The Future Is Here

EP.19: The Third Way: Navigating The Pitfalls of The Right and The Left w/ Justin Giboney

June 15, 2021 Justin Giboney Season 2 Episode 19
The Future Is Here
EP.19: The Third Way: Navigating The Pitfalls of The Right and The Left w/ Justin Giboney
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The Future Is Here
EP.19: The Third Way: Navigating The Pitfalls of The Right and The Left w/ Justin Giboney
Jun 15, 2021 Season 2 Episode 19
Justin Giboney

In the Season 2 Finale of The Future Is Here #Podcast titled The Third Way: Navigating The Pitfalls of The Right and The Left, our esteemed host and CEO Tommy Nixon talks to Atlanta-based lawyer, political strategist, Co-Founder, President of the AND Campaign, Justin Giboney about what it looks like to live as a Christ-follower in the tension of our current context and culture. If you have ever struggled with what it means to be conservative or liberal as a Christian this conversation is for you. Just one question remains, however... #areyoulistening 




Support the show (https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/WebLink.aspx?name=E12333&id=12)

Show Notes Transcript

In the Season 2 Finale of The Future Is Here #Podcast titled The Third Way: Navigating The Pitfalls of The Right and The Left, our esteemed host and CEO Tommy Nixon talks to Atlanta-based lawyer, political strategist, Co-Founder, President of the AND Campaign, Justin Giboney about what it looks like to live as a Christ-follower in the tension of our current context and culture. If you have ever struggled with what it means to be conservative or liberal as a Christian this conversation is for you. Just one question remains, however... #areyoulistening 




Support the show (https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/WebLink.aspx?name=E12333&id=12)

Speaker 1:

Are you listening ? Hey fam . Welcome to the features here, podcast. This is for the leaders, the dreamer provocateurs misfits, the frustrated frontline leaders who are charging in the kingdom for tired of reactive church. It's time to build the church we dream of. Now the future is here. So don't get left behind. Are you listening? Let's get into it. Welcome friends

Speaker 2:

To another episode of the features here, podcast . I'm your host, Tommy Nixon and the CEO of urban youth workers Institute. I'm really excited for today's episode, man. We , uh, we get to talk to the one and only Justin Givani , who is one of the co-founders of the ad campaign. And also , uh, one of the co-writers authors of compassion and conviction. Uh, he's got a long list of other things as well. Uh , you got to check him out, but I'm really, really excited. Justin, welcome to the show, man. Thanks so much for being here

Speaker 3:

And Tommy , thanks for having me. I'm excited about it as

Speaker 2:

Well. Yeah, absolutely. So friends, you guys know those of you. Who've been listening and following us , um, you know what, we're all about man, where the future is here. We know that the future is young, it's urban, it's multiethnic . Um, but we find ourselves in a, in a deep tension , um, in this world, both theologically in our Praxis politically , um, it feels like , uh, every day, the generation ahead of us and the generation that we want to reach behind us, that that gap is widening and widening and widening. And we also know that 1.2 million young people are leaving the faith every year , um , because they are just not compelled by the life. Um, they're seeing us live. And so what I find so compelling about you, Justin man, is that you have been able to walk. And what I , a lot of times I talk about this space called the radical middle, and you've really been able to walk between these spaces of right and left. And you started something with some friends of yours called the ad campaign. And we've had show on, on the show a couple of times, and I really appreciate him and, and his, his mind and wisdom, but give us for those, those listening, give us, like give us a framework, man, for the AAN campaign. Um, w you know what it is, how you got there, and then we'll get into some more.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, for sure. So I guess it's always helps to start off kind of with my background, because it connects with how an campaign started. So I'm a attorney by trade. I've been doing political, you know, running campaigns and political strategy for over a decade. Um, and as I was in politics and kind of, you know, working with folks who wanted to be in office, talking to friends who were interested in running for office as well , uh, I realized that there was like this false dichotomy in our politics today. Where in, if you cared about justice, you had to go all the way to the left and , and kind of do whatever the left said was, was the right thing to do within doing that. You would end up surrendering some of your biblical convictions, some of those convictions not being very popular in today's society. And then you had folks who were concerned about, we would call moral order, right. Or the convictional side of, of Christianity. Um, and if you believe in that, you will go all the way to the right, and you wouldn't be worried about social justice and really they can , they can passion that comes with anything that's , that's gospel centered. And it was just hard for me to operate I'm in Atlanta, a very progressive space. It was just really hard for me to operate full, go and know that I was kind of leading people away sometimes from those convictions. And so I just felt like something had to change. I knew there were a lot of strong Christians who were very compassionate, but believe that what the Bible said and knew that that was the truth. Even if it didn't agree with how they always felt. And I just wanted to kind of provide Christians with a more faithful way to do politics with a better , uh, framework. And so I met up with sho Baraka, met up with a pastor. I hear the name angel Maldonado, Puerto Rican brother. And that's what the ad campaign really means. Like when you look at the gospel, we just don't see the false, that false question or that false dichotomy. When you look at Jesus, you see compassion, you see him caring about people, but he doesn't just say, however you feel, or whatever you want to do is right. You know, he cares for them. He says, no, but you gotta stop sending, right. You are broken and you need to be transformed. Uh , and so we can keep both of those messages, intention. We can care about social justice and also stay people who need it . We live in a broken world. We're broken people. People also need to be transformed. And there is a truth. Whether we like it or not, whether it kind of rubs us wrong, it , it cuts. It's double edged sword. It can cut both ways. And so we can maintain those things and be a faithful Christian, and then it needs you to be faithful Christians . So that's , that's generally the ad campaign. It means social justice and more order, compassion and conviction. We're not going to choose between the two we're going to, we're going to have both like the gospel does,

