Can Life Be About More Than Getting to Heaven? A Discussion About Conscious Life

What if the solution isn’t to throw religion out, but to create a new one, a religion that focuses on the health of people, communities and the planet. Can you look past your preconceived ideas about religion to consider something new? Could we build something fresh, to address some of the biggest challenges facing us? This is the idea of Craig Scharton’s new religion and book: Conscious Life Conscious Death. Can a spiritual life be about more than just trying to get to heaven?

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Transcript – Transcribed by AI:

Does the story of Jesus? Tell us just how to get to heaven or did the abundant life. Jesus said he came to bring mean more of a better life here on earth. Not just some hope that we get by the skin of our teeth, into heaven for eternity. My guests today, Craig sharp has written a book in which declares he starting a new religion.

Now don’t run away yet. It’s not that scary. He says this religion would parallel. Uh, Jesus type teaching. That’s making sure followers live in wholeness of body, mind, and soul, and the word salvation or saved or healed in the new Testament is the Greek word Sozo, which means to be restored body, mind, and soul.

And that’s what Craig wants to see happen in people’s lives. He also happens to be one of my best friends on earth, and I think you’re going to love him too. He’s the author of a new book called conscious life conscious death. And he’s here on my podcast today to πŸ“ share about what that conscious life looks like.

And maybe more importantly, how do we do conscious death and do it well, let’s get Craig’s perspective on how to live πŸ“ the abundant life. God is not mad at you, everyone. Here’s today’s pod with a happy God

and welcome everyone to the podcast. I am Paul pastor Paul, the unconventional pastor. And we’re talking about a world where God is not mad at us. God’s not this horrible, crazy thing, trying to. Throw us into hell or make us into Republicans. Whichever comes first. Glad you’re with me on the podcast today.

And I’m really excited about today’s podcast because we’re going to talk about a new religion. I think something like that, and I’m excited because, uh, it’s a podcast with one of my favorite people in the world. Uh, Craig Sharpton is a podcast partner of mine. We’ve done a podcast together. Even before COVID and then throughout, COVID called two guys talking Fresno, which is here in our local area.

And he’s now an author of a new book called conscious life conscious death. Let me show you that there, the conscious life conscious death, and it’s an idea for a new religion. And so we’re going to find out about the heresy of this book from Craig sharp and Craig. Good to see you. Welcome to the podcast.

Oh, wait, I’ve lost. I can’t hear you. Now. There we go. The microphone, I, uh, I said, I, I was saying, I hope it scores high on the heresy. That will be good. Is that right? You’re happy to be listed as a heretic today. Well, it depends on who’s listing, I guess, but probably the people that call other people heretics will have me right up there, but I was probably up there before.

Well, Rob bell was called heritage by Franklin Graham on Larry King. So we, if we can hit that level, we’ll really know we’ve made it somewhere. And so, you know, when I used to just do audio podcast, I never had to worry about my hair. And now when we’re doing video, I’m like, oh my God, Great. So, so cool. Glad you’re with me.

So, you know, we’ve talked a lot about a lot of topics through the years, a lot of discussion about religion and our concern about where sort of American Christianity is going. And, uh, and I wrote a novel, a critiquing it you’ve created something entirely new and the book covered declares an idea for a new religion.

So tell us where you came up with the idea for starting a new religion. Well, it really started back in the mid nineties. I had been doing a lot of research personally with a psychology philosophy, religion, just where they all intersect. I always look for that intersection point. Um, and, uh, a lot of just study about how to live a conscious life and in one book.

The author is asked, well, why would you want to live a conscious life? And he says, to have a conscious death. And I really thought, wow, that just that nails it all because that’s what Socrates did. That’s what Jesus did. Um, so many of the, of the mythology, uh, and the religion and, uh, literature and all of that really, that’s a theme that you’ll find pretty consistently.

Once you start looking at. And so I kept trying to live a conscious life. And what I found was. That it always ended up like a hobby, like I’d have work and I’d have family and I’d have friend relationships to maintain and yard work and dog and all this other stuff. Now, whatever might be left over, you know, somewhere, if there wasn’t anything left over, I would try to go back and work on my consciousness in whatever form that might be.

And w and what I realized was it’s never going to happen, or it’s not going to certainly reach this potential unless. Focus on it. And I was thinking about the good parts of religion, how it really affects your whole life. Right? So you give thanks for breakfast and you, you know, hopefully give thanks and think about the wellbeing of others before you go to sleep.

And it’s just this constant reminder in your life, whether you’re Muslim, Catholic, whatever you are, it, it really is, uh, a star for you to point yourself to. And so my thought was, instead of having the worrying about bushes burning, or, you know, what happened 3000 years ago, and we argue about it or what happened 500 years or whether there’s a spaceship or not, we just cut out all the other stuff and say, let’s make consciousness, our north star.

