CVS Live Guest - 2021-03-21 - Ben

Author Streamed Sunday March 21st, 2021

There are 57 episodes in the Guest:Solo series.

Streamed May 14th, 2022

CVS Live Guest - 2022-05-14 - Joe

Streamed May 1st, 2022

CVS Live Guest - 2022-05-01 - Ben

Streamed April 12th, 2022

CVS Live Guest - 2022-04-12 - Joe

Streamed February 10th, 2022

CVS Live Guest - 2022-02-10 - Aidan Lisney

Streamed January 30th, 2022

CVS Live Guest - 2022-01-30 - TJ

Streamed December 31st, 2021

CVS Live Guest - 2021-12-31 - Zackery

Streamed September 26th, 2021

CVS Live Guest - 2021-09-26 - Nikola Krcic

Streamed September 18th, 2021

CVS Live Guest - 2021-09-18 - Bill Whatcott

Streamed September 17th, 2021

CVS Live Guest - 2021-09-17 - Nathan

Streamed September 3rd, 2021

CVS Live Guest - 2021-09-03 - Chad Ellis

Streamed March 21st, 2021

CVS Live Guest - 2021-03-21 - Ben

Streamed February 28th, 2021

CVS Live Guest - 2021-02-28 - Nikola Krcic

Streamed February 23rd, 2020

CVS Live Guest - 2020-02-23 - Pykris

Streamed February 22nd, 2020

CVS Live Guest - 2020-02-22 - Aidan Lisney

Streamed January 25th, 2020

CVS Live Guest - 2020-01-25 - Kalen R.

I interviewed my dear friend Ben in late 2016 and again in early 2018. Now he's agreed to come back and chat about his ongoing journey.


