Ownership, Coaching and Christianity (145)

In this episode John and Gregg return to John’s positive engagement with coaching and his unfulfilling engagement with Christianity.

Gregg’s hunch is that John’s situation offers an example that is very applicable for many listeners, in that the phenomena of finding one’s faith to be lackluster in comparison with other activities or pursuits seems not only common but normal. Thus the fitting response is one of “investigation,” in order to gain understanding (rather than berating oneself or feeling guilty for one’s current reality). Out of this better understanding one may then be able to leverage valuable insights in other areas that can profitably be applied to one’s faith.

Thus Gregg opens with the notion that Christianity—or at least one’s experience of it—is never “great all the time.” Indeed, he argues that this is a destructive ideology. Questioning John, Gregg wonders what basic aspects of coaching work for John, and how / what about these same aspects don’t work for John when it comes to Christianity.

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Coaching and Christianity (144)

This episode continues John and Gregg’s conversation about John’s excitement around coaching and lack of enthusiasm for Christianity. Yet Gregg proposes that this may actually offer positive orientation for John’s engagement with Christianity.

Gregg believes that there are many Christians in a similar position to John, such that they are excited and enthused more by baseball, their hobbies, their work or their volunteering than by their engagement with God or the Bible. Much like their discussion of “biblical illiteracy” in episode #54, Gregg believes that John’s lack of enthusiasm for Christianity is not a problem but may be the symptom of some other issue.

To begin with, John explains that he both coaches others and is coached himself. Gregg wonders: what is the “value proposition” for John in coaching?

John explains that the core tenet of the “co-active coaching” model is personal transformation. In this way coaches are much more hands-off than, for example, accountability partners or personal trainers. Thus coaching aims are empowering clients to learn more about themselves en route to becoming the “best versions of themselves.”

John acknowledges that Gregg sees personal transformation as core to the Christian faith, yet John experiences coaching to be much more effective in this regard than Christianity!
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Self Discovery as a Hobby or Lifestyle? (143)

In this episode John and Gregg take their discussion in a different direction. Beginning with a retrospective of the podcast, they discuss a potentially “new way” for Untangling Christianity to fulfill one of it’s original purposes which was to give hope to other people.  John originally put this as, “I have to believe that there is at least one person out there who is going through the same thing that I am, and I think that our discussions could help them.”

John begins by explaining how, over the past 3 years, he has driven 85 to 90% of the podcasts and that a major motivator for “bringing the fire” on these topics was his sense of frustration or confusion in what he was reading or hearing about Christianity–often that it didn’t make sense in light of his lived reality. In this way, the podcast helped John fulfill his personal mission statement of “bringing order to chaos and clarity to confusion.”

By contrast, John presently finds himself engaged in other topics of interest, with a particular emphasis on coaching. Yet where John sees this as potential problem, Gregg sees this as an enormous benefit.

Specifically, John is concerned about being inauthentic on the podcast and “going through the motions.” Gregg, on the other hand, views John’s “doldrums” about podcasting and Christianity as being entirely normal and, by focusing on the matter, offers a fantastic opportunity for him and John to engage in a very real and personal way around a matter that is so common (and problematic) for evangelicals!
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What Belongs in the House? (142)

In this episode John and Gregg discuss an introspection on “where John is at,” touching on John’s views about God, his career, and life generally.

John opens with his concern of being being misunderstood by listeners, and specifically not wanting to regret being “nailed down” to what he offers today while sharing personally and honestly. Gregg notes that he finds it strange to hear John being unclear about his (John’s) own views or how John wants to describe his position.

John acknowledges that he holds his personal views about Christianity much more tentatively than his views about other topics that the two discuss, and so even with a “gun to his head” he would likely still be unable to offer a clear, definite answer about what he believes. This strikes John as problematic, both in that it is contrary to what John’s background taught him (which is that one is supposed to know what one believes) and it runs counter to the general, societal “norm” (which assumes that by a particular age one is again supposed to have things figured out).
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Paying an Intellectual Cost (141)

In this episode John and Gregg resume their discussion from last episode of the article on apologetics in the Biola University Magazine: “Young people are indeed leaving the church,” by Craig Hazen and Larry Barnett.

During this conversation John contrasts the above article with another, entitled “How becoming more secular brought me closer to Jesus,” by Allison Lynch. John does so in part to investigate a hunch that he had from last episode. Namely, that while the Biola article contends that much (if not all) of the difficulties that cause young people to leave the church are due to unanswered doubts, that this is not the case.

In other words, John contends that Barnett and Hazen’s approach is entirely partial and that it will not be effective where the issues forcing people from the church are experiential, and not intellectual, such as the situation that Allison Lynch presents.

Lynch’s article chronicles her evangelical past and, ultimately, her break from evangelicalism.
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