Or south star, whatever you like. And, and let’s just focus on that first and incorporate it into our daily lives or conversations. And maybe if we do that, we can make a little bit more progress toward that goal. Talking about religion without a deity. And, and I, and I think you answered this a little bit in that, but tell me more why, why call it a religion?

Well, multiple reasons. Um, the primary one is just because it, it is a, it’s an opportunity to have an entity that has a group of people that are all sort of rowing in the same direction and, and can, uh, And can be incorporated pretty much in our life throughout our day. We can just keep saying, yes, this is what I do.

I meditate in the morning. And in the evening, I think about what kind of clothes I can buy or how I’m going to get from point a to B to have the most consciousness toward the planet or others, or my finances or my health or all these different things. Um, and so there’s really nothing else. Like a religion.

So I tried to, I went on, on Facebook one time and basically said, what don’t you like about religion? And of course, within minutes I had this very long list and I thought, how could you build a religion and, and push the, you know, eliminate the problems that go along with it, you know, as kind of a mental exercise.

Yeah. And so that’s what I’ve tried to do. And, and you could read the book and say, I even list the problems that were listed that day. Um, did I successfully create something that avoids the things that we say we hate about religion and, and so far, the response has been very positive. So it’s not, it’s not exclusive from a religious belief system.

Somebody might have already, it’s just focusing towards kind of this idea of conscious life and conscious. Yeah. I imagine that the first, the first people that will want to go through this process with me will be most likely Christians that I. Um, but they are non non-dogmatic, uh, you know, jerks about their religion.

They are, they’re already very open-minded, you know, they wouldn’t think that, uh, Satan is behind a yoga, for example, like I know some people do or are, you could get a massage without having to feel guilty and burning in hell for it. You know, those kinds of things.

And I think some of us we’re calling ourselves the deconstructing Christians out there that when we see like this church over the weekend, that was chanting. Let’s go, Brandon, you know, being led from the stage where these chants. Maybe it’s time for a re look at what religion is and. Yeah, well, especially in Christianity, that’s been a long, you know, it’s needed to reinvent itself over and over again from, you know, the first 400 years to, you know, becoming a weird, you know, deal.

That was basically like a government structure. Pope’s that fed people feces at a dinner party to other pokes that shot arrows into a crowded courtroom. People feces. You have to go back. I haven’t read it for years, but, uh, I think it was, uh, oh, what’s the name of that book by Barbara Tuchman? Uh, I’ll think of it.

I think during the conversation and she, uh, it’s basically about entities, government entities, or others that behaved so badly that they, they, uh, We’re doing things that weren’t in their own best interest. And she talks about how basically the Catholics, uh, caused the reformation by all of this really bad behavior by the, by the Pope’s and the, and the powers that.

Oh, that’s, that’s a new one. I’ll have to follow up on that. That’s one story I haven’t heard yet. So lots of delightful. Isn’t it beautiful. Well, and I’ve read your book and it’s very good and I encourage people to read it, but the big question is besides the religion part, which we may have to revisit a little bit more is.

If conscious life conscious death is where we’re going with this sort of new religion, if you will, what does it mean to have a conscious life? And maybe more importantly, what does it mean to have a conscious death? You said even Jesus had had a conscious death. Well, so the conscious life part is. You know, acknowledging that we all have, you know, interior programming from our body, our genes, our organs, you know, wanting us to wanting us to do certain things, whether that’s, uh, eat or, or reproduce or work too hard or whatever.

And then we also have exterior forces are back to our parents, family, teachers, coaches, whatever, uh, and just your, even your friend group, um, your boss. You know, they all are putting pressure on us to do certain things and act certain ways. And so being conscious means you’re aware of those things, but you are, you are still, um, uh, crafting a course for yourself that is authentic to who you are and you’re making decisions.

That you know, are good for you and your community and ultimately the planet. So, you know, everything. Individual health to group health, to neighborhood health all the way up to, you know, we’ve got this global warming crisis, you know, staring us in the face and I don’t see, uh, religion or government or business able to tackle this.

And so I think as a group, we could all help each other out and we can help each other, find ways to do things. So I use an example of conscious clothing. Like, do you just go to the store, buy something off the rack? Is it made a plastic? Is it made by people who aren’t paid a living wage? Is it going to go into a landfill when you’re done, you know, are the inks, uh, chemicals or, or are they something natural?

Like you could go through just any part of your life and think I would like to be more conscious about. How I choose to consume how I, my home is how my transportation works, how I interact with people on a conscious level. Um, and just go all the way through that list and know that if you were doing things more consciously, that it would have a really positive result for you.

