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Diversity By Itself Is Not Enough with John Lombard

In this episode, we talk to John Lombard, a former evangelical missionary and church planter, who spent over 25 years in China. We talk about his journey to Humanism, his important work as a Cultural Diversity consultant for businesses, and his long time efforts to educate the west about the Mosuo, an ethnic minority in China.

Episode 27: Diversity By Itself Is Not Enough with John Lombard

In this episode, we talk to John Lombard, a former evangelical missionary and church planter, who spent over 25 years in China. We talk about his journey to Humanism, his important work as a Cultural Diversity consultant for businesses, and his long time efforts to educate the west about the Mosuo, an ethnic minority in China.

Our Guest: John Lombard

John Lombard was born and raised in a fundamentalist evangelical Christian home. His Dad was a preacher. By 16 he was preaching from the pulpit; he went to one of the most conservative Bible colleges in North America; and in 1993, went to China as an evangelical missionary and church planter. About five years after going to China, he rejected his beliefs, and became an atheist; and soon after, a Secular Humanist. He stayed in China for 25 years. Some of his highlights:

  • Started three businesses
  • Was chosen as the personal consultant to the Mayor of Beijing for his 2001 speech to the International Olympic Committee about why Beijing should host the 2008 Olympic Games
  • Co-founded a non-profit organization to help a Chinese ethnic minority group, the Mosuo
  • Served on the Board of Directors of the Canada-China Business Council in Beijing, to promote trade and communication between Canada and China
  • Through my businesses, was a consultant to international companies such as Siemens, Dell, Motorola, Oracle, P&G, and many others
  • Gave a presentation about the Mosuo culture at the 2008 World Humanist Congress; and was a speaker at the 2009 American Atheists National Conference

Since returning home to Canada, John started a new business, “The Language of Culture“, which does Cultural Diversity consulting for corporations; and he’s also a Senior Consultant for Jennifer Brown Consulting in New York, one of the top Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion companies in the U.S.

John also serves on the Board of Directors of The Clergy Project, as Chair of the International Outreach Committee; and also on the Board of Directors of our local Big Brothers & Big Sisters organization, as Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

Extras:

The Language of Culture

The Clergy Project

The Mosuo culture

Transcript:

[01:02] Douglas Berger: With us today is John Lombard. He is the founder and president of the Language of Culture, and he does consulting for corporate corporations and other groups on cultural diversity. And he was born and raised in a, into a fundamentalist evangelical Christian home even became a preacher in a, in a church planter.

And he went to China as a missionary. And after a few years in China, he became an atheist and is now a secular humanist. Thank you for being with us today, John.

John Lombard: Yep. My pleasure.

Douglas Berger: All right. From a evangelical missionary to atheism is a really big step. Was it a gradual process for you or was there just one particular incident that helped you move, move you over?

John Lombard: It was very gradual you know, a lot, a lot of atheists who are ex Christian, particularly ex evangelical or ex fundamentalists.

They tend to have gone through a process of like, A feeling of anger, betrayal harmed some, like they got out because of negative feelings. I was the opposite. I absolutely did not want to leave. I wanted to keep my faith. Like everything in my life was built. You know, my family, my friends, my, you know, I was a Christian missionary.

Everything was built around that. So it was it was a very gradual process. Started in Bible college. Where as I was studying theology, reading the Bible, looking at church history, all these things, I started recognizing a lot of problems, contradictions, everything like that. But rather than seeing these as reasons to question my faith I simply concluded those because I didn’t have enough faith or I didn’t have enough understanding.

And by studying, you know, there were lots of people, much more knowledgeable than me who. Didn’t think these things were problems at all. Right. So all I needed was to study more, learn more, pray, more, get guidance from the holy spirit. And I would come to be able to record, to reconcile and understand these apparent problems.

But as time went on and it took over a decade all that study research, prayer, everything. Just led to finding more and more questions, more and more problems. And I kind of, like I said, I fought against it for quite a while and then literally no exaggeration. It was literally like a one day. Deconversion let’s say one day I just suddenly realized.

I can’t claim to believe this stuff anymore. It just does not make sense. There’s no way to reconcile it. And within a space of 24 hours, I went from, you know, Bible believing, evangelical fundamentalist, Christian to atheist. And within a few days I was a secular humanist and I’ve been a passionate, secular humanist ever since.

Douglas Berger: And did that kind of also lead you to in the process once you had deconverted led you to working with the clergy project to, to,

John Lombard: well, yeah, the, the clergy project came many years later. It didn’t exist. I wish it’s something like that. It existed at like, when this happened to me. I thought I was alone.

