Jul 20, 2018
Welcome everyone to episode 211 of the Everyone’s Agnostic podcast. I’m Cass Midgley. I'm going to die. A big thanks to each and every one of our Patreon and Paypal supporters. Today my guest is Peter Montoya. This is the 3rd time I've had Peter on the show. You can get his full story back on episode 130. He was also featured briefly in episode 163, on Dr. Marlene Winell's second appearance. Peter is all about living a fulfilled life and he sees community as an integral part of achieving that goal. For us ex-Christians, church used to be the main place we connected with a community. Some of us had bad experiences but it's likely that even those were the exception and not the rule. I know I used to look forward to seeing everyone and feeling that energy of people gathering every Sunday morning. But what now? How do we find community after faith is gone? Peter has some tips on how to do just that.
We interview people you don’t know, about a subject no one wants to talk about. We hope to encourage people in the process of deconstructing their faith and help curb the loneliness that accompanies it. We think the world is a better place when more people live by sight, not by faith. Please subscribe to our podcast, and leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts. Also, we offer these podcasts freely. And your support truly makes a difference. You can support us monetarily in two easy ways: you can pledge a monthly donation through Patreon. that’s www.patreon.com/eapodcast, or leave a lump-sum donation through PayPal at our website, www.everyonesagnostic.com.
We taped this conversation on June 25th, 2018.
The intro music is by Dave Weckl called "Just Groove Me"
Featuring "People" by Barbara Streisand.
The outro song: You've Got A Friend In Me (From "Toy Story"/ Soundtrack) by Lyle Lovett & Randy Newman.
Thanks for listening, and be a yes-sayer to what is.
Perhaps it's not about finding community but creating one. If we wait to be found or to find our people, we could possibly die waiting. Some of us have the means to CREATE a community. As you'll hear in this conversation with Peter Montoya, there are steps one can take to create a recurring meetup with friends. One way that you can calm yourself around this audacious and ominus undertaking is that even if you just meet once a month, at the end of a year you can look back and see 12 meetings that changed lives. It doesn't have to be a big deal or life changing each meeting. It's the 30,000 foot view that says, "we make the path by walking it." One foot in front of the other and before you know it, deep relationships are formed, and enriching exchanges are had. For those who find themselves in remote locations, there is the internet. Charles, a long-time friend and supporter of the show, started a virtual community that meets every other week on a platform called Zoom that functions like Skype where you can see and hear the other participants. We have listeners all over the English speaking world and many don't have community in their geographical proximity, so Facebook and groups like Charles' EA Virtual Small Group can help serve such people with a means to connect to others. It's SO important. .
Dr. Mark Hyman said, "The power of community to create health is far greater than any physician, clinic or hospital." If you're interested in being a part of the communities that have formed around this podcast, you can message me on Facebook or email me at email@example.com and I'll help you get connected to virtual communities and support groups specifically designed to encourage people who no longer believe in the supernatural, are opening their eyes and ears and saying yes to reality and they're feeling the void of lost community.
Relationships are a two way street. They will be dynamic in direct relation to how honest both parties are. If you've done the deep, hard work of accepting yourself, you bring that unhidden person to the gathering. If you encounter someone who has also done the deep, hard work of accepting their self, you will be able to assess the real potential of that relationship. A natural byproduct of accepting one's self--flaws and all--is a greater capacity to accept others--flaws and all. The joy and depth of a community is directly correlated to how honest the participants have been able to get. A Christian author, Catholic actually, who I respected when I was a Christian and still do, is Henri Nouwen. He said this, "Solitude is very different from just a 'time-out' from our busy lives. Solitude is the very ground from which community grows. Whenever we pray alone, study, read, write, or simply spend quiet time away from the places where we interact with each other directly, we are potentially opened for a deeper intimacy with each other."
We're learning that this tension that we all feel between introvert and extrovert is not black and white. We're all both. We get energy from time alone and from time with others. As the steward of your own happiness and health, only you know what you need and your needs are unique to you. We're learning that the "one size fits all" mentality of conformity religions is not honest nor real. Thus, we are free to navigate our relationships and free to let others navigate theirs. Some of us are uncomfortable with the thought of Sunday Assembly or Oasis or any kind of forced intimacy, other's love being in these gatherings, engaging with others, meeting new people. However, most of us are both--sometimes we do, sometimes we don't. And that's my point. As in most things I say, I almost always end up saying "you do you."
The acceptance of what is, the acceptance ourselves, each other, the form the moment is taking, empower us to navigate this tumultuous, unpredictable world that we could be yanked from at any moment, give us the smile we need to calm down, to pick our battles and our fucks better, to get excited about the right things, to give ourselves permission to take in this magical moment, with these beautiful disgusting people, eating this food that we'll only shit out later, drinking these drinks that we may regret in the morning, acknowledging the unavoidable awkwardness that occurs when any two people try to walk up to each other and make something happen.
This is the dance. This is our lives. May we find each other, accept each other and benefit somehow from the shared experience that is the human condition.