And the people around you. Wow. I might jump in and interrupt just for a second. Cause I love this. I’ve just been rewriting my coaching curriculum and we’re, we’re like simpatico with this. Cause I, I talk about. Um, what I call the oxygen mask theory of life, that, that in the airplane, they tell you when the oxygen mask drops down, you, you do what you put it on yourself.

First, you have to have resource to be able to take care of anybody else. And so we talk about working on ourselves and then, then the manifestation of that is going to be my mindset and relational tools of how I am. With the circle around me is going to be impacted by that. And then ultimately the, uh, sign of my true wellbeing is going to be that I want to impact a world that’s beyond my little circle.

In fact, generationally, I’m going to want to impact. Two to three generations down the line. And so it sounds like that’s a little bit of what you’re talking about that conscious life is, you know, being, being taken care of ourselves and then being really aware of what we’re doing, that impacts even a world of people that don’t know us.

And we don’t know. Right. Well, and, and, you know, we also can get into that thing where we don’t have the balance between we’re just focusing on ourselves and no one else, right. Or focusing on everyone else and not ourselves. And I think with consciousness, you know, it’s, it’s. You know, we’re trying to end it, you know, it’s never that straight line.

You’re just kind of trying to stay in there somewhere. Um, so you’re not just completely narcissistically wrapped in yourself, but you’re also. Helping out your, your, your neighbor or, or the person next to you. And when you do that, then you learn a little bit more about yourself and vice versa. So it’s this constant, you know, attempt at, at living a more conscious life and, you know, and that leads to a conscious death.

Well, that’s, that’s what I would say. You know, if I know that you work a lot with Christians, Really, you know, Jesus had the opportunity not to die. Um, but he went into it with his eyes wide. Yeah. And Socrates the same thing, you know, he, his friend said we can get you out of, uh, out of Athens. Um, and, and you’ll be fine.

And kind of everyone wanted him to do that. And he said, no, these people aren’t going to learn the lesson unless, you know, they’ve already told me after drink this, I’m going to look them in the eye and drink it. And it’s going to really fall bad on them or, or, you know, Obi wan Kenobi, you know, we’ve got modern mythology that still uses that.

That really image throughout time of where you say, look, you know, the light saber goes through him and, and he comes back as a bigger force, you know, it’s a bigger deal. So, um, and, and then the Northeast, we used to have American Indians that would go into battle and their battle cry is today is a great day.

You know, that that is like, if you’re going to go into battle, are you good to go in, you know, dragging your feet and, and horrified and crying like crazy for your mom, or, you know, there you are, this is one way or the other, but I’m going to go in all the way without fear or as little fear as possible.

And. And have my eyes wide open. Go ahead. I’m sorry, Greg. I was going to say, so the energetic plane is not that we know what happens after death, but if anything happens after death, like the Tibetan Buddhists or others would say, you’re, you’re supposed to go in with your eyes wide open so that you can make the decisions to take you somewhere.

As opposed to bad. I don’t, I don’t believe in that, but like if there is something you would want to go into it that way, but the real trick for me is, you know, if I’m laying on a bed knowing it’s my last breath, I want to have my family around me. I wanted to do it my way. I want to know I’m not leaving a mess for my son and daughter-in-law to have to deal with a bunch of stuff.

And I also want to know that I don’t have regrets that I told people I love. I apologized to them when I needed to apologize to them. I knew I cared for people and that, you know, that that made people’s lives better. And, and that’s the way I’d want to go. Right. So if I start doing those things now, I will be much more likely to have that, you know, good end of life.

Experience that. Okay. As the result of living a good life. That’s Craig Sharpton. He’s the author of this book, conscious life, conscious death, uh, an idea for a new religion. Um, it’s a, it’s a really fascinating read and I think important in the season as we. We just need to learn a new way to live. And I think most of us would, would agree about that.

And, and so you don’t particularly have a theology of afterlife and your religion. In fact, I don’t, you really don’t have any theology for the supernatural at all. Now that’s, that’s entirely up to other people or against a supernatural belief. No, my, one of my favorite phrases is knock yourself out. I mean, cause I, you know, uh, when I read back in time about consciousness or look at what they’re doing now in neurology and psychology, like it is, it is really hard work, you know, like everything is pulling against you and pushing against you, not to live a conscious life.

So. So, unless you’re focused, you’re, you’re, you know, the chances of getting anywhere good are, are, are not really there. So if that’s someone that holds up Jesus or Buddha or Mohammad. Their image of God, whatever that might be, if that helps them, then that’s what it’s there for. In my opinion, it’s, it’s a way for them to be able to visualize the mythology that gets them to the goal that they want.