Speaker 2:

Man. That's yeah. That's amazing. I don't know. I imagine this for you, but I basically live in a space where my conservative friends think I'm too liberal and my liberal friends think I'm too conservative and it feels just like you can't win. Right. Um, and what I've appreciated about you and friends, if you're not following Justin, and you're not following the ad campaign, like get on it right now, you just, and man , me and my, me and my, the leaders I rock with, like, you, you just put this out, man, I'm going to read this quote from you, bro. Uh, you just said some Christians are so worried about the Marxist barbarians at the gate that they've ignored the white nationalists already in the temple. We must not only confront the lies that offend us, but also the allies that serve us, man. I, I felt like that was so powerful. And you have this way, Justin , of, of, of so eloquently. Um, I mean maybe it's your lawyer backroom may . I don't know, man, but I like, I'm always amazed at how well you put things in a real succinct way. Um, but, but what I loved about that is you call out, you call out both sides and you're able to hold the tension in that. Like, what does that look like for you personally, because I've been interested in knowing and meeting you and talking with you, what does that look like personally for you to, to like, hold that tension , um, and walk that space that you , you walk.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I think, you know, it came with confidence, it came number one with reading the Bible, right . Being more confident in my theology , uh, to where I didn't need to try to be. Like, there was a point in my life where I was trying to be show people. I was progressive. Like I'm not, I'm not a Christian. Like them. I'm a little, I get it. You know, I'm a little more progressive or I, you know, I had friends who were trying to be sir , show people. They were more conservative, but the Bible isn't really about me conservative, progressive. So that feeling that you have Tommy of not really fitting in, that's where it's at. Like I had to realize that it was just kind of a corny to be trying to be something that actually was leading in the wrong direction in a lot of ways. So there are things that I may be more progressive on things I may be more conservative on, but that's because I'm just trying to be more biblical and I could really care less if it fits with one party, if it fits with one ideological tribe and that's where Christians need to be, to be confident enough in the Bible. Not that you don't listen to other people, not that you don't have compassion, but you're not trying to necessarily fit in. You're trying to bring the truth and love of the gospel into the setting to have your, you know, the worst thing that can happen is to have people who have a book with the truth in it , who have whoever relationship with Christ, most importantly, trying to be something that's broken, right? Like we have to have the confidence to say, no, I know I love people. I want to experience and, and, and live and growth people, but I'm not going to try to be something that's outside of what the gospel is. So we got to reach for that truth. We gotta reach for that love and progressivism and conservatism just don't get it. All right. And so we gotta be willing to challenge those things, even if our peer group , uh , is trying to push us in one way or the other

Speaker 2:

Man , I love that. So, I mean, I'm really just maybe this podcast just for me, I don't know, but I want to know, man, even like personally for you, so I'm like, all right . I, and I read some, some articles that I think that the gospel coalition had written about you and , uh , they were talking about one of your revelations. Was that the democratic convention where , where , right. I mean, can you share that story a little bit? And like, what, so, so at that that's when you started realizing, okay, like I'm not all in on this. There are some things that I am , um, I'm about this, but then there's other things kind of , like you said earlier, and then from that point, like, like tell me a little bit more about your journey, because I really feel like there's so many people out there that desperately need a pathway to go, how did you get to that place? And what you shared right now is just beautiful. Do work, right? I mean, go back to the word, like, what do you actually believe? But can you share a little bit of that with us?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, for sure. So in 2012 and 2016, I was a delegate at the democratic cratic national convention and what you do when you get there. So I was part of the Georgia delegation out of John Lewis is a congressional district, got voted in. And by that district, and what you do is you go to the big convention. Um, the first year it was in Charlotte in 2012 and you meet in your state delegations. And then you go to what everybody sees with , which is where all the state delegations coming together. And one of the things they did was a voice vote. They wanted to see by voices who was the loudest, whether or not they should take God given out of the democratic platform, basically pointing to natural rights that our rights come from God, not from man, because if they came from man, then they could be taken away by men . Um, and it was just obvious. Once folks started yelling at the folks who wanted it out, we're just more excited than the folks that wanted it in or just louder or more passionate. And I just left there thinking, all right , I have to be distinctive. Like I can't be the salt and the light. And people think that what this representative day represents me and that's really what hit me. And I, you know, I went back home. I was hurt , man. I was, you know, my wife will tell you, I was really just frustrated, trying to figure out what to do. And I just, that just kind of started the mission. I started anybody who I knew who was in politics, who was running campaigns like me, or who was running their county party. I would just reach out to them on Facebook, any of that stuff and say, Hey, you want to go to the lunch? You want to just talk because I felt like I was alone. And I just wanted to see if other people felt the same way that I did, but as God often works, he just started bringing people into my life who were that's, you know, then I initially then I meet show. Then I meet angel Maldonado and God showed me no , you're not alone at all. Right. Um, and that's just where the ad campaign started from that feeling of I've got to do something because Christians just don't have a framework to apply to what's going on today. So it's not to say that that framework for politics was never articulated, but I thought it needed to be re articulated in a language that folks today could connect with. And I think, you know, when we talk about love and truth, compassion and conviction, not being afraid of social justice, just because some people do distort justice, not being afraid of more order , just because some people take more order and they're not compassionate with it. It doesn't mean that there isn't an order and a design that God gave us. It just means we need to get closer to it. And so I think Christians, you know, I just, God blessed us with a very clear vision. Um, and the beauty of what the ad campaign does is we didn't create a framework. I mean, it's , it's a gospel center framework. And a lot of people, it seems like, like yourself already, or thinking about it, we just provided the language. So that's why people catch on so quickly. Cause it's not like the first time you ever thought of this is when Justin, no , you were thinking about it, but I think God gave the and campaign language. So when folks like yourself hear it , it's like, ah, that's what I was trying to say. I just never said it like that before. And that's how we're connected and it's just God moving. And we're just thankful to be part of what God is trying to do. I mean, you have so many other folks connected with the and campaign or not who are putting out just, you know, just a different way of thinking about our civic engagement and not trying to fit in with the Democrats or the Republicans. Sure. We can use them for practical purposes, but that's not my, that's not my tribe. That's not my primary community, the churches . And I think when we keep that in mind, we can really grow and do this thing a lot better.

Speaker 2:

Mm that's good, man. I mean a couple of things , uh , I just kind of take out of what you just said one, you know, like it's kind of like , cause, cause I'm thinking about it. So if he's like 2012, this has been like nine years. So there's been like a nine year journey for you to this point. You know what I mean? Um, and, and, and within that nine years, I mean, you've done incredible work and you've put out these, these bodies of work and this an actual framework and thought around it just like extremely helpful, but it sounded like, so for you guys out there listening, you know, and you're struggling through this as well. And you're like, I'm not really here, but I'm not really there. And I'm uncomfortable with this. And I don't know about this. I mean, part of it was that explore, right? I mean, that's what you did. You , you started exploring, okay, who else out there is struggling or thinking through this. Um, and then finding that you're not alone. And then I think that's one of the strengths of , of the communities that you guys have kind of gathered together. I know you have different chapters around the country. Um, but also, I mean, that's a, that's a strength of our community. If you guys are a part of urban youth workers Institute and the leaders that we have, there's a sense of like community and comradery that, that you're not alone. So explore. And then the same thing I heard is as you , you start to frame it. And I like how you said, like it's not, it's not a new framework. I mean, it's , it's in scripture, but there's a , there's some work friends that need to go into framing and actually saying, what do you actually believe? And I think that that's a huge part of it, man. I find that so many people are, I mean, comfort is like a real enemy to a lot of us. You know what I'm saying? Like do the work. Um, our, our COO Robert boy has always talks about, you know, people have mean theology. You know, if, if somebody meme, you know, it says a quick thing, like, oh yeah, that's that's me. And I like it. Well, have you gone to the scripture? Have you done the work through it? And so kind of framing that and a huge part of that. I think it was giving language to it. And that's what I think you guys have done. You'd like give some language some what I would call handles so that people can start talking about it. And then coming around this to start framing out maybe a different way of following Christ or, or, or a deeper way or a more intentional way. You, you , you know what I'm saying? So,

Speaker 3:

