Without watering down your faith.
Great conversation with Cory Walker as we discuss being groomed for church leadership, leading a community… and leaving it all behind as his path diverted from the expectations from others.
Brandon Handley 0:00
54321 Hey there spirits of dope. It is Brandon Handley and today we are on with Corey Walker, who is the author of boiling down your religion without watering down your faith. Cory spent about 20 years being a minister correct me if I’m wrong anywhere in here this but a minister in an Pentecostal, Pentecostal I don’t even know how to say it right. Like I said so in a Pentecostal church and stepped out after 20 years of being in a leadership role and kind of took refuge in his own heart on my call, and the sides live just outside of the church confines and more in like I said, john Hart said about right Corey
Cory Walker 0:53
Davis some sort of modular.
Brandon Handley 0:55
So you know, Cory I always like to say that we are Are vessels of the divine right? The Creator speaks through us. Right. And and when people are turning in tuning into this podcast, they’re tuning in to hear a message that is being delivered through you to them. And my question to you, as we start this thing off is what what is, what is something somebody out there needs to hear today that can only come through you?
Cory Walker 1:26
Wow, great question.
Cory Walker 1:30
Well, there’s several different things. I could go here, but the long and the short of it is don’t be afraid to make a change, if you feel like it, if it’s following your heart. So many of us were raised that particular way. We’re taught what to believe, and taught how to be taught what to think without being really taught how to think. And you if you’re just believing doctrine or someone else’s beliefs, and you’re trying to hold to those instead of actually listening in Your heart towards the divine. And my case, God would be wanting to say to you that you could easily spend years following something that that you end up feeling like you’ve wasted time later on. So don’t be afraid to make a change. I guess that’s my, that’s my off the cuff response.
Brandon Handley 2:16
Sure, sure. I love that. I mean, and you did right, you made the made this change to 20 years and I think the the line that comes to mind is you know, don’t put your ladder up against the wrong wall right through and and that there’s really nothing. And I think that a lot of people are afraid to kind of go chase this thing, but what you’re saying is, even even after maybe climbing halfway up the ladder, maybe you’ve already made it all the way up to the top, but
Unknown Speaker 2:47
it’s okay to make a change. It’s okay to climb
Brandon Handley 2:49
back down and go climb another ladder. Is that what I’m hearing you say?
Cory Walker 2:53
Yeah, definitely, especially if the letter sounds or letters keeping more consistent, like what you’re feeling in your heart. I just know. You know, it’s Been a pastor for so many years, I met with so many people talk with so many other leaders who, who knew how to toe the company line. But in private, they would say, Well, what do you think about this, though, that doesn’t really sit with what we believe and what we teach. But it’s like they had their own private belief system outside of the public one that they were telling everyone else. And you just can’t do that for extended period of time without, you know, driving yourself crazy. Because the inconsistency just couldn’t live that kind of dualism. And so you try to modify what it is you teach and teach the parts of what you have what you’ve learned and believed over the years that still ring true with you, and leave the other parts out of the fact is the whole. The whole last two years, my ministry I never preached even one sermon from the Old Testament part of the Bible, because it seemed to communicate that there was an angry God who was demanding that you behave a certain way. And if you didn’t do you’re in big trouble. And that just didn’t jive with the message of Jesus, which was what’s taught in the New Testament to me, and I understand the theological demands sticks that people do that night to neatly tie the two together because I went to Bible college but that doesn’t mean that the average Joe and common sense of really why don’t we are under grace, why do I have to do and you fill in the blank whatever it is your local church is telling you you have to do in order to be a good Christian.
Brandon Handley 4:18
Sure, sure. And I think the thing is, it’s a shame that Christianity’s you know, kind of been fractured in so many different ways away from the the, the true meaning of the messaging right now. And what the hell do I know though? I really don’t know too much. I don’t I haven’t been involved with too much of it. But what I do know is that when I have a conversation with you know, somebody such as yourself that you know, is really just been immersed in it and and they find Jesus or I think, what do they call it like a, you know, the Jesus consciousness, right? It’s kind of like, you know, one of the things that gets tossed out there is what’s in those books is kind of like truth and from the heart, but how its interpreted and spun back around is either liberal or kind of fit fitting the needs of the organization that’s driving it.
Cory Walker 5:19
Now let’s move on been so true. You know, parts of the specifically if you read the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and john, telling me all about the life of Christ in His, the economy of Christ, if you want to love your neighbor, pray for your enemies. Love those who persecute you go the extra mile turn the other cheek, those kind of things rang really took my heart, but the way in which the church lives out the teachings of Christ, and that’s them together with with a lot of the old, old covenant Old Testament law type, you know, thou shalt nots, and just the whole organizational structure that’s set up to basically support itself. I just reached a point when I realized that you Man formed these nonprofit organizations that we call churches to supposedly help the members who are the people in their spiritual walk. But somewhere along the way, the organization starts to expect the members to do what’s in its best interest and spin it
Brandon Handley 6:17
around. I would like to I would like to kind of caveat it right. This has been your right. Yeah. So I mean, because there’s that there’s definitely got to be a couple out there. Right. They all Yeah.
Cory Walker 6:29
Yeah. I don’t want to categorize across the board is my experience. Yeah, with the with eight or 10 churches that I was either attending or on staff at over the years, the older the organization, the more likely it is that the the, the principles get minimized, and the traditions get emphasized. And as a result, it’s about self sustaining many times instead of about really bringing life and health to, you know, the average individual and once I realized that then I just took Couldn’t, I just couldn’t myself, continue to be a part of one. And I’ve even thought now that I’m not on staff someplace or a pastor someplace that, well, maybe I should just attend this church or that church, and I’ve stepped into a couple for service here there. And it just doesn’t take long when you’ve been in leadership for a while for you to start hearing the same familiar, you know, course and tone of what it is we’re supposed to do. And it was supposed to is that kind of wore me out, I think.