CVS Live Guest - 2021-03-21 - Ben

Author Streamed January 11th, 2020

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video

transcript
These transcripts are generated automatically and are therefore unformatted and replete with errors.
i think we're live ben so uh thanks for joining me again long time no see so glad to be here with you yeah you've been on a couple times we do chat occasionally uh as friends but uh just maybe catch up my small gang of listeners to what you've been up to since you're on in early 2018 it's quite a while ago now what sorts of things been on your mind that pertain to religion philosophy and that sort of stuff this is a big question um how well how to make change in the world is a big one i don't know if that counts as philosophy applied philosophy try again loser no i'm kidding like i'm kidding like in early christianity um there's some bible verses leave your family and um come do this christian thing and and i think there's a lot of that sort of thing going on now like if you want to change the world you need to really step away from the world and practice doing things in a new way having that mixed up with political activism like and we're trying to change the whole system to align with that way like both of those things happening it's very fraught um so i've been paying attention to the culture wars um going on is culture world or is it a widely used term or is that just my bubble that talks about the culture wars no i think it's uh what i've i've encountered it so that means it's very widely used yeah so you know trying to hold the culture wars and and see if we can get all the goodness out of the the new community being generated while without without um you know three years ago i said hopefully we can do this without descending into chaos people have been like of course we can yeah and and now people are like no we really could uh descend into chaos so okay so change uh like a responsible change uh and it has something to do with these culture wars can you just sort of fill me in on how you view the current situation in terms of the culture war is it i mean i i would view it in terms of monotheism versus non-monotheism but you probably don't see it that way right i i'm curious how much we see in common but like we've inherited a culture that has some really good things like we have wet wipes which are amazing we're so grateful um but we also inherited some bad things like like it wasn't so kosher how canada was formed uh in terms of you know the deal to take control of the land wasn't it wasn't kosher so um just as an example or men had a lot of power and today you know there's that comic strip of a level not a comics or a comic picture of a it's a level playing field um a man and a woman have the same distance to go but the woman has more obstacles in the way like if i just thinking a man and a woman in a relationship maybe the woman's more likely to have to uh clean the dishes or something you know still stuck with the uh patterns of post work not every household david i know that's something i you know always need to do better um so just we've our culture has inherited some good things but we've been all inherited some bad things how do we move beyond the bad things without losing the good things is that specific enough for you and some people and some people say um let's make laws let's just take a national human rights law that says we got to be fair to each other and then trust judges to figure out exactly what that means what does fairness look like like to me a very top-down approach which you know if you rely on the most powerful forces to do good and you just give power to the most powerful forces that's great until it starts going badly and then you're stuck with a very powerful um bad person like i think of um here in ontario a lot of uh left-wing people really trusted kathleen wynne's government with a lot of power like yes give the human rights tribunal a lot of power you know and then an election happened and now doug ford gets to choose who's on the human rights tribunal culture wars are kind of between people who are really trusting empowering a top-down human rights system and and i think people who are saying um we don't trust that power okay so yeah it's it's a lot because uh it's a lot more worldly than my approach it sounds like social justice is sort of the source and summit of your worldview social justice is that is that fair to say what is of utmost value um love love love love all the good things and love all beings just and you know when a lot of christians talking about loving god and you know that atheists who use christian language i can't i can agree with a lot of that of if loving god means loving loving wherever we came from loving um all the good things that exist um yeah yeah yeah that's my that's my understanding even as a as a catholic my understanding of loving god is to love neighbor for god's sake that that's what it boils down to that's why jesus said you loved me when you loved your neighbor that was imprisoned and sick that's that's what it boils down to yeah and you don't need a whole long process to do that the moment you the moment you love your neighbor you're if you don't say you're found or you're there like yeah yeah that's that's grace grace is his final destination but it's not just like it's not just love your neighbor regardless of the circumstances there's also trying to improve the circumstances yeah um so yeah i feel like in this moment i can find grace in any situation hopefully yeah and and but also trying to try to improve things like if i see someone curled up in the dark screaming in pain i want to yeah love them and help them and i don't want to just love them i want it to actually have good results i want them to not be curled up in pain yeah great saints said uh when i'm hungry that's a material or a natural problem but when my neighbor is hungry it's a supernatural or it's a supernatural problem it's a spiritual problem it's beautiful so that's how we have to look at like in seeing christ in the most vulnerable and when you reach out to that person that needs help you know there's a tendency to think of it in terms of virtue signaling or i can get a lot of hits on my instagram if i publish this thing where i gave 10 bucks to a bum or whatever it is you do see a lot of that um and i think even that is good i mean uh even that is good because uh even if you're doing it for the wrong reasons there's still goodness coming out of it but for that person individually subjectively they're not getting as much out of it as they could be if they had better intentions that's that's the missing piece that's why we don't want to encourage that but it's still good when people are virtue signaling and just doing things to be seen you agree with that there can