A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar

William Paul Young & Brad Jersak: Judgment, Wrath, Hell, and the God Who Is Love

December 02, 2020 Season 1 Episode 11
A Pastor and a Philosopher Walk into a Bar
William Paul Young & Brad Jersak: Judgment, Wrath, Hell, and the God Who Is Love
Show Notes Transcript

CONTENT NOTE: This episode contains references to trauma, abuse, suicide, and mental illness. Not recommended for children.

On this episode, we're joined by William Paul Young (author of The Shack and Eve) and Brad Jersak (author of A More Christlike God and Her Gates Will Never Be Shut). We discuss their new co-authored novella, The Pastor: A Crisis, a raw story of a fundamentalist pastor undergoing the judgment of God. But our conversation is much more wide-ranging than just the book. We discuss what it means to say that God is love, the nature of forgiveness, the metaphor of Hell, and more.

The whiskey featured in this episode is Basil Hayden's Dark Rye. Thanks to Story Hill BKC!

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/apastorandaphilosopher)

00:14

welcome to

00:14

a pastor and a philosopher walk into a

00:16

bar the podcast where we mix a sometimes

00:19

weird but always delicious cocktail of

00:21

theology

00:22

philosophy and spirituality

00:29

well welcome everyone on this episode

00:31

we're excited to bring you a really

00:32

interesting interview

00:34

with a couple authors uh that you may

00:36

have heard of

00:37

so we've got on our podcast today brad

00:39

gersek

00:40

and william paul young and they have

00:43

authored a new book together called

00:45

the pastor a crisis it's a novella

00:48

and it's got some pretty heavy themes in

00:50

it uh so

00:51

it might be a good idea to give at the

00:53

beginning of the podcast here a note a

00:55

content warning

00:56

if you have young children this is

00:59

probably not the episode for them

01:00

we're going to explore some pretty dark

01:02

heavy themes including

01:04

trauma abuse but also the grace and

01:07

healing and forgiveness that comes

01:08

out of those experiences that's the the

01:11

context of the novella that they've

01:12

written

01:13

and it's a it's a really challenging and

01:15

beautiful conversation

01:16

that's right i will fully admit that i

01:19

am a fanboy of these guys

01:21

full on fanboy and i am proud of myself

01:24

and how i conducted myself

01:26

in this interview i didn't like totally

01:28

come across it

01:29

wasn't as obvious as it could have been

01:31

okay good good

01:33

all right i've avoided asking any

01:34

questions about the shack so

01:36

i feel pretty good about that yeah same

01:39

fun times well

01:41

we get a treat today i think it's going

01:44

to be a treat i've never tried this but

01:46

as far as the bar part of this episode

01:49

today our friends at story hill bkc in

01:51

milwaukee

01:52

supplied us with basil hayden's dark rye

01:55

i'm super excited about it it's

01:57

quite rare um my friends at story hill

02:00

bkc tell me that

02:01

we you might not find another uh pro

02:05

this product in other liquor stores

02:06

around milwaukee so if you are in

02:08

milwaukee

02:09

depending on how we review this you

02:11

should get yourself over to story hill

02:13

bkc but basil hayden's dark rye

02:16

is unique in that it is a kentucky

02:19

straight rye

02:20

whiskey blended with canadian and

02:22

american

02:23

rye whiskey and it's mixed with port

02:26

it's not finished in a port barrel

02:27

it actually has some ports in it

02:30

which is all sorts of crazy yeah do

02:33

people do that or that's just i don't

02:35

know i think basil hayden's

02:36

does it yeah i mean bazel hayden's is a

02:38

great brand i've had a lot of scotch

02:40

finished in port barrels which is one of

02:42

my favorite

02:43

ways to finish scotch so this should be

02:46

interesting

02:47

i can tell you it's much darker than

02:49

almost any whiskey i've ever had it's

02:50

like

02:51

it's very dark i don't even know how to

02:53

describe that shade of brown which my

02:54

wife is mahogany

02:56

shout out to uh yeah it's it's kind of

02:58

the color of

03:00

story hills bar it just reminds me you

03:02

know the elegance ron swanson would

03:04

enjoy this smells of rich mahogany

03:06

exactly

03:10

probably go well with the office with

03:12

lots of leather bound books

03:16

the nose is just

03:20

wine yeah oh wow

03:24

um oh

03:30

wow yeah there it is

03:33

oh my goodness that is damn good it like

03:36

it starts out

03:37

as a rye then it kind of

03:40

goes to bourbon land on the sides of my

03:43

tongue

03:44

and then all of a sudden it finishes as

03:45

port it's like three drinks in one

03:47

that's incredible

03:49

yeah that's the treat that's fantastic

03:53

what's the abv on this i do not know

03:55

kyle i'm sorry does that stay on the

03:57

bottom

03:57

you're asking me real questions i just

03:58

want to sit here and just taste that

04:01

it's i mean it's got yeah it's 80 proof

04:05

it's 40 it's got no burn almost at all

04:08

no oh my goodness this is

04:11

the perfect after dinner whiskey yeah i

04:14

mean

04:15

i'm i'm yeah i'm almo

04:18

i have i have very few words right now

04:21

that's a dessert whiskey for

04:22

dark yeah dark berries but it tastes

04:26

like a pie

04:26

oh they go well with a pie bat

04:30

now i want pie no i want some

04:33

i want some rich cheese with this

04:36

personally yeah

04:39

this is this is in a whole

04:42

this is in its own category for me

04:44

randy's speechless

04:46

i am kind of unusual yeah i mean i taste

04:49

the i taste the peppery rye in the

04:51

beginning um but then you get that like

04:53

the plums

04:54

and the dark fruits with the port that

04:56

come with that but it's lush

04:58

and rich i mean it's it you taste it

05:02

for a while after you have it in your

05:03

mouth you know what i mean

05:05

i can't recommend this highly enough uh

05:07

if you are in the milwaukee area

05:09

get over to story hill bkc which is in

05:12

the miller park area it's in story hill

05:14

you know surprisingly and they have this

05:17

right now

05:18

it's fantastic i can't recommend it

05:20

highly enough take it out

05:21

buy it and then take it out for the

05:23

special occasions or just enjoy

05:25

yourself and treat yourself because man

05:27

that's good yeah yeah

05:28

i don't know what it costs but it's

05:30

worth it yeah well

05:32

i feel like we didn't we didn't

05:33

adequately describe it at all

05:35

and so the only just have to go find

05:37

some i mean didn't adequately in that

05:39

like the only words i could think of

05:40

were delicious

05:42

decadent luscious holy cow we're gonna

05:45

be fighting over the rest of the bottle

05:46

for sure

05:47

yeah you're not in person kyle so uh

05:50

yeah sorry buddy

05:54

today i'm super excited that we're

05:55

joined by two

05:57

people that i admire so much brad your

05:59

sack and william paul young

06:00

thinkers authors i'll just start with

06:03

you brad when i think of you i think of

06:04

you as a pastor as a theologian

06:07

as a writer and just a beautiful human

06:09

being brad

06:10

you're you've gone into the eastern