I think mostly we just get distracted by the story and forget what the point is. So the idea is to help people focus in and, and this isn’t just a self-help book you’re you, you kind of are, are wanting to put together a process and maybe even sort of, uh, a place for. Right. Well, that’s what I’m doing now.

I, you know, I am not πŸ“ a guru. I am not a health guru. I’m not a leader of this. I am not, I am the I, the every person who needs all of this.

Man. I hope you’re enjoying the podcast today. We’ll have more with our guests, but first please allow me to interrupt and invite you to engage our pastor Paul community. As we pursue the unconventional 21st century spiritual life, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel. Follow me on Tik TOK and join us throughout the week for our spiritual life moments.

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And let’s πŸ“ pursue that spiritual life together. Now back to the pod where I love to say, God is not mad at you.

I, you know, I am not a guru. I am not a health guru. I’m not a leader of this. I am not, I am the I, the every person who needs all of this and I really followed the old entrepreneurial rule that if you have a problem and you can find a solution that helps you. It might also help other people too.

Right. So, so that’s kinda what this is for me is that I would like this. I would love to be around people that are supportive of, of living a healthy, conscious life in, in all of those aspects. So, yeah. So there is a church part two. Uh, but it’s not me preaching at anyone. It is all of us trying to figure out the best we can and, and sharing with each other and creating a place where, you know, we can, we can work on our health goals, our financial goals, our vocational goals, our limberness goals.

I mean, whatever those things might be, um, that we can help each other through. Good good, healthy food, exercise, meditation, sleep, you know, that we can all do those things that we know we need to do and should be doing. And aren’t doing and have a place that’s supportive of that so that it helps us stay on our path.

Eh, and so there’s an idea maybe of communal living or sort of semi community, or at least a community of looking for conscious life. Right. Well, there’s, there’s, uh, there’s nothing, there’s no requirement for communal living, but there is a part of the book where we talk about orientation and that’s not my favorite name for it, but it was the best I could come up with.

And that is that you would be able, you know, you’re on life’s busy highway and there would be a place where you could pull out for two, two. Six weeks or whatever it takes for you. And you would take, you would actually move in and you would get healthy food and learn how to cook healthy food. You would get some exercise.

You’d get my meditation twice a day. We’ll have a strand where we all work on, like making sure that a, the. Uh, annoying details that we have to do to make sure that we’re having a conscious death and not leaving that mess behind. So our directives are our wills, all of those kinds of things we’ll understand our finances individually so that we can put together a financial goal.

And, and I really like, uh, Jordan Peterson has a self-authoring program, so you can run. Self-author your past, your present and your future, and kind of break it down into the goals that you would like to achieve for the rest of your life. So if that’s a career change, if that’s moving somewhere, like let’s put the path, uh, let’s help each other put together a path so that we can all come closer to achieving our goal.

Wow. So I love that idea. It’s conscious life and sort of the idea of a Buddhist talking about maybe self-actualization or is there a difference? Are they sorted the same thing? Uh, the, you know, there’s a lot of words for it and I, you know, transcendence, uh, I think is a really good one, right? There’s a great book by Scott Barry Kaufman called transcend.

And it takes all of the work of Maslow, not just the, the, the pyramid that he never actually created and simplified. That is very, very good work. Uh, but Buddhists, uh, I think really, really, uh, Buddhism hits it a lot with right speech, right? Vocation, all of those things where you’re trying to do better in all of these areas, you can borrow from.

Stoicism I think is, is something that I’ve really gotten a lot out of that could be helpful for some people. Um, the 12 step program I think is a fantastic guide. Um, not just for people in recovery, but a really, uh, important series of steps that you can do to not only get your life on track, but keep it there.

Um, I just think I borrowed from so many different religions and philosophies. Um, And science too, to be able to, to kind of mash it all up together. And I think put together something that’s very basic and simple. Um, but it’s something that most of us aren’t able to achieve on our own. And so it becomes kind of like a culture within a culture, um, so that you’re able to stay on your course with whatever health goals.

You have, financial goals, you have community goals you have. And, and like I said, we should be living a positive impact on the. If a church hasn’t doing that, then I don’t know what the hell they’re doing. Right. Wow. Well, it’s interesting. You listed a whole bunch of philosophies there and not Christianity is one that’s part of it, which it actually is.

It’s had a big impact on me, of course. And I, and I would say it can be it’s. It’s interesting to me because I think. If we really look at the story of Jesus, it very much parallels what you’re talking about here. And John three 16 is our, you know, very popular Bible verse from Christianity. But John three 17 is the one that I love.

It says, God, didn’t say. Jesus. Didn’t send his son into the world to condemn the world, but that through him, the world might be saved, which is this word, Sozo this Greek word, which doesn’t mean to pray a sinner’s prayer, join a church and go to heaven one day. It means to be restored to wholeness, body, mind, and soul.