Brandon Handley 7:27
Yeah, no, that makes sense, right? It’s kinda like all the shoulds and codes that we could be doing. Well, let’s, let’s roll it back here for a second. So let’s tell, you know, tell anybody listening today that, you know, what type of church were you? a minister at and a leader and then what does that even mean? Right, because like I said, we talked about Pentecostals. Let’s talk a little bit about what that is and what that’s built on top
Cory Walker 7:54
of, if you could, sure. Yeah. Well, essentially, within Christianity you have two veins. You have Catholics Protestants. And in the Protestant vein, you have thousands, literally thousands of what we call denominations, which are different or different organizations, like Baptist or Methodist or Pentecostal, different Pentecostal denominations. But the bottom line is, each one of them has a different set of standards and rules for themselves that they believe slightly different than the other ones. And the fact is, all of them would tell you that they were originally formed because some people who were a part of some other organization said, Well, we think we got a new enlightenment or we got just a little bit better understanding. So we’re going to form our own. And so I grew up in those in most of those denominations in America anyway, sit within a category called have called evangelicals, and many times, also called fundamentalists, and those are people who have a belief that there’s a divinely inspired scripture, and in our case, the Bible, and that is to be literally interpreted and applied to your own life and there things in the scripture that I have discovered that just didn’t seem to sit well with literally applying them to my own life as an example that were like there’s a there’s a passage in the Old Testament that talks about one of the prophets, I believe it was Elijah, what could have been Elijah, I was getting confused. And it says that, that these this prophet was walking in the woods and have a group of juveniles it says are teenagers came out and started teasing him because he had a bald head, he didn’t have any hair. And he says that he called down a curse upon them, and a bear around out of the woods and devoured some of them and wounded the others. So this was the man of God that we’re supposed to be you know, maybe patterning our lives after looking up to her as a fundamentalist your thinking was, I could get so special that it wouldn’t be okay for kids to even tease me about my bald head. And if I was upset about it, I could call on a curse upon them and kind of wild animal could come and attack them. Did this didn’t sit well with my concept of God or with my understanding of Christ and his philosophy of loving your enemies and things like that, but yet, fundamentalists have to weave all those stories together in the Bible and all those truths and things that are there and try to apply them to their daily lives just becomes quite a quite a conundrum.
Brandon Handley 10:22
So they’re a fundamentalist, and they’re applying it literally. They’re, they’re not using like that in any symbolic terms,
Cory Walker 10:31
or allegory. Yeah, it’s one of those things. That’s not really how it’s taught. And most of the most of the denominations it’s taught as this was an Old Covenant time where God related to man in a different way than he does now. And so things have been different back then than they do now. And that you know, kind of how we smooth it over and help people feel better about you know, the Sodom and Gomorrah and the gods flooding the earth and you know, everyone but Noah being killed There’s no assembly being killed, things like that. But I remember as a, as a father of young children go into, you know, our evangelical church and just thinking, I don’t want to send my kids to Sunday school because I don’t want anybody to teach them some of these stories. And I don’t even know, I don’t know how the, I don’t know how the Sunday school teachers going to teach them these stories, or they’re going to teach him, you better behave, or God’s gonna get really mad at you, and rain down fire and brimstone on you, you know, or turn you into a pillar of salt or whatever the other story is in the Old Testament. So, you know, fundamentalists do believe in a literal interpretation of Scripture. And therefore those things would not be allegory or symbolic things that actually happened. And God was relating to man, I personally now, I still hold great reverence for the scriptures and find a lot of truth in there. But I just see them as being written. While there’s a lot of truth, they’re written from a man’s point of view. And man was walking in the light that he had at the time and the culture was different, and therefore, even some places like Like even one of the even one of the passages where supposedly Moses wrote the passage, it was handed down through generations of verbal, you know, communication that eventually recorded but it says right in the passage, Moses was the greatest of leaders at all times. So they’re like, let’s he writes about himself for Charlie aggrandized themselves? Or is this really you know, what’s going on? So, it’s just, you know, you just gotta understand that people are just, you know, culture was different back then. And it was recorded from man’s point of view, and not necessarily, from God’s words, to my ears to the pin on the paper type of inspiration.
Brandon Handley 12:37
Sure, yeah, I definitely get that I definitely get that. You know, but I got a wonder too, like, you know, so, this was also, you know, book that was compiled, you know, a library books, right, compiled, you know, way back when, and the translations over time as well. Right. And then one of the things that kind of pops up. I’m a fan of this guy, bill donohue, who, who, you know, has some pretty cool stuff on on YouTube. But he talks about, like, you know, what they were saying then could be real similar to so I’m hearing you talk about this, you know, called the curse and the bear chews them down, you know? And I’m thinking of how he would translate it and say it, it’s how we would say shooting the bull. Right? What was the other meaning of you know, calling that bear down on them? Right, you know, was that the bear within the man coming out and like, kind of raging out against some of those? Those are the types of things right, it’s really kind of a formula and you gotta you gotta wonder exactly, you got to really wonder and kind of play with it because I don’t personally feel like this was a book that was written to instill fear so much. Higher divinity.
Cory Walker 13:51
Yeah, I think it’s it was written, to help us to understand, in fact is to understand what God was like and, in fact, Jesus Himself So as you know, he comes incarnate. It’s like God in the flesh to show us what God was really like. But then he goes around loving the least of these, if you will, and hanging out with people that it wasn’t cool to hang out with prostitutes and tax collectors and all these people the riffraff of the day. And he really makes the religious people are really mad about it, you know, the Thera sees and the sadness is they’re getting all ticked off all the time. Because Jesus not really interested in in hanging with them. He’s hanging out with the least of these. So I think you see, at least from the perspective and the story of Christ that the gods are more concerned about the little guy than he is how spiritual react or you know how much we’ve got our ducks in a row.
Unknown Speaker 14:42
Now, fair enough, fair enough.
