone said I am pretty new here, meaning this community so maybe you’ve already answered this in an episode I haven’t caught yet. But how have you You learn to cope and find peace and uncertainty.
Cody Johnston 23:03
A few quick resources, Thomas J. ords episode is really, really good about that. Our upcoming episode with Matthew Kaufman that comes out next week, I believe the week after this one airs is really good on some of these points. But to kind of give a brief summary, I’ve kind of realized that God isn’t the cause of bad I know that’s, it seems trivial to say that but like, God doesn’t call us the bad things in our life. But God has put in us the ability to face these things. And the life is the most beautiful thing we have. And when we’re faced with adversity, to keep that as a center to keep the idea of life as a center, even in death, even in hardship to keep life as the center and I think a great episode for this also is either of the episodes that we had either one right after my mother passed away or the episode of when he got out of the hospital which are both early on in the show Mind you, I don’t think that
Elaine Johnston 23:56
occur around the same time
Cody Johnston 23:59
because 28 was like, holy crap. Yeah. And so we it was insane. There was a ton of hardship, a ton of trial, a ton of just constant barrage of just stuff we had to deal with. And the biggest thing to me, that kind of kept me centered on that was realizing that God did not cause this, and in that, to speak positive to speak life. And we just had a conversation with Kyle Butler, where I was talking a little bit about how like, I become superstitious with my prayer life and all this kind of stuff. just realizing like to speak life. And this isn’t like a whatever, like, church, oh, if you pray this prayer, God will give you this new thing like you have to have. It’s not like a word of faith type thing. It’s literally you have life and death of the power of the tongue. And you can speak fruitful thoughts even in the most unfruitful situations. And in the face of adversity. You have the ability to say, I know who I am and I know that’s not like the perfect answer. But it’s just realizing who you are, what you are, and realizing the power that God’s creation holds in it.
Elaine Johnston 25:08
For me, I feel like finding that anchor point in Jesus. And no matter what you’re going through, no matter what questions you have, at least for me, what has brought me the most peace is just realizing God is not afraid of my questions. God is not afraid of my doubt and my struggles and the things that I’m going through. He’s not afraid of that. And I feel like that has brought me the most peace of no matter what I am going through, no matter how uncertain I am of the situation I am in just having that anchor point in Jesus.
Cody Johnston 25:38
All right, our next question, what will evangelicalism look like for the younger generation? Ah, heck if I don’t know I think evangelicalism in and of itself is dying. And I think there’s a big difference in evangelicalism and evangelizing Mind you, but I think evangelicalism is in and of itself. It’s gambling away. And I think people are just waking up to realize that there’s more to God. And this happens with every generation I think. And I’m watching it even more so with like Gen Z and stuff because I’m, you know, we’re millennials. We’re watching Gen Z come up now. And it’s kind of cool because like you and I were talking about this the other day, sitting on a patio at a restaurant. And we were talking about how like Millennials are very to themselves, people like we’re very introspective, kind of like analytical overthinking a lot at times. And then we’ve been watching a lot of our Gen Z friends and like just kind of monitoring that whole trends coming out because we have a heart for young adults. And like, specifically, we have a huge heart for young adults and djinns ears in general. And I think it’s really interesting because they band together unlike any generation I’ve ever seen. And so like they have this pack mentality where they have each other’s back. They don’t get involved, at least as of right now. They haven’t been fed, like all this divisiveness. They’ve seen so much of the divisiveness and even millennials getting into the fray like you get up into the later millennials closer to Gen X and all that. And I’m this is not stereotyping every person. This is just broad scoping trends. Okay, so don’t tune me out for this. But I’m not putting you in a box, I promise. But I think a lot of times us as millennials, kind of we started kind of getting involved in those debates and all this and it just kind of goes politics, religion, all of it in Jen’s ears are really sticking together. They’re more tight niche, they’re more community oriented. I know that’s a huge thing from like, older generations, like no one knows how to talk to each other anymore. No, people know how to communicate beyond and above in ways that we can. Yeah, like we can use emojis, which is like, literally we can use hieroglyphs to express through text what we’re meaning. We, I mean, you go on tik tok, which we’re huge advocates for by the way, like people are communicating through other people’s audios. Like there’s just this new forms of cancellation You have Snapchat all these different social medias have created micro interactions where people are connected and interlaced in a way that’s unlike anything I like the world has ever seen. And it’s growing substantially. And it’s creating an awareness of people. And so, evangelicalism, this whole, like, we’re over here where this divided thing, you know, we’re workhorse set apart, people are no longer being set apart. And I think that’s like a huge thing to faith in general is like, we’re no longer Gods set apart people. People are realizing, oh, we’re all God’s people, even more. So we’re all realizing we’re all human, like the humanity element is just flooding back in in a way that is beautiful. beyond words to me,
Elaine Johnston 28:42
well, and I can even see this within my younger sister and her friends and I feel like specifically with spirituality and faith and religion, I feel like we haven’t necessarily seen a whole lot of that with Gen Z, because I feel like they’re just now starting to become of that age. Were there that’s what they’re starting to think about. So, I honestly don’t know what that looks like. I know it’s going to be different and I’m excited to see what that looks like.