06:12

orthodox world and you've

06:13

you're just a man of rich background can

06:15

you just give us a nutshell of

06:17

how would you describe brad your sack i

06:19

would start with

06:20

i am a person who

06:24

who has a an adorable wife eden

06:28

and she's walked me through a lot of

06:31

my own meltdowns and journey towards

06:34

grace

06:35

um i'm after pastoring for 20 years i

06:38

did enter the academic world i'm now the

06:40

dean of theology and culture

06:42

at st stephens university in new

06:44

brunswick canada

06:46

and uh we have an online program if you

06:49

want to check out

06:51

ssu.ca and uh

06:53

i'm also i'm also really pleased to have

06:56

a close circle of friends that i i

06:58

regard as a healing community and paul

07:00

is right at the center of that

07:02

and so a friend of paul young feels good

07:04

to me

07:05

in fact it doesn't feel like name

07:06

dropping anymore

07:08

yes it's like my dear friend uh who has

07:11

my back

07:13

so yeah that's where i'm at all right

07:16

and brad you came through all sorts of

07:18

traditions whether it's charismatic

07:20

not mennonite but tell us the the

07:22

journey of traditions because it's just

07:24

fascinating to me

07:24

yeah actually uh 20 years in a

07:27

conservative baptist church that was

07:29

heavy on dispensationalism all things

07:31

armageddon

07:32

placed the lord yeah then i married into

07:34

the mennonites and i actually i'm an

07:36

ordained mennonite minister i worked

07:38

with them for 10 years

07:40

at my wife's home church and that's

07:42

where i became more jesus centered in my

07:44

theology and reading of the scripture

07:46

and then we planted a church that i led

07:48

for ten years and she led for five years

07:51

called fresh wind with a focus on people

07:53

at the margins

07:54

people with disabilities made up

07:56

one-third of the church

07:58

we also had addicts and the poor and

08:00

children running around so that was

08:01

wonderful

08:02

and then i had a great meltdown in 2008

08:05

and retreated to academia and

08:07

did a healing journey through a phd and

08:10

by the time i got done that i knew i

08:12

didn't want to be a pastor anymore

08:14

and and so i i've since then i've been

08:17

teaching

08:17

and i also at the same time made my

08:20

transition into the orthodox church

08:22

where i'm a monastery preacher and

08:24

reader which is

08:26

their code for chanting uh the hymns and

08:29

and scriptures so so it is quite a

08:33

journey from

08:33

from something that looks like you know

08:36

a conservative baptist to someone who

08:38

wears a robe on sundays that's that is a

08:40

journey

08:41

and but it's a good one

08:44

probably the only person i've ever heard

08:45

describe a phd program is a healing

08:47

journey

08:48

that was not my experience yeah well i

08:52

fell in love with simone vay who saved

08:55

my life

08:55

and her theology of the cross was a part

08:58

of that healing

08:59

wow love to do a whole episode just on

09:01

that

09:02

paul william paul young author of the

09:05

shack

09:06

and many other books can you just tell

09:08

us a little bit about yourself

09:10

missionary kid preachers kid firstborn

09:13

uh grew up

09:14

um in a third culture world so third

09:17

culture kid

09:17

where where exactly that was in irian it

09:19

was netherlands new guinea when we got

09:21

there

09:22

so i'm born canadian i was a year old

09:25

when we went there my sister was born

09:27

dutch my other brother was born under un

09:30

control and my second brother was born

09:33

under indonesian

09:35

uh control when socano came and annexed

09:38

the country so

09:39

we had four children with four passports

09:41

wow and uh

09:43

so it's um it was pioneer missions at

09:46

the time

09:47

the dutch bailed out and the interior

09:51

of new guinea new guinea is very unusual

09:55

it's now

09:55

papua or west papua and um it has

09:58

over 800 unrelated language groups like

10:02

unrelated language groups and there's no

10:04

common language except maybe

10:07

warfare at the time when we when we went

10:10

in so we went into a very

10:13

untouched part of the world at the time

10:17

spirit worshiping practice ritualistic

10:19

cannibalism

10:20

and adult euthanasia one sort or another

10:24

but incredibly tight-knit community

10:28

structures

10:29

and um our tribe was huge it was 20

10:32

30 000 people over 100 square miles

10:35

and we were first in so yeah

10:38

so then you know very uh

10:43

very rigid also dispensational in terms

10:46

of its eschatology

10:47

very performance oriented very

10:49

transactionally based

10:51

holiness movement modern evangelical

10:54

that whole

10:54

that whole thing and then coming back to

10:57

canada

10:59

moved around a lot my i went to 13

11:02

schools before i graduated high school

11:04

and part of that just reinforced all the

11:07

disconnect that i had with

11:10

you know third culture kid issues

11:13

and that was all exacerbated by sexual

11:15

abuse that happened both in the tribal

11:17

culture and then in boarding school

11:18

missionary boarding school and also

11:21

issues with my dad and all that so

11:25

you know the facade that i picked up was

11:26

one of performance i became a

11:28

performance addict

11:29

and not because i was trying to deceive

11:32

anybody i was

11:34

i was desperate to find a way to

11:36

integrate my outside world and my inside

11:38

world and i thought i was such a piece

11:40

of crap

11:40

ontologically you know in terms of the

11:42

truth of my being that

11:44

that that i had to create a facade

11:48

as a goal toward which to move but as

11:51

soon as you have a false identity like

11:52

that then

11:54

everything is just underground and

11:56

waiting for exposure which is the only

11:58

path to healing

12:00

and i drug all my crap into my marriage

12:02

and then

12:03

blew it up 13 years in after our sixth

12:06

child was born we have six kids

12:08

and that started me on an 11-year

12:11

dismantling reconstruction

12:13

process i was one of those people that

12:15

didn't need a art

12:16

restoration person to carefully undo the

12:20

layers of crap i needed bulldozers

12:24

and wrecking balls and i got them

12:27

and i mean i built the house of cards

12:28

that came down

12:30

that 11 years which it took kim

12:34

i'm married to now 41 years but kim

12:36

almost well

12:37

just celebrated 41. kim um

12:40

she she paid a huge price for my healing

12:43

very unfair price

12:45

and it took her and i 11 years to heal

12:47

from

12:48

the adultery that she caught me in

12:50

three-month affair with one of her best

12:51

friends in

12:52

1994 and that started the 11 years

12:57

of of just putting one foot in front of

12:59

the other and dismantling who i thought

13:02

god was dismantling what it meant for me

13:04

to be a human being

13:05

dismantling oh hellish arduous process

13:09

of learning to live inside the

13:12

simplicity of one day's grace at a time

13:15

and 11 years later as the 11th year

13:19

closed off and my

13:20

12th year began which was the year i

13:21

turned 50.