Um, it actually is not an eternal word. It’s actually a present, as Jesus said on earth as it is in heaven. So I think this idea. Of being well, having wholeness for body, mind and soul emotionally, physically, spiritually is what Jesus came to say and said, let’s get rid of this idea of a religion that says follow these rules and God won’t be mad at you.

Um, instead learn that you can partner with. Life and heaven and goodness, and all this stuff and have this sozo-ed life. And then we take these writings of Paul and we start to start to put this religion around it. And I actually don’t think that was anything that Jesus was really about. So, so I actually think Christianity parallels it.

And it’s sad that what Christianity has become, particularly in America these days would, would consider itself to be opposed to what you’re talking. Yeah, well there’s, I mean, the, the oldest fight in the world is really, to me between order and chaos. And unfortunately we think order is a good thing in chaos as a bad thing, but it’s really, they’re both equally good.

They’re the yin and yang of yes, you want order, but you also want the flow of creativity and open ideas and, and all of the beauty and all of those things, uh, as well. And so, you know, when I look back through Christianity or Greek mythology or anything else, that’s what I said. And, um, it’s as old as, as the human brain and heart is.

And so how do we break through that and say, let’s help each other towards some kind of balance that’s, you know, mind, body, and spirit, just like you said, and take those old lessons and parse them out. I think that deconstruction reconstruction ideas really fantastic, because then you, you’re not arguing about stupid Leviticus, like get over it.

I guess it’s not relevant. Like we got a planet to save. We’ve got children dying. Neighborhood’s we’ve got, you know, people that, you know, children having type two diabetes and an epidemic, epidemic, proportions, and yet we’re having these other stupid arguments. Like to me, the real test, like I go to some churches on the poor side of the town, uh, of our town.

And I see a beautifully manicured lawn around a church in the neighborhood all around. It’s falling apart. And, you know, it’s just like, this is just not translating into a better world now. That’s not everyone we know because we know a lot of people that are making a difference to sure, sure. Uh, but there’s just too much of the other.

It’s just, we we’ve got really important stuff to do, but, uh, you know, my wife and I have heard it often from our Christian friends here in our area, Fresno. When, when we’re saying, Hey, we’ve, we’ve got to change things in the city. Where our city has a lot of financial and, and racial division challenges, economic opportunity, challenges, quality of life challenges, depending on what zip code you live in.

And our, and we will have Christian friends literally tell us, Hey, that’s not our job. Our job is to get people saved and to heaven. And. And I, I just say you’re reading a different Bible than me at that point. And some of it is like what you say. I don’t know if you’d call it chaos. You know, the, the political theory of people will always choose totalitarianism over anarchy, um, comes out of a human need for certainty.

And I think religion is that too. Just, just tell me what the rules are so I can figure out where I am in that when in fact. The deconstruction that a lot of us are walking through. We’re starting to say, it’s okay to not know the answer. It’s okay for you to think it may be this, that hell may look like this.

And I think it may look like this and that’s okay. Let’s let’s journey together and continue to wrestle with those con concepts. So maybe some of what, what we need to teach out of, uh, the idea of a conscious life is. Is, you don’t have to have certainty. And if you, if you have to have certainty of like what the afterlife looks like, you’re going to settle for some bad theology or some bad ideas.

So. I I’m with you. There’s something to chaos and uncertainty. Well, there is. And maybe chaos is not the best word. Nobody seems to like chaos, but perhaps there’s a, yeah. And especially the people that like order don’t like it, you know, it’s, uh, it really becomes, I wish there was a better word, you know, but it’s funny how, you know, we take.

Thomas becomes doubting Thomas, which is very bad because he’s questioning everything and like, that’s, let’s make him look like a bad guy out of the 12. Should he be thinking Thomas or like, yeah, someone, uh, some creator gave him a brain that works. And why is he using it? You know, that’s equal. It’s just goofy.

So, you know, but that’s what structure doesn’t like that. So let’s make the bat, the guy with questions. Look bad. So, you know, and I would say, so we have a, uh, a word called flake, you know, we’ll call someone a flake and, you know, maybe they’re really great artists, but they can’t figure out how to get to a place on timer.

You know, they don’t balance their checkbook. That’s a very negative term for someone who might be super talented and might not have the strengths of the person who knows how to do the checkbook and, and, and schedule things. So what if we pair those two and they’re neither good or bad, but they’re complimentary to each.

And that’s where I really think our, our solutions come, come from. If we can just get over the fact that the people in marketing, Hey, the people in accounting, and instead realize that without either of them, the company is dead, um, and, and figure out how to work together. That’s, that’s really a lot of what I’m trying to do.