Cody Johnston 29:08
Yeah, for sure. What’s our next question? We’re gonna hit these next few pretty quick here.
Elaine Johnston 29:12
Do you maintain friendships from previous seasons of life where you had a worldview or theology in common? that is no longer the case? If so, how do you do this in a healthy way or otherwise people you served with in ministry pre deconstruction
Cody Johnston 29:28
The biggest thing that I want to start with is yes, I do on some degree. And no I do not on other degrees. Some people I have had to just say you know what, these people are constantly causing me drama. I know this is once again broads broad stroking here, but churches attract drama. People attract to drama like workplaces all this, but churches love gossip. And this is kind of a funny thing. I’ve said it on here before but when I was in ministry, I always would tell people if church members gossiped about each other you was our talks about each other, it was gossip, if church leadership talks about people, it was tending the flock. And so like gossip is just a huge thing in church in general, it’s a huge problem, that it’s so much so that like there are a lot of times when you come out of that you don’t need that in your life. That being said, there’s a lot of people who respect where I’m at, and they may not agree with me 100% but if they’re willing to respect my beliefs, I’m willing to respect their beliefs. I mean, I’m willing to respect their beliefs, even if they don’t respect Ryan, I hope but
Elaine Johnston 30:28
continuing the conversation, right?
Cody Johnston 30:30
As long as they’re not trying to preach down to me, you know, like, as long as like, I know in my heart what I believe I’m not off I’m not way off in some distant land here. And even if I was like, I need people who are willing to center me and to love me and who are willing to say like, hey, Cody, like I care about you, not in a demeaning like, Oh, I’m praying for you kind of way but like legitimately care. So if you have those people who still respect you and still want to keep friend like, I mean, that’s kind of this is gonna sound really weird. That’s like saying, Can I be friends with an African American person? Well, yeah, because it’s just skin color and religion should be the same way. But we’ve created divisiveness out of it. You know, like, there’s, there’s religion ism as much as there is racism or sexism in Christianity and religion as a whole. And we’re not all that different if you start studying religions, like there’s so many of us, we’re all trying to seek an answer to something that’s very, very similar. It’s an age old question. And so that being said, the answer to that is yes, you can, as long as the relationships are healthy. And if they’re not healthy, then that’s something where you just have to learn to say no, and realize it’s for both of your better interest anyway, because both of you are not helping each other out. You’re just robbing each other up.
Elaine Johnston 31:40
So I completely agree with everything you said. I don’t really have anything else to add. But this person who asked this question, had a whole other question within their question, and it’s how quickly did it take you to realize you were deconstructing? How quickly did it take you to realize you are reconstructing something? How did you help each other in the process asked by someone One who is actively reconstructing whose wife is still deconstructing, and whose entire familial support network is part of our pre deconstruction church community.
Cody Johnston 32:10
Go for it, you handle this.
Elaine Johnston 32:11
Okay, so I think we kind of touched on this a little bit. How quickly did we realize I mean, as soon as we left the church that we were and we immediately went into podcasting? Well, we had a whole month we’re like, Okay, what do we do now? But, like I said, this whole podcast has been our deconstruction journey. But how quickly did it take us to realize we were reconstructing I feel like maybe about a year, a year and a half into this specific podcast, because that’s whenever we started meeting other people who were talking about these things, because when we first started, we thought we were the only ones or at least we thought the I don’t know if we thought we coined the term deconstruction, but we in our immediate circle, there wasn’t a whole lot of people talking about these things. But about a year, a year and a half. We started meeting people who are Also had podcasts who also had these conversations outside of our local community. And the reconstruction process, I feel like fully understanding that is whenever we talked with Jason Elam from the messy spirituality, because that is his thing is reconstructing and finding God finding the center in that through all of this massive deconstruction and, and through of all this questioning and and I feel like that’s what we really wanted to kind of. That’s what we started this year into. That was our first conversation for 2020. Was that conversation of Okay, how do we reconstruct? We’ve talked a lot about deconstruction, but how do we build back up?