Brandon Handley 14:43
So, Pentecostal, what does that mean? Was it meant to mean to be a Pentecostal or Penn is a Pentecostal or Pentecost? Yeah,
Cory Walker 14:49
sir. Pentecostal. Um, yeah, essentially Pentecostalism started around 1900 and it’s a form of denomination several denominations of one of Christianity, that, that believes in the teachings of the Day of Pentecost, which is found in the book of Acts in the Bible. And it talks about a variety of gifts that God gives to man’s spiritual gifts. But Pentecostals focus in on one, which is called speaking in tongues, and it’s one of the more controversial ones. Or if you may have heard of, you know, holy rollers or people swinging from the chandeliers or wildfire, and all this weird kind of stuff in Christianity over the years, and over the last hundred hundred years or so, it’s all about Pentecostals, and it’s about having an emotional experience with God. And as a result, feeling like you’re greater connected to him, and I can really value and understand that desire, though. It’s also very centered around worship, which in modern context is, is the singing and playing of music, to bring reverence to God and to honor God and to talk about how good he is. But it’s all about what kind of experience in a Pentecostal church what kind of experience you can have when you Get together. It makes you feel good emotionally goosebumps on your arms, you know feeling like God’s presence is right there with you in the room. And all this stuff is inside emphasize you know from our kids church, we’re little kids and go into special special church service for them on Sundays right on up through the youth groups run up through the adult service. And so, you know, God really showed up is what we’d say if you felt you know, something emotional happening when when the worship was going on, or when the preacher was preaching or whatever the case may be.
Brandon Handley 16:31
Sure, no, I mean, I can I can definitely appreciate that. I know that actually just did a did a piece on the word numinous. Right? And it really sounds like it kind of speaks to the same type of space right where you’ve got connection with God or an experience. Um,
Unknown Speaker 16:50
Brandon Handley 16:52
I love I love it. It’s just sounds to me like it may have been
Unknown Speaker 16:56
over over exalted.
Cory Walker 16:58
Now. What came to focus yeah became the focus instead of me being one way to experience God, maybe it’d be the only way.
Brandon Handley 17:06
Sure not and I can I can definitely appreciate that. It’s very interesting. So the you said that there was a number of gifts and one of them speaking in tongues? What are some of the I mean, I don’t know the Bible myself, right. So how does somebody have the gifts that maybe, maybe some people aren’t aware of?
Cory Walker 17:22
Well, the Bible speaks of different spiritual gifts. And one particular case there’s a short list and then scattered throughout the rest of the Scriptures, that mentions other gifts. Like there’s a gift of spiritual gifts of gifting, where maybe God empowers you to make money, so that you can give that money towards his plans and his services. But then the fancy ones, if you will, the gifts that people were always hoping to have were like words of knowledge and words of wisdom, which would mean you’re speaking in a conversation with somebody and you have, I would call it you have a thought drop into your head and you share that thought with them and then boom, they’re suddenly hit. just overwhelmed was oh my gosh how did you know that or or contacts incredible how did you you know have to there’s no way you could have come by this on your own like God just dropped information into my head to share with you know almost on a profit basis and gift the process he was one of those things as well which was kind of speaking on God’s behalf more so than speaking to predict the future but so there’s all these different gifts and you were told you know this The Bible tells you to seek seek spiritual guests especially those that that build build up the body build one another up. But once again and this is coming across like Korea is the the tainted former pastor that is but but it seems like people are always looking for what we have made them look the best because all this happens most of these things I think God intended for them to be lived out in our daily lives. But something in modern Christianity is that we jam. We instead of seeing the churches who we are every day we see the church as a place we go In an event that we attend, so what happens with the spiritual gifts, what’s important is what happens when you get together. And therefore you’re doing it almost on a platform situation where you’re in front of others. And the man’s tendency to want to look good and pride gets in there. And you know, you never can tell what might happen. So, I chose doors. I’m not going to but I can tell stories.
Brandon Handley 19:23
No, I appreciate that. Right? Like so I mean, it as you’re kind of listing these off, right? without me being a member of a church or without me kind of going through the Bible, you know, this gift of giving is something that speaks to me, right, like, if you’re willing to give to others, then it’s my interpretation or my thought process that you know, the universe is going to continue to give to you, right, God’s gonna give you if you’re giving, you’re going to receive, right. And that’s, that’s kind of one way that I look at it, right. And then as you’re talking about these words of knowledge and wisdom, you know, words of wisdom. It can’t But make me think of the Akashic Records stuff. Right? So just kind of linking like different different. Yeah. Yeah. different spaces and, you know, gift the prophecies. I mean, I don’t know. Right. I think that i think that’s everyone, right? I think that it kind of, to me that kind of rolls back up into, you know, speaking in tongues, right? I just got goosebumps kind of thinking about it, right? Like, it rolls back into feeling that emotion and knowing that you’re kind of, you’re speaking your truth, right. But as you kind of roll back all the way back over to here, like, you know, each person kind of comes up with like, their own epiphany is like, oh, I’ve got a better way to explain it, you end up like, many, many thousands of different ways to kind of embrace and feel connected to God. Right. And, and for each person, I think that experience is going to be individual.
Cory Walker 20:50
Yeah, and I think that’s good because you know, a variety of theory, a variety of belief systems and a variety of ways, is a good thing because it allows each person to find The one that connects best with them. My biggest challenge over the years had been the the competitive nature that sets in. I remember growing up and there’s sometimes a god churches, which is the domination I was a part of, and they kind of cost the combination and they didn’t specifically teach it but you know, my wife grew up in the same denomination and both of us had a conversation where just kind of came away feeling like, you know, if you were a Christian, but you weren’t Assemblies of God, you weren’t quite getting it. All right, and, and you probably know that make it to heaven, but he probably wouldn’t get as many accolades as we would, because we were a part of this something of God. And so I went off, I went off to Bible College. I know that that wasn’t specifically taught in any of the classes, but I came away with the same feeling like we’re the elite. You know, we’ve we’ve got it going on. But one of the pastors in the church that I used to serve that used to say, he used to get up a couple times a year before Easter, the week before Easter, and the week before Christmas, and you get up and announce to the whole congregation, hey, you know, there’s people who only go to church twice a year on Christmas and Easter. And he said, You should invite people to come to our church on those days. Because if they’re going to go to church on twice a year, they should at least come to church or maybe something good could happen in their life, no kind of little dig at the other church. And it’s like they weren’t, you know, good enough, or whatever it is that that had crept in to almost every church scenario that I’ve been a part of, and I think it’s just a part of nature of man. Okay, okay.