I mean, what you're saying is so important , uh, because one of the things that the world does to us on , on both sides of the aisle and just in general is it gives us easy answers. It gives us answers that are framed in the way to where there's no tension. If you're not stupid and hateful. And of course you'll take this position, right? Cause all the other people who are against you or who disagree with you are stupid and hateful or a waste of time or lazy or whatever. So of course you will take this position because they're all ridiculous. But if you look closely and you really dig into it, it's not usually that simple. Now that doesn't mean that the other side doesn't get to some things very seriously wrong. But when we're talking about very tough issue, whether it's the sanctity of life, where we're talking about the Christian sexual ethic, if the answer is just too easy for you, you may not really be getting to the full dynamic of what's going on, but the world is going to give you a very easy answer. Just say, yes, just say whatever you want to do is great. You know what I'm saying? And the other side's tasteful. So just do the opposite really. And that's what they tell you. They're hateful, they're stupid or they're whatever they're bleeding hearts do the opposite of what they do. A Christian can not afford to be looking at the things in that dumbed down have a way, right? You don't want to over-complicate it. But people are comp . The people are complicated. People go through things. And if you're going to be compassionate for us , you can have compassion for somebody. You need to understand the dynamics of maybe what their experience has shown them, all the things they've been through, what they've been exposed to. We need to really, I mean, we all know this from really building relationships . You see that people are very, if you and nighttime , you get to know each other. We'll probably see that. Now we have some very interesting experiences that I can't just judge you off this conversation, right ? If I'm going to listen to my ideology, if I'm going to listen to my party, they're going to say, okay, he checks this box in that box and either he's good or bad. And we just can't, we can't be that simple. We gotta, we gotta step up our game a little bit.

Speaker 2:

That's good, man. I literally was in a conversation the other day with the church partner of ours, who it really did feel more that they, I mean, maybe interrogation is a strong word, but it wasn't necessarily a conversation. And , and I think what they were after is they wanted to make sure that I believed what they believed and it was that checkbox thing. And yet I can sit in the tension of going, I know these, these people love Jesus. And I know I love Jesus, but there's a lot of space there to grow together in our understanding of that. The , the other thing that I love that they say, I mean, I'm a big, I have a theology of tension. I feel , I think you find it in scripture. You know what I mean? And it's there, you know what I mean? And , um, even if it's just a concept of God, you know what I mean? Like how big God is? You can't know all of him, you know what I mean? And so that's a tension . Uh , the paradox of Christianity itself is, is hard, but we want to boil it down to, Hey, the one, two threes, and then you don't go to hell and there's so much more to it than that. And that's what grieves me. And I feel like this next generation really wants those answers. They may , may still reject it, but Hey, I want to make sure we do our best to present it and live it in a way that's compelling to them. But one of the things that I, and I'll let you said earlier, man, I , um, is really standing on truth, right? Like once you figure out, like I'm not trying to be this or that, I I'm trying , I'm searching after this truth. And I'm going to stand on that. Tell me a little bit about your, so you guys, you created this beautiful space politically for Christians. I think, you know, you Wade into the tension, all that. How do you navigate that theologically? How do you navigate that with, with , um, the body of Christ and, and you know, the breadth of it? Cause I know you get it from both sides, bro. Right? I mean, yeah. Right. So I mean share a little bit about that. Cause I know a lot of people are wrestling with that where I feel like, like you have boomers who are like, just preach the gospel and I'm like, yeah, but what do you mean by that? And then you have gen Z. That's like, Hey man, God loves everybody. Like, what's your problem? You know what I mean? I, I get to do whatever I want. And I'm like, okay. So I'm like, well, so how have you kind of like journey through that? Right. And then, and then you have us in the middle, right? Like I'm , I'm 42 , um , like very end of gen X. Right. And it feels like my whole generation is deconstructing. And I hope that we're on the other side of what you're talking about. Like reframe it, like constructing, right. What is our faith? What are you stand on? So it feels there's the tension there, but for you, what does that look like? That, that journey theologically for you?

Speaker 3:

Yeah. I mean, I never, you know , uh, I'll never want to take the spiritual side of it. So obviously if there's a , there's a lot of prayer and always trying to , uh , a humility to say, if I get out from the shadow of the cross and I'm gonna mess this up, right. Like it's dependent on me and people are , are kind of falling with Justin sand and I, and I'd go in that direction, then I'm going to mislead people. So just trying to make sure that we are just trying to stay as biblical as possible. Uh, so always reading, especially reading the Bible, reading, you know, Christian thinkers and others, to make sure that your mind's always running, you're seeing different perspectives. And then, you know, one of the other things is just having a strong group and community to , to bounce ideas off of, you know what I mean? Whether I'm talking to Dr. Charlie dates, Esau McCaulley , you know what I mean? Uh, Lisa Fields, folks like that, these are people who are always thinking as well and doing their best to be faithful. Um, and, and trying to be around a theme and a , and a group like that. That cares for scripture that takes it very seriously while not separating themselves from the world so much that they can't evangelize that they can't touch people and connect with people who've gone through different things is really important. But I think it's also to help people understand where their idea number one, on the difference between ideology and theology, because a lot of people conflate the two and they think they're doing something that's ideological, but they think it's the illogical . Um, and I think that's where this whole just precinct gospel and, you know, you don't have to do anything justice or, I mean, that says not if you read the Bible that there's no separation and you know , we know that, you know, our work doesn't save us, but it is indicative of what's written on our hearts. And so those things, yeah . Going to go together, that , that separation just isn't a biblical separation. I think that separation comes from people's comforts and not wanting people that kind of change , change certain things. And when you're comfortable, it's easy to say, Hey, don't do it. Don't do anything to just leave, leave, leave the status quo where it is. Um, but what I try to help people understand is the flaws in their ideology. So let's take kind of the more secular, progressive, postmodern , uh , ideology, most people, but who were very most Christians who are very progressive are going to say, Hey, I'm for justice. Like I want to demand justice. I want to go to the white evangelical or whoever and say, Hey, you must do justice. The problem with that. Yeah . You're super secondary . You know, when you're kind of following the secular progressive point of view is that second of progressivism doesn't really believe in absolutely. Right. But when you're demanding that somebody do justice, you're actually promoting an absolute truth. Simply saying that there's an absolute standard by which you have to treat other people that that standard is unconditional. That that standard stands. Whether or not the person you're talking to and demanding justice from agrees with it or not. So you can't say my truth, you have your truth. And then I demand Tommy, do you do justice? Tommy , Tommy has his own truth . Tommy doesn't have to do justice. He can just use his logic, which is logic. May tell him that, you know what, if I'm protecting my people and trying to get him my own, it's actually better for me not to give you some of what I have, because it's just some logic. Isn't enough. That's where it kind of the progressive space. They run into trouble. Because if you don't believe in absolute truth, you can't make demands on other people to do something in an unconditioned high standard type of way. This is where the just things start to fall apart. And you start to think, well, even though secular progressivism presents itself as this lightened and super sophisticated way of thinking, if you really dig into it below, you can get below the surface. It really has some holes in it that the gospel can show you where those holes are and you can do the same thing with conservatism. And so that's one of the things that an campaign to try to do. We don't try to seek out the middle ground, but when you have these crazy extremes, you're going to probably happen to be somewhere in the middle. Um, and you should be able to any cryption, whether you lean after lean, right. You know, ideologically or culturally, you should be able to point out the flaws in , in , in that side of the conversation. If you can't do that, it's a highly likely that you've been indoctrinated. And that is just never okay for the court .

Speaker 1:

If you like, what you're hearing, keep listening, but also make sure to check out our newest leadership resource, the leadership journey, by hitting up our website , uh , UI wwi.org ,

Speaker 3:

Always be able to critique either side of the conversation. And that's what we try to bring, bring to people. So that's kind of how we're waiting through it. You're , you're looking at the left just saying, Hey, here's what Progressive's actually do really well. Right. They care for people like you , they're caring for the immigrant. They want to involve other people. I liked , I don't have to say that's bad. Right. But what do they do that can't pass biblical scrutiny? What does the right do? They can't pass biblical scrutiny that it's not just trying to find a squishy middle cause the squishy minimal can be just as bad as it's one of the extremes. Right? I mean, if that's what you're trying to do, but it's saying, how do I bring both these concepts through biblical scrutiny to find what I can take and what the merits are, and then the push away what is perilous and what is actually taking me away from the truth and taking me away from a more compassionate way of living,

Speaker 2:

Man. That's so good, man. I love that. Kind of like almost, yeah . Camp , what doesn't pass biblical scrutiny. Um, which is interesting because we don't live in a context right now where people , uh, where you can have those kinds of dialogues, like it just doesn't, you don't find that a lot. It's just like, what camp are you in? I'm listening for certain words. If you say

Speaker 1:

CRT, or you say DEI, or you say,

Speaker 2:

You know, biblical, you know, whatever it is and a manhood or womanhood, like now I know where you're a part of, and now I can just cut you off. And , and so often these things just seem so unpriced like, I just don't get it, but I love, I love that too, you know, because it isn't about like, just trying to find like a , he, I just don't want to rock the boat . Like I just, you know, I want to be nice to everybody nice living on like, what you talk about conviction , uh , you know , um, but living out of this value, how much, how much do you think it's, do you see any danger? Cause I love, I love how you're framing it out and you see any danger of like, just this becoming an intellectual , um, kind of a based on just intellectual ism . What, what parts of this? And I'm just curious what your thoughts are on this wit you know, from intellectual ism to just like Praxis of these actual values, like how important is that?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I mean, again, those are the two things that go together. I I'm with you, unfortunately in the church . Sometimes either you have the folks who do the intellectual work and then you have the folks who do, who are the practitioners who are out in the streets and touched me . We try to do both. I mean, you need to do that, feel logical work and thinking to make sure you're in the right place, but then we're also going to be out and advocating for stuff. Right. We're also going to be talking about, okay, how can we organize Christians and educate Christians so that we can advocate together, right? So that we can advocate for , uh, you know, the reform of do, you know, kind of the juvenile probation system. So we can make sure that, okay, if you make a mistake, it doesn't mean there aren't any consequences, but are those consequences set up in a way where it's actually, you can actually grow and , and come out of it in a, in a better, in a better place. These are things that Christians can do. And there's so many ways that we can work together. That aren't about partisanship because, so we know we look at issues and we look at it through a part of this Atlanta and say, okay, that's a Democrat thing. Or that's the Republican Christians. We've got to stop doing that. Does it fit with them ? Biblical principles? Hey, let's go and see if we can work together on that. That's how we should be thinking. But I do think that's a very important combination that the ant camp pain brings to the table. We don't do the intellectual work we're going, we're going to think, and we're going to be able to respond to questions and all that because I love one thing I love about this generation is they're going to ask the questions, right ? It is no more shut up and just, you know, just go and ask the questions and the , in the Bible can answer those questions. Right. But at the same time, we're going to be in that. We're going to be in the streets, advocating, making sure that we're heard on issues that are affecting the people who are underserved and who need us the most. And we have tried to bring that synergy together.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I mean, I think at some point for a lot of you guys listening to , I know you guys are out in the streets, you're working with you're in the Vaddio, you're in the hood, you're working with all the kids. You're , you know, a you're you're doing it. Um, and what I appreciate about you, Justin, and the movement is you're, you're helping those of us who are on the streets that are, that are doing it , giving some handles. However, for those of you guys listening, you gotta do the work. You gotta make space, right. To, to read to . I mean, at the baseline you got to get in the word every day , friends, like you have to be a lover of God's word, get into it, you know? Um, uh, you know, I, and I love that, you know, does what you're thinking about or confronting does it pass biblical scrutiny? I love that. Um, and that's gotta be a part of our lives friends. And so we, you know, for some of us, some are our calling, the chemo of God . It might be a little bit heavier on one side or the other. We all got a call into space, but friends, this is really important. And here's why these young people are looking at you and, and they're watching your life. Um, and they're asking the questions just like Justin says , so we really do need both. And I really think my theology has been shaped mostly by me. Okay. I took a verse and I went and tried to live it out. And then, and then I would get confused. I go back to scripture, I go back to the, the church, the body of Christ. I go back to those discipling me and we'd work it out. I'd ask the holy spirit. There's a, there's a process here, friends of an , a rhythm of taking God's word, living it out and coming back into the presence of God and that to shape you. And I think it , it brings about things that you're doing Justin, right? I mean, we're conf we have to deal with the things that we're confronted with. And I , I think it's awesome. Um, okay. A little bit personal question for you. Um, like what, what does this cost you? What, what is this journey of the last nine years? Like what , what, what's the cost of it? Because I think it's , it's fair for those of you guys listening too , to go, Hey Nope , no . What the cost is of, you know, one just following Christ, but, but of this kind of space that you're, you've, you've walked into and weighted into like

Speaker 3:

A little bit about that. Yeah, that's true. Uh , I mean, it's cost me opportunities. I mean, there are spaces because I'm unapologetic with how I talk about biblical convictions and not, not in compassionate , but still unapologetic. Um, there are certain spaces that aren't going to let me come and speak in that space. Right. They don't want to hear, you know , what the Bible has to say when it , when it's unpleasant. Um, and in certain areas , um, definitely, you know , you know, lost some friends or folks who don't want to be as close , uh, based on some of the issues that you're touching on. You know, when I, when I gave my speech, when I was running for the democratic national convention in 2016, so this is a year, four years after the first time that I talked about already, I gave a speech that was purely biblical for like my , the point I was trying to have. Again, we were in a Congressman, John Lewis, his district , um, which is the core of the city of Atlanta. And I wanted to prove the point that somebody could win a political kind of nomination, just talking about kind of biblical issues. So I talked about the issues that the folks in the democratic party never talk about improving my point ended up winning because we were organized and say it in a way that people got and throw away all the rhetoric and political rhetoric. But after I did that, I mean, there were still people in the party that were going to be upset. Cause I did it for the P I didn't do it for the party. I did it for the people who were the ones who are actually voting. Um, and you know, there were folks in high places that said, you know, you committed political suicide, you had a lot of potential, but now you'll never accomplish what , what you want to do accomplish. And you know, that's just kind of the chance that you take, right? Uh, that some folks are gonna write you off because you're going to do it a different way. And I even had some mentors and folks like that, who you try to explain what the ad campaign was. They were so into what politics is now that they just couldn't understand. And so, you know, the conversation would end pretty quick, but I'll say this though, out of all the things I lost, I try not to take really any credit for it because I just never felt like God gave me a choice. All right. So people say, man, that's awesome that, you know, you counted the cost . And yet I didn't, I never felt like I had a choice. And I don't mean that in a bad way. That's not like some theological FreeWheel conversation, but I just never felt like it was like, I felt, that's what he called me to do. And that's just what I had to do. And he always gave me the strength to go through it. So I didn't feel courageous. I feel any of that. I just felt like God called me to do it. And , uh, what was lost, I gained so much more , um, throughout this , this journey, that's a continuum .