I had never heard that. You almost never heard of. Like missionaries, devout Christian people taking positions of Christian leadership, things like this, rejecting it all becoming atheists. You know, you, you know, people had doubts, they submit you to it just, I consider myself very much an aberration and it wasn’t until many years later, I think it was about 2014.

It would have been around 2000 that I became an atheist 2014 that I discovered the clergy project. They started in 2007. And it was an incredible revelation to me to discover just how many other people that were like me TCP. We now have over a thousand members. These are all people who were in positions of religious leadership.

Some of them very well known, popular. Christian leaders or in not just Christians, we have people from Muslim backgrounds from, from, you know, from all sorts of different religious backgrounds. So it was a real revelation to me to discover that I, I wasn’t alone that I wasn’t a weirdo, that there were actually tons of other people like me.

So. When I came in, it wasn’t so much for support that I needed. I was well past that stage, but to be able to come in and provide that support to other people going through that transition right now.

Douglas Berger: Yeah. Your, your journey is pretty much similar to mine. I wasn’t, although I wasn’t a preacher or anything like that, I was just a common everyday Christian.

Was that, you know, it didn’t make sense to me. A lot of the, a lot of the teachings didn’t speak to me didn’t make sense. And, and like you, I tried to fit my feelings into my beliefs and then it got to the point where it’s like, well, why am I doing it? Why don’t we just go ahead, just go completely to the atheist side.

And then eventually then I found humanism, but it was the same thing. It was like, I thought I was the only person that thought these things that I was totally alone. And it was great when I was able to, to meet up with some humanists and, and, and follow that path. So that was very good for me.

[07:03] Your, your main job, that what pays the bills is you’re a consultant that you talk to companies and other groups about cultural diversity and inclusion.

What does that consist of?

John Lombard: Yeah, well, I think because people listening to this are probably going to come from a wide variety of different backgrounds. I think I should explain a little first about diversity inclusion and equity. So diversity, very simple. Just trying to draw people in from many different backgrounds, whether that be focusing.

I like, you know, gender diversity, you know, getting a more equal balance between males and females in the workplace, racial diversity, again, having more balance in the different races in the workplace LGBTQ diversity, all these different areas. Diversity is just about. Creating more balance and representation of those different groups.

However, diversity by itself is not necessarily useful. If you get a company that has an equal balance of males and females, for example, but the men still have all the positions of leadership still have patriarchal attitudes. Women are kept in lower positions, stuff like that. You have technically gender diversity.

But you don’t have equity. So equity is the next step create. You’re not just having diversity, but providing equal opportunity, equal treatment for everybody in the company. But again, that’s not necessarily enough. I know a lot of organizations like I’ve gone to a number of know atheist conferences, humanist conferences, things like this.

When you look at them, they’re still. Very very predominantly white and male. You know, so, and when you talk to them and say, oh, well, we. We welcome everybody. We welcome everybody. We welcome all genders. We welcome all races. We welcome all sexual orientations, you know, everything, everything like this, but being welcoming isn’t enough.

You know, it’s about equity. Inclusion is more about actively reaching out to people from those different groups, intentionally creating a space. For those, for those groups everything like this, you know, if for example, let’s say we have a Chinese person from mainland. China has immigrated to north America, been here one or two years.

They go to a secular humanist conference. Majority of the people there are white among the Asians, fewer Chinese, fewer are immigrant Chinese who actually speak his language. Everything is done in English, which he’s not that familiar with. Even if people are nice to him, welcoming you, all those types of things, he’s still going to feel like an outsider.

He’s not really going to feel included in everything that’s happening. So when we talk about diversity equity inclusion, it’s about really taking those three things and putting them together. So I do cultural diversity. And so that’s specifically looking at cultural issues, you know, and if you look at the majority of the large, medium to large sized companies in north America, This isn’t about like offices overseas, working other countries.

This is about your north American Canadian or American office. You have employees who come from 5, 10, 15, 20 different cultural backgrounds, all working together in the same office, working together on the same teams, having different positions. Of leadership, different positions of responsibility and those cultural differences can cause significant issues for communication, for teamwork, for leadership styles, they can cause all sorts of misunderstandings.

There are. There are many unconscious biases that people aren’t even aware of, but with that will affect their reactions to people from other cultures and their behaviors. So that’s the area that I focus on is helping these companies who have a very mixed, very diverse cultural workforce helping them to deal with those cultural differences.