13:23

i finally felt healthy enough kim and i

13:26

had reconciled

13:28

which took all of the 11 years

13:31

reconciliation means that she

13:32

she now trusted me and then

13:35

i finally felt healthy enough to do this

13:37

little thing that she'd been

13:39

kind of every once in a while would

13:40

bring it up and that was someday

13:42

you know as a gift for our kids would

13:44

you just write something that puts in

13:46

one place how you

13:47

think because you think outside the box

13:49

and

13:50

finally the year i turned 50 i feel

13:52

healthy enough to do it and

13:54

working three jobs and took the train 40

13:57

minutes

13:57

you know each way to my main job and and

14:00

that christmas

14:02

my one gift for my kids because we had

14:04

nothing at that

14:05

that year part of the healing journey

14:07

but um

14:08

i went down to office depot and made 15

14:11

copies of the story that i'd written

14:12

called the shack and those 15 copies did

14:16

everything i ever wanted that book to do

14:17

never intended to be a published author

14:20

i never thought i'd ever speak again

14:22

after i because i taught theology i've

14:24

gone to bible school in seminary and

14:26

done

14:26

you know all the right all the right

14:29

things to qualify

14:30

and then blew up my world so

14:34

it was simple i was going to clean

14:37

toilets

14:38

and you know do hot food processing

14:41

in a hot food line and manufacturers

14:44

rep place for circuit boards and

14:48

soldering tips i thought that's that's

14:50

my life and i'm good

14:51

i'm content it took me until i was 50

14:54

years old to be content

14:55

wow and and that's the year i wrote the

14:58

shack

14:58

and god's got a great sense of humor

15:02

yeah so here we are look at that wow

15:05

paul i mean what a gift you give us with

15:07

that story the vulnerability and the

15:10

honesty i mean man it is what it is you

15:12

know we've

15:13

we've we've hidden our crap for so long

15:16

we don't even know that jesus can heal

15:18

us

15:20

well so through from hearing that from

15:22

you paul

15:23

and knowing your story with your

15:24

meltdown brad

15:26

it makes all sorts of sense of this book

15:28

the pastor a crisis that you wrote

15:30

together because

15:31

it seems like you both have gone through

15:33

that very crisis in different ways would

15:35

you say

15:36

yeah absolutely yeah to the end of

15:37

ourselves i just want to ask you guys a

15:39

couple contextual

15:40

questions before we get into the book is

15:42

that okay absolutely yeah

15:44

so tell us about your relationship how

15:46

you struck up a friendship

15:47

that led to writing a book together

15:50

boy it's going to take the whole hour

15:52

just like that

15:54

um so i wrote this little book for my

15:57

kids you know

15:58

and uh as a as a result i got invited

16:01

all kinds of places to

16:03

to come and to be present and to talk

16:05

one of them

16:06

was with the community in southern

16:07

british columbia that

16:09

brad had once pastored but now eden his

16:12

wife was pastoring

16:14

and brad was off somewhere doing his

16:17

really intelligent

16:18

scholarly stuff and so i didn't get to

16:20

meet him

16:21

but we got to know each other through a

16:24

lot of email exchanges and some phone

16:26

calls

16:26

and just um because he was working on a

16:29

project and i was working on projects

16:31

and and we just started meshing

16:34

uh our our our thinking and i you know

16:37

when i had a good question i'd

16:39

contact brad it was the way i described

16:44

there are some relationships that don't

16:46

require

16:47

any work you know some friendships and

16:51

and it's it's more of a ah

16:54

there you are kind of thing that just

16:57

you know

16:58

and there's no looking back so it always

17:00

picks up where it leaves off and it's

17:02

and that's a it's a kiss of grace for me

17:04

and that's what happened with us

17:06

it's a gift brad's a huge gift to me

17:09

likewise

17:11

yeah yeah so where did the book come out

17:13

of you guys well

17:14

uh the way paul talks about it sometimes

17:16

is the genesis of the story comes

17:19

actually from actual people

17:21

and events and situations that coalesced

17:25

into a narrative that

17:27

i wrote in a raw form and then i i

17:29

brought it to paul

17:30

because i was terrified that that i you

17:33

know i've done a lot of storytelling but

17:35

you don't what you don't want to do is

17:36

have a theologian bring propaganda to

17:39

fiction and i just thought

17:40

i don't i don't trust that i can do that

17:43

without a master

17:44

and so uh i'm a master storyteller like

17:47

paul i

17:48

so i reached out to him and said i would

17:50

love to do a work of fiction

17:52

and and i you know i just was wondering

17:55

if you could

17:56

guide me through this and in fact i

17:58

dared to ask him if we could co-write it

18:00

and then and he said i would love to and

18:02

it just made my heart sing

18:04

so so um although although the raw

18:07

version of the narrative

18:09

was birthed in my heart uh it was truly

18:11

a collaboration

18:13

and we each went to work on it together

18:15

and we would exchange

18:17

the manuscript and then we would

18:18

exchange it with our editors and and

18:20

uh and finally it came into a final form

18:23

and brad as a as an author is this your

18:25

first fictional work

18:27

that you published um next well first

18:30

published one yeah

18:31

okay i did one when i was uh in grade

18:34

two that was pretty epic but i lost it

18:36

and i i walked over that and

18:38

this is the fulfillment of those

18:41

unrequited dreams

18:43

brad can you can you describe just a

18:45

frame up so it's easier for us and our

18:47

listeners to understand the book a

18:49

little bit more

18:50

can you just give us a little taster of

18:51

your meltdown your crisis

18:53

i remember you saying how many people

18:56

had died in your community in the last

18:58

in the year before your crisis can you

19:00

just take us into that a little bit

19:01

yeah we we were working with people who

19:04

by their very nature are high risk

19:06

you know people with disabilities and

19:08

addicts and so on

19:10

and the kind of people who become

19:11

addicts are also in

19:13

in the gang worlds and so on and so um

19:16

uh the beginning of that year we did

19:18

sense that a storm was coming and we had

19:20

no idea

19:21

and uh when i by the time i got to my

19:23

doctor i'd

19:24

he had had me write down 35 major

19:26

tragedies in our church

19:28

including suicides a gruesome murder

19:32

an abduction a lot of overdose deaths

19:36

and suicides then i presided at the

19:39

funeral some of those suicides may have

19:41

also been murders i don't know and

19:43

and but and then one of our staff

19:46

members had his own

19:48

crash with uh infidelity and and uh

19:51

and then week after week the the people

19:54

who loved him the most of all our

19:55

pastors they're like where is he where

19:57

is he why can't he be here and

19:59

and then when the young woman got

20:01

abducted in mexico

20:03

and abused after we had worked with her

20:06

for years

20:07

i just like i don't know if i trust god

20:10

anymore

20:11

um in the midst of that my own issues

20:14

surfaced

20:14

around love addiction which i would

20:16

describe as a black hole

20:19

looking for affection and that involves

20:22

crossing lines with dear friends and

20:24

ruining

20:24

ruining that and just falling in love

20:27

with anything that moved and it was just

20:29

a horrendous

20:30

experience for my wife and took me to

20:33

the brink of suicide

20:35

and i'm so grateful i found a 12-step

20:38

sponsor i found a spiritual director

20:41

and like kim my wife eden is the wrath

20:44

of god who

20:45

whose love would

20:49

um just refuse to leave me and also

20:52

refuse to

20:54

let those things go unlooked at so

20:57

so that's that's how i that's about as

21:00

explicit as i

21:01

i get publicly with it i they're um but

21:04

that's pretty explicit i think

21:07

so um and so the pastor

21:10

uh a novel in in some in some ways we'd

21:13

have to say you know it's definitely not

21:15

an autobiography but we do identify

21:19

with the man who comes apart in this

21:20

book in our own stories and also with

21:24

others that we walk with paul and i

21:27

because of the mercy we've received

21:29

in the midst of our crash have a heart

21:32

for walking with the untouchables

21:35

and uh and we meet christ in them and we

21:39

meet christ in those encounters and so

21:42

we're just

21:43

how lucky are we i'm using that word

21:45

advisedly

21:46

how lucky are we that god did not put us

21:50

on the shelf but he used

21:51

the worst of who we became turned it on

21:54

its end redeemed it through the help of

21:57

loving wives and healing teams

21:59

therapists

22:00

to to put us in the path of some of

22:02

these most precious people

22:04

who are like the pastor and also like

22:06

the

22:07

other characters in the book who

22:09

underwent terrible

22:11

experiences and those are composite

22:14

characters of real life people we know

22:16

and walk with today

22:18

paul and i both could say we some of the

22:20

dialogues

22:22

both of the damage and of the healing

22:24

are just like copy and paste out of our

22:26

own text messages

22:29

with real people with real people yeah

22:32

so a friend who who read the book called

22:35

it

22:36

beautifully brutal it doesn't pull

22:40

punches and and it's definitely not

22:44

the gist of um

22:47

normalcy as far as christian literature

22:50

would be so

22:50

we don't even think of it as christian

22:52

literature in that sense and

22:54