Brandon Handley 22:24
No, I mean, that’s, that’s all fair. Right. So, you know, for so you’re a part of this for like, 20 years, last couple parts. You know, you just kind of started to fall out of it. And I’ve read briefly through your book. And you mentioned a book where you kind of helped you to kind of start separating away. Right. And you’ve shown it to one of your leaders. And he got it was like, Yeah, I don’t buy into this because it didn’t sound like it match with his way of thinking. Right,
Unknown Speaker 22:51
Brandon Handley 22:52
I’d love to hear a what was the book that kind of, you know, sure. It kind of changed your mind a little bit. What was that book
Cory Walker 23:01
I’m going to try to get the name right here. It’s a misunderstood God, and the lies that religion tells about him. I think the author was Darren Hufford. And he was a former pastor as well. But he was talking basically the same way that I have been, which is that there’s this God who loves you unconditionally, and has, has bent over backwards to make a way for you to connect with them. But yet religion spends a story, that’s something different, that seems undesirable to many people. And as a result, a lot of folks who want to find God don’t think that they can. And it just really started me thinking, the challenging some of the concepts and really, you know, you read a book and something rings true with you on the page and like, Oh, yeah, I’ve been thinking that for years. I just kept having that, you know, those kind of moments as I was reading the book with my wife, and I was like, wow, and then we just dove into, I don’t know, one point time, was right when I first started reading electronically, I had a I had a book reader at the time, and I remember And that period of time over about a year and a half that we digest, like 60 some different books, all around the same topics of church and what God intended for the church to be and spirituality and different things like that. Now, I’m a part of a men’s book group and we read, you know, a book a month and discuss it on Monday nights and we’re reading stuff that’s outside of the vein of Christianity, which I’ve always found to be very interesting because when you read outside of what’s your typical goto and you find the same truth elsewhere, then it starts to make you think that it’s because the author of the things that you hold dear, likely was the inspire some of the other things that you’re finding elsewhere in college. They called it all truth is God’s truth. Doesn’t matter where you find it. It says true.
Brandon Handley 24:50
Yeah, you know, and I agree with that, right. It’s it’s really interesting to find all these nuggets of truth everywhere. Right. It doesn’t really matter what you’re you find yourself reading, you start to see, like you’re saying kind of the same vein of how even movies, you know, show shows I’m watching. I’m like, Is anybody else seeing what I’m seeing here? Because it’s so it’s so obvious to me the story that’s being told. And again, though, it’s really like we started this, we start this podcast off with, you know, Cory, I’d like you to say something that only somebody else out there is gonna hear and understand. Right? It’s it’s kind of like I the way I’m watching that movie, or series, maybe nothing like what it was intended to be delivered. Right? Right. But I’m receiving it in a certain way, because that’s how I’ve set myself up
Cory Walker 25:45
now. But there’s a divine source that’s enter weaving truths throughout all genres and all aspects of life because because that divine source that I like to call God wants us to understand him and understand life. So So much that he’s willing to inspire people that don’t even know that they’re being inspired by them to share truth
Unknown Speaker 26:06
in a way that Okay,
Brandon Handley 26:08
again, like I mean, you know, something’s coming through you being spoken through you
Unknown Speaker 26:12
right now, this moment that
Brandon Handley 26:15
is intended for somebody else not even intended for you, for me, right now even intended for me and I love this. So here’s a really interesting book. It’s called horror, right? It’s called the vital center of man by he was a an analyst, the psycho psychological analyst, but he was also a orthodox, practicing Orthodox Christian, but he also spent time and about eight years with Zen masters, right. And, you know, one of the things that this one Zen masters said to them, was, it never occurred to me to keep keep weight to keep in my head what I’ve read If I mainly read the Bible or Buddhist books and prayers, I find that only such things that agree with my own thoughts. And I think that that’s what you and I are saying here is that when we’re reading now we’re like, the books are almost a mirror to what we’ve already learned and know, right? And this has been spoken back to you. And I find I found that was like, an amazing moment, right? When I read that line, I was like, holy shit, because I told my wife, I was like, everything that I’m reading is everything I’m already thinking of, and I’m just looking for the words to properly express it.
Cory Walker 27:31
Yeah, right. Some people and some people would say that you, you draw to yourself. There’s kind of a supernatural principle that you draw to yourself with as you’re looking for. You know, I just recently bought a different car. And the for my work vehicle and the type of card is I’d never really had thought about getting one before but once I got them then suddenly I see everywhere. I mean, every time I turn around, has fallen down the street. So it’s like, I didn’t look someone else’s got another one of those just like I do, I see it in part. parking lots everywhere. It’s like your mind becomes attuned to that which you’re used to or that what you’re looking for. And I looked for when I decided that’s what I wanted to buy, I was out there looking for him everywhere. And as a result, I’m My mind is turned on to that. I think it’s the same with what you’re saying what it is that you’re thinking and you’re feeling in your heart. And suddenly you start to see it come alive in the pages of books or in the movies or in the newspaper, on television shows or whatever.
Brandon Handley 28:25
It’s everywhere. It’s everywhere. My first my first blog and my first blog and a couple of my first videos was called just a wit You know, this is called the blue car effect. Right You know, they’re looking for a blue car you see him everywhere is exactly what I’m saying. And, and, you know, I often go through just like what you’re saying once you set that question in your mind you know, the answers start coming up for it right you don’t sure we go look and we Google, we do all these things, but it’s almost easier to ask you know, quote, unquote Ask the universe for an answer. Just let it kind of come to you let it show it will show up. Once you have that question for yourself, the answer will show up. Now you can do it again, you can go hardcore and go hit and all the books and put all this pressure and stress on yourself. But chances are, that answer is gonna show up.
Unknown Speaker 29:18
Right? Totally. Yeah.