Speaker 2:

No , that's beautiful, man. And then I, there's some things in my life. I connect with that where even now I'm kind of getting to this place where I look back on some of the things we did and I'm like, oh man, that was a, that was a really big sacrifice, but I never felt it in the midst of it. I just felt like, well , what else can I do? This is what God's called me to and he's any, any day , but he blessed me through it. And, but I mean, pain and suffering, there's that parts of it. But , um, man, that , no that's really good, man. I mean a relationship

Speaker 3:

With Christ, man. That's just, it brings you that, you know, that kind of deep, [inaudible] get you through it. If he called you to it, he ain't going to get you through it. So I certainly felt that. I mean, it wasn't easy. That's not to say it's easy to your point. It's not that you didn't feel any of the pain, but it was different. You know what I mean? Like it was just different. It didn't, it , it wasn't going to stop me.

Speaker 2:

Well, I mean, honestly, man, I think that's the, that's the message that this next generation needs to where I'm like, look, I'm not preaching the Jesus that like his magic makes all your pain go away. Cause they can see the world around them . I'm preaching Christ though that came and suffered with us. And, and, and it makes sense. Like I, Hey, I got through this , the suffering I, and I continue will, you know what I mean? I like, and Jesus blessed me in this and my marriage is still strong in this. And we, yeah . I mean, there's, there's all these like redemptive, beautiful, like, you know, abundant life, John 10 kind of experiences. But what these young people will look at, they just go, oh, you're, you know, this is what your Christ represents. You know what I mean? Um, gun laws or no gun law , you know what I mean? Or whatever. I mean, pick whatever. And it's like, man, there's so much more to that. What, how, like, how have you navigated, has there , has it been tough at all relationally? You know what I mean? Like, like even , uh , maybe in , you know, Thanksgiving meals or , you know what I mean? Or like, or, or, you know , uh, friends of yours or colleagues where it's like, Hey man, just, I think you, you, you missed up there or have you found a lot of broken relationships? Not that you broke, but that people just couldn't handle kind of what, where you were heading or, or your stance on something, because you went through the biblical scrutiny and you were like, nah, I'll stand on this now. Have you experienced a lot of that? Or have you been like, nah, you know what? People still rocking with me, but we disagree. But

Speaker 3:

No , I mean, sir , like I said, I mean, I had people in high places basically saying your , your career is over. So there was certainly some broken relationships, a lot of misunderstanding. And most of them that came from people I knew in the political space, right. Uh , who never want to kind of be around the wrong person. They don't want to get their reputation hurt . You know what I'm saying? And so it's not to say I didn't have long nights where I stayed up. You know what I'm saying? Like those were painful, painful times or friends who are not going to invite you to everything that they used to invite you to , uh , before that , uh, some of that stuff happened . Um, but like I said, I think God just was so there that it's almost that I almost like I expected it and I always had something to lean on. Right. So I , you know, during that time where I'm out of law, some political associates, I mean, sho Baraka, I mean, angel Maldonado, a meeting, you know , Charlie dates, I'm needing, you know, all these other people and really seeing that community, you know, at the same time. So he never left me alone. Uh, even in the times when I may have been losing friends or been misunderstood, there were always, and then I , I do think that the other thing was the people who were a little less political, even if they didn't understand or didn't agree with me, they knew where my heart was. And they knew that Justin's not doing this. Cause he's trying to be the man or, you know what I'm saying? Like, I might not agree with them , but I know the dude he's he's he really believes this. And I think that that was helpful too, because it wasn't, I mean, if this was something that I did, it would be just be a bad political move to do just based off like ambition. Right. It'd probably be the opposite of what you were want to do. Um, and so tough times and , you know, lost some friends. So some things change . There was some misunderstanding, but again, God was , uh , just faithful, man.

Speaker 2:

How much does it, I mean, one of the things that I'm struck by and just, you know , talking with you and seeing the work that you're doing is , uh, and I don't know friends of you if you census through this conversation, but it doesn't , it seems like you just have a really rooted, you know, sense of self that identity, that, that belonging to God, that, that purpose, you know what I mean? And man, I, when I, when I talked to you like this and, and you can talk about, yeah, no, it was difficult. It was hard, but what else could I do? Like God's with me and, and even you don't come off like , uh, this is not about Justin giving me like this. Like even I think about the ad campaign, you know, it was, you did it with other people, the book you wrote, you did it with other people. It's not about you. And that's what I , I think that's really beautiful, but there's a sense to you that a real grounding and, and friends, if you're listening, man, that, and, you know, correct me if I'm wrong, I don't think I am, but that comes from your, your deep rootedness with Christ. Right. Um, and I feel like, man, that is it's that conviction and compassion, you know, that, that would is so that I think is God's use for kind of the evangelistic piece for this next generation. They need leaders, friends that, that are grounded like that, that have done the work to know this is what I believe. Um, and that can share that in love , um, and can be such a, such a different viewpoint or a perspective from what the world offers. Um, and I think it's, I think it's beautiful, man. And so we kind of just like, even just wrap up Justin , I mean, what, so, you know, our audience is a bunch of, you know , uh, leaders out there that are working in urban spaces. And , um, and we, we kind of define urban as a culture of shared suffering that gets played out in, you know , uh , language and music and where, you know, all that , um, you know, and these guys are out there, you know? I mean, what, what would you want to encourage them with, you know, as they continue to reach out to this next generation, but are also struggling with this, you know , um, with evangelicalism and Christianity and theology and politics and cause, cause our people, unlike a lot of , um , you know, maybe some white suburban spaces, you know, our people are confronted with this stuff all the time, you know, like police brutality, isn't like a political stance. It's a reality that that has to be lived out in experienced. Right. Um, and you could use , uh , a lot of different examples. Like what, how would you want to encourage the man ?

Speaker 3:

The main things I would say is I'm so aware of how what's going on, what's been going on and why evangelicalism has hurt a lot of people. Um, and the ankle pain does not hold his tongue, you know, when it comes to pointing that out and we'll continue to do that in a real way and fearlessly. Um, but what I want to tell folks in those urban spaces is don't base your faith on the mistakes of somebody else, right? Don't get caught up in centering why evangelical so much that you, you want to do? What's opposite of them. That's not what God is calling you to do. God is calling you to be faithful. He's not calling you to do everything the opposite of them. Um, because in that way you're still censoring something that you don't want to send to Christ don't Centre , how some groups have missed the religion up or have not been faithful when you sent her that it's going to lead you into unfaithfulness. Because now you're saying, okay, as long as I'm right, as long as I'm opposite of them, that's not true. That's just not how it works. One thing that , um, CS Lewis said, he said that the enemy sends errors and pears , and he'll use your, your, your hatred or your , your disliked from one, for one error to send you into the opposite error. Right? We want to correction. We don't want to make the opposite error. And so I really would stress man, find your, find your grounding by pulling all this stuff through biblical scrutiny. Right? Make sure that that's what you're basing your faith on and not being, not making sure you're different than somebody else, such an important thing, man. Um, and something we get wrong. And then remember this, the mistakes that we see from some conservative Christians, keep in mind that them missing in the civil rights movement, then not being compassionate towards immigrants and all that stuff. It's because it's not because they were, they believed the Bible was so much that , that it led them to that, to those conclusions is because they didn't believe the Bible. So don't allow what they did to pull you away from the gospel because their mistakes, when it comes to race and all these other stuff and not being compassionate towards, you know, energy , LGBTQ brothers , uh, neighbors, that was because they weren't being biblical enough. So it would depend on the Bible. Don't, don't go away from the Bible because you don't want to be like them go closer to the Bible because that's what led them away from that. We can be compassionate. We can be loving, but we can also stand on exactly what the Bible says and that's what you want to get at. And I, and I just have to say that, cause I think sometimes we say they got something wrong. Let me just do what's different. Right? That's not the way to go,

Speaker 2:

Man. Well, I mean, I don't even want to add anything to that. Just that was friends . I hope you're listening, man. This, this hits you in your heart man. And so do , as we wrap up, like , what are some other con , can you lead us? Let, let the people know, you know, what name , the book. I know you got a podcast. I think the it's right behind you, right? Yeah. It's like share a little bit more where people can find out more information.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So if you really want to understand in the ad campaigns framework, you got to get, the book is compassion and conviction. I wrote it with Michael where brilliant brother, Christopher Butler, another Brazilian brother from Chicago. And it's just going to give you that compassion and conviction framework so that you're not looking at this again as a conservative or as a progressive, but as a Christian based on Christian principles. Always, if you like, if you want him to hear more of what I had to say, when I hear political commentary from a biblical point of view, you want to listen to the church politics podcast where me and Chris Butler are talking about politics, but really focused on the scripture and how we can apply the scripture to what's going on today. You can follow the ad campaign on Twitter and Instagram handle is at eight and D campaign. And you can follow me at, at Justin. He given me on both those platforms as well.

Speaker 2:

I love it, man. Thank you so much. And France, thanks for joining another episode of the features here, podcast, man, we're so thankful to you, thousands of you who are, who are following and listening and , and catch it up, man, where we're we're with you or for you. We are you. And so we appreciate all you guys. Thanks for listening, Justin. Thanks again, brother. Thanks. Thanks . Take care .

Speaker 1:

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