Yeah. I think, I think we’re going to have to get there otherwise. How are we ever going to get through? Um, the sort of divides and discord of the season, I guess, is, is being able to say you get to think differently than. Yeah, it leaves with that. It’s awesome. You know, get up, try poetry if you want or get up and try whatever.

I, you know, um, I mean, we need, you know, I, I look out at society and I said, we could use a hell of a lot more bookkeepers than we have, because if our neighbors were on a path where they understood how their finances worked, you know, then they could, then they could buy a home or send their kid to school or, or have a little bit more of.

Just like, you know, the lady, a few doors down from me who can’t get out of her, her little Walker thing, because she’s so obese now that her, her legs want holder. Well, who’s doing something about that. You know, not even the food bank has given them good food. So let’s have a place here where she can come in and she can eat a whole food plant based diet for a month and see if she can take some more steps and see if it maybe clears her brain a little bit.

And. You know, I don’t think you need a miracle that heal people. You need to give them healthy food. And a little bit of exercise, a little blue zones plays a big role and, and, and what I’ve tried to put together, which is the idea where people live the longest healthiest lives and they eat very basic food and move around.

They have strong community relationships with each other and. Yeah. I just don’t think that there’s a person out there that if they did that for 30 days, they wouldn’t come out feeling better. And, uh, and all their health markers would be better. And, um, you know, I, if they felt like that a path to, to maybe have a more successful life, whatever that is for them, I mean, What better thing could, could religion do for you?

Yeah. I want to talk more about how people can get involved, but I do want to let people know part of what I’m doing here in this podcast is a part of what we call the pursuit of the unconventional spiritual life. A lot of you listening to this podcast have maybe left behind your church community or your.

You’re thinking about it, but you’re afraid like what’s out there for me, if I’m not a part of a church community anymore. And so those of you on YouTube can see the graphic of sort of this with the unconventional spiritual life is I wish they hadn’t put my picture because now I look like the cult leader of this religion, but, uh, you know, So somebody thought it would be help marketing to put my face on there.

But Wednesday morning, 7:00 AM Pacific spiritual mindfulness moment where we have a, a time of mindfulness and prayer together. Thursday, we released the unconventional conversation podcasts Saturday. I do a Bible talk. We call pastor Paul’s Bible talk, which is sort of your sermon of the week. If you’re into that.

And then Sunday morning, we come together for Sunday community to share life and share in the Christian tradition of communion. And then the third Tuesday of each month, we’re going to do. A discussion group time called unconventional talks. So all of that’s coming up. I have a new website and all kinds of cool stuff coming up.

So I just keep teasing people, teasing people with that along the way. But Craig Sharpton is with us, the author of conscious life, conscious death. And so if somebody is intrigued by what they’re hearing, of course they can buy the book and read about it, but tell more about how they find you and how do they actually get involved in, in.

Well, um, so I do have a website up and I try to keep it up, you know, somewhat, uh, it’s called C L C D for conscious life, conscious death, C L C D community.org. Um, and so that’s where you can find the book. Um, Let me put that on the screen for everybody. Is that@clcdcommunity.org? Yes, sir. That is it. And that’s where we’ll have events and things like that, but really what I’m trying to do, I think initially is get some people involved.

Um, so that I’m not doing all of this, cause I really don’t want this to be about me. And that’s some of these things just aren’t my strengths. But if you’re interested in, in health, you know, whether you’re a health, professional or others, if you’re interested in food, healthy food, if you’re interested in growing food, if you’re interested in, um, accounting or bookkeeping or the legal parts of doing all of this stuff that every entities need to do.

Okay. Whatever it is that you’re interested. If, if, if you want to plug in and see if it benefits you, and if there’s a role that you can benefit other people, um, that’s really how it’s going. I plan to get four people in through the first cohort of orientation, hopefully in January. And then we’ll start showing people like how this works.

I think that’s going to be much more effective than just writing it or talking about it, but actually have some people live together for a month. Um, like. The healthy food, exercise, meditation, putting together these strands or their lives. So they feel like they have a good path by the time they leave.

And, um, I’d really like to find someone that’s good at video, social media, those things. So we can continue to share those results. And then we’ll have speakers come in in the evening. Uh, anyone is welcome to come for dinner. As long as they let us know that we’re coming, that they’re coming so people can have their family with them every night.

If they want other friends can visit. See what we’re up to. Uh, transparency’s gotta be a huge part of this because it is not a cult. It is not whatever it is. Um, and it’s going to be the most open thing that you’ve ever seen. Um, a hundred percent transparency on the website for the finances as we develop that.

Um, so that we don’t fall prey to the other things that, uh, that have made people hate religion. Let’s identify what they are and remove those obstacles. And I will not be leading this thing for all time. My goal is at three to five years that I’m a member, just like everyone else, CLC D community.org. So you’re not, uh, you’re not picking up tides and offerings for the.