Brandon Handley 29:21
So, um, you know, so where are you? I mean, what’s it like, now you’ve left? What was the separation? Like, I’d love to hear kind of like what that was like, and, you know, in in that in that scenario,
Cory Walker 29:32
that was like, divorcing everybody that you held dear. Hmm. And having everybody be mad at you, or at least it felt like it anyway. I’m sure part of its interpretation. But you know, when, you know, we kind of we didn’t really spend a story but you know, when we decided to move we moved. We decided to move when we decide to leave church we we moved out of the community we were part of and moved six hours away to a new area, and it had been On our heart to do it anyway. But this new area was very spiritually minded, but not real big on religion. So church attendance is really down here. But you see all kinds of alternative spiritual pursuits going on. And, and that’s kind of what we felt drawn to not that we were going to, you know, go start reading poems or doing something, you know, there was necessarily new age or this or whatever we still consider ourself Christians, we just felt like we wanted to be around non traditional people, because they’d be, you know, they’re not going to be looking down their nose at us because they don’t show up. And so the Pew on Sunday mornings, so it was a difficult time. Even my folks right now still have, I don’t talk about anymore, but I’m sure that they still shake their head like, I can’t believe you know, we raised this young man. And he, you know, felt this call on his life to go become a pastor. And then he did 25 years and now we just build on the whole thing. But what they don’t understand is my philosophy and I shared my book with them, and I hope that they’re gaining understanding but the philosophy is if we are the Church and that is the body of Christ as Christians, and it’s not the building. And it’s not an organization than whether or not we choose to go sit in the Pew on Sunday mornings are not as real as irrelevant. It’s whether or not we’re following the truth of God as expressed through our life and how we treat others on a daily basis. You know, my friend Jeremy messaged me earlier today and he said, What are you doing on this fine Lord’s day? And he was saying a tongue in cheek because for years for a year or so after I stopped attending church, my dad would text me about every few weeks and so on Sundays and say, What are you doing to honor God on this Lord’s day? And I started texting him back and saying, I thought every day was the Lord’s Day. Like we’re supposed to do something special on Sundays, right? But reality was saying, hey, let’s just make every day special and, and how we treat others and, and, and our daily practices is just as important everyday as it is on Sunday mornings.
Brandon Handley 31:56
So I mean, I’m curious. If you You know, kind of going through that separation process, if those are some of the words that you would use to share with others as to why you were leaving?
Unknown Speaker 32:10
Cory Walker 32:13
Most people didn’t ask quite frankly.
Cory Walker 32:17
You know, one of the reasons was, we were moving five, six hours away. So they just don’t know what we do or don’t want or what we don’t do. But the other part was for those who are closer, they grew up in the same kind of fundamentalist belief system. And there’s one particular scripture that says, Don’t forsake gathering together with other believers, as some are in the habit of doing and that that interpreted by every pastor I’ve ever heard, speak meant, make sure you’re in church on Sunday morning. And so when you just choose to say, that’s not, that’s not funny, that’s beneficial. And I don’t want that to be a regular part of my ongoing life, then people just, you know, there’s another practice that just kind of shown you it’s not necessarily intentional. I remember for years People have stopped coming to church and you try to get them to come back and let us not come back. And then you just say, Well, you know, that’s on them, I guess I’ll just minister to the ones who are still here, you know, but you just kind of gave up on them. And there’s a passage of scripture which says, if somebody departs of faith, try to try to turn them back. And then if they, you know, they still claim to be good followers of God, but refuse to do the things which are they’re supposed to be doing. They don’t have anything to do with them. And so I think a lot of Christians have been taught over the years based upon that scripture, that is somebody off the deep end, whether it’s messed up and drugs or alcohol or you know, cheating on their spouse or even just not going to church anymore, that you just kind of don’t have anything to do with them, either. Because somehow it’ll teach them a lesson, or because somehow their disobedience if you will, is going to tank, your spiritual walk. It’s just not a healthy thing. But unfortunately, that’s kind of the way it is a lot of boys.
Brandon Handley 33:54
That’s interesting, right? So, you know, Were you upset at all that nobody asked you You know that you know, get more requests?
Cory Walker 34:02
Yeah, you have a little bit of, it’s probably more grief than anger, just a little more grief, but you invested a lot into relationships, and then people just kind of, you know, part of the move, I’m sure, but that plays something into it. Because when you live six hours away from where you weren’t living, it’s just not convenient to connect in the way that you were before. And if like, oh, Cory and Lisa, his wife just moved off, you know, so Okay, well, I guess we’ll find some new friends. But you know, unfortunately, unfortunately, but I do have several. I have a band of about five brothers that good good men that I’ve known for a number of years and we all stay connected. Fact is, they’ve come down here and visited me multiple times we’ll have a rent a cabin or something and go out on the lake or, you know, sit around the bonfire, you name it, and it’s just been really encouraging time. So.
Brandon Handley 34:54
Okay, so you also mentioned being around people that are spiritually minded, right? What does that what does that mean to you?
Unknown Speaker 35:03
Huh? Yeah, it’s uh
Cory Walker 35:07
it all starts with heart to me. I mean, I’m not a big fan of doctrine, which is philosophies and ideas that we are taught that we follow as much as I am. What’s your heart? How do you? How do you perceive the universe in your case, or God, in my case, is, is wanting you to interact with others? And are you being true to that. And there’s a lot of people around here, even though there certainly would not be considered Christians, by most or even by themselves, that we’re living more of a Christ like life. So how they lived out their heart, then a lot of people that I’ve known in church over the years, because it was about checking the boxes and doing the to do lists, more so than how we treat everybody on a daily basis. So find a lot of people like that and we’re connecting with a lot of them. It’s been it’s been a journey. It’s Rio when you leave behind your paradigm and not just your city, you know, the, the place and the venue in which you were interacting with others is now gone because we don’t attend church, then it becomes really important what you do with your daily life when I’m working with my customers or my friends or working, my kids are working with their co workers or my wife’s interacting with people in the neighborhood, those things become incredibly important because they’re really the only interaction that you have. And that’s where your social life is going to grow from.