um but it's real and it's it's

22:57

it's raw and it's it's stunningly

23:00

redemptive and and

23:03

for those who are listening who who may

23:05

not

23:06

grasp the depth of what people have

23:09

experienced because uh

23:10

thankfully a lot of us don't you know or

23:13

haven't

23:14

and that that there is a capacity within

23:18

the human

23:19

crafting and creation that is

23:22

unbelievably

23:24

powerful in the sense that

23:27

the human comp the person will will

23:31

actually

23:31

fracture into pieces in order to protect

23:33

itself

23:35

and and when we talk about those

23:37

disassociative parts those

23:38

a lot of times historically those were

23:40

considered the demonic and where

23:42

everybody was trying to cast out

23:43

something that was actually a part of

23:45

that person's experience in history

23:47

that actually played a significant role

23:49

and

23:51

a part can be disassociated who has

23:53

taken

23:54

all the abuse and wrapped it up into its

23:57

own

23:57

memory bank in order to protect the rest

24:00

of that person from absolutely

24:02

going insane and and the process of

24:06

healing means to reintegrate

24:08

well on a much lesser scale for a lot of

24:12

us

24:12

it's similar to the false identities

24:15

that we have created and crafted in our

24:17

lives

24:18

the lies that we believe about ourselves

24:20

the ways that we think we have to

24:21

perform

24:23

all the ways we cover up that we don't

24:25

think we're enough and

24:26

the process of integration for us

24:29

is to dismantle the things that are not

24:32

true

24:33

and and move into the light and only

24:37

only the ones and i'm speaking ones in

24:41

the sense of

24:42

the father son and holy spirit who who

24:46

know the intricacies of the human

24:48

person the the unique intricacies of you

24:52

only that kind of wisdom knows how to

24:54

navigate through that

24:56

and uh in part i think all the healing

24:58

modalities the 12-step programs which i

25:00

think have saved millions of people's

25:02

lives

25:03

are are are authored in participation

25:07

with the father son and holy spirit

25:09

to to open up pathways uh

25:14

because of the uniqueness of damage that

25:17

is done in so many people

25:18

so you know even though there are

25:20

commonalities and 12

25:21

step programs there there is a

25:23

uniqueness for how that then plays into

25:26

somebody who participates in that kind

25:27

of modality but

25:29

but we're into all kinds of other things

25:31

that you see all of these rising healing

25:34

possibilities and that just to me just

25:37

says the holy spirit is very aware

25:40

that there's no quick fix here you know

25:43

there's no red or blue pill this is

25:45

this is really a transformational

25:49

journey and uh problem is that brad and

25:52

i both grew up in a world

25:53

you know very conservative world where

25:56

process was not

25:57

allowed you know it it was

26:01

uh all things are passed away all things

26:03

become new let's move forward from here

26:04

let's not talk about the history which

26:06

you know which was fine by me because i

26:09

didn't want to be humiliated worse than

26:10

i already

26:11

thought about myself anyway and and then

26:14

to find out that

26:15

exposure is part of the work of the holy

26:17

spirit and necessary

26:19

you know the unexposed is the unhealed

26:22

and so

26:22

the move toward authenticity that's

26:24

happening in a general sense a rising

26:28

that um you know the older generations

26:30

were not aware of to the degree that

26:32

there is this rising consciousness that

26:34

is happening

26:35

is essential for the movement towards

26:38

wholeness

26:39

and that requires exposure we're in a

26:40

year of exposure goodness 2020

26:43

is a year of exposure yep

26:46

yeah i want to go i would love to go

26:48

down that rabbit trail a little bit like

26:50

so much possible after a year of

26:52

exposure right both on the

26:54

ugly side and on the beautiful side yep

26:57

well the the ugly side was already there

27:01

right and it's like what what this

27:04

pressure and this fear

27:06

and this shame has done in in terms of

27:08

being exposed is to finally give itself

27:11

voice

27:12

and then it's like now okay and it needs

27:15

to happen

27:16

i mean you you you have to lance the

27:18

wound you

27:20

you you have to allow it expression

27:23

and and even when some of the expression

27:25

is

27:26

is wrong and violent and destructive

27:30

you know i've got a son who's a portland

27:31

police officer

27:33

so portland oregon so it's not like

27:36

we don't feel what's going on here you

27:38

know and um

27:40

it's fine finally these things are

27:42

coming to the surface it's like

27:44

what do we do now well and brad and i've

27:47

talked about this the way forward is

27:49

toward

27:50

that's what it is the way forward is

27:52

toward

27:54

yeah it reminds me what you're talking

27:56

about paul reminds me so much of your

27:57

book in in

27:58

in that it really is as i was reading or

28:01

listening to it

28:02

three hour listen super super quick in

28:05

hour by hour i would give my wife little

28:06

adjective updates as to

28:08

how the book is and it started out

28:10

saying this book is dark

28:12

like it's just flat out it's a this is

28:14

dark

28:15

and then the second hour i would say

28:16

this is really raw like it's

28:18

it's visceral it's it's still dark and

28:22

it's kind of disturbing in some ways

28:24

and then the third hour the conclusion

28:27

was

28:28

this is beautiful you know i mean it's

28:30

just this full circle

28:32

amazing descent a person's descent into

28:34

their own hell would you say

28:36

absolutely and almost it feels like

28:39

being broken

28:40

by their own brokenness right and then

28:43

also being healed by those that they had

28:45

wounded could you explain that

28:47

that journey in the book that just seems

28:49

so seamless

28:51

and just one movement almost but it's

28:54

just jarring it's painful it's

28:56

it's hard to get through both in real

28:59

life and in the book

29:00

we're going to quote you on that uh dark

29:02

raw and beautiful

29:05

that's the human story though like so

29:07

paul

29:08

has not even had a chance to hear this

29:09

yet but a woman who was listening

29:12

to the audiobook this morning was half

29:16

done her jog

29:17

she's a reader who suffered from serious

29:19

childhood traumas

29:21

resulting in compulsions towards

29:23

self-hatred and self-harming behaviors

29:26

including inc including in

29:30

eating disorder that drives her to run

29:33

so on her run this morning she's

29:35

listening to the audiobook

29:38

she says this while i was listening near

29:41

the end i thought

29:42

wow i hated the pastor and then i loved

29:46

him

29:47

and then i thought oh i've hated myself

29:51

maybe that could happen for me too wow

29:54

come on

29:54

but his fear about trust and safety

29:56

mirrors

29:57

everything i feel also all the memories

30:01

coming to the surface at the end that's

30:03

what's been happening to me all these

30:05

scenes are flashing through my mind in

30:06

the middle of the night

30:08

but not in a bad way really it's like

30:12

love is meeting me when i'm ready and

30:14

when i notice

30:15

i'm there and connected and i don't want

30:18

to stop it

30:19

come on and then it was like jesus

30:22

christ he's awake

30:26

this is what we this is this this is

30:28

just a dream come

30:29

true for us in the sense of we had no

30:32

expectations for the book in terms of

30:34

outcomes or sales

30:36

but when we get a response like that

30:38

from the broken of the broken

30:41

daughter of addicts you know who

30:45

who identifies in some way with one or

30:47

more of the characters

30:49

and it's like the characters take their

30:51

hand and walk them into a healing

30:52

encounter like an authentic encounter

30:56

with

30:57

the living one life itself right i'm

31:00

like oh my goodness

31:01

that's what i signed up for and i didn't

31:03

even know it how's that paul

31:06

golly so when we put trigger warnings on

31:11

there

31:11

it wasn't to keep people away it was to

31:14

just give them notice that

31:17

this was an invitation to walk on the

31:19

holy ground

31:21

of god's participation inside their

31:23

brokenness

31:25

and um and that i mean we're hearing

31:28

responses like this and and that one by

31:32

itself would be enough it would be

31:34

enough

31:35

and it's just like okay good i i

31:39

i think about jesus and and the

31:41

pharisees go like we're

31:42

we're doing just fine you know he says

31:45

well i

31:46

i'm a doctor i didn't come for well

31:48

people

31:49

i came for the sick you know and

31:52

we're we're looking at that and we're

31:54

going like they have no idea what they

31:56

just missed out on

31:57

you know not that not that that

31:59

particular doctor is going to give up on

32:00

them either he's

32:01

he's coming and it's just timing and uh

32:05

can i just say that you know because it

32:08

gets so dark i

32:09

i do want to assure readers that it is

32:12

also not gratuitous we're not using

32:14

abuse issues to entertain it is an

32:17

invitation to healing but not only for

32:19

them

32:20

so initially paul and i were a little

32:22

concerned i would say

32:23

that this book is not for everyone i

32:26

would now say

32:27

because we we got word from a spanish

32:29

translator uh who said

32:31

it is actu actually everyone who reads

32:34

it

32:35

will be able to identify both with

32:38

the pastor's pain and also with his

32:40

experience of love and so that was

32:42

really reassuring although we would not

32:44

recommend it for people under 16.