be good consequences of people trying to look good yeah yeah um yeah that's why i was a trump supporter because i don't believe he is pro-life but he certainly wants people to think that he is and that's good enough for me right he didn't really choose trumpist supreme court judges he picked federal federalist society supreme court judges who are going to be conservative on on um that might have been not totally anyway yeah judges who are reliably judges who are reliably going to do what you want on that particular issue yeah i'm never holding my breath anyway it wasn't like i thought oh the savior trump has come now everything's going to be rosy no but at least it's encouraging it's incred at least it's encouraging to get a few uh headlines where it's like oh this guy seems to be doing some stuff and there's some feedback that yeah they're actually effective changes made and then now they're being reversed under biden of course but it is what it is i have no great hope of us a worldly savior and the the jews of jesus time even his followers thought that he was going to be a worldly type of savior and he said my kingdom's not of this world so yeah yeah so i think for me um feeling like you know i've figured something out about love i've got more to learn but like that moment of deciding or realizing love is good um i've had that moment i still you know forget every day and waste time doing playing chess or whatever but um you know i still need my reminders and and my motivations but can you tell us when you realize that love is good and you you remember the moment or moments where it crystallized for you yeah when your dad said to me you're lost and then and then no it took took a while after that that was that was little that was before the moment are you being serious now um was it that was just like a stark that was just a stark reminder like when i felt really lost and dropped out of school and went exploring and trying to find things you know i was really into my curiosity and learning and a vision of love but in a day-to-day basis i wasn't really conscious of love at all that's just you know being a young adult traveling around um so that would have been around 1995 or so right when you were traveling around and you came to my wedding yeah so it might have been 10 years 10 12 years after late um living at a living at a retreat center and just i think it's little moments of like walking by people in the hallway people i lived and worked with so we signed each other a lot and you know after you said hi to someone in the hallway a couple times that day you just you might just walk by each other and but i so i started playing with okay why don't this is an opportunity for something high five high five yeah well i started doing chipmunk sounds whatever chipmunk sounds like yeah and some people started doing it back and then um you know playing with different sounds what's possible and then i started saying i love you and some people started saying it back and i think that was part of the process of of being conscious about love on a regular basis cool did you get a girlfriend out of that no no no it was it was not uh erotic love it was um no no no i'm just wondering because i i thought you might have had a girlfriend when you were down there yeah i did and it was around that time but i've got no reason to think it had anything to do with that okay maybe you're dead maybe maybe it's not a coincidence maybe my heart was so closed for the previous 12 years that that's right that's probably it you you were just going to you were you always seem very open to me we've known each other since 93 or 94 or whatever you always seem very open and creative and uh loving but um i guess it's it's more about a different level of vulnerability where you have a universal love or um less judgment of your fellow man no matter what the circumstances is that the sort of universal love you're talking about yeah like i found i found you to be very non-judgmental and very welcoming and open-heart like i would be with you visiting you and then i'd go hang out um with other people and not really not be open at all and it was like a really stark contrast okay um yeah i think you developed those skills quicker than i did so i could do it when i was around you that's cool yeah there's something in my eye here just excuse me yeah um so yeah i think being more conscious of love probably did impact my relationship how i got into a relationship for sure um that's pretty cool uh do you mind if i direct the conversation a little bit not at all who without getting too personal um are there still people in your life you find it really really really challenging to love and i have some examples in my head but i don't want to bring them up but do you have any examples yeah and i'm mostly drawn to people i love and respect who are doing work in the world that i think they could be doing a lot better that's where i feel the most frustration how do i love and honor this person when they feel like they're filling up the social justice playing field with really bad strategies that's that's where i put my aggravation like when i think of people who are just annoying yeah i've got some of that in my life but it's not where i'm it's not where the conflict is it's so easy to avoid people in this in this time that my conflict is more with people i totally love um okay untapped potential or just a misdirected energy something like that it's a great well i think of the that dynamic of people separating from the larger culture to create a healthier culture while also trying to transform the large culture and so it's someone i think oh i love what they're doing in creating this new culture like i would love to hang out in this community that they've created and i think that that strategy within a community works extremely badly for a country um so i um frustrated that they don't see something that i see and i'm aware that my what i see isn't perfect i could be wrong but there's just a lot of frustration there and and there's also i experience a culture of um let's go straight in and see if you're on my team so i'm gonna start our conversation with the most challenging question to make sure you give the right answer um so it's really hard for her to have a i find it hard to have a conversation where we're trying to figure out what is our common ground and what is reasonable to disagree about um you get really frustrated when someone is like no answer answer this question yes or no first thing to find out if we're on the same team oh yeah that's profound yeah very common uh foible so yeah what comes to mind is i guess uh group think like the borg assimilate and insecurity just insecurity like uh i'm only i'm only right because i have the right checklist and uh i'm only acceptable that because of that so you