At some point we would, um, have people that want to contribute and we’ll have a way for that to happen. But again, it will all be transparent on the website. If you give a dollar, it’s going to say Paul, swearing-in $1 and you’re going to be able to see how much we’re spending on food, uh, or energy or whatever, whatever we’re spending the money on is.

Um, I, I believe, I mean, it’s so easy to do right now. I mean, anybody that’s running QuickBooks knows that you can easily put all of your finances on your website for anyone to look at. Um, but I don’t see churches doing that. And I, part of calling that a religion is I want to show churches that there could be a different way to operate than they’re operating.

And I, you know, this, this idea of texting churches is going kind of gaining some steam. And again, after watching the let’s go Brandon Church over the weekend, I’m, I’m starting to get there. And at very least, I, I think we ought to require not for profits to. You know, at least covenant with the community that a large percentage of their income is benefiting the community at large and not just their small church community, because, uh, I, I hear from right-wing Christians all the time, like we’re the most charitable giving people in the world and I’m like, yeah, Uh, as long as we call giving money, to make sure you have comfortable seats to sit in on Sunday morning, charity, the money you give from the sound system in the church.

If we call that charity. Yes, but there’s some bit of return for you in that giving. And I’m really starting to think. We ought to say to churches, you’ve got to show us at least, I don’t know what the percentage would be. 45%, 50% is going to actually benefit the community outside the bill. Um, and that would change things an awful lot.

I think. Well, like we we’ve, you know, for one, I’ve already stated that we’re going to pay property tax because if you’re going to buy a building and then sell it, you’re going to hope that value goes up. So you’re basically a developer or a property owner at that point. So it also, if the building catches on fire, parishioner has a heart attack, you’re going to call and want someone to show up, you know?

So how can you. How can you do that? And, and so we’re going to do that voluntarily. Um, and you know, I’ve been involved with municipal government for a long time. I really don’t like to see people that don’t contribute their fair share when, uh, when your community’s trying to put together education and public safety and parks and all those things, and you’ve got big, huge, you know, complexes that aren’t, aren’t even paying a penny.

I just doesn’t have. So we want to do that. Um, um, yeah, I mean, just again, trying to think through all the things people don’t like and see if there’s a way that we can, we can make a correction. Yeah. And I, you know, I’ve moved the work that I do completely to for-profit now, so that, and it costs me, but, but I want to be a part of helping to contribute to roads and schools and all of the things in my community and be honest that.

The the, the money that’s coming into supporting me and my household and not, you know, sort of make it this idea that it’s charity. The money that people give to my Patrion page and everything else, it helps. I always say it helps feed hungry kids and those hungry kids are my kids. Yeah. They’re paying you to do your work.

I mean, you wouldn’t, you know, if you go to a rock concert, you’re buying a ticket, you are assuming that it’s going to pay the band and roadies and you know, people that are taking your ticket at the door, right. Cost to do things. The other thing that I really want to do is, you know, if you said that. 3000, you know, almost people in and, and Fresno.

And there are 300 churches, that’s 1,000 plus homeless people for church per church. And I really want to make sure that we’re doing our share, which I hope will encourage other people to do their share as well. Cause it’s, we make that into a huge problem, but if we all just did our. You know, it wouldn’t be that big a thing.

And you could, you could take that into all kinds of, um, different social needs that we have right now. So, so required each church in Fresno to adopt and take care of 10 homeless people and get them off the, yeah. And I’m not saying require, I’m just saying I’m going to figure out exactly. I tried to consciously figure out what our part of the pie should be.

And then when we do that, It’d be really great if someone else said, oh yeah, well, we can do that too. So trying to lead by example. Yeah. Uh, and, and, you know, I’m sure there are other churches that are doing that sort of thing. I, I just don’t hear from them that much. They’re probably too busy doing good work.

Um, but we’re going to try to do our part as well. Uh, interesting stuff. The book is conscious life conscious death, an idea for a new religion from Craig Charton. Um, there’s the book they can, they can get it on Amazon or on your web. Uh, they can get it on Amazon, uh, then go right to Amazon or they can get it, get to Amazon through the website.

Uh, it’s probably the easiest way to do it. And, uh, if they live in Fresno, I have it at. Petunias place, which is a children’s book and local authors store. Um, and then, uh, you and I are going to sell some books next weekend, I think. Yeah. And I, and if somebody is listening to this podcast before November 20th, I believe that’s Saturday, right?

We will be at a, if you’re in the area, we’ll be at route down downtown Fresno, uh, at 11:00 AM podcasting, and then do book signing after. That’s right. So that’ll be fun then that’s going to be the day of the Fulton street party. So, uh, four years, uh, and our four year anniversary of the Fulton street parties.