32:46

and i would say too that there are

32:49

people that

32:50

that just won't go there yet yeah i mean

32:52

yeah and and a lot of those would be

32:54

coming from the well side of the

32:56

spectrum you know

32:57

and it's like okay there's there's a

33:00

timing to this kind of

33:01

exposure that's that's necessary as well

33:04

true

33:07

so in in the book and even just knowing

33:11

your theology a little bit both of you

33:13

in many ways

33:14

it feels like you're metaphorically

33:16

speaking to some deep

33:17

theological truths and biblical truths

33:20

in really beautiful ways like that

33:22

remind me of jesus parables but

33:24

in it you deal with i would say some

33:26

really heavy weighty issues

33:28

in some really wonderful ways things

33:30

like judgment and hell and the wrath of

33:33

god

33:33

right could you guys take your best shot

33:36

and by take your best shot i mean

33:38

i've heard some of your best shots and

33:39

they're amazing so i'm excited to ask

33:41

this but

33:42

your take on things like what is

33:44

judgment what is the judgment of god

33:46

let's start there so the word crisis

33:49

comes from the greek crisis and

33:52

when it's used in the new testament it's

33:54

normally translated

33:56

judgment and so it's a crisis

33:59

and so this is the pastor a crisis

34:03

or the pastor the judgment yeah

34:06

right and and so we're we're

34:09

interplaying that the idea and

34:12

we both alluded to it when we talked

34:14

about our wives being the wrath of god

34:16

right and i've referred to kim that way

34:20

part of the reason that i'm as whole as

34:22

i am is because of the

34:24

intensity of her fury unrelenting fury

34:28

and and as george mcdonald would say

34:32

this is not a god standing idly by well

34:34

anything that is not of love's kind

34:37

remains in you

34:38

so the commitment of love

34:41

is that i'm i'm coming after it i am not

34:45

stopping and it may take a long time

34:49

but we are going to we're going to i'm

34:51

out to destroy

34:52

evil not to placate it not to may say it

34:57

i want to destroy it and that is the

35:00

consuming fire that is

35:02

the fire that is god who is

35:05

love nothing but right

35:09

and so we frame

35:12

our perspective theologically

35:16

inside of that and brad's written a

35:18

beautiful book called where gates will

35:19

never be shut that really

35:21

deals with a lot of this as far as just

35:23

a frame of reference and an

35:24

overview but we also i think we've

35:28

we've grown in our humanity so we begin

35:30

to

35:32

recognize the rootedness of the deepest

35:35

longings and desires of our own hearts

35:37

inside the same thing like i talk about

35:41

one of our daughters who had a who

35:43

really fought a brain tumor for a decade

35:46

and as she grew and that brain tumor

35:49

affected her hormonal system and

35:51

everything else and

35:53

she began to hear a whisper in the deep

35:55

places of her

35:56

heart not the deepest but deep places

35:59

that she was damaged goods because of

36:01

the presence of that thing you know that

36:02

she wouldn't

36:03

she wouldn't be altogether lovable and

36:06

all of this

36:08

and and i'm her dad i

36:12

i am opposed to that which is not of

36:14

love's kind in her

36:16

and give me the

36:20

expression of fire and i would burn that

36:23

little piece of tissue

36:24

out of her brain and but even more so

36:26

i'd go after the lie

36:28

right and that kind of fury is not

36:31

because she disappointed me at

36:33

any point along the journey it's because

36:35

i love her

36:36

and i don't want anything in her that is

36:38

not of love's kind

36:40

nothing retributive in that at all it's

36:43

about not at all

36:43

redemption and healing and freedom

36:47

yeah and in that sense i i do want to

36:49

say this that the book

36:51

the story and our stories these are not

36:54

it's not a metaphor for hell

36:56

hell is a metaphor for our story

37:00

yeah does that make sense in other words

37:03

hell

37:03

hell is uh i'm going to use this word

37:06

advisory mythological

37:08

in the sense of how things come to be

37:10

it's the genre of mythology

37:12

around our our visions of hell are meant

37:15

to be

37:16

metaphors for the reality of our

37:18

alienation and the lies

37:20

uh my attachments and my addictions and

37:23

the

37:23

self-imprisonment that's what hell's

37:25

talking about largely

37:27

it's a it's a it's the kingdom it's the

37:30

kingdom of

37:31

uh that tyrannizes us so put it in

37:35

another way

37:36

hell is not about a destination or a

37:38

location it's about a relationship to

37:41

love

37:42

right so so if this love is going to

37:45

come into my life or

37:47

is in my life and has the express intent

37:50

because they are love to destroy all

37:53

that is

37:54

it is in me with my participation

37:57

because this love does not

37:58

if love takes away my no then my yes

38:01

doesn't matter

38:02

so there is this really beautiful

38:05

relational

38:06

reality but the intent of this love is

38:09

to destroy

38:10

that which i might even think to be

38:12

precious

38:13

right and and it's like okay so

38:17

so hell is a relationship to love when

38:20

i'm resisting

38:21

when i don't want the healing or i don't

38:23

want

38:24

to do the process or i don't want

38:26

exposure i don't want to be

38:27

authentic i don't want to be honest

38:29

right and it's also the fiery journey

38:33

toward

38:33

liberation and so heaven is exactly it's

38:36

like

38:37

heaven is my yeses as opposed to my nose

38:40

you know in that sense so hell would be

38:42

on this on

38:44

on the side of the imprisonment and plus

38:47

also the journey of extrication from

38:50

that imprisonment

38:51

so yeah so again that's sort of how we

38:54

frame it i think

38:56

so one thing i really liked about the

38:58

book was

38:59

in the in the depths of the main

39:01

character the pastor struggling with his

39:03

own version of hell

39:04

and then you get this voice over from

39:06

his therapist describing her experience

39:08

of what he's going through

39:10

and it was it was left ended whether or

39:13

not

39:14

he would recover and i thought that was

39:16

really honest

39:17

uh and she described you know there

39:19

might be a kind of internal healing

39:21

that's going on that we can't witness

39:23

but it might not it might not ever come

39:26

back

39:27

deterministic yeah so how does that tie

39:29

into your view of what you're describing

39:31

as hell the metaphor fell

39:34

right yeah so i

39:37

paul's just exactly hit it that we're

39:39

not determinists

39:41

that to approach it from new testament

39:44

theology point of view

39:46

that that there is a this element of

39:49

open-endedness that

39:50

preserves our right to say yes or no the

39:53

human will

39:55

cannot be violated and that's why love

39:57

takes so long and why it's so messy

40:00

if if god wants to just strap us all

40:02

down to gurneys

40:03

then maybe he'd prevent a lot of what

40:06

goes on in this world but the reality is

40:08

it's

40:09

some hellish stuff is happening and god

40:12

does not stand idly by he

40:14

enters it and participates and

40:15

experience the suffering with us

40:18

but here's a good question if death has

40:20

been conquered

40:22

then does the new testament foresee

40:26

a willing response and ultimate healing

40:30

that does not trip into determinism and

40:32

i think i think it's pretty clear the

40:34

new testament does foresee that

40:36

but it can't offer it in a way that

40:39

removes human agency

40:40

it's just predicting what human agency

40:42

will do when it sees love

40:44

face to face and and we know for sure as

40:48

a fact this is not a mystery

40:49

there's a lot of people who come to the

40:52

end of this life and they have not made

40:53

that willing faith response

40:55

and the pastor in the book there's no no

40:58

certainty that he would either and

41:00

and and in our lives i i am not

41:03

guaranteed that i won't blow up again

41:06

i live on a day-by-day relationship with

41:09

the mercy of god that he would give me

41:11

give me grace but but i

41:14

i'm still a free agent and

41:18

unfortunately we've called it free will

41:20

but i would say

41:21

more like this i'm not sure how free my

41:23

will is i i do know that i make free

41:25

choices with a dysfunctional will

41:27

and he is healing my will and i think it

41:30

would make sense to me that at the final

41:32

judgment those who face christ with a

41:34

dysfunctional will

41:36

will will be able to say they're yes or

41:38

no uh with a healed will

41:41

so sometimes i call it i i'm not sure

41:43

where paul's on

41:44

on this but and you can jump into it i

41:46

call it a freed will response

41:48

yeah and my will is yeah i i'm i'm

41:52

i'm experiencing the the freeing of my

41:54

will to do what it was created to do

41:56

naturally and that is always to respond

41:59

to love

41:59

the degree to which i don't identifies

42:03

the the the bond yeah the bondage that

42:05

the dysfunction is not i

42:07

i've not overcome it completely but what

42:09

if what if

42:10

in the end we are empowered to freely

42:14

choose

42:15

without without the temptation the

42:18

temptations of the world the flesh and

42:20

the devil deceiving us anymore

42:22

it's like but but yes sir what if that

42:24

what if that judgments process

42:26

even post-mortem yeah and here's here's

42:30

one of the big impediments that we have

42:31

i think from from our modern evangelical

42:34

background is that we've made death

42:35

bigger than life

42:37

and and we've reduced

42:40

our significance

42:43

taking away our even our freed will

42:47

post-mortem it's like you have to make

42:49

your decision before you

42:51

you die mortally and and we and so we

42:54

ended up

42:55

especially with regard to all the

42:58

framing of the conversation about hell

43:00

is that

43:01

we talk about it as if everybody was

43:04

freed the way we have been by our

43:06

history and background to make those

43:08

kinds of decisions and it's like

43:10

you you have no place for the mentally

43:12

ill you have no place for my cousins who

43:14

both took their own lives because of the

43:17

intensity of the schizophrenia that they

43:19

battled with

43:20

right and and you've made death

43:23

you know i did these tweets one time and

43:25

one of them was it

43:26

was words you'll never hear god say and

43:29

one of them was

43:30

i'm sorry you died there's nothing i can

43:32

do for you now i mean death wins

43:35

and it's like no roman reigns right paul

43:38

death cannot separate except for the

43:41

love of god oh there it is so i was

43:43

going to just ask you for our

43:44

beloved evangelical bible-based

43:47

friends and listeners right i know

43:49

what's going on in their heads is

43:51

where's the scripture for this when

43:52

you're talking about any kind of

43:53

post-mortem

43:54

can you flesh that out a little bit

43:56

death cannot even separate us from the

43:58

love of god in christ

44:01

well one way to one of the gotcha

44:03

passages that

44:04

we used to use as evangelicals was was

44:07

lazarus

44:08

and the rich man as if that weren't a

44:10

parable

44:11

but and it wasn't a pre-harrowing of

44:14

hell parable

44:15

right and that that would be my point is

44:18

that we are not

44:19

we are not welcome into that parable

44:21

without reference

44:22

to its punch line so in the parable

44:24

itself it's like oh here's a chasm no

44:27

one can cross

44:28

here's a death no one can come back from

44:30

here's something

44:31

you know and uh and then what do you

44:34

know the punch line this is from

44:36

pope benedict xvi he said the punch line

44:38

of every parable and especially that one

44:41

is the death and resurrection of jesus

44:43

christ through which he

44:45

descended into hell destroyed hades