One thing I’d like to add here, cause I’m sure a number of your listeners will have had some sort of cultural training, but the vast majority of cultural training has been done based on a paradigm of using cultural stereotypes, you know You learn some principles of culture and then you learn, well, Chinese culture is like this.

And American culture is like this in German. Culture is like this. When you go to China, you should act like this. You know, things like that. And those stereotypes are sometimes true. But they absolutely are not universally true. And especially when you’re talking about people who have come from another country and moved to north America, working in a north American environment, there, they may have changed some of those cultural values, you know, obviously.

There’s so many differences there. And diversity is about getting rid of stereotypes, gender diversity, getting rid of stereotypes about men and women racial diversity, getting rid of stereotypes about different races, but in culture, most cultural training is still relying on stereotypes. So in cultural diversity, Diversity my program, I’ve developed a program which entirely eliminates those cultural stereotypes, teachers culture, an entirely different way that still enables you very, very much to understand those cultural differences, but to do so on an individual basis.

This individual’s actual behavior, rather than based on a stereotype of, oh, this person is from India, so they should, I should act like this. They should be like this.

Douglas Berger: Okay. And the, when, when you’re dealing with cultural diversity or any diversity in general I found that it doesn’t matter if somebody is an atheist or extremely religious.

A lot of times they have the same biases. And what do you think that that’s, what, what do you think brings that about?

John Lombard: Well, like every human being on the planet has biases. That is inevitable. This is not about eliminating. All biases. This is about enabling people to recognize their biases. When we talk in, in DEI, when we talk about bias, we usually talk about unconscious bias biases.

We have that we’re simply not aware of. I’ll give a very simple example from the cultural side. Yeah. We’ll talk about individualist and collectivist cultures. So individualist cultures are ones that focus more on the. Individual, you know what I want my accomplishments, things like this, collectivist cultures focus more on the group.

What’s best for the group. Now, the way that people exhibit behaviors in those two different environments is very, very different. Let’s say we have someone whose personality is very much a. Leadership personality. They like taking a position of leadership. Now in an individual is culture. That leadership will be demonstrated by standing out from the crowd, by being independent by, you know, in meetings, speaking up actively disagreeing with other people actively pushing your ideas, you know seeking to really stand out and be recognized as a leader.

In a collectivist culture, a person with that exact same leadership personality. It’s very unlikely to act in that way. They’re much more likely instead of taking a dominant public role, they’re going to work behind the scenes. Like before a meeting, they’re going to talk with different people individually.

One-on-one explain their ideas, get them on board and go into the meeting, knowing that they already have support and consensus for what they want to do. They may, they may have other people. Express some of those ideas instead of doing it themselves, they’re more likely to present it as this is what we as a group want to do rather than this is my idea now where unconscious bias comes in is that guy from the individualist culture, he expects a person with a leadership personality, too.

To be that like stand out from the crowd, take credit for his own ideas. When he sees the person from the collectivist culture, he’s not taking credit for his own ideas. He seems to be relying on the group. He’s afraid. He seems to be afraid to do anything for himself. This is how the individual perceives it.

He interprets those behaviors that this person is not a leader. It does not have a leadership personality, and this would be an uncalled unconscious bias. His the way he interprets different personalities, different behaviors is based on his culture. And when he gets someone from another culture, the same behaviors could mean something entirely different.

So that would be an unconscious bias and making people aware of that. So they can recognize, oh, when a person from from a collectivist culture acts this way, it has a different meaning than it does in my own culture.

Douglas Berger: All right. And what do, what do you think is one of the biggest misconceptions people have about cultural diversity?

John Lombard: I wouldn’t necessarily say this is a misconception, but a problem. There are tons of arguments online about the dangers of cultural diversity, many, many real life actual examples where they have put people from different cultures together, and it has been disaster it’s it’s cost. Violence it’s caused cultural or racial conflict, you know, all these types of things.

And these, there are very real, very valid examples of where this has happened. But to me, This is not real cultural diversity, that this is being culturally diverse. Being culturally diverse just means stick a whole bunch of different cultures together. But if those different cultures do not understand each other are still subject to the same prejudices, the same biases, it really is many times a recipe for disaster.

What you want is to go from being culturally diverse, to having real. Culturally cultural diversity, where those different groups can actually understand each other. They address the prejudices, they’re aware of the biases. So there’s able to be communication interaction between those different groups.

