Make Peace with Your Religious Past Podcast

Cheri Jamison

Host Cheri Jamison interviews people with interesting religious backgrounds and spiritual journeys. Guests share their authentic stories from their religion of origin, not to blame or complain, but to heal, learn, and support others who want to make peace with their religious past.

All Episodes

Hunkered down at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, podcast host Cheri Jamison and her husband Ben talk about spirituality and religion during times of crisis. We get real about self-care, forgiving ourselves, embracing our humanity, spiritual alignment, and exciting hand washing videos.  “It’s really easy to make up stories, particularly religious ones, because there’s so much stress. Now is the time for giving yourself and others a lot of grace.” ~Cheri Jamison benandcherijamison.com

Apr 2020

31 min 30 sec

Comedian and teacher Gerry Katzman views humor as a tool for personal growth. By boldly exploring and sharing what’s weird, hard, scary, and bugs you about your religious past, we can neutralize shame and turn it into medicine. We also discuss antisemitism, how The Artist’s Way revealed his spirituality and how laughter is the sound of people realizing they’re not alone. “Jokes have two parts: the AHA and the HAHA. Together, they are a marvelous healing thing.” ~Gerry Katzman standupcomedyclass.com

Mar 2020

32 min 37 sec

Susan Cottrell helps parents love and embrace their LGBTQ kids and answer faith-based questions. After 20+ years in the Evangelical church, she chose her queer daughter and left the non-affirming church. We talk about fractured family dynamics, fear of hell from a parent’s point of view, and the most challenging Bible verses people come to her with relating to LGBTQ children. “If we’re doing gymnastics with Bible verses to try to prove this group is wrong, then we’re wrong.” ~Susan Cottrell www.freedhearts.org

Mar 2020

33 min 26 sec

Growing up in England with Edgar Cayce’s teachings (A.R.E.), Alethea Lamb’s spirituality evolved organically. At 18, she lived with Tibetan nuns and met the Dalai Lama. After being introduced to Siddha Yoga, she lived at that ashram for a year. Her inner experience guiding her, she now follows MSIA, the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness, a spiritual path founded by John-Roger.  “Trust that everything in your past has been on purpose and perfect for your journey.” ~Alethea Lamb radianthealthandfitness.com 

Feb 2020

34 min 6 sec

As a young girl, Safira always had a feeling there had to be more to God than what she learned as a Presbyterian. Since being invited to a Sufi dance in her early 20s, Sufism has become her spiritual home for the past 30 years. Her mother-in-law disapproves, but they continue to have courageous conversations about their religious differences. We talk about whirling dervishes, zikr, prayer, and how it all boils down to love. “Sufism is eat, dance, pray instead of eat, pray, love.” ~Safira ruhaniat.org

Feb 2020

30 min 27 sec

After a sheltered childhood in a Baptist household, Demond Alverez was surprised when he started seeing auras, having vivid dreams, and tuning into messages from beyond the veil. He was lucky to find resources and others going through similar experiences, which calmed his concerns about these unexpected gifts. He’s now a spiritual life coach, author, and guide helping people put action to their heart’s desires. “It’s gonna be a lifelong journey, so there’s no rush.” ~Demond Alverez fb.me/CreativeSoulNewOrleans

Jan 2020

29 min 10 sec

As an Evangelical Southern Baptist preacher’s kid from the South, Deb Schrodt’s whole world centered around church and pleasing the elders. Her spiritual journey was a search for what felt authentic in love, music, and church. Ironically, Deb found love at Exodus International, a gay conversion group. She claimed her unique relationship with God and now writes affirming spiritual music. “If I had known it was okay to be my authentic self, I would have been that much sooner.” ~Deb Schrodt debbieschrodt.com

Jan 2020

31 min 28 sec

When Brock Ford’s strict Southern Baptist grandparents found out he was gay, his own family members broke into his home and assaulted him with a Bible. He left town afraid for his life and started over in Dallas, slowly working through the hurt and shame. After 30 years, he’s following his call to ministry and hopes his story will inspire families to ask questions and seek understanding rather than revert to violence.    “It’s okay not to think it’s okay. Show compassion to yourself.” ~Brock Ford

