06/02/16LOSING OUR RELIGION – a two part podcast interview

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A former devout Christian, Zac Gandara became disillusioned with organized institutional Christianity. He found me through another former pastor in Los Angeles, and invited me on his show. I asked him a few questions today:

1. Who are you?

I am a former Pentecostal Mega-Church Pastor, now commune-living lover of sinners. I currently feel most comfortable being labeled a “Jesus-leaning anarchist.” I often describe my life as having left Christianity to attempt to follow the life and ways of Jesus. I am on a quest for normality. From experience, I am weary, cynical, and often untrusting of corporate structures, especially of those that lead them, of myself particularly.

I spent the first 30 years of my life with those who considered themselves righteous and now desire to spend the rest of my life with those who I once would have called sinners. Those I used to shun: Gays, Queers, Punks, Anarchists, Atheists, Transsexuals, and the rest of us that feel like rejects on this planet of misfit toys. For it’s from the misfits I most aptly see the characteristics of the one they called “The Christ.”
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2. Why did you choose to do this podcast?

It seems this podcast chose me. I had multiple friends and acquaintances encourage me to write a book, or somehow tell my story. When a “Christian” friend said he would do the podcast with me, I felt the courage to do it. Shortly after realizing we wanted to take it two different directions, we parted ways, and Losing Our Religion is the bi-product of that separation.

I’m tired of the Christian audience; they’re like talking to a wall that seems to listen but is only interested in navel gazing, and resting inside their comfort zones. Leaving Christianity, I wanted to learn how to listen because I had spent more than three decades talking. The podcast is a reflection of my often let down idealism. My hope of humanity, one day getting along. My way of doing that is sitting down over drinks, listening to one another, and hugging it out.

3. What is one thing people don’t realize about institutional Christianity that they should?

I think many already realize it, but if they don’t…The American, Christian institution is a reflection of America, not of the Jesus they claim. It is a business, not a church. It is a social club, not a community. It’s looking for entertainment, not transformation.

The “church” after the time of Jesus was a persecuted band of idealistic misfits, trying to find solace in the comfort of one another, by living in the peace that their God was not mad at them, and didn’t need them to change to be accepted.

If you’re looking for the real “church”, it’s found outside of a building. It doesn’t need money to operate. It’s entirely inclusive, and you can come as you are, and stay as you are. It’s called the common bond of humanity, where black or white, gay or straight, we all bleed red, and enjoy the common suffering of what it means to be human together.

Recently, over a few ginger beers and a couple of hours Zac and I covered a wide range of subjects including:

• The sexy, sultry embrace of gods.
• The Legacy Project – Traveling to areas around the world which have experienced extreme trauma and exploring the need for dictators to bring order amidst chaos
• Deep talks of the pull and the captivity of institutional religion.
• Knowing yourself and being yourself.
• Punk, Metal, and Hardcore Culture.
• Music, Art and Comedy as communities where people dive into their pain and express it in unfiltered therapeutic ways.
• Humanity is in need of art, but will true artist ever be able to feed their families with the art they create?
• How do we keep the arts growing in our society for those that need and desire it?
• Living in the moment with others, and learning to live in their moments with them.
• The things we do to try and attach meaning to our lives, things which are completely unnecessary
• The pursuit of pleasure and chaos at the same time.
• The privatization of water and the depletion of it.
• Art giving life to culture and individuals.

Part One – Embrace Your Terror

Part Two – Embrace Your Human Experience

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