"Some use the Bible and God in a really absurd way, like, ‘if you don't do this God’s gonna do this’. Like he’s going to get you. So what it does is create this view of God that isn’t a loving Father, per say. He is more of a regulator. That then causes you to live more out of fear.
You’ll do things out of fear and out of shame instead of out of love and out of desire."
HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.
First and foremost, Tim is a friend. I'll be honest - as I usually am - I was skeptical at first. Of the religion part of him. Of the Church part of him. Of him acting as a Pastor. Especially in the way people gravitated towards him.
In my opinion, and in the experience that I've had growing up as a daughter of a famous man, I know that fame can make or break a person. It takes A LOT of discipline, self-evaluation, and honesty for someone to remain in the space of humility, especially when one is in service to others. It is so easy for the person to become bigger than the purpose, which is why I decided to attend one of his services. I wanted to form a clear un-biased opinion of the man standing in front of me.
I was raised Russian Orthodox, so the way in which I viewed and experienced religion is different than what I felt at Woodside. I did not connect with the entirety of the experience, however, as soon as Tim stepped onto the stage and began speaking, I felt a sense of desire to connect to his words and his message. It was all very relatable. God didn't seem like a distant idea, someone to fear as I tried to navigate my space in this world. Instead, Tim made Him feel like Me, and I like Him. I thought, well if God is just like me, then so is Tim. He too has flaws, fears, insecurities. He too struggles with the human condition. He too suffers just like me.
I saw people nodding. Heard them audibly agreeing. People's shoulders relaxed. Their phones put away. Their bodies still as they listened. It's a skill - I know in doing my workshops - to capture the attention of a room and to impart a meaningful lesson in a short period of time. It's even more of a skill to step off of a stage and to continue giving when you're already spent. I waited by the outskirts of the Church. I wanted to give my thanks. Tell him that he's nudged me in a different direction. It took some time for me to reach him. Swaths of people wanted to shake his hand, speak with him, hug him, relay their lessons-learned and/or remaining fears. Finally, Tim walked up to me.
How'd I do? This struck me. How should I know? Great! In my opinion. For someone who's a non-believer...I had a moment where I started to believe. You were wonderful, Tim. Totally and truly relatable and of this Earth. Not some Godly being standing on a pedestal preaching. He difficultly took the compliment and changed the subject to me. That is when I realized that inside there is a person. Someone who is seeking like me. Struggling to make sense of the World. Bravely showing up to do the work even though there is much he doesn't know.
That is Tim Holdridge. From there we struck up a friendship. The kind where we can sit and talk openly about anything. He is not there to act as a pastor. I am not there to act as a guide. We simply listen and hear and speak because we care. About our well-being, about our path, about our friendship. Labels aside, we are two souls who aid in the paths that have been laid out in front of us.
As you'll here in this conversation, I am openly and honestly challenging Tim on some of the most difficult questions surrounding the meaning of Religion and Church. He speaks about his own ways of leading, being, believing. He tells us about his personal battles with anxiety and depression. He emphasizes the power of community and the ways in which Love trumps Fear. Mostly he speaks about being a Human. Just a regular guy, doing a regular job, going through regular ups and downs of being Human.
That's the greatest part about Tim. He is, just like, you and me. All labels aside.
"People live in fear. Fear that they are not enough. They live in fear that people don’t really love them. They live in fear that the world’s not going to continue. They live in fear of war. They live in fear of so many things because actually the world has set up society to almost live in that way. It's easy to follow what the world wants us to do. We are constantly bombarded by it."
"I think when you’re in a role of a spiritual leader within a Church it’s even harder [being open about anxiety + depression] because everyone looks at you as part of the role of a pastor: that you’re there to help them. Which is fine. That is part of it. But what I think I realized is that my brokenness actually helped way more than my strength."