Douglas Berger: Okay. And I know you kind of touched on it there for a little bit about People have the misconceptions that they have about, you know, it’s not cultural, diverse being cultural diverse, but can cultural diversity. And you have some people that do the argument, that being understanding cultural diversity or multiculturalism is a word that they throw out is something that violates their freedom.

How would you go about addressing a negative idea like that, that, that being diverse would violate your freedoms?

John Lombard: Well I guess in some ways I would agree everybody has the freedom to be ignorant. You know, I guess that’s a right. That’s a freedom, you know, I can’t force you not to be deliberately ignorant.

Cultural diversity is not about forcing you to accept their cultural behaviors, to act like them. Just like when we talk about LGBTQ diversity, you know, understanding the LGBTQ community, accepting things like same sex marriage doesn’t mean I’m forcing you to marry someone of the same sex. You know so it’s not about forcing these behaviors on you.

It’s simply about increasing your own knowledge, increasing your own understanding of others. And if you, for whatever reason are opposed to that, if you really want to remain ignorant, I guess you have the freedom to do so. You know, I can’t, I can’t force you. Nobody else can force you to It, to me seems a very weird definition of freedom.

I think we achieve much more freedom on an individual level by increasing our understanding of the world, around us, of other people, of other cultures, everything like that. All right. And How

Douglas Berger: your, your presentations that you give to companies and other groups, how, how is that different than what people are used to?

That’s called sensitivity training. I know you kind of touched on it a little bit earlier, but what specifically is the difference between what you do and what people are used to? I mean,

John Lombard: I’ll give a simple example. So, and this is specifically for calls. The typical cultural training, which I will guarantee probably 95 to now, 98% of anybody listening to this who has gone through any sort of cultural training.

This is what they’ve learned. Take the example I’ve already used of individualist and collectivist cultures. They will begin by explaining what is an individualist culture? What is a collectivist culture? How does this impact their behaviors? Second step will then be to identify. For example, Chinese culture is a collectivist culture or Asian cultures tend to be collective as cultures.

America is an individualist culture. Germany is an individualist culture. So it’ll go like that, which again was relying on stereotypes. Now the problem with this is if you go to China yeah. The foundations of Chinese culture are very collectivist. The, the influences of, of Confucianism and Buddhism and all these things are very collectivist.

Many people in China certainly will tend more to the collectivist side, but there absolutely are Chinese who are not collectivists, who are very, very individually. Particularly the younger generation who are growing up exposed to Western culture, going to school overseas and in the U S we have people who are very, very collectivist, you know, so.

This is a stereotype, which is not at all universally true and can lead to a lot of problems with a lot of misunderstandings by trying to apply it in this manner. And addition, it just reinforces stereotypes. It reinforces unconscious biases that we make. Now the way I will approach it is I’ll start off the same way.

Explain individualist and collectivist culture. But I will never talk about this. Culture is collective as this culture is individuals instead, I’ll say, okay, let’s say you meet somebody. You have no idea what country they’re from. You have no idea of their culture. What behaviors would an individual? Yeah.

Exhibit and what behaviors would a collective as exhibit that would be different from each other. For example, in speaking, I ask them to talk about themselves and individual. This is going to use much more. I did this, you know, I I. I mean, my, is there an individualist collectivist as much more likely to use us?

We, our more often, you know, so instead of I am, I am the vice president of marketing in XYZ corporation. That would be the individualist. The collectivist would be, I work for a large international corporation called XYZ. So they’re identifying the more by the organization they belong to then by their personal position.

Yeah, and again, like, there are many, many different things. I’m not going to spend a lot of time on it right now, but there are many different things in the way an individualist and a collectivist will act, we’ll talk, we’ll behave. And if you know what to look for you know, what types of questions to ask.

That are going to elicit answers that are going to help you identify, are they more individualistic or more collectivist? You’re going to know what types of things to look for in their use of language. What types of things to look for in their behavior, in their reactions, to the things that you say to them, everything like this that help you to identify this person as an individual.

Is more on the individualist or the collectivist side. And this has nothing to do with what country they’re, from what culture they’re part of. It has nothing to do with stereotypes. It’s purely based on that. Person’s actual behavior

Douglas Berger: And what, what a one or two things could somebody do on an everyday basis? To get better at learning about cultures and, and trying to identify their biases

John Lombard: well and identifying biases. I w okay, first step do learn about like basic, basic cultural, cultural categories, like individualist and collectivist you know, All these, there, there are very, well-defined very well-studied categories learn about those tons of online stuff about this.