Dec 2019

30 min 45 sec

The Sci-Fi book “Stranger in a Strange Land” was formative for Michael Maday at age 12. Though Catholic as a youth, he leaned towards more Eastern teachers such as Alan Watts (Zen) and Swami Muktananda (Siddha Yoga). We discuss the value of discipleship and the essence behind the intellectual surface of religion: a direct experience of the spiritual Self. “We’re moving away from a structured religion focused [approach] to one that’s more relaxed, but not less disciplined.” ~Michael Maday aravinda@earthlink.net

Dec 2019

32 min 37 sec

France Anne was raised Baptist in France until she decided at age 17 not to go back to church. She became indifferent, satisfied with her own definition of God and stopped questioning life. The program “Recovering from Religion” helped her see how indoctrinated she was. We discuss differences between France and the US approach to religion. “In France, 30% of people declare they are atheists and 64% are non-religious. Very few people question themselves about spirituality.” ~France Anne Recoveringfromreligion.org

Nov 2019

34 min 50 sec

While advocating for a Non-Discrimination Ordinance in Kansas, Kate Guimbellot, her wife, and 12-year-old son were targeted by the hate group, Westboro Baptist Church. In response, she and her community created the “Stand Up in Love” event where over 300 people showed up with signs of love and acceptance. She continues to stand for equal rights and civility. “We can agree to disagree, learn to accept, and even celebrate each other, but not through name calling.” ~Kate Guimbellot fb.com/kate.guimbellot

Nov 2019

28 min 12 sec

After joining the military and struggling with addiction, Chelsea Anderson found an inclusive recovery group that helped her to work through her faith and sexuality issues. Now she’s part of a Christian movement for LGBT Christians to find affirming communities and via social media #FaithfullyLGBT. “Through prayer, bible study and interaction with other LGBT Christians, I discovered this is possible; [That God] actually loves me and wants me to just live as I am.” ~Chelsea Anderson Twitter, IG @justbchelsea

Nov 2019

29 min 11 sec

Rev. Mike Irwin grew up Methodist in rural Illinois deeply closeted, following all the rules to get approval from God and others. After years of silence, he came out to his wife and church, and immediately lost both. He’s rebuilt an authentic life, now serving as senior minister at CSL Kansas City, teaching spirituality and creating a welcoming community for all. “It wasn’t God; it was people… the way people chose to interpret their beliefs. It wasn’t God doing that to me.” ~Rev. Mike Irwin cslkc.org

Oct 2019

32 min 43 sec

Cheri Jamison interviews Jen Dickey, who grew up in a happy Presbyterian home until tragedy struck. Angry with God, she studied LaVeyan Satanism briefly before attending Bible college. When Jen came out as gay, her community thought she was possessed. Sadly, she felt like “God’s biggest mistake.” Jen later found a new spiritual home, transformed her relationship with God, and is now a ministry student. “I couldn’t appreciate [my life] to the degree I do without that soil, that fertilizer; and that’s MY story.” ~Jen Dickey jdmusings.com

Oct 2019

34 min 58 sec

Cheri Jamison interviews Richard Carlini, an end-of-life expert who has served over 43 years as a hospice nurse, chaplain, and minister. We talk about religion’s role in dying, death, and grief, how no two people’s experience is the same regardless of religious upbringing, and how we can start crucial conversations with our loved ones now.  “Often we go back to our roots, to the core beliefs that were given to us as we grew up, as we become the person we are dying as.” ~Richard Carlini Transformmyself.org

Sep 2019

31 min 39 sec

Cheri Jamison interviews Victor Dougherty, a “recovering Catholic” and now Director of the Temple Buddhist Center in Kansas City. During a life crisis, Victor sought spiritual counseling with a Buddhist teacher, which led to a new spiritual home. He shares his daily practice, mindset, meditation, community, and a practical way to know what’s right for you. “I don’t hold a grudge against [Catholicism]; those things were just rungs on the ladder to waking up.” ~Victor Dougherty templebuddhistcenter.com