So, um, so I’ll be a lot of people downtown and it should be fun. And, and, uh, it’s always fun with you. We’ll have a good time and, and have more books at another local place. So have the opportunity for those who can buy locally to be able to do that. Um, and I would say if anyone wants to have a zoom with some friends or anything like that, um, I’m very open to having these discussions and, and I learned a lot from them as well.

I’m really, for feedback. And as I’ve learned in coaching cohorts can be nationwide rather than just local. You may learn to do some of that online. Well, good stuff. I was in one of those issue where she work. Very great. And I really, the people that you are attracting to this. My favorite people. And I’m so glad you’re doing this.

Um, I, I, I don’t know if you caught me a few times, I’m trying to explain to like traditional Christians, that your role of ministering to people who are losing or questioning their faith is as important a role as, as is out there, because that is a very scary, even dangerous. Time for people, you know? You know, ministering to the people that are already willing, going to a building and buying everything you’re selling.

That’s not that hard to do, put up whatever songs they like to hear and, you know, everyone’s happy and they throw something in the jar and leave and, and, you know, have, have coffee cake afterwards, piece of cake. And we all agree to the same community narrative. Right? Right. That’s that doesn’t take a genius.

I mean, what you’re doing as people, I mean, I’ve had friends that have left Mormon, the Mormon church or, or the Catholic church or whatever, that was such an ingrained part of who they were and their family and their friends. And. All of that. And then to lose that is just, you know, it’s like when a person first becomes depressed, you just don’t know how far the bottom is going to be.

Uh, it’s, it’s a death it’s it is truly a mourning grieving period. And one of the things I’ve found through all of this is, you know, I sort of, you talk about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I sort of break it down to a basic of as human beings. We need safety, value and purpose. We need to know we’re not going to die and that you SERPs everything.

Yeah, we’ll do anything not to die. Um, and then we, uh, we want to know that we matter to somebody that there’s somebody that cares that we exist and when those are in place, then there’s just something innately in us as human beings that has to be coached out of us to say, I want to make a difference in the world.

I want to change something. And so getting past barriers that keep us from those things, I think are really valuable to us. Getting people to a place where they’re not trying to just protect me and my two over here, but saying, Hey, there’s real value for me benefiting people beyond my sphere. And I think if we can all learn that, and I think it was the teachings of Jesus.

Yeah, we can, we can really have a great world together where we actually feel like it’s important for me to care about you and you to care about me. And we need to care about a bunch of others out there as well. Yeah, that mattering word just keeps coming up over and over and over and, and all the, the, the psychological literature around consciousness and health.

Um, so I think you’re you’re right on on it. So isn’t it interesting that this is so we all say, well, blame it on mom. Let’s blame it all on mom, but I’m finding the American dream, the American way of life. Particularly now where we’re forcing families to have two income families, whether they want to, or not goes a long way in telling our children, they don’t matter what matters is dad’s job, mom’s job, and we’ll fit you around that.

And we have a generation that has really grown up, I think, in, in X-ers and millennials now. Being told by our very design of our household, that we don’t matter. And, and it’s left a mark, I think. And so I’m seeing in the millennials and gen Z ears and some of it healthy and some not so much that they’re saying, you know, sort of screw this idea of the American dream and let’s start to live life a little bit differently.

I think that’s really important. I’m not against work and working hard, but just the way it has played out. I think in the last couple of generations in America, probably even dating back to that greatest generation group, we, we integrate into our kids and then bring the shame-based religion on top of it and say, you don’t matter.

And in fact, you’re pretty cruddy of a person and it makes us into something that we have to then work our whole life to figure out how to not believe those things about ourselves. Yeah, well, it’s just, you know, there are a few different parts of our life and the more of those that we have going in the direction, you know, that we really want them to go including vocation, including family, you know, the healthier we’re going to be.

And the more successful we’ll be at those relationships. Yeah, so, and we can’t control what’s going to happen in the world, but we can control what we, we do and in our part of it, and we can always decide that we want to grow from, from the events of the world or, or, or, or even in our own. Good stuff, Craig, I’ve gone longer than I planned, but that’s what always happens when you and I start talking.

It’s we’ve gone on for hours before folks. There’s this just a little glimpse. All right. Conscious life, conscious death CLC D community.org. Is the website. Check it out also, for me joined my Patrion page. Uh, all the links are in the bio and my πŸ“ link tree. Help support this ministry. If you will, to tell the world that God’s not mad at them and he’s not mad at you.

So Craig, good talking to you, man.

Hey, thanks for watching. Don’t forget to subscribe or watch one of the other videos on the screen.

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