Cody Johnston 33:40
Well said and we have a few more questions, but they’re all kind of in the same vein. So I’m going to read through them and we’ll have like one kind of bulk conversation here at the end. But real quick, before we get into that, we have a question. Would you ever start a church on your own? I have a really quick answer to this. I’m just gonna throw out there real quick. I don’t believe in such thing is like a church like that. We’re all A church, anywhere we gather as a church. So it’s impossible for me to start a church literally me calling my friends, hey, let’s meet at a coffee shop. Technically, like I started church that week, next week, if they call me and say, hey, let’s go grab some barbecue like that, starting there. They started church that week. So like, I just kind of believe that I mean, as far as like an organized central body, no, I would do conferences and get togethers and hold meetups and stuff, but I would not start a church. Yeah, quick thing to that.
Elaine Johnston 34:26
I feel like this is a very popular question within an even our immediate circles, especially when we left our church, we had so many friends and so many family members of Okay, what’s next? What is church look like for you? Let’s start this or when are you going to start this or whenever you start this, I’m going to be the first one. And we even had people from the church that we had left, say, oh, they’re going to go start a church. I bet they’re going to start this and we were just like, what do we do?
Cody Johnston 34:52
Yeah, and we’d contemplate it for a little while. But I realized like, I don’t want to be part of that. You know, that’s literally like the system that works. This is church. Yeah. We’re having in church right now and like if people are happy, like why would I want to steal them away from where they’re at to come to my thing? Like I don’t, there’s enough churches, oh my gosh, another nine states alone, there are enough churches. We got so many churches, we got churches that are just competing against each other now and it just has become a competition. We don’t need more churches.
Elaine Johnston 35:21
I was gonna say, if you count the podcast as a church, then sure we started the church.
Cody Johnston 35:25
Yeah. Okay. So to kind of sum all this up, I’m just going to kind of so these two questions together, what kind of beliefs or behaviors should be deconstructed? What are some healthy behaviors to reconstruct? And where do you draw the line with deconstruction? Starting off with what kind of beliefs that behavior should be deconstructed and working this in anything that is not bearing the fruit of the Spirit in your life should be deconstructed within the confines of Jesus’s teaching. This is my opinion. Other people will vary on this. We are a Christian podcast Still, we still claim the title of Christianity. You No, Elaine and I are very neutral. There’s been times we’ve leaned one way or the other but God has always centered us very neutral on his church bad, his church good. You know, liberal, conservative likes anything. Most everything Elaine and I are very much the kind of people most people hate because we straddle the fence on most things and it pisses a lot of people off, I can play devil’s advocate either way, you want to go with it. And I see beauty in both sides. And I think anytime you lean too far, one way or another, you’re, you’re throwing yourself off balance. Let’s be honest, like the body’s made to stand center on both feet. If you lean too far, one way or another, you’re gonna call yourself back problems all this kind of stuff like just as a weird analogy, like I used to carry a wallet in my back pocket I leaned on my right side too much and got tired nerve issues like you’re supposed to stay centered, you know, like, go practice some yoga like it’s, it’s a beautiful thing your
Elaine Johnston 36:48
Cody Johnston 36:49
So centering is a huge thing. Jesus was very centered. He was able to go and tell Pharisees and all this Hey, y’all are crazy. While going over here and saying Like, hey, this is how you need to like maintain your relationship with Christ. He’s like he knew where to walk that line. And that’s what we’re trying to imitate as Christians are little Christ’s. So anything to deconstruct any kind of cult like behaviors, that’s something that kind of like a word that kind of got mentioned in this thread. Yeah, there’s a lot of cool white behaviors, man, Jericho marches around the sanctuary seven times to watch the spiritual principalities fall, cute symbolism completely unnecessary. You know, like, this is something that kind of bleeds over from the practice of more air quotes on paganism or old earth magic even, is like when you hear it when you start studying, like casting, salt circles and rituals and all this it’s the same exact thing as prayer. The only difference is we filter ours through Christ. So if there’s any negativity there, it gets filtered out before it’s released, but we have that energy in us and I know that sounds woowoo and all that because it is, but it’s just the reality of our spiritual side. We are a spiritual being. We have the power to manifest all kinds of crazy stuff in our lives. Good and bad, and Don’t trust myself enough as someone who’s been through some crazy stuff, I don’t trust myself enough to filter out every kind of time I have a negative thought. That’s why I’m a Christian. Because like the way to live to me to live through Christ to live through that is a beautiful thing because I see God as love. And that’s just who I want to filter everything through is through the lens of love. That being said, you can go too far and deconstruction, so just kind of sum that up on my end. Actually, I’ll let you go first before I talk about reconstruction, but to sum it up on my end, I think you should deconstruct anything that doesn’t bear love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness or self control.