could only be acceptable because of that which is tragic but very common i guess yeah yeah where are you encountering these religion or what yeah i think i do i put too much attention on twitter and and blogs and reading reading different sides of the culture words online okay yeah okay if it's online yeah that's something uh to be expected but in real life in real life if you also encounter that you meet someone at a cafe you start talking and then you're i i haven't i haven't met anyone you know because of it because of it because it covered yeah i would not normally i only met strangers hanging around with you normally i mean okay people through other people i know okay now there's some of that there's definitely culture wars going on in the unitarians for sure um and some people have left over it so it's not clear if the dust is gonna settle so that um but again that's mostly stuff i'm encountering online it's not stuff where i'm part of a daily community where that's happening oh okay i i don't know if you know i've withdrawn the past year withdrawn from social media and even email it just sort of discouraging people from communicating with me good for you uh just took a little break because there was a lot of you know people when they know you have like i have this podcast and there aren't many people aware of it but those who are aware of it a lot of them want to just send me content what do you think of this what do you think and um sort of challenge where they disagree with me like challenge me and uh it it was fun for a couple years but uh eventually just you see the futility of it i mean i've seen maybe a couple of people that under the influence of our ongoing dialogue have shifted their perspective in a positive direction which i think is good but um it's not enough positive feedback for me to say hey this is cool i could be a positive influence because i think jesus christ is the way the truth and the life and it seems to be i've got enough of christ's light shining out of me that it's actually transforming people no not by a long shot so uh it's not really i'm not really incentivized or motivated to think of myself that way i think of myself more in terms of share the enthusiasm of my point of view and i'm not really interested in people if they want to disagree with me it's just not that interesting uh that might just be a laziness or passivity excess of passivity on my part but um you talked about wasted potential potential i think of myself who wasted a lot of potential do you have concrete advice as a sort of uh you know i'm asking in all sincerity i'm not being uh silly or putting you on the spot i'm actually interested um today you know about my lifestyle and you know uh you might have something that you just thought you've thought for a long time but you've never had the courage to tell me like hey david have your thought maybe you should do this or you should do that just a little maybe a little change in my attitude or something like that is there something like that constructive you could tell me just as an example because it would help the listeners too to know what you mean by uh the frustration that you have with people people that you love yeah they could be doing something just a little bit different more effectively yeah i don't like something that comes to mind is um do your utmost to find value in other people's beliefs yeah um i think not not only is the are you more likely to learn but you're more likely to just explain their point of view right and then they'll be more interested in listening to you like oh that guy gets me yeah um i agree with that i agree with that okay i profoundly understand your point of view no but uh it's difficult it's difficult to understand people that's uh that's the goal that's the goal but i've been married for 25 years and it's just a discovery it's just a surprise after surprise and discovery and layers of hidden stuff and of course recognizable patterns and this is an interesting topic to segue into with people you know there's the undiscovered but there's also that uh predictability like when you're doing your chipmunk sounds in the hall uh people were surprised at first but then when they get to know you and they sort of say well that's ben you so there is an element of surprise but there's also that thing where you are going to get pigeonholed no matter how weird you are uh you're going to get pigeonholed like oh that's david oh that's ben that's that's trump that's fine that's whoever like we we want to have a shortcut sort of uh caricature of people so that it's uh not taxing on the brain i think you might have mentioned this to me too right the novelty thing where you you want to be exposed to novelty but at the same time it's exhausting and is was that you that brought you i haven't brought that up before yeah our brains can only handle so much novelty so it's the same thing when you're getting to know someone you want to discover more because that goes deeper but at the same time it's exhausting and we need to strike that balance and we don't want to feel like oh my god this is this person is such a mystery that i'll never have a foothold or never have a basis for a relationship or communication we want to talk about some of the things that we know how basically how the conversation's gonna go and feel comfortable and all that sort of thing right yeah so i had um i did have a conversation with someone i'd never met before um that well we met online where he was being greatly misunderstood and he was misunderstanding other people and we talked and yeah i realized there is a lot to his point of view that he never mentions on the social media or he leads with if you only read this 10 paragraph screen you will finally understand my point of view um which doesn't usually work and so yeah there's there's a lot there when i just listened and and um but it's too much how many people can i do that with uh you can only go deep with so many people and i like i like the ongoing like i like the arc yeah um um yeah there's a it takes a lot it takes a lot to do it and i feel like culture building a new culture comes from all that interaction you really need to live with people or work with people have them as neighbors you can't just have an annual meeting once a year where you vote on new rules that are going to be enforced that's not how culture grows so uh correct me if i'm wrong but it seems like relationship is like at the heart of your mission relationship personal relationships among individuals and uh collectively and that sort of thing is that fair to say yeah it feels like the biggest challenge we have on this planet is how can eight billion people get along like get along well enough to not destroy the planet get along well enough to stop killing each other yeah that feels like top