Very, very easy to learn it. When you learn it, you’re probably going to be learning in the context that I explained where they’re going to be using stereotypes. Just focused on learning those different categories. Once you’ve learned those categories, second step start thinking about, okay. So what are the differences in how someone in this category would behave versus how someone in this category.

Making yourself more aware of those things. So when you’re meeting people from other cultures, you’re able to consciously identify those things. Third step biases, and this is very, very important. It’s a big part of my training is I’ll say I’ll ask people. Okay. So if you are an individualist and you are working with a collectivist.

What adjectives are you likely to use to describe that person and people right away will generally come up with negative adjectives. They are. They’re not, they’re not leaders. They’re too dependent on others. They care too much. What other people think. Things like that then Alaska. Okay. So what about, what would the collectivists think of the individualist?

Oh, they’re too selfish. They only care about themselves. They want to Tate. They want to take credit for everything. You know, they’re aggressive, everything like this. And after we’ve done that, I’ll say, okay guys, those are the cultural biases. You know, these are are the moment. You meet someone from another culture and you find yourself interpreting their behavior.

Using these terms, be very conscious that that could be a cultural bias and be watching for that. So these are all things that people can do on their own. It helps a lot to actually have someone facilitating that, you know, someone providing training, all that types of thing, but it’s absolutely something that you can do on your own and start, start developing that awareness.

A huge part of it is just. Making yourself be more consciously aware of it. And then of course, absolutely exposing yourself to people from different cultural backgrounds getting outside of your comfort zone.

[27:59] Douglas Berger: Okay. Well, let’s kind of move shift gears a little bit, but not too far. When I was looking at the, the information in your biography, it says that you co-founded a nonprofit organization to help a Chinese ethnic minority group. The Mosuo

John Lombard: Mosuo.

Douglas Berger: What is it? Mosuo. Mosuo. Yeah. I have never heard of them.

John Lombard: Nope. Even in China. A lot of people haven’t heard of them. They’re not, not a very well-known group. And where, where are they located at? Is there a particular area, a little background for people listening to this?

Sure. China has. More than 50 different ethnic minority groups. And this would be very similar to native peoples in north America. These are groups that ethnically culturally, historically are completely, totally different than the Han Chinese majority. They have their own culture. They have their own language.

And over the 5,000 plus years of Chinese history, as China grew, they conquered different areas and added them to the country. But some of these groups still retained their cultural identity, their language. So the Mosuo are one of these cultures. Th these ethnic minorities they have their own language, their own culture, everything like this.

They live way, way up in the Himalayas. Close to the border with Tibet they’re in one of the most undeveloped regions of China. Some villages still have no running water, no electricity. For most of them, the lifestyle is a subsistence lifestyle, very similar to how they would have lived a hundred years ago.

So it’s a very remote area with a culture that unlike native peoples in north America, in. Aboriginal peoples in pretty much any Western country. They are still relatively untouched. They still maintain a lot of their original culture, language, everything like that.

Douglas Berger: Okay. Yeah. Cause I mean, I was familiar with the Chinese trying to integrate Tibet and I’m also familiar with the Muslim.

Yeah. Culture that they’re trying to also suppress. So I was wondering if that was similar if they’re related.

John Lombard: Well, no, they’re not really, really well. As far as the weekers, not related at all with Tibet The most people historically are distinct from Tibet, but a round, I think it’s around 400, 500 years ago to bet did conquer them.

Tibet was not, not always a peaceful, harmony, loving place. They were actually a kingdom that conquered people around them. So the most while were conquered and added to the Tibetan kingdom at one point. So they have their own religion called Dabo, which is an animistic religion, but they also follow Tibetan Buddhism.

And many of their male children will go to, to Tibet to be trained as Tibetan monks. So the two religions coexist, but they are not Tibetans themselves.

Douglas Berger: Oh, okay. So I learned something. Yeah, thank you very much. I appreciate that.

John Lombard: Cause this is for me, one of the most fascinating aspects. And if, if your listeners have a chance to hear about it, I think it’s great.

The most for one of the last remaining matriarchal cultures on the planet. So the women are the head of the household, make all the decisions. Women tend to be the head of the community. Their culture has no marriage. In their culture, only women have private bedrooms, men sleep in a communal sleeping area.

So women have folders control over the relationships who they’re, who they’re going to partner with. The men will come and sleep with them at night, but they never actually lived together. Either. The men will continue to live in their own home and be responsible for their family. The women live in their home and responsible for their family.