Elaine Johnston 38:37
Well, in last week’s episode, whenever we were on our hike, I had mentioned that you can really only deconstruct one thing at a time. And I feel like you need to be very careful. 30 construction, huge advocate of deconstruction, huge advocate of asking questions and however I feel like and this is dependent on the person there is a where you have to draw the line for every single person but There does come a point where if you deconstruct too much, you are not able to see the beauty and the world around you, you kind of become immune to other people’s ideas, other people’s thoughts and feelings and opinions. And I feel like if you, and again, this is dependent on the person and you know, you know when you are struggling with this, but there comes a time where it can get really ugly really fast, and you don’t know what’s around you, and you aren’t able to see the beauty and other people and you’re not able to see the beauty and even God and I just feel like there does come a point where you’re like, Okay, before I deconstruct everything else, let me rebuild this thing up real quick, or however long it takes you but let me rebuild this. So I can stand on this foundation whenever I have no other foundation to stand upon.
Cody Johnston 39:52
Well, that goes into the whole reconstruction side of things, right, which is the second half of this question. What’s the line and I think that’s a beautiful point is like whenever you start drawing Getting away from where everything become when you almost become agnostic to experiencing life. Like, okay, you’re going through for and that goes back to having an anchor point that goes back to that whole conversation and something that I want to caution people on. It’s something I witness a whole lot. You know, because we’re in both sides of the circle here is don’t become and let me make sure I say this right, you can become a fundamentalist evangelical and that’s what a lot of people are deconstructing from, but don’t become a fundamentalist ex angelical either, because you can, like push yourself so far away, that ever you become a nihilist right? No absolutes, everything is bad, like you basically, oh, man, you can get so caught up in all this, that you actually become nihilistic toward life. And don’t go that far like you have to stay rooted in something. So once again, if your deconstruction isn’t bringing you love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control, you know, and here’s a couple examples if you’re online having to attack every single Christian because of their fundamentalist beliefs, that’s not self control. That is not producing love that is not producing you joy. If it is that’s not healthy, okay? I’ve been there like it’s not healthy. It’s not producing peace. It’s not producing patience. It’s not kindness. It’s not goodness, it’s not faithfulness. It’s literally none of the fruit of the Spirit like, it has to produce those good fruits on either side.
Elaine Johnston 41:24
Well, I feel like there is a huge difference between deconstruction and being destructive. That’s good. And I feel like there is a life you can find life and deconstruction but there is no life and being destructive.
Cody Johnston 41:38
Yeah, well and destroying kind of going racking this back up to the beginning here. Destroying something is to wipe it all out. deconstruction is coming in with a plan. So you can with as little damage and as cost effectively get rid of the bad to replace it with something good. Consider deconstruction, less like a wrecking ball and more likely surgery, you’re going in to fix a problem. There may be a lot of problems, but you’re going in to fix these things over time with time to heal in between. You’re not coming in there and just lighting a match and throwing it. A lot of people have deconstructed that way. I’m not faulting you if you have deconstruct it that way, but it’s a whole lot harder to build back up. It costs a lot more of your time. And ultimately, it damages and can kill off a lot of relationships along the way. Tell us what you think we would love to answer any more questions you have. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this. What’s your deconstruction journey been? Like? We would love to hear just from you. And so if you would ever so kindly go down there and click that link and ask to be a part of nomads. We would love, love, love to have you. And last but not least, if you would share this episode on with a friend that is the best way to keep the conversation going. So if you have someone in your circle that you’re like, hey, this conversation speaks to me. I’d love for you to unmute Stand what I’m going through a little better. Or maybe you have someone in your circle who’s going through something similar. Pass it on with them. And, yeah, let’s just have a conversation about it. Let’s come together as a community as the church and just respect each other’s journey, love on each other and show each other love of Christ acknowledging God and every single one of us. And as always be brave, be bold and be reckless. We’ll talk soon
If you enjoy campfire stories, Biblical history, and folklore, check out Cody’s podcast,
Itinerant: Biblical History Beyond the Bible.
If you are a woman looking to find your God-given purpose and let it loose, Elaine has a podcast for you. visit The Prodigal Daughter:
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