Sep 2019

31 min 54 sec

Cheri Jamison interviews Craig Marshall, who grew up as a “Methodist without a method.” At age 23, he became a monk with Self-Realization Fellowship, living in a monastery for 35 years. A mid-life change spurred him to pursue a new chapter of life. Today, Craig is married, living in California, and is a sought after speaker, business consultant, and co-author of the book, The Next You.  “We have a set of beliefs which we, sort of arrogantly, call reality.” ~Craig Marshall craigmarshallconsulting.com

Aug 2019

37 min 29 sec

Cheri Jamison interviews Joshua Inacio, a spiritual teacher, channel and vibrational sound healer. Joshua was born Jewish and left the tradition when he was 13, but feels it’s still part of his family’s expression. His studies in New Age and New Thought metaphysical concepts and spiritual practices help keep him clear and centered in his non-traditional career path.  “It’s not your shadow I’m interested in, it’s your light. To get that out, we need to look at the shadow and love it.” ~Joshua Inacio www.joshuainacio.com

Aug 2019

26 min 18 sec

Cheri Jamison interviews Vagar Ingvald Elmersson, who comes from a long line of German Mennonites. As a teen, he followed his brother to two Evangelical churches where music was his spiritual life, until he stumbled upon a Wiccan bookstore and his world turned upside down. While his relationship with his brother dissolved when he left Christianity, he gained a new home and spiritual family when he found Heathenry. “My heart just said Oh my God, finally… I’ve finally come home.” ~Vagar Ingvald Elmersson

Jul 2019

31 min 39 sec

Cheri Jamison interviews Rev. Martha Creek, who grew up in a non-religious household, but knew from a young age she wanted to be a minister. At the time, women clergy were not allowed. She took herself to a local Methodist church and loved it, but always knew other people’s truth may not be her own. She is now a New Thought Minister, speaker, facilitator, ministry consultant, and fulfills her mission to “serve those who serve.” “As a little kid, I was shown a vision of two giant keys for life: one is forgiveness and the other is gratitude.” ~Rev. Martha Creek MarthaCreek.com

Jul 2019

35 min 16 sec

Cheri Jamison interviews Shelly Johnson, an ex-Mormon, mother of 7 children, gay woman trying to figure out life. Raised in a patriarchal Mormon family, she had to suppress every natural tendency for 40+ years, until she left the church to find a more authentic life and love. Now she and her girlfriend Mary share her story in their podcast, Latter-Day Lesbian. “Deconstruction is like you’re flicking over that first domino. You can’t control it and that’s okay.” ~Shelly Johnson www.latterdaylesbian.org

Jun 2019

37 min 19 sec

In her 7th episode, host Cheri Jamison interviews Gwen Fisher, ex-evangelical, newly-single mother, having left her lifelong faith, ended her marriage, and come out as gay all within the span of two years. She is now starting over and maneuvering a whole new life as a woman who belongs to herself alone for the first time. She wanted to unpack the things she and many others had been taught about ourselves, our identities, gender, sexuality, and everything in between, so she started the podcast, “Saving Myself: How Purity Culture Wounds Us, and How We Can Heal.”  “I started believing that I was good. Bottom line good… Not because of Jesus, but because of me; because that’s who I was inherently. ~Gwen Fisher Podcast: http://savingmyselfpod.libsyn.com

Jun 2019

35 min 16 sec

In her 6th episode, host Cheri Jamison interviews Robert Welch, an entrepreneur from Kansas City, MO. After homelessness, divorce, and his lowest point in life, Robert Welch had an epiphany about God that made him give up religion for a long time. A theater experience introduced him to the Norse Gods (Odin, Thor, Loki, etc) and much to his surprise he started feeling more and more connected to them and fulfilled spiritually. Now he is happy to call himself a Heathen. "With the Norse Gods, I don't just have one Father, I have an entire family... They're not up on a pedestal, like the other God was, they're here with me." ~Robert Welch