Unknown Speaker 36:30
Now I get it. So you know,
Brandon Handley 36:33
I think about Buddhism to one of the big pieces of that is is the community right so sounds to me like you know that that was the community and that was your space. What what are you replacing that with just just work? Have you been able to replace that sense of community anywhere else?
Unknown Speaker 36:55
Cory Walker 36:57
we looked initially first organizations to get into They’re like, Oh, maybe we can find some nonprofit or volunteer this or that or whatever. And nothing seems to be a good fit. And it also is kind of seriously kind of pushing our organizational buttons, because when you’re part of a nonprofit organization for decades, you just learn the politics and stuff that’s behind the scenes. But what I have found Well, if you got time, I’ll give you a quick example. One of my customers just astounds me, I’m a licensed contractor now. I went to do a bathroom remodel. And the day before they, the I showed up, Dave, for I showed up, they were, they found out that his wife had breast cancer, and she was going to have to have a lump removed. And as a result, we were we were just trying to, you know, remodel her bathroom, but she just opened up and shared all this information with man. So I’m sorry, master bathroom. So she’s in there sitting on the bed, and adjacent room looking in while I’m working and just poring over heart and talking to me. And I’m like, well, she didn’t even know I was a former pastor. And I hadn’t even spoken Difficult as a Christian, but I was just listening to what she said, say and kind of just empathizing and trying to help her. And she seemed very appreciative of it. Well, then she goes in for an MRI right before her surgery to make sure that the cancer about spread and it hadn’t. But they found out that her aorta was enlarged, and she’s gonna have to open heart surgery. And so then she A week later, she goes to meet with a surgeon for open heart surgery. And he says, Well, I don’t think this is even operable. And I’d say you’ve got less than five years. And she’s like, Oh, my gosh, so she comes home and she’s just talking to me about all this stuff. And then I just opened the door for us to have conversation about what it means to be alive and what takes place after you die and how none of us really know exactly what that is. But we have to do whatever it is that helps us find peace in the moment. And then I just was able to share with her that I believe in the divine, and that I believe that good things away for us after the fact because because of his goodness, not because of ours and then just loved on her and told her I was praying for her and master if there’s anything we could do to help, and we walked her dog while she was out having surgery and you know, just trying to be a decent human being, and that seems to be more important to me than ever before, because that’s where I’m meeting people. And that’s where I’m making connection. So,
Brandon Handley 39:18
sure, sure. Sounds to me too, like, focusing on the few right, focusing on the present, focusing on the moment. And not not being concerned with like, having to have like, to being good, decent human being. Yeah, right. And does it does it need to be more, but it sounds like your community is kind of like within those that you everybody’s part of your community?
Cory Walker 39:42
Yeah, I always felt like I was felt a little resentful, in fact, because I had this quote, unquote, calling on my life through your minister and it seemed like everybody else had their regular life. And then, and that was it. And I had my regular life and the special calling, which involved me doing all these extra things to go above and beyond. It’s just like, Oh my gosh, how much do I have to give, but now I’m just like, just being a decent human being and your regular life goes a long, long way. And these people we’ve connected with three or four times a year, we’ll have big parties at our house and just invite all my customers and my wife’s friends and different people from the neighborhood over and just, you know, have a chili feed or have this or that and it’s just incredible that people will be walking around living room. So how do you know Cory and Lisa, talking to each other and ask them questions like, wow, we have either been planted here by somebody else, or we have just dropped into this neighborhood and have started to make a difference in the lives of people in our community. And word is getting around the other day. My wife posted I was doing some work on her own house and she posted a picture of me doing the work on her Facebook feed and someone that’s never met either one of us, but who is in the community and is fairly well known. So as you guys are the new power couple. We’re sure glad to have you. Yes, smile. I was like, I don’t know that. We’re Anything special, but it’s good to see that we’re actually making an impact.
Brandon Handley 41:04
That’s great. And I mean, does it feel nice that you’re kind of making this impact without having to feel this extra pressure to do so?
Cory Walker 41:11
Yeah, totally effect is another friend of mine asked the same question a couple days ago. Is it great to be pastor Corey, it’s great to be Cory and still have pastor Corey and I said absolutely candidate, just so much less pressure and, and not having to pour your resources and time and effort into an organization which may or may not be promoting the things that you believe gives you the time and resources to pour into the people that you come across on a daily basis. We were able to help a single mother who was in terrible needy situation a few weeks ago, and we had the money to do it because we weren’t giving 10% of our income to an organization every every week when we got paid, you know, and and for those who believe that that’s what they’re supposed to do. That’s great. I did it for years and it worked for me then but it no longer does. And now I now I look for opportunities to give To help and to be a decent human being to everybody around So,
Brandon Handley 42:04
right, right, I mean, not just not just to the church, right? Yeah, just one specific organization. It’s another, you know, again, you know, I’ve got a buddy who’s a Buddhist Reverend, and he talks a lot to being able to give charity with wisdom, right? And not just not just do it kind of blindly. And yeah, just kind of give away everything just because, but do it with with a sense of wisdom and a sense of knowing that, you know, what you’re giving to is, is from your heart, not just because back to your point to just check a box, right? So, I love that. So, you know, I’m just kind of chuckling to myself, but you know, you know, let’s, let’s say that, let’s say that you’re creating a church. What would that look like to you? Right? What would it be, you know, if you were to spin off, out of all these other thousands of different organizations You know, and maybe you feel like you’ve been touched in a way that maybe some other people hadn’t been? How would you do differently?
