Last year, I began a journey that has taught me a lot about myself and the type of man I desire to become. I didn’t take a long trip or have an of out-of-body experience,
I started a Podcast.
In my last blog post, I wrote about the search for my identity. I also wrote about the struggle I have endured on the path to finding out who I really am. This post will serve as kind of a Part II to that post, as my journey starting a podcast has lead me to learn about myself and my passion for justice.
For much of my life, I have desired to create balance. I like things to be even and to be fair. Moving to a big city, like Los Angeles, showed me that life is, most often, not fair. I see things every day that make me scratch my head and wonder how life could be so cruel to someone who once was so innocent. When I feel this way, I feel helpless, out of balance, craving justice. Thankfully, I have learned to change my perspective. I have learned that I can use my desire for balance and fairness to help those that have endured systematic, cultural persecution.
As my perspective on inclusivity and justice become more solidified, I continue to find myself outside the four walls of a church. I started to feel this way towards the end of my seminary journey and it was confirmed as I was interviewing for positions within various churches throughout Los Angeles. You would think a progressively liberal place like LA would be a haven for a “progressive-seeking church guy” like me.
Church in LA is, often times, big business. Not my thing. I am not interested in repeating the “party lines” or swaying with whatever trends seem to be “working” to “grow” your community. I’m interested in giving people the truth, and sometimes the truth is not what people want to hear. If there is one place on Earth you can tell it how it is, it’s the internet, not in church. So, I took my thoughts, passions, crazy ideas, whatever you want to call them, and I am putting them on the internet, in the form of a podcast.
I picked the title of the show, The Mission Podcast because I feel that embodies what each episode is. Each episode has a goal of providing honest, truthful, and practical content. When I am scheduling guest, I look for people that are active in their field. I want to talk with folks that are passionate about making a change and are facilitating change both locally and globally.
The Mission Podcast is also a mission to help the world remember that is it both necessary and important to have an honest dialogue about issues affecting all of us.(Us, humanity, we are not separate from one another. We are all connected.) It is our mission, as human beings and inhabitants of this planet, to relearn how to live together in harmony. We have to know how to talk about and how to talk through tough issues and topics. My hope is that The Mission Podcast will be a stepping stone for your conversations. But the conversations are only the beginning of change. After the conversation begins, then the discussion on how change happens also need to begin.
With so many issues arising in the news every day, it is hard to even try to begin to think about affecting change in our communities. Where do we begin? How can we know if we are really helping? How do I get involved? I have asked myself these questions many times during the course of my journey. After asking these questions for so long, I realized that it was time to move past the action of asking, and move into the action of learning. The best way I found to learn was to read from perspectives that were both parallel and perpendicular to my particular beliefs. It is usually easy, and fun, to read something that parallels your own perspective. Taking a step outside of your perspective is not so easy.
But it is so enlightening.
As I began to read more, I felt I could share what I am learning with my circle of friends by sharing resources and suggesting books or talks have taught me along my journey. That became the second component of The Mission Podcast, the weekly resources.
Each week, along with new content and (most weeks) a new guest interview, I am putting together a list of resources that hopefully represents the message and guest for that episode. For example, February is Black History Month. Each episode released in February included resources that have helped me learn more about the injustices and oppression that African American have endured since coming to American on the slave ships. The resources varied from books to short clips to articles. After preparing a resource list for a few episodes, I began to see how easy it was for me to source these resources and to share them with the members of my community. But the show notes for the podcast are not always the easiest way to get this information to anyone that is interested in having it. So I have come up with a solution that will hopefully allow folks to access the resources, even if they are not able to listen to each episode of the podcast.
Starting with next week’s episode, I am going to post the show notes and resources in a weekly blog post. This way, the resources will be easy to find and can also be shared within your network. My hope is that these resources will lead you to start and continue your own conversation about important topics such as systemic injustice, equal rights, and environmental concerns. The resources will come in various forms such as books, articles and talks/short clips. Whatever your preferred method of learning, either reading or watching, I hope to have you covered with the resources I find and publish each week.
As I continue to learn along that way of my personal journey, I am looking forward to sharing what I have discovered in my community. As Dr. Leah Gunning Francis said during our interview, “Whatever your passion for justice is, start now. Start right where you are, start right within your circle.” My passion is for helping others learn how to become better individuals, to learn how to think differently and to learn how to have more compassion.
This is my “start.” In a way, The Mission Podcast has replaced the church in my life. Church will always provide me with an abundance of relationships, but when it comes to actual tools for getting through life, I have felt the church has left me woefully unprepared.
I wonder if there are others like me that also feel this way?
I have a hunch there are others like me. I hope they find The Mission Podcast and I hope it gives them hope. I hope it gives them a community where they can feel safe. If you are reading this post, my guess is you are also on your own journey of self-discovery. If so, keep a bookmark on this site. My hope is to provide you resources to help you along your way. If you are not ready or have already completed your journey to self-discovery, use this site to help those you care about who are looking for answers. Let’s welcome everyone into our community that is willing to learn and let’s continue our journey of learning, together.