Jun 2019

32 min 17 sec

In her 5th episode, host Cheri Jamison interviews Rev. Ogun Holder, who is now senior minister at Unity on the River in Amesbury, MA. Originally from Barbados, Rev. Ogun grew up in the Wesleyan Holiness, a charismatic, evangelical movement (with great Caribbean rhythm and music) that came out of the Methodist tradition. Attending college in the U.S., a historical bible class propelled Ogun into a crisis of faith that ultimately led him to become a minister of a more open, inclusive, and practical approach to Christianity called Unity. "Anything and everything that happens to you in your life is an opportunity for you to show up as God in that situation." ~Rev. Ogun Holder, Unity minister www.pubtheology.com/ptlive

Jun 2019

34 min 9 sec

In her 4th episode, host Cheri Jamison interviews Mark Odland, a licensed therapist and consultant in the Twin Cities, who specializes in spiritual trauma and EMDR, a technique that helps clients heal from trauma quickly. In this nuanced conversation, we talk about what is spiritual/religious abuse, the layers of grief that come with making a change in your religious community, and how our brain processes the messages we receive from religious authorities growing up. With his background in ministry and an impressive list of certifications, Mark offers a unique understanding and skill set for his clients who wrestle with their religious and spiritual issues, such as “How could God let this [trauma] happen?” He also trains and educates other therapists spiritual trauma with his book and EMDRIA-approved online course, "Spiritual Trauma and EMDR: 7 Steps to Help Clients Heal." "All trauma has a spiritual component. Even if someone isn’t identifying a personal God, if they don’t believe in God, something about trauma forces us to ask these existential questions, and it really stirs up questions of meaning and purpose, and our own mortality. ~Mark Odland, LMFT   Connect with Mark Odland: Email: mark@bilateralinnovations.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/bilateralinnovations Check out his book and training for therapists: bilateralinnovations.com/online-trainings/ To learn more about EMDR or find a therapist, visit www.emdr.com or www.emdria.org.

Jun 2019

34 min 56 sec

In her 3rd episode, host Cheri Jamison interviews Matthew Kent. Even though Matthew was raised Baptist, he knew by age 10 that it wasn't for him. He went "church shopping," with his friends through high school, and left religion behind in young adulthood, and we talk about why.... In his mid-40s, the seeds of wisdom planted by his great gran, who was Abenaki Native American, started to blossom. He re-defined his concept of God, which led him to a whole new community of spiritual seekers and healers. Now Matthew is the manager of Mindfulness and Meditation Technologies at Unity World Headquarters. He is also co-founder of Light of Truth, an organization that offers retreats, corporate yoga, and community service events in the Kansas City, MO area. "Don't let [your spiritual path] get stagnant. Don't go 'yes, this is where I belong and I'll never believe anything else' because your consciousness evolves, and evolves, and evolves." ~Matthew Kent   Get in touch with Matthew Kent: Email: kentma@unityonline.org Website: www.thelightoftruth.org Facebook: www.facebook.com/thelightoftruthkc  Check out his book, "Truths for Inner Peace," amzn.to/2ErlGjS For more info about 24/7 prayer line at Silent Unity (as mentioned in the podcast), visit www.silentunity.org or call 1-816-969-2000.

Jun 2019

30 min 29 sec

Cheri Jamison interviews Bradford Taylor, an artist, musician, and Prayer Associate at Silent Unity, a 24/7 prayer line. Bradford takes us through his courageous journey from abuse, gay conversion therapy, and alcoholism to owning his authentic self and maintaining his own sense of spirituality in the midst of suffering. "Everything that comes to show the beauty that you will be, is in the shadow you have to go through." ~Bradford Taylor B.T. Scott Creations, glorious.paradox111@gmail.com

Jun 2019

24 min 34 sec

In her 1st episode, host Cheri Jamison interviews Tom Jacobs, a former Benedictine monk who went on to pursue a life-long dream to open a retreat center. Tom’s Catholic mother and Jewish father influenced his early childhood and religious education. When he entered St. Benedict's Abbey in Atchison, KS, he was counseled by Father Owen about his ambitions. Finally, Tom left the monastery, met his wife, and made his heartfelt dream a reality. “Be the captain of your mind and not the captive of your mind... is an effective tool, but it takes a lot of practice.” ~Tom Jacobs www.timbercreekretreat.org

Jun 2019

26 min 49 sec