priority for me i'm i have an interest in like technology and and where is the future of conscience consciousness going for sure and where is the future of biological comfort and resilience where is that going that's interesting but even if i lived 100 years from now and got to see that new technology i'd still have the issue of can however many billion beings get along that feels really rich the uh you're familiar with the catholic notion of subsidiarity what do you think that place plays a big moment absolutely love it um yeah thing make things as at the most personal level as possible i have that right so a catholic um what's a local catholic group called parish yeah decides for themselves what what programming to do if i understand correctly that's not decided in rome there's a yeah there's a there's a council of citizens that helps the priest to direct this all kinds of things pertaining to the parish whether it's outreach or whether it's how the the music is put together they're all kinds of decisions made by the people of that community yeah yeah a huge fan of subsidiarity when i'm talking with um most other friends i talk about where this comes up they would bring up an ecological mindset where most of the action in an ecosystem is on the microscopic level yeah locally locally organized like most of the biological action in a forest is um in a sense that's subsidiary it's except without no one deciding what level it's not conscious obsidian it's just like most of the energy is in the one-on-one relationship that kind of reminds me of guy madden's film and the saddest music in the world he's a canadian director have you seen it i haven't you should watch it it's fun but uh this woman lets her tapeworm decide everything for her that's the sort of what came to mind when you're talking about the bacteria deciding how the trees are going to grow and all that sort of thing yeah right okay so she just follows her gut i want to talk about reasoning at some point yeah um but yeah um subsidiary yeah like in my denomination we had a vote um at the national meeting do we support the green pursuing a green new deal and like there had been things written proposing a green new deal they weren't necessarily specifics but i've my feeling from reading it was oh the people leading this the most influential people in this process really want to hand a lot of power to washington like if you want to build any new building there's going to be a lot of federal codes you need to follow to make sure your building is green and a lot of money will run through washington to the builders and i really felt this is not subsidiary this is this is running straight through washington um yeah and the vote went through 99 of the people in the room put their hand up uh wasn't even close yeah it was really like wow this people here really trust washington more than i do or trust trust the federal democratic process more than i do yeah um so yeah that's and i don't have answers around like there's a sense in which countries are contrived and uh like i feel like every level is contrived in some way like if the catholic church had grown up in a different way you might have had like different sized parishes and different cardinals representing different levels like regional continents you know it could have been the same church but in a different shape um just because of accidents in history um um what am i trying to say there's there's a certain arbitrariness to what at what levels of power some things happen and if all the power is local then we can't coordinate on things like migratory birds like even really practical stuff like how do we make sure them or rivers how to make sure the river doesn't get polluted before it gets to me i need to coordinate with everyone upstream um so you need levels of government to do that um and we just end up with this soup of of government where there's all these things of different sizes um trying to take action and it seems like most of my friends don't care what level of government things happen at they want the most effective whatever level of government is effective is where they want the power so if if the ontario government can make the education system fair give ontario the power if the federal government says oh no we'll make it fair people i know are like who cares what the constitution says let the federal federal government make it better and there's just really no sense of subsidiarity and it's weird for me like culturally um culturally i'm left-wing but the people calling for subsidiarity are you know there's some left-wing anarchists calling for but the loudest voices i see your conservative small town people that's why i don't touch it with a ten um can i bring up um thinking i've been thinking yeah i really like paying attention to people who um call themselves rationalists who are trying to have fewer cognitive biases okay and a really good criticism of them was that they really should call themselves the irrationalists like they're saying that we don't think well the problem is we don't think well we are subject to to confirmation bias and dozens of other biases so they they're really they're really humbly recognizing their own irrationality even though they call themselves the someone criticized them saying wait there are limits to rationalism our brains our brains can't like one one of the traits of being rational is to update when you get new information and this guy said the culture can't work that way when i see you tomorrow i need to know i need to be pretty confident you're gonna have the same beliefs you have today like if you like pizza slightly less tomorrow because you've updated your beliefs or whatever just if you've got a million different beliefs and they're kind you're constantly changing the scales on all these beliefs based on new information that's too unpredictable like i need to know that when next christmas comes around you are going to believe in having a christmas party otherwise i can't play my year we need some level of predictability so this guy he just said no you shouldn't update most of your beliefs based on new information you should reinforce your beliefs based on new information so that you're so it's intentionally being irrational intentionally um ignoring uh new information or or like choosing to use confirmation bias as a tool so that you're more predictable um and i thought you know i really wondered about that and you know i shouldn't take good reasoning too seriously it's not necessarily what the community needs i'm still playing with that yeah um and then another way that reasoning can someone said um groups of people reason so a group a group can come up to a reasonable decision even if the members of the group are just parroting what they heard somehow it doesn't maybe it doesn't take too many thoughtful people in the group to make a good group decision or or even it maybe it's an automated process like an ants or bees whatever it is finding out where the food is where they make a very reasonable choice about finding the food even though there's no reasoning on an individual level so someone said humans do that they thought humans do that and that can explain why there are so many bad reasoners there's so many batteries it's so frustrating um but maybe that's maybe we are a species where the reasoning happens in groups and and so if i try to help someone become a better reasoner the main impact might be just to alienate them from their group they're no longer being a good group member the reasoning isn't supposed to happen at the individual level it's supposed to happen by telling each other stories and i don't know what else so um so i felt in the last this is just in the last few months i felt really challenged by people who are saying you know don't don't teach people thinking skills that's not what the human species needs i can't believe i'm saying that because i love i love reason i love logic games i love you know physics and working out working things out reasonably yeah but if you think about a romantic relationship you know reasoning is not the way forward it's not the way forward yeah it's a good way to feel superior to your mate yeah right that's about it that's about it unless it's like hey should i stick my finger in this hole like no i know what's on the other side of that hole and it's like it's uh whatever something sharp or something that's going to hurt you i have a good reason not to do it so please because i love you don't do it like other than extreme cases like that there's not much place for reasoning in a romantic relationship or even in a parent-child relationship i don't think there's a lot of room for that any really human relationship i don't think there's a lot of room for reasoning it's not that important i do you you know i ask my wife every day do you do you love me do you still love me and i need to know the answer you know it's like it's uh what we need as humans is we need to know we're loved or valued and that we're not doing something that displeases uh our neighbor or our loved ones because uh you know we all have a little annoying habits that annoy people around us and we can make an effort to pay attention to the feedback and avoid making people feel frustrated by our habits and stuff like that that's the emphasis that i place on uh my one-on-one relationships just like on a human level like what you were saying in the beginning about taking care of people who are curled up crying and you know when i sprained my ankle on last monday it's been a week now almost i uh one of the perks one of the silver linings is now i have actual proof that my wife loves me because she was genuinely upset and taking care of me and really like giving me foot massages and stuff i said wow you really do love me i wasn't i wasn't sure but we've been married for 25 years the human uh relationship is something very delicate fragile and uh subject to doubt and misinterpretation and we get along very well you know we get along very well but there's always that mystery like what is the other person feeling what do they what do they need and you can read a lot in a person's face i mean you you're not currently working in uh social work or uh uu stuff right i run a kids program i run a unitarian oh you do so you know any anyway you know uh body language and how to read faces and all how important that is right hopefully i'm one of those people who doesn't he can't tell what characters in a movie is who like remembering faces and putting them to i'm not the best i'm not the best at that yeah all right but yeah noticing if if if a kid's body language gets really shut down and becoming curious about what's going on there yeah yeah if you had to do an improv skit about the different emotions you could emote you could portray that you know what the signs are yeah good skill to have it's handy it's nice i i do wonder sometimes about my empathy level if it's immediate like average or below average i don't think it's above average but it might be i don't know but uh i do often wonder am i just because i've been watching shows about autism and a lot of these people just mimic the the proper behavior to get along and was wondering do i do that is that what i do or you know i'm not sure i'm not sure but i do i do sincerely grimace when i see america's funniest home videos and someone falls down like it's it is painful for me it is really painful for me you have empathy good to know yeah yeah yeah that feels so i mean my partner my partner is a psychotherapist and her main tool for healing is just to pay attention to people i thought you're going to say my partner's a psycho psychotherapist okay that's pretty uh that's that's pretty intense yeah yeah i didn't realize i didn't realize that she had that title yeah um yeah there are some um therapists that really try to get you back into earlier memories and and say don't it's not about you and me stop projecting your feelings out of me just telling me your story whereas her style of psychotherapy is much more like you project your feelings onto me i'm right here how do you feel you're angry right me right now tell me about that how's that feel in your body so um yeah and i love it i mean this something i love about her is just so good at connecting with people and wow feeling their feelings um and it's healing it's a healing force you get free psychotherapy every day or well that's one of her jokes is uh actually it's been a while because we've gotten better at it it's like uh i would say you're not my therapist or she would say i'm not your therapist i would say i'm not your minister or whatever yeah that's fun and cute there's a bar joking there somewhere well that's pretty cool yeah and i like i noticed saying this that i feel like i feel really strongly about that but where the real tension for me is in healing people goes to like the more reasoning and and social action place of like you can help someone a lot someone who's homeless you know they might really appreciate it if you empathize with them oh i'm so sorry you're homeless i really feel your feelings you know that might that might help but it only goes so far and helping create a better housing policy might help a lot um you know what st james said right and his epistle in the bible he said tiny houses and deregulate he said if someone tells you they're hungry and cold and you say oh bless you go and be warm and well fed i mean it doesn't do anything yeah you have to actually feed them give them the cloak off your back or whatever or the cloak off the taxpayers back if you're the government yes yeah yeah and we do we can do that we can do that too much of of well sometimes we offer i'm saying we in a very vague place i'm not talking about my congregation but sometimes we can offer um the empathy and compassion and and just say oh we're not actually a service if you actually need services here's a list of phone numbers to call we can do that and and actually feel like okay since we're being so clear about what we're offering we can find out how much people want it you know do they come back if that's how we're offering and some people really appreciate it but yeah i would rather be someone who who can join a discussion on housing talk in a way that i'll be heard so yeah i want to learn i want to be in a relationship with with people who care about the issue and i want to be effective at learning what goes well and changing minds about it so even though i'm really feel like i'm drawn by love that that reasoning part of me is still like no no i'm here too we need to we need to reason notes and what housing policy do we want and how we're going to create it but that feels alive for me uh have you ever lost sleep over a social issue that was way bigger than you that was maybe your city or your province or your country or your continent good good question well i i don't know if you can count staying up late on election night no no feeling like a lot is on the line no i'm often much more um deadened by it okay bogged down just feeling like we're in a quagmire yeah yeah um yeah i'm more likely to be stay awake on very specific things where i feel i can have it i can have an impact the bigger the bigger things just feel deadening unfortunately too often yeah have you never but i because i'm trying i'm trying to figure out like how because i'm in of how much you care about society like i've never really felt that you know i don't feel like oh i really want to go to the council meeting and help people to get housing and all that i've never felt that yeah i can't believe it you do go i mean it depends i've gone in in other cities have wow only done a little only done a small number of zoom meetings in my career okay wow still it's uh infinitely more than i've done yeah but it's just i'm what i'm interested in is just like how different we are in that way and i was just trying to find out like how deeply it affects you on a personal day-to-day basis sounds like not not too much but more than it affects yeah no it doesn't affect my sleep um but it affects my day time yeah like i'll sit down to do focused work and then i'll i'll get a an email newsletter about housing policy and there goes my whole morning uh that happens um often you've mentioned housing a few times is that something you're particularly interested in i mean that's the flavor of the week where where um well it feels so important like fundamental or like when i think about poor people or people who are oppressed and got fired for some stupid cultural reason you know if they had cheap housing they'd be less vulnerable to that okay pardon my language yeah no problem you know i can't enlighten their workforce as easily as i could provide them with safe housing i think so that they can leave leave the bad so housing in that it's important to me in the sense of how much i've read about it but not in terms of how much you've actually acted on it because the politics of it feels so so much bigger than me i don't want to get uh too deep into it but i'll just get your quick reaction to the the idea of world hunger there are a lot of people that are hungry they don't have access to clean drinking water to me clean drinking water is like the number one thing uh i'm not doing anything about it other than supporting the catholic church who is doing something about it but it's something that i think about uh it's like why are we even excited about the first world problems when we have so many people that don't have access to and and i i i guess part of my growing up was to realize how often well-meaning europeans or north americans have gone into africa and said hey here's a new water system and then it breaks a year later because they didn't know the local reality um and so i yeah i'm really feeling like or when i read about the favelas if i'm getting that right are shantytowns that grow up with extremely few resources they get somehow they get running water and electricity wired in even though they're just people doing it themselves with the government trying to shut it down i feel like for me getting everyone making sure everyone has drinking water isn't about a top-down process of the government's gonna do it it's much more a bottom-up process of let's get rid of barriers so that with the awareness that something like a water system for a city can cost so much money that maybe it can't actually grow just block by block like the purification system so yeah i don't have the answers but i'm drawn to solutions that are much more about increasing the general wear welfare and creating a place where like where you can start start a business without having to bribe 100 people and and give a cut to the local dictator yeah i really like being drawn to issues that affect most people like the malarial foundation yeah or to give the give well organization or their job is to rate charities based on how far your money can go uh a charity yeah exactly yeah so you've read uh you're familiar with karl marx's philosophy about uh the means of production and all that sort of thing is there a connection between uh capitalism per se and people don't have access in 2021 to food and water as a direct connection would you say it's a great question i really like mutuality and so what you and i do how we treat each other is based on what we agree on and that's just a fancy way of saying i support the free market um let people treat each other how they want or how they mutually agree on and you know then you get into the complications of what if you know what if important i'm starving and i'm willing to sell you my liver because it's the only way i can it's the only way i can eat dinner tonight you know you know then i feel like oh that can that can make capitalism go really badly but if that situation took place within a bureaucracy the person would be dead so partly i feel like we all systems um all systems go badly so if capitalism is generating wealth great but then when wealth centralizes and there's a lot of inequality we need to reform it somehow how do we reform it um social democracy i don't know um there's no one great system and there's a place for free markets and individual action do you think i forget your question do you think i got a new question for you do you think do you think that charitable donations and volunteer hours that directly affect uh world poverty and clean drinking water for the for those who don't have access do you think do you think that the sort of numbers of donations and the number of man hours spent volunteering do you think that that is the best estimate of how many people in the first world actually care or do you think a lot more people care but they just don't get involved yeah i think i think there's a lot of people who who believe that you can best help help um poor countries by by not invading them that's a big one if we stop invading them then that'll help a lot it seems there's a lot there's a lot of people say if we if we stop making their lives worse and there's also a lot of people who say oh no we should help them develop a liberal democracy like we've got we've got the system if they use our system they won't have poverty anymore a lot of people believe that i'm not saying that they're right i'm just saying a lot of people believe that i'm not a big fan of of um exporting systems to other people with you know without their consent um but i also believe that countries that are able to successfully adopt liberal democracies um so yeah i'm not i'm not drawn to putting my energy to to giving well i'm much more drawn to helping create systems that where people become wealthier is it fair to say that you have a lot of faith in politics as as a way forward for solving a lot of problems because it sounds like it um it feels like it's an important battleground like i'm not there because it's where the solution is i'm there because it's where the fight is okay like i don't know if you've seen there's a lot of tv shows where society collapses and and um you know you realize oh things are way things get really really bad um so maybe i'm changing my mind where i believe that yeah having having a broken democracy system is better than the alternative of having society looking at history democracies are very fragile like it's quite reasonable that we would not have a democracy ten years from now um yeah so i feel like organized the political system is organized in a way that we can sometimes boot out the corrupt leaders um okay i've got an interesting question for you and we're going to wrap up soon we're going to wrap up soon but uh very interesting question if we were to look at all the books you've read all of them since you've been an adult and you've chosen which books to read yeah uh and we put a copy of each book on a bookshelf probably a pretty big bookshelf right um and we asked someone at a prestigious university what course of study is this set of books what does it represent best yeah do you think they'd say poli sci philosophy economics what what do you think the course of study would how would they pigeonhole that just based on this set of books you've read in your whole life yeah they might say um humanism or they might say that that might mean something different from liberal arts maybe yeah they might they might say um classic education uh how to create prosperity and prosperity and if they looked if they looked at mine it would be religion and philosophy for sure for sure for sure because that's all i read that's all i read yeah social science and narrative i think it balances the heart and the head and the spirit yeah it feels like i'm learning how to love my neighbor is what it's about because some people follow uh an impulse or a compulsion without necessarily wanting that to be where they go like just like someone can someone can go someone that's addicted to porn can go on the internet and they don't want to look at porn but that's just where they end up going uh whereas there's so many other things to explore on the internet like good things right but you're not like that with the things you read it's because you really for me well blogs do i need to read so many blogs and scroll twitter so much i probably don't it's that that a lot of the time i'll regret it afterwards that i really need to take in that information so i'm i'm trying to become more um particular about the information i've so people on social media this is a real quick question people on social media that impress you because they remain unsullied by the sort of worst parts of human nature do you encounter people like that like heroes of social media who just rise above there's some good ones um but right now my focus now is much more am i learning from this person okay do you know do you know sturgeon's sturgeon's law someone he was a science fiction writer and someone insulted science fiction you know saying 90 of it is crap okay and he replied 90 of everything is crack and and so i'll follow people if there's any glimmer of the 10 any glimmer of quality like i re someone who came to mind was andrew sullivan i love reading andrew sullivan um some of my friends hate andrew sullivan because he's wrong about important things in their opinion and my criteria is i'm learning from him so i'll keep reading it for example um so yeah i've got i have an abundance of people who i find it worthwhile to to read and learn from and are you maintaining your own blog or your own social media content that you put out no i mean right now i'm writing um sermons which is where i'm putting my creative energies yeah i go through phases where where i'll i'll be reading a lot in the last real bout of blog writing i did i ended up um realizing i need to do a lot more listening and trying to broaden who i read and i don't need to be another white guy posting long long blog posts every day so i'm trying to diversify where i'm taking in information and not as much prioritize putting out my opinion that's pretty cool any uh anything you want to squeeze in before we wrap up here it's coming up to an hour i don't neighbor what else to say um we need we got to make mistakes as we figure out a love our neighbor and sounds good so thanks for taking the time really nice to chat with you as always i hope you come back and maybe uh you could just give us a little hint of what you're excited about for the future is there anything coming up in your life like um are you gonna get married or anything um you don't have to answer that well i'm in the i'm my career is in let's say if i got a job um as a as a minister that would be a great next step for my career um currently choosing where i live over what i do for money which is limiting my prospects so some in terms of something meatier in terms of uh personal growth with uh listening and loving relationships what are the sort of what are some of the concrete steps you're excited to take next um just excited about getting more articulate and and demonstrating to people that i understand their point of view is feels really huge reflective listening is my big divine goal great to see so we'll talk very soon i'll let you go cause it's been exactly one hour now okay but uh i really appreciate talking to you and i love you to you and i love you love you too thank you talk to you soon