Cory Walker 43:08
Well, great question, in fact, is we’ve asked my wife and I’ve asked ourselves this question many times, because one of the things we did not want to do when we left organized Christianity was just to go create a slightly different version of it, that we thought was a little bit better. We just kind of want to set the whole thing aside and try to live out our faith on a daily basis. That being said, you know, when you get up and speak to people on a weekly basis, or maybe multiple times a week for a half your life and then you stop doing it and the largest group to speak to might be three to five people. And that would be on a rare occasion. There’s always an itch that wants to be scratched, to get up and speak to people again. I’ve toyed with potential for some motivational speaking or maybe even a little bit of stand up on occasion, a local club, one of the local clubs turns out just because I have a gift of gab and I enjoy using it but If I were to create something that looked like a church, it would probably just be more like something where we got together on a monthly basis to just swap stories about what was going on in our lives and the good things that we saw taking place. And maybe, you know, 10 or 15 minutes worth of positive, encouraging instruction, towards just being a better human being, that would be the most organized I’d ever want it to be. I’m not renting or owning a facility or you know how to take up an offering or anybody getting a salary from design or anything like that. Just Just humans who consider themselves part of the same community gathering together to recognize that there’s divine presence in our life. And when we follow it, good things happen for us and the people that were around,
Unknown Speaker 44:47
nice, all of that. So
Brandon Handley 44:50
if somebody out there is feeling this kind of divine pull to break away from a life that they’ve always known, you know, how would you How would you want What would you say to that person? How would you help them through that? Right?
Cory Walker 45:03
I’d say give me a call.
Cory Walker 45:06
Actually, my website has a place where you can connect with me if you’re gonna if you’re on that journey, because you’re going to feel alone. And if you just Google non traditional Christian, you’ll get a bunch of stuff that comes up. But none of us really dealt with how to transition out of organizational Christianity at all, was more like, you know, trendy type churches where they have smoke machines and stuff like that, you know, or rock and roll music or whatever, you know, wasn’t really more along the lines of, Hey, I don’t really want to sit in a church on Sunday mornings anymore. And it, you know, I guess, effect is I have several friends who are life coaches, and I’ve done a little bit of myself and I thought on a couple occasions, maybe down the road, what I need to do is make myself available as a spiritual coach to people who are transitioning away from traditional forms of a face into more of a daily applicational living and just Help them walk the journey as someone who’s just maybe a step or two ahead of them down the path somewhere path.
Unknown Speaker 46:05
Yeah, no, I
Brandon Handley 46:06
love that. Right. Listen, as you said earlier, we don’t know how this thing ends, right? We don’t know what’s on the other side. But what we do know is that today, if we’re living in accordance to living from our heart, if we’re doing what we feel is as good as it can be, you know, then every day you can theoretically you could be in heaven, right? Every day you can live a life that is giving and is the spiritual way. But there could be someone who doesn’t know what it means to live life as worship right. My niggas got something you were saying earlier right? live every day so it was the you know, the Lord say and again, you know, listen, I think that there’s bristles right like, you know, from for people, you say, God, they’re like, Oh, no,
Cory Walker 46:56
there goes yeah.
Cory Walker 46:58
loaded, loaded term. But for
Brandon Handley 47:00
even for me, right, I still I still toy with it mentally. You know, when I write the word God, I do little g just because I, I it’s just, it’s just the whole concept, right there’s there’s a wall in my mind with big G, right, but there’s no wall in my mind with universal or creative energies, all these other things, these are all ones that are free flowing, that mean the same thing.
Unknown Speaker 47:26
Right? To me.
Brandon Handley 47:28
And it’s easier for me to accept it right. So I think that you know, just just just as with you, like, if somebody were on this path, and they were coming out of a traditional church that would be easy for them to gravitate towards you, right? Because you’re got that experience. Whereas like, if it was somebody who’s coming onto this path that was just kind of coming onto this path. That wasn’t such a big g kind of guy, right? Then it might be somebody like me, right, where he’s like, Listen, we’re going to talk in Universal we’re going to talk all these other things, but
Cory Walker 47:56
Brandon Handley 47:58
I love I love what you’re doing. There. That I think that that’s, you know, wonderful because they need that right. And here’s, here’s one of the things that I was saying too is is of with, with your, with the Bible with a faith with religion, it’s kind of like a framework for the space that you’ve gotten into is that you know, how, what is your What is your concept or idea that like as as it being the framework, not necessarily the whole building and structure and everything that it needs to be.
Cory Walker 48:29
Yeah, that’s a good way that’s a good way to look at it. I think it’s the skeletal structure and you put the meat in the bones on after the fact you know, it’s not the bumps and beaten in the skin on after the fact you get to build out your faith in the way that you that you can feel good about. Now, I’ve never believed spirituality was just all about feeling good. But the bottom line is, you need to be able I need to be able to live in a way that’s congruent with what I believe and if my beliefs are such that they’re preventing me from Living honestly, with my heart, then I’m just not in a very good place. And so, you know, I think religion is a good place and, and traditional forms of religion are a good place for to give structure for people who feel like they just be lost out there on their own if they didn’t have, you know, some guidance or some set of this or that, to help them down the path. And and I respect that. And one of the things that we believe over lifetime believe when we first stepped out of out of traditional Christianity was that it’s every individual’s responsibility and privilege to figure out what their faith is supposed to look like for them, instead of telling someone Well, you shouldn’t go to church, you know, I’m going to say, Hey, if you’re finding benefit in that, and I think my book reflected that in a couple ways, if you’re, if you’re finding benefit and being a part of an ongoing church, then then do so but if it’s not long, it’s no longer working for you. Don’t be afraid to step away and I just felt like that makes a lot more sense. than the one size fits all, you know, hey, let’s all jennea flex every Sunday or let’s all take communion on the first Monday, first Sunday of the month, or let’s all do this.
Cory Walker 50:10
To me, it just wasn’t it wasn’t working anymore.
Brandon Handley 50:12
Now I get it. I get it. Do you see yourself ever going back into it?