44:47

bounded up and came back

44:49

so so now what we know in

44:53

when we read that parable through the

44:55

cross

44:56

is that christ has crossed the

44:58

uncrossable chasm

45:00

returned from the place no one can

45:02

return from

45:03

and let a host of captives in his train

45:05

according to ephesians

45:07

and so suddenly we understand that hades

45:10

is no longer if it ever was but hades is

45:13

no longer what we think it was

45:16

if we literalize the parable the rich

45:18

man in lazarus

45:20

hades hades has been renovated and it

45:23

has gone from

45:25

let's say a destination of non-being in

45:27

into now we have a doorway into eternal

45:30

life

45:30

it's everything's different because of

45:32

the cross and what you're saying is

45:33

extremely orthodox is it not

45:35

yeah that's basic that's orthodoxy

45:37

one-on-one

45:40

i just i just want to let you guys know

45:42

i'm like dancing on my inside my soul is

45:45

just like

45:46

in pins and needles right now this is so

45:48

much fun

45:49

i so appreciate you guys in your just

45:53

beautiful perspectives

45:54

and the the biblically grounded

45:56

perspectives

45:57

and where the how that's come about

45:59

hearing your stories is just

46:01

overwhelming me the

46:02

the integrity with which you speak

46:04

coming from the

46:05

the depths that you've lived through

46:07

it's just a gift

46:08

to to me just right now i just want to

46:10

let you know thank you

46:12

so in the book towards the end

46:15

you repetitively refer to god just

46:19

plain plain plain old as love pray to

46:22

love

46:23

call god love and you don't even explain

46:25

that you just start doing it

46:27

in the book which i really enjoy and

46:30

i know that some of our listeners with

46:32

different sensibilities might have a

46:33

little bit of

46:34

issue with that they'd have to go read

46:35

the book of first john but um

46:38

but i also know that for many many

46:42

followers of christ if we actually

46:44

decided to make a shift

46:45

for a while every once in a while

46:47

perhaps even in addressing god is love

46:50

that might actually change things within

46:52

us and our perception of god can you

46:54

explain

46:55

that intention of why you wrote that in

46:57

and how

46:58

how that influences you guys go ahead

47:03

well for me it jumps back to first john

47:05

as you said that god is love and so the

47:07

word

47:07

god is a real turn off for people who

47:09

have loaded the word god with all sorts

47:11

of idolatrous crap

47:14

um and and i'm it's even a call for

47:16

christians to remember that the

47:18

the nature and essence of god that is

47:21

trinitarian divine eternal love

47:23

and that every single attribute that we

47:26

would identify with god is only a facet

47:29

of that nature

47:30

he's not love but also holy love but

47:32

also just love but also anything he's

47:34

loved but also nothing

47:36

without remainder so then we when we say

47:38

he's holy or just or whatever we're

47:40

saying he's holy love

47:42

he's just love he's and and if there's a

47:45

holiness righteousness and a justice

47:47

that is not love well that's the

47:48

pharisees

47:49

that's not god the other the other place

47:52

where

47:52

i i i would say that referring to god as

47:56

love in that way was birth for me was

47:58

hearing about an interview that

47:59

that paul did in europe where he

48:01

recommended this praying to love can you

48:04

share about that paul well yeah so

48:07

and that goes back to this little

48:09

incident that happened you know when

48:10

when i started getting some notoriety

48:12

and platform which i can't stand but

48:14

but but it's a cross it's a cross you

48:17

know

48:18

it it has no ultimate value but it

48:21

becomes a place that

48:23

the holy spirit plays with you in and uh

48:26

could be gone tomorrow and i'm fine with

48:27

that and uh

48:29

the uh so there was this um dutch

48:33

television show that uh

48:37

was actually uh originated with a group

48:39

of of jesus

48:41

people people who love jesus and and

48:44

it was funded by dutch national

48:46

television

48:47

like uh public broadcasting in holland

48:50

and it was called in search of god and

48:52

what they did is they contacted like 25

48:54

dutch celebrities and said one

48:58

are you in search of god two do you want

49:01

to

49:02

be part of a show that's about this and

49:04

23 of

49:05

25 said yes and what they did is they

49:08

took these folks

49:10

and they took them somewhere in the

49:12

world

49:13

and they didn't know where they were

49:14

going they didn't know who they were

49:15

going to meet but they would meet

49:16

somebody that had a significant

49:18

influence on them sometime in their life

49:21

right and and the people that put this

49:24

together

49:24

it was decidedly these were people of

49:28

faith

49:29

right and that it had an influence in in

49:32

each of each of their lives while the

49:34

world

49:35

heavyweight judo champion

49:40

they flew to portland oregon to spend

49:42

the day with paul

49:44

young he had no idea because he'd read

49:46

the shack and somewhere in their

49:47

conversations he had mentioned it

49:50

and how how significant that little book

49:52

was

49:53

so here comes this massive big guy to

49:56

meet

49:56

five foot six you know balding little

50:00

overweight white guy

50:02

and uh we spent the whole day together

50:04

and they filmed

50:06

uh most of the day while we were

50:07

together but they also we had lots of

50:09

time where we

50:10

like the first thing in the morning is

50:12

we went kayaking on the willamette river

50:15

and as soon as i step into my kayak here

50:17

i am the one with experience i flipped

50:18

it

50:19

so i ended up in the drink and i mean it

50:21

was great great tv and all that in fact

50:23

our episode they showed on christmas eve

50:26

it was the finale

50:27

uh episode and so this whole day

50:31

we're having these conversations about

50:33

about the nature of god and what it

50:34

means to be human and all this and that

50:36

evening we're sitting around a fire

50:38

that was down by our uh the sandy river

50:41

uh property that our friends of ours had

50:43

and

50:44

and um and he says to me

50:47

he says you know i've been i've been

50:50

trying to have a conversation with god

50:52

all day and i don't hear anything

50:56

right and and i said to him

51:00

well tell me what you do believe in tell

51:02

me tell me what you believe in

51:05

and he goes huh

51:08

i'll tell you what i believe in i

51:10

believe in the love that i have for my

51:12

kids

51:13

he said i would die for them

51:17

i don't know where that comes from it

51:19

doesn't make rational sense and

51:22

but i i would lay down my life

51:26

and i said oh so could you could you

51:29

define this kind of love

51:31

obviously it's not romantic could you

51:32

define it as other

51:34

centered self-giving sacrificial love

51:37

and he goes that's that's exactly what

51:39

it is

51:41

and so he has just told me that the love

51:44

that he has for his children is agape

51:46

which is

51:47

the first john passage about god is

51:49

agape

51:50

right other centered self-giving love

51:53

and and he goes that's exactly i said so

51:57

why don't you pray to love because you

52:00

believe in it

52:01

already and he goes

52:04

i can do that well i can totally do that

52:07

and so it was just this beautiful little

52:10

thing that happened i think inside the

52:11

kindness of the holy spirit it wasn't

52:13

planned it wasn't

52:14

prepped for it was the first time i'd

52:16

ever said anything like that

52:18

and it just spilled the ripple effect of

52:20

that in his life yeah

52:21

wow yeah i've heard i hope

52:24

well-intentioned evangelical pastors

52:26

famous ones

52:27

really famous ones say these exact words

52:29

and this was in response to rob bell's

52:31

book love wins you know and every

52:32

everything the world was getting turned

52:34

upside down in evangelicalism and

52:36

a very prominent evangelical pastor said

52:40

god is love love is not god right

52:44

as if to kind of explain away this

52:47

reality and truth that the apostle john

52:49

got on such a deep rich fundamental

52:52

level

52:53

in his being that god is love and it

52:57

seems like we're a little bit scared of

52:58

that

52:59

as good religious people with religious

53:02

sensibilities

53:04

and it's i think that's gone so far to

53:07

delude our picture and vision of who god

53:09

is and what god's like

53:10

or what we believe love is right that's

53:13

what i'm thinking

53:14

is like on on the one hand maybe he was

53:16

thinking you know god is love but he's

53:18

also all these other things which should

53:19

just be a heresy

53:21

in the formal sense not as a pejorative

53:24

but

53:25

but it but i'm thinking more generously

53:28

than that like

53:29

and i hear that what paul's hinting at

53:31

it is we

53:32

just as we've loaded awful things into

53:34

the word god

53:36

such that we should probably say god is

53:37

not a god

53:39

so too we've voted all sorts of awful

53:41

things

53:42

into the word love and so for some to

53:45

say god is love

53:46

they might just think that means god is

53:48

libertine or

53:49

you know god is sentimentalism or

53:52

and i think that'd be that'd be a fair a

53:55

fair pushback but then you go okay then

53:57

what is love

53:58

here's what love is love

54:01

is what paul described embodied in the

54:04

lord jesus christ

54:06

agape here's how first john right here's

54:09

how we know what love

54:10

is that god sent his only begotten son

54:13

into the world

54:14

and that self-sacrificial love his

54:16

self-offering to the world

54:18

and they're okay now we have an image of

54:20

love jesus christ

54:21

is the image of god jesus christ is the

54:23

image of love

54:25

perfected and pure you know the pure in

54:27

its purest essence

54:29

and then you can talk about romans 8

54:32

right

54:33

then you can say all right so here are

54:35

the things that cannot

54:37

separate you from that love which is a

54:39

personal

54:40

relational reality of the nature and

54:42

character of god that you are made in

54:44

the image of by the way

54:45

and and you cannot separate yourself

54:48

these things cannot separate you not

54:49

not the present and not the future

54:52

i mean nothing in the future can

54:54

separate you from that love

54:56

nothing right not life not anything in

54:59

life not anything you're going to

55:00

experience here

55:01

not the mental illness not not anything

55:03

and not anything

55:04

that revolves around death death cannot

55:08

separate you from the love of god that

55:10

should tamper with a lot of my people's

55:11

theology right there

55:13

and not any created thing

55:16

and that includes you guess what you are

55:20

just

55:20

not powerful enough to separate yourself

55:23

because the only way you can separate

55:25

yourself from the love of god is to

55:27

is to become non-existent because

55:30

nothing is separated from the love of

55:32

god and this is not a force this is a

55:35

person

55:36

these are three persons who are a

55:38

oneness

55:39

of being who is nothing but love

55:44

right but this and this love is not

55:46

sentimentalism

55:47

it's not liberty this love is

55:50

furious at that which has harmed the

55:53

ones

55:54

loved and and is out to destroy that

55:58

without ever being violent it's also

56:01

eternal it

56:02

his mercy and loving kindness are

56:04

everlasting and eternal

56:05

i would say that even in my agency my

56:08

resistance is not eternal

56:10

only love is eternal my

56:13

my no can persist for ages upon

56:16

ages perhaps but it's not eternal but

56:19

his yes is eternal and so that's why i'm

56:21

a very

56:21

i'm very hopeful right i just want to

56:25

say take that 20 20.

56:26

like that's that's so beautiful and

56:28

hopeful and good

56:30

something that we all need to hear so

56:32

speaking of that how long our no lasts

56:34

for and how long

56:35

christ yes is and even in the book you

56:38

guys

56:39

seem to it it seems to be hinting that

56:42

this descent into our own

56:44

hell and passing through the fiery

56:46

furnaces of the love of god as you say

56:48

in the book

56:49

is a universal human experience perhaps

56:52

is that going too far no i think it's

56:55

totally legit you know it'd be like you

56:57

know in the

56:58

in the book in the movie papa says uh

57:01

actually with sophia i think sophia in

57:03

the cave says

57:04

mac you're looking you want a pain-free

57:06

life

57:07

he goes yeah well there isn't one

57:10

i mean it's just as this is just woven

57:13

into you know

57:14

from the beginning jesus is slain not by

57:18

god

57:19

you know and and it's because yes if we

57:22

create

57:23

nature and image crafted into this

57:26

being who can say no and there are no

57:29

matters

57:31

they're going to say no and so

57:35

right from the beginning there is

57:37

suffering introduced into the

57:39

into the midst of the father son and

57:40

holy spirit by virtue of creation

57:42

by virtue of our presence and it's like

57:45

yep

57:46

the refiner's fire is the love so you're

57:49

not going to get away from it and

57:51

whatever you want to deal with now you

57:53

won't have to deal with later but

57:55

you know what does this mean we don't

57:57

know louis would say

57:59

once we start you know creating

58:00

imaginations of what this

58:02

actually how it all works out we're

58:03

involved in fiction which is true

58:05

so you know if you're if you're a hitler

58:08

if you're

58:09

a the pastor or whatever what does it

58:12

mean to go through the process of

58:14

reconciliation

58:16

with everybody that you've harmed you

58:19

know that sounds like hell

58:20

and that tells you why it's ages right

58:23

because it's all relational everything

58:25

at the core

58:26

is relational that's the truest thing

58:28

about the nature of god

58:29

is that that this god who is love

58:33

that requires relationship in order to

58:35

be loved

58:36

that's kind of what we're doing a little

58:38

bit even with um

58:39

with sage's role in the book in terms of

58:42

can can the can the one who's been

58:44

wounded become an agent of the healing

58:46

and and so

58:47

sharon baker has uh she's a theologian

58:50

you talked about a hospitable hell

58:52

and what she describes it as is she used

58:55

saddam hussein as an example

58:57

said what if uh what if for saddam

58:59

hussein the final judgment

59:01

is a truth in reconciliation commission

59:05

where he cannot flee the harm that he's

59:08

caused

59:09

or live in denial of it he has to

59:11

actually go through the weeping and

59:12

wailing and gnashing of teeth

59:14

of all those he's harmed in their

59:17

presence

59:18

and before the lord from whom he cannot

59:20

flee and what if

59:23

in that truth and reconciliation

59:24

commission they get to share

59:27

their victim impact statements and

59:30

also their healing because it's not

59:33

saddam who will heal him

59:34

what if then they will become agents of

59:37

his forgiveness

59:39

through the mercy of christ i mean she's

59:40

just her vision of it is so expansive

59:43

and what i think is that compared to

59:45

what i grew

59:46

up with if you go to ephesians 3 and you

59:48

just compare the two visions

59:51

and you say which one is wider higher

59:52

longer and deeper in the love of god

59:54

then you are required to go with the

59:56

higher longer wider deeper one and also

59:58

to know

59:59

that's not even the tip of the iceberg

60:02

right

60:03

so you brought up forgiveness that was a

60:05

major theme in the book and it was a

60:06

part that really stood out to me

60:07

uh what do you think forgiveness means

60:10

especially in the context of god being

60:11

the kind of love you describe

60:13

and what i have in mind in particular is

60:14

several feminist theologians for example

60:16

have argued that

60:18

the christian emphasis on forgiveness

60:19

can be damaging to

60:21

to those who have who have been given a

60:23

lot in life where they're expected to

60:25

just

60:26

accept abuse and then and then forgive

60:27

it so when you put

60:29

put things into a power structure where

60:30

some have power and some don't

60:32

giving a blanket uh nor you should

60:35

forgive can be

60:36

really dangerous to those who have been

60:38

at the bottom of that power structure so

60:40

how do you guys think of forgiveness and

60:42

especially forgiveness in the sense of

60:43

forgiving

60:44

forgiving one's abusers i i think

60:47

in inherently in a lot of that

60:49

conversation there is a confusion

60:51

in the language itself between

60:53

forgiveness and reconciliation

60:55

and they blend the two and as a result

60:57

they have an absolute legitimate

60:59

if that's if that's what it is if

61:02

forgiveness means that you need to now

61:04

trust the person who

61:05

abused you or you need to be friends

61:07

with the person who

61:09

who who created the harm then

61:12

there's a problem fundamentally

61:15

forgiveness is for the sake of the

61:16

victim

61:17

it's not for the sake of the perpetrator

61:19

it's reconciliation that is for the sake

61:21

of the perpetrator

61:22

and the victim in any given situation is

61:26

locked into a prison by events or

61:28

persons

61:30

whether they whether they participated

61:33

willingly or not

61:35

and and but were harmed yeah and so

61:38

for unforgiveness is like carrying the

61:40

corpse of a memory

61:42

around hoping that it doesn't putrefy

61:46

and infect all the other relationships

61:48

that you have and

61:49

frankly if you're waiting for somebody

61:51

to change in order for you to

61:53

be freed from this imprisonment you you

61:56

may have

61:57

ages to wait because a lot of them

62:00

don't give a damn they just don't care

62:02

and a lot of them

62:04

have died already and it's like the

62:06

issue of forgiveness can't be that

62:08

and and when peter brings it up and says

62:11

well how many times do i have to forgive

62:13

then you know because he's feeling that

62:15

that tension seven and jesus refers to

62:18

genesis

62:20

without a lot of people knowing about it

62:22

when he says 70 times seven he's going

62:24

right back because

62:25

in genesis lamech who was

62:28

a bad dude you know five generations

62:30

from cain

62:32

and says well if cain's going to be

62:34

venge 70

62:35

seven times i will revenge seven times

62:37

70 times seven

62:38

which is exactly the turn of phrase that

62:41

jesus uses going like no

62:42

we're dealing with an in infinite

62:46

but just because you forgive someone it

62:49

releases you from the imprisonment but

62:51

it doesn't

62:53

establish trust or relationship that's

62:56

the

62:57

arduous process of reconciliation and i

62:59

think a lot of what these feminists

63:01

and others are referring to in that

63:04

conversation

63:05

is don't don't be looking for

63:08

reconciliation when one there's no

63:10

ownership on the part of

63:12

of the perpetrator there's no confession

63:14

or truth-telling apart

63:16

you know on the part of the perpetrator

63:18

they haven't

63:19

um asked specifically for forgiveness

63:22

for the wrongs that they've encountered

63:24

and they haven't changed over time

63:26

which are all the confession repentance

63:28

processes that are involved in

63:29

reconciliation

63:30

and it's like no that's what you mean by

63:33

forgiveness no we're on the same page

63:35

you know kim kim forgave me

63:38

but it took 11 years to reconcile

63:40

because one

63:41

she had to know that i owned it i had to

63:43

tell the truth about it we didn't make

63:45

my adultery the new secret

63:47

it didn't become you know i didn't point

63:49

fingers at her i owned it

63:51

and and the biggest thing was she had to

63:53

see change

63:54

over time you know and and that meant i

63:58

had to live an open life that meant i

63:59

had to be

64:00

open with balance at any point anything

64:03

you know along the way

64:04

and uh so i was in a conversation with

64:07

maria shriver when eve

64:08

came out and and of course maria's been

64:12

was terribly betrayed in her marriage

64:15

and um we went for a walk and she says

64:18

she she finally turns to me and she goes

64:21

so does kim trust you

64:23

and i said absolutely and she has every

64:26

reason to

64:28

she goes like how did you get there and

64:30

i start talking to her about this

64:32

journey of reconciliation owning what i

64:35

did confessing

64:36

and continuously telling the truth about

64:38

it

64:40

and then asking forgiveness not just

64:42

apologizing actually

64:44

giving the right to the other to say yes

64:47

or no

64:48

and or to ask questions or to pursue or

64:50

whatever

64:51

and then to change over time and she

64:54

goes

64:54

like well that's never happened i go

64:56

yeah you know but you need to be able to

64:58

forgive the perpetrator or the betrayer

65:01

or whatever

65:02

your own health and healing yeah yeah

65:05

yeah it seems to me that

65:06

part of the issue has been that the

65:08

church has pressured people

65:10

into forgiving and condemn them and it's

65:12

easy enough to even find scriptures from

65:14

jesus like if you don't do this

65:16

you know and and uh but we've done that

65:19

in a way that takes away their

65:21

their own process and the right to say

65:23

yes or no and just guilts and shames for

65:26

that

65:26

one way i think about it is this um

65:28

forgiveness

65:29

is not saying i'm okay you're okay

65:33

it's okay or we're okay so

65:36

i may have a lifetime of healing to to

65:39

to do before i'm okay

65:41

you may have a lifetime of repentance to

65:43

do before you're okay

65:44

we definitely can't make it okay

65:48

whatever the

65:49

the the sin or offense was and we're not

65:52

okay

65:53

if in terms of reconciliation

65:57

if both parties are not doing their work

65:59

and in fact some

66:01

should never be reconciled if you think

66:03

about unsafe

66:04

boundaries and and and so on

66:07

but then what is it if it's not i'm okay

66:09

you're okay it's okay we're okay then

66:12

uh one practice i use and and

66:15

the woman we talked about this morning

66:17

she's been using that herself

66:18

is in her heart she takes her

66:22

offenders to jesus and it's not that she

66:25

just

66:26

lets them off the hook so for her she

66:28

knows forgive means let go but it's not

66:30

let them off the hook it's

66:32

let them off your hook and put them on

66:33

to jesus hook

66:35

a handing over the letting goes a

66:37

handing over and then

66:38

and then she can witness him holding

66:41

that person

66:42

removing that person setting the cross

66:44

between her and that person but it

66:46

in terms of it takes the hand her own

66:49

hand off their own throat right

66:51

and and in handing them over to jesus it

66:54

actually some kind of grace is released

66:57

many stories like this i'll tell you one

66:58

there was a there was a

67:00

a woman whose alcoholic husband left her

67:04

went and moved into the bush in burnaby

67:06

here and for three years he was just

67:08

he was just in a tent with his alcohol

67:10

and had completely abandoned her

67:13

and she was attending a conference that

67:15

i was at and

67:16

where i just described this some stories

67:19

of

67:19

taking someone and handing them over to

67:21

the lord

67:22

where where they're where you're still

67:25

tormented

67:26

by what they had done to you so in her

67:29

heart she hands this

67:31

husband over to the lord and she feels a

67:33

great relief in herself

67:35

because now she's not holding his burden

67:38

on herself

67:39

she hands that over to the lord and has

67:41

a marvelous

67:43

sense of new freedom i'm freed from him

67:46

by doing this

67:48

she gets home and he's waiting on her

67:50

porch

67:52

at the time when she was handing them

67:53

over he had his awakening like the

67:56

prodigal son and said what the hell am i

67:58

doing here

67:59

he dumped out his alcohol and walked out

68:02

of burnaby

68:03

out of that forest across the city and

68:06

he's waiting for her at home and

68:07

uh to begin his healing journey and

68:11

somehow i believe that the grace that

68:13

she received

68:14

she also released through that handing

68:16

over process

68:18

and and at the next conference they came

68:20

and gave their testimony about

68:22

how their marriage was beginning to heal

68:24

through this i just

68:25

so so i i sense that our problem is we

68:28

want to rush to reconciliation

68:31

and and as paul said i mean the

68:34

feminists are right on that well

68:36

never mind the feminists paul's own

68:38

experience of that right

68:39

you've forgiven people for the abuse you

68:41

experienced where it was

68:43

some maybe there's not reconciliation

68:46

yeah or or

68:47

it or there where there was it took

68:48

years and but we want things to be a

68:51

drive-through and i'm afraid that's

68:53

that's a big error yeah our choices are

68:55

so powerful

68:56

i mean they're it's been 26 years now

68:59

since i've blew up the world

69:00

and there's still some relationships

69:03

that are

69:04

unreconciled that are

69:07

part part of part of grieving

69:11

still you know until they are

69:15

so i've got one more question related to

69:17

the book

69:18

and what you guys have been talking

69:19

about this this whole time parsing

69:21

through the the details it seems like

69:23

and i know from your theology and from

69:24

hearing from and reading you guys that

69:26

you dare to think that maybe this fiery

69:29

furnace of the love of god is

69:30

is a universal thing that will not

69:32

nothing will overcome it including our

69:34

own death including our own choices in

69:36

our own will everything we'll submit

69:38

to the love of god in the end this idea

69:40

of universal redemption that you've

69:41

uh effort you talk about brad as a hope

69:44

yeah

69:45

many people would hear that and say

69:47

that's too easy

69:48

right that's that's that's that's too

69:50

easy

69:51

which for me to me it actually is extra

69:54

scary

69:55

because for many christians i would say

69:57

we think that once we say yes to jesus

69:59

sign on the dotted line

70:01

then all of a sudden we have nothing to

70:02

worry about and it turns out that when

70:05

you look at your

70:06

what you guys are submitting and what

70:07

you guys are speaking to it seems as

70:10

though

70:10

all of our choices are going to have to

70:12

meet that fiery furnace of the love of

70:14

god head on

70:15

whether we said yes to jesus or not that

70:17

love will win

70:18

over all of our brokenness and we're

70:20

going to have to go through that

70:22

that that excruciating process of

70:25

finding healing from all of that

70:27

brokenness i'm just trying to wrap words

70:28

around what i've heard from you guys can

70:30

you explain that

70:31

you're not you're not going to be able

70:32

to escape love and if love is a flaming

70:35

fire

70:35

fury um guess what you know and uh

70:39

when it talks about well the world is

70:41

not going to be inundated with a flood

70:43

again but with fire

70:44

what do you think that is that's the

70:46

fire of love that is intent on re

70:48

restoration that's why there's a new

70:50

heavens and new earth that is not new

70:52

and kind

70:53

but an actually refurbished existence

70:56

that we

70:56

we know and love and enjoy even now

71:00

uh in part yeah entering the furnace is

71:03

not easy

71:04

that's not going to be easy for us but i

71:06

also want to say this for anyone who

71:08

says that the grace of god and the

71:09

forgiveness in jesus christ is too easy

71:11

i have an exercise for you to do i want

71:13

you to go stand before the foot of the

71:15

cross

71:16

and behold the lamb slain there in his

71:20

suffering and tell him to his

71:22

face that was too easy

71:26

gosh see you and then actually wait and

71:30

see what he says

71:31

well you know what the pastor does he

71:33

does that yeah yeah

71:34

he goes through that actually he tells

71:36

jesus this is too easy see

71:38

just try it sometime and then you begin

71:41

to see

71:43

how our dismissal of grace at the cost

71:47

of god's own son is uh

71:50

to dismiss that is too easy as some form

71:53

of blasphemy

71:54

for sure i think it's got to be it's got

71:57

to be

71:58

yeah and then you know the truth is

72:02

you've never had anything to worry about

72:04

the fact that worry exists is because

72:06

you don't know how much you're loved

72:08

right that's first john to take it all

72:10

the way back there right the one

72:12

who fears is not that's worry yeah

72:15

is not perfected in love that means you

72:17

don't know yet how much you

72:19

are loved and if you knew there is no

72:22

fear in love right so our

72:26

our hope is in the absolute goodness

72:30

of god who is love gentlemen anything

72:33

that you guys are working on

72:34

i know you're really focusing on getting

72:36

this out to the world but anything fun

72:38

coming up besides the pastor yeah lots

72:42

of stuff

72:42

i'm working on eve as a major motion

72:44

picture potentially

72:46

i've got three book projects that are

72:49

waiting at different stages of attention

72:50

and um and so that's a lot of fun for me

72:53

as well and i'm just um

72:55

i'm working through a new book in my

72:57

trilogy it's called a more christ-like

72:59

word

73:00

so we've done a more christ-like god a

73:02

more christ-like

73:04

uh something

73:07

and this one's a more christ-like word

73:09

and so that's at the publisher

73:11

we've got some editing work to do and

73:13

hopefully it'll build in the spring

73:15

is that about the bible right it's about

73:17

that jesus is the word of god

73:19

and that the scriptures point to him so

73:21

it does end up being a hermeneutical

73:23

book like how do we read the scriptures

73:25

through

73:26

through the presence of yeah and i call

73:28

it the emmaus way because on the

73:30

on the road to emmaus jesus said here's

73:32

how you read the scriptures

73:33

you see how moses the prophets and all

73:35

the scriptures were pointing to me

73:37

that the messiah must suffer and come

73:39

into his glory so if that's how we read

73:41

the bible well

73:43

that'll need some detailing but that's

73:44

what i'm working on

73:46

that's fun so this collaboration a

73:48

pastor a crisis

73:50

we can find that anywhere we get books

73:52

is that right the main places

73:53

to look um one is you can get the

73:55

hardcover

73:56

the kindle version or audiobook which

73:58

paul and i recommend you start with

74:00

actually

74:01

on amazon or audible and and also if

74:04

if people for the same price at this

74:06

moment people can

74:08

can get an autographed copy of the

74:10

hardcover book

74:11

at premier dot com slash

74:15

paster premiere with an e premiere with

74:18

the e on the end that's right

74:21

excellent guys thank you so much for

74:23

spending time with us such a good

74:24

pleasure

74:25

really such a gift you're just an excuse

74:27

for us to get together

74:28

yeah there you go good thank you would

74:31

one or both of you be

74:32

uh willing to give us and our listeners

74:34

a blessing as we close

74:36

brad go for it brother okay i'd love to

74:40

so father son and holy spirit divine

74:43

love

74:44

we're just so grateful for all we've

74:47

received from you

74:49

the mercy that we've received is more

74:51

than we could ever pay forward but we

74:52

ask

74:53

that you would pay that forward to our

74:56

our listeners today and the readers and

74:58

that they'd experience not only

74:59

fascination but healing

75:01

in this journey in jesus name amen

75:04

and so it is that i also bring my shades

75:07

of gray

75:09

the emerging of true identity still

75:11

shedding the skin of the false

75:13

my inner mix of light and darkness my

75:16

longing to be a truth teller

75:18

and my fear of being exposed that keeps

75:20

me isolated and imprisoned

75:22

my sometimes faltering faith amidst the

75:24

surprising

75:25

sense of your presence and i ask again

75:28

and then again and

75:30

then again please kind and loving

75:33

faithful one

75:34

expose all in me that is not of love's

75:37

kind

75:39

and free me to be fully human and fully

75:41

alive

75:43

amen goodness amen what is that from

75:46

paul

75:47

i just i wrote it it was just i called

75:49

it a daily prayer i wrote

75:51

which i don't do those kinds of things

75:52

i'm just not disciplined enough but

75:55

but i just i just wrote it a couple

75:57

weeks ago and it's just been sitting

75:59

sitting here you need to put you need to

76:01

get that out there for people because i

76:02

want it

76:03

sweet thank you amazing thank you

76:05

gentlemen so much

76:07

ah blessings are our honor to be with

76:09

you

76:17

thanks for listening we hope you enjoyed

76:19

this conversation you can find us on

76:21

social media

76:22

like and share and subscribe wherever

76:24

you get your podcasts

76:25

if you're inclined to leave a review we

76:27

read through all of those and we love

76:29

the feedback

76:29

till next time this has been a pastor

76:31

and a philosopher

76:32

walk into a bar