There is no marriage. There is no concept of finding a soulmate, lifelong bond, anything like this. The Mosuo principle is very, very simple. If we’re happy together, we stay together. If we’re not happy together, we should separate and find someone else, you know? So yeah, there are Mosuo couples that last a few days, there are Mosuo couples that add, lasts several decades, but you never see Mosuo couple who are unhappy.

Yeah. And this system also means the the biological father is not the father to the child. The father role is taken by the uncle. So if Mosuo a man gets a woman pregnant, he has no responsibility to care for that child, but that doesn’t mean that he gets off scot-free. Every sister, every aunt in his own family who has a child, he shares parenting responsibilities for those children.

And he, the, the woman that he got a pregnant, same thing in her family, all her brothers, her uncles are going to help to care for that child. So these are large extended families with several generations, all living together. So it’s a very, very different concept of parenting. People tend to think it’s very weird, but one of the big benefits of this is when a couple breaks up.

You’re in almost every culture country in the world. If I’m married, if a married couple breakup, they have children, they’re going to fight over division of assets. They’re going to fight over custody of the children. It can be very traumatic for the children. They’re losing a parent, you know, everything like this, once our culture that simply doesn’t happen, no fighting over property.

Cause they’ve never shared property, no fighting over the children because the father never had a role in the child’s life. So for the children, it provides a tremendous degree of stability. So that was one of the main reasons that I developed a passion for the most well culture and started my charity to help them was both to help them with, with their own development.

And to help make people outside, more aware of this really fascinating, really unique culture.

Douglas Berger: Yeah, I did. I’m very interested in hearing about, and I’ll probably look up some more information afterward. We’re done.

So. Do they live in like stable villages or are they nomadic?

John Lombard: Actually, historically they were nomadic.

And this was part of the reason they developed the matriarchal culture. Historically, when they’re traveling around the men would travel ahead to kind of, you know, detect danger, defeat, defeat, people, attacking them, things like this. And that was the women who were the center of the community who actually made decisions.

Now this was hundreds of years. For hundreds of years, they have lived where they are now. So they are very much in place. They live in their own communities, little villages. When I went there, my first time I went there, I lived in a tiny Mosuo village on the side of a mountain in the home of a local Mosuo family.

And I lived there from. Just experiencing their day to day life, the culture, everything like that. So yeah, now, today they are very established. They have set a set area where they live, but historically they used to be nomadic.

Douglas Berger: Okay. Well, as we kind of wrap up our talk for today what I

like to do is turn the mic over to our guests and give you the opportunity to promote whatever it is that you want to promote and, and tell us maybe something else that you think that our listeners should know. And, and we’ll go ahead and take it.

John Lombard: All right. Well, actually I have three things I’d like to promote. First of all, obviously it’s my company, the Language of Culture.

If people are interested to learn more about it, they can go to my website, language of culture.net. And there’s a video there that provides an excellent explanation of, of what we do. And also multiple blog articles that I’ve written. Second very definitely the Mosuo that’s spelled M O S U O.

Definitely. If you’ve got any interest, go online and search for them Wikipedia has an entry that most of the information there was actually taken from a website. That I set up a long time ago, but that website is now defunct, but you know, the, the Wikipedia article is great. And there’s lots of other information with them as well.

And then we also talked briefly about The Clergy Project Quickly for those who aren’t familiar. The Clergy Project is an organization specifically for religious leaders who have become atheists. And the main focus is particularly on those who are still religious leaders. Like they’re still in their churches.

They still have positions of leadership they’re trying to get out, but it’s very, very difficult. Many of them, their house is provided by the church. So if they tell their church that they’re an atheist, they lose their job and they lose their home. In one swoop, they could be looking at losing their family.

It’s a very difficult, very traumatic situation to face. So we provide support for them. So just again, just search online for the clergy project, you’ll find our website. And if you’d like to get more information or support the organization, we would love to.

Douglas Berger: Okay. And yes, and I will add some links to the various websites on the show notes.

Once this is published and John, I really appreciate your time today and good luck in your future endeavors.

John Lombard: Yeah, my pleasure. Thank you very much for having me. I’m always, always happy to get the word out on any of these topics. They’re all things that I’m quite passionate about.

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[Transcript also available for offline reading HERE]

Credits

Written, produced, and edited by Douglas Berger and he is entirely responsible for the content. Incidental voice overs by Shawn Meagley

The GCH theme is “Glass City Jam” composed using Ampify Studio

This episode by Glass City Humanist is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.

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