Cory Walker 50:16
Yeah, you know, my best friend. His name’s Jeremy. I think you’ve met him before. But he says. He says, Don’t you wish we could just go back to being good Methodist. Now neither one of us have been. Neither one of us have ever been Methodist. But the sentiment is Wouldn’t it be so much easier not to ask the deeper questions and to follow your heart and just do what you’re told. Just to show up once a once a month or twice a month and show some change in the offering and feel good about checking the boxes. Sure, when neither of us. Neither my wife or I really feel like we could ever take that journey back. There may be some phenomenal church out there that teaches the love of Christ and the grace of Christ without all the shoulds and this open to anybody who wants to come that we just haven’t discussed Get but certainly in our region. To my knowledge, it doesn’t exist. And know, if it does, I’ll ask, I’ll ask the divine Lord of the universe to bring it and drop it in my lap. So that all is there. And it does and I’ll be happy to walk through the door
Brandon Handley 51:15
a little bit. What um, you know, I was like trying to find out some different books or whatnot, you said you went through like 66 books as you were kind of gone through going through, you know, the, the E reading phase, what are what are some that like a really kind of revolutionized your way of thinking as it comes all this stuff?
Cory Walker 51:36
Well, you know, if you’re coming at it from a Christian standpoint, there’s couple good books, one of them’s called organic church. I can’t think of the author right now that is well known. And it just talks about some of the stuff I’ve talked about here today, about how it’s supposed to be an organism that’s supposed to grow on its own. And it’s supposed to be a living, breathing thing that’s made up of people not organ organization. The other one was called patient Christianity, it was a great book. And it talks, it traces all the doctrines that we hold dear today, back to in many cases, their pagan roots and the sense that they’re not, not of God, if you will, not biblical roots, but just traditional roots that go to different different types of belief systems all over the world. And so don’t get so hung up on whether something is biblical or not, you know, because most of what we do in our Sunday morning services isn’t from the Bible, it’s just things that are developed over 2000 years worth of religion so but you know, on the non Christian, if you will side outside of the mainstream, I really love the books like the Four Agreements and, you know, books that just, you know, I’m reading a lot of stuff. Like recently we’ve been rereading for third or fourth time then Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. You know, just a lot of the lot of the stuff that for years in church, we were told not to read because you’re supposed to read Christian stuff, but yet every time I read the stuff that’s not Christian stuff, because by training of my upbringing, I’m seeing all the biblical truth that’s present in the non Christian stuff. Show goes goes back to that the divine wanting us to have truth bad enough, he’s willing to put it wherever he has to, in order to get it into our hands.
Brandon Handley 53:13
Right. I mean, that’s the whole, you know, cast it was a casting pearls before the swine, right? Like, I’m not saying that though, there’s always going to be this wine that doesn’t understand or appreciate the pearl. Right, versus you know, somebody else is looking for those exceptional pieces wherever they go. Yeah, that’s kind of, you know, so I’m hearing a little bit. So I’m curious there too. You know, I would hear stories about like paganism and the story of the cross in Christianity. I’m curious, did the pagan Christianity book did it talk to that at all?
Cory Walker 53:45
Well, the cross it didn’t specifically mention the cross. But we do know from historical documents that the cross was the form of capital punishment that you know, the Romans Jews and the Romans were occupying Israel at the time so Jesus would have died on a cross Because of, because that’s the way that they killed people back then. So that, that, that from what we can tell is accurate, but there’s just so many like even, you know, many of the end just things are so interwoven together and we don’t even recognize it. And I’m just going off of memory. But like even the you know, like today when we give toasts, maybe at a wedding or at a party, and someone raises their cup and gives a toast to somebody, it’s traced back to Communion within Christianity, where Jesus took the cup and said, This is my body is broken for you, as often, you know, drink this as often as you as often as you drink this, remember me. And so a lot of the things that are interwoven throughout our, throughout our culture in our society, can can come from some Christian stuff, and then a lot of the things that we have in Christianity came right out of very non Christian, what we would call pagan societal practices, just as a result of you know, having As the message of Christ spread throughout the world, it would be in and spread into different cultures than it was originally brought to. And result, different things would be adopted. And so that is a great little book called pagan Christianity. And it’s a, it’s a good read. So
Brandon Handley 55:16
thanks for sharing that. And like you’re saying, it’s really interesting to see where something starts and where it ends up. Right? How did it start? And where is it showing up in different spaces in our lives? So thank you. Thanks, man. You know, I think it’s been a lot of fun. I think I really definitely enjoyed kind of going through. For me, Pentecostal stuff was really kind of eye opening, sharing those gifts was also something to me that I wasn’t aware of. Right. So I think that there’s definitely stuff within, you know, Christianity within the scriptures that can really speak and rang true to some people are afraid to go into because of the organizational stuff because of some of the horror stories because of like, you know, you know, like, just your, they don’t want to go in and check off all these boxes, but they do. Do want, they do want to feel, quote unquote closer to God. Right.
Unknown Speaker 56:04
Yeah, totally. And and so, you know,
Brandon Handley 56:08
I think that that’s available to anyone like you’re saying, just kind of go out and seek it for yourself right and see, can you sell fine, right? Whatever. Whatever whatever you’re seeking is seeking you all that jazz. But Corey, thank you so much again for hopping on today. Where should I send somebody who’s going to come? Look for Corey Walker,
Cory Walker 56:29
probably the easiest way is to go through my website and that’s church Been there, done that calm, church, been there done that calm. And while I certainly still believe in the church, I just believe it’s who we are. A church attendance is something I no longer do. So that’s why we named a website that the web the book is available for free download there. And there’s ways to contact me through there if you’re wanting to just somebody to talk to or if you’re wanting to develop an ongoing friendship or relationship you know, that’s the joy of the internet. Now we can find people, even though we may be in the minority We can find people from all over the world that we can connect with who are thinking and feeling the same things.
Unknown Speaker 57:06
Now 100% So, let’s say you started Coreys spiritual coaching today what what Who do you feel like would be your ideal client?
Cory Walker 57:18
Um, you know, people who definitely people who grew up in the Christian faith, but who are seeking who seeks to find benefit in it and or they just can’t, they can’t live with some of the inconsistency is that they’re finding and the faith and instead of getting dumping God all together, if you will, they can find an alternative way to express their fate without having to have the religious aspect of it. That’s probably my ideal
Unknown Speaker 57:45
client. Awesome. Well, guys, if that’s you reach out to Cory.
Cory Walker 57:50
Thanks, Cory. thank thank you so much. Have a good day.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai