Finding Balance: The Key to Engaging Culture with Wisdom – Nathan Alberson

Show Notes

If you’re a Christian seeking guidance on engaging culture in a way that honors God, this episode is for you! Dive into our discussion and learn how to approach cultural conversations with maturity, kindness, and wisdom. Take advantage of the valuable insights shared by Nathan Alberson. Tune in now!

In this episode, you will be able to:

  • Gain wisdom and tools to engage with culture while maintaining discernment, ensuring your faith remains firm in a changing world.
  • Navigate the impact of cancel culture by understanding its dynamics and discovering strategies to respond with grace and truth without compromising your beliefs.
  • Recognize the importance of a thriving local Christian community and learn how to cultivate meaningful relationships that provide support, encouragement, and accountability in your faith journey.
  • Prioritize foundational aspects of your faith, such as prayer, Bible study, and worship, to establish a solid spiritual grounding that guides your decisions and actions in engaging with culture.
  • Discover practical tips and insights for using social media wisely, balancing authentic self-expression with the need for accountability and discernment in a digital age.

Nathan Alberson is not your average church planter. With a knack for podcasting and a passion for engaging culture, he has become a go-to voice in Christian media. As the creative director of Warhorn Media, Nathan produces and appears on multiple podcasts, including Sanity at the Movies, Sound of Sanity, The Booking, and The Build.

His unique perspective and ability to bring biblical sanity to an insane world have made him a trusted source of guidance for Christians seeking to navigate cultural engagement with discernment. Nathan’s down-to-earth and friendly approach to podcasting makes him relatable and approachable, while his wealth of knowledge and experience makes him a credible and insightful guest.

Tune in to gain wisdom and tools to navigate cultural engagement faithfully from this dynamic church planter and podcasting guru.

The Grace of Shame: 7 Ways the Church Has Failed to Love Homosexuals https://amzn.to/3PW8szo

Nathan’s Links

Sound of Sanity: https://warhornmedia.com/podcasts/sound-of-sanity/

Sanity at the Movies: https://warhornmedia.com/podcasts/sanity-at-the-movies/

Nathan’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/nathanalberson

North Arrow Coffee Support Babies and Great Coffee!: https://northarrowcoffee.co/MvL3lH

Podmatch: Want to be a podcast guest? Have your own podcast and want to find guests? Use podmatch! https://www.joinpodmatch.com/faithfullyengaged

The key moments in this episode are:

00:00:00 – Introduction

00:02:12 – Podcasting Career

00:07:42 – Engaging with Culture

00:08:13 – Drawbacks of Withdrawing

00:11:54 – Historical Examples

00:15:46 – The Importance of Going Deeper

00:18:01 – Reading Scripture and Engaging with Culture

00:21:30 – Going Beyond Shallow Responses

00:23:11 – The Viral Tweet Incident

00:26:08 – The Intensity of Online Backlash

00:31:36 – Early Backlash and Misunderstandings

00:33:49 – Defending His Character

00:35:31 – Dealing with Hate

00:36:13 – The Sting of Online Criticism

00:37:51 – Lessons Learned

00:47:22 – Integrating Pop Culture and Faith

00:48:54 – Regrets About the Article

00:50:10 – Standing with Jesus

00:51:17 – Dealing with Criticism

00:55:40 – Controversial Tweets

01:02:29 – JK Rowling’s Response

01:04:39 – Lack of Defense in Cancel Culture

01:05:19 – Arguing with a Twitter Mob

01:09:20 – Shifting Cultural Landscape

01:11:47 – Fighting for Truth and Living Courageously

01:17:33 – Engaging in Culture vs. Internet Battles

01:18:59 – Practical Ways to Engage in Culture

01:21:18 – Importance of Basic Christian Living

01:24:23 – Balancing Engagement with Accountability

01:27:51 – Understanding Different Social Media Platforms

01:32:57 – The Importance of Finding a Church

01:33:50 – Church Attendance vs. Online Interactions

01:34:43 – Podcasts as Supplements

01:36:11 – Nathan’s Podcast Recommendations

01:38:16 – Final Thoughts and Call to Action

Transcript

00:00:09 – Johnny Sanders
Well, welcome, everyone, to another episode of Faithfully Engaged. Today I’ve got a different kind of guest here today. I got a really interesting story with him. So I have Nathan Alberson today. He is a church planter with Church of the King in Evansville, Indiana, and creative director of Warhorn Media, for whom he produces and appears on several podcasts, including Sanity at the Movies, Sound of Sanity, The Booking, and The Build. So, Nathan, it’s great to have you on today.

00:00:41 – Nathan Alberson
Great to be here. How are we doing, Johnny?

00:00:44 – Johnny Sanders
Doing great. Doing great. Yeah. Kind of kind of back behind scenes there where we’re dealing with not able to hear each other, so it’s great to actually hear you and we can have this conversation.

00:00:55 – Nathan Alberson
That’s right. And I was saying I could have a conversation Johnny’s Eyes, because if people don’t know he’s got Frodo Baggins baby blues, there should be lifeguards just to watch and make sure that I don’t dive into his eyes. I’m happily married, conservative, Christian man. But if people only get the audio version of this, or they only know Johnny through some sort of nonverbal or non, you know what I’m saying? They don’t see him visually, then I just think that that’s an important detail here, because if I suddenly trail off or something, it’s because I’ve been hypnotized by I mean, I think this guy could start his counseling practice just all based on this natural attribute that he’s been given. He barely needs to say anything, but I just want to make sure that people understand that if they’re only listening.

00:01:51 – Johnny Sanders
To this podcast, I need to make that a part of my own intro. Beware of eyes.

00:01:58 – Nathan Alberson
Yeah, you should put that in the little thing that you send out to people. Your email.

00:02:04 – Johnny Sanders
That’s fantastic. I love it. So, Nathan, tell us just a little bit about your podcasting career there. It sounds like you got your hands and quite a few projects there, so kind of tell the audience a little bit about what you do there.

00:02:18 – Nathan Alberson
Yes, sir. So I am actually more or less a professional podcaster. You could read that blurb and people could be forgiven for thinking, oh, he’s a guy on the Internet that says that about himself. I mean, there’s all kinds of guys on the Internet that I’m a creative writer. And that doesn’t mean you’ve actually published anything. That just means you put the words creative writer in your bio. Obviously, anybody can start a podcast, which is one of the joys of the medium, and I’m not upset about that. At a certain point, I was just starting one. But I want people to understand I get paid to do this baby. So, yeah, I am the creative director for a ministry called Warhorn Media. We exist to basically bring sanity to an insane world that’s kind of our byline. So we just want to exist in spaces. Oh, boy. Listen to me. I sound like we just want to exist in the spaces of basically we do culture, we do pop culture, we do a lot of different podcasts. We do articles, we’ve done some video stuff. And the goal is to bring, as I say, just normalcy. Normal isn’t normal anymore. So we just want to sort of let people bask in the joy of normal thoughts about sexuality, about other places where the Christian witness is under attack today. So we try not to be people that have a chip on our shoulders or anything like that, but we do kind of want to occupy those spaces where things feel a little danger and where people are tempted to feel insane precisely because they’re sane, precisely because they’re the normal ones. They just believe what people have always believed about men and women or things like that. And you can feel very crazy just being a Christian these days. So I occupy that space. Man why do I keep saying occupy space? I do not care for that language at all. That’s like corporate speak sounds like Bob Iger or something like that. We’re going to occupy the space, but I occupy that space. I don’t know where that’s coming from. It’s those eyes. They’re making me nervous, man.

00:04:47 – Johnny Sanders
You’re drowning, man.

00:04:48 – Nathan Alberson
I’m drowning. I’m drowning. We need to send a lifeguard. But yeah. So I am also a church planter here with our head pastor is named Jacob Mensel, and he also appears on many podcasts with me. We kind of co founded Warhorn Media together. So my day job is Warhorn Media, but I also preach and help out and do some counseling and stuff like that for our church plant. If people want to listen to my podcast, I’ll just go ahead and slip a plug in there like a real pro. I do one called Sound of Sanity, which, again, just exists to bring biblical sanity to an insane world. The one that I’m actually most excited about right now is called Sanity at the Movies. And the reason that I’m excited about that is because it is the best Christian movie podcast ever made. So pretty easy to be excited about something that’s the best in its field, the Mona Lisa of Christian movie podcast. And by the way, when I say Christian movie podcast, I do not mean that we review terrible Christian movies. We’re not doing. God is not dead or something like that. Two or three or whatever, or yeah, any movie about like a football coach who rediscovers his faith. We are not reviewing that. But I encourage anyone with an interest in movies or culture or the world you live in to check that out. We do some recent releases. I mean, we’ll be doing Flash and Oppenheimer and the new Indiana Jones and stuff like that. But we also do long form deep dives into classic films. I mean, could be Buster Keaton, could be Charlie Chaplin, could be The Godfather. Could be samurai films. Kurosawa. But we really just use the podcast as a springboard to talk about all kinds of like we just recorded an episode on Rocky classic film Adrian Rocky, but and it hasn’t come out yet. But we actually used it. As a springboard somehow to talk about boxing and blood sport and the way that societies from ancient Babylon on have used and abused the masculine urge to dominate and to defeat their enemies and the way that it’s been gamified. And what’s good about that? What’s bad about that? And I don’t know that whether our views on that would be surprising or not surprising to your listeners, but I thought it was interesting. And we got there just in a little podcast, humble podcast about Rocky got all the way from Babylon to Muhammad Ali. So, yeah, I encourage people to check that out. I know. I realize someone on the Internet talking about movies not really all that exciting to just see that, but we’re the best.

00:07:37 – Johnny Sanders
Can’t beat that.

00:07:38 – Nathan Alberson
So there’s my plug. I got it out of the way up front. I’m sorry to be such a crass.

00:07:42 – Johnny Sanders
No, that’s great. I’m interested, too. Just with most of my audience is going to be of a Christian background. And there’s the temptation for Christians, especially in today’s world, as you mentioned, we’re living in an insane world that I think it’s always been insane, but boy, here recently we’ve taken it to some new levels, and the temptation is, well, that’s all bad. Okay, agreed. So let’s just run away, live under a rock and just watch civilization burn and not deal with it at all. What would be your response to that type of mindset, to just completely withdraw and not deal with the culture at all?

00:08:32 – Nathan Alberson
Well, you can’t unless you have a rocket ship and you can breathe oxygen on Mars and your rocket ship will get you to Mars, you can’t you can only say that you can, but you can’t escape culture because you can’t escape yourself and you can’t escape the air that you breathe. And culture, that’s all culture really is. That’s all pop culture really is. It’s just the air that you breathe. So I think Christians fall into a couple of basic errors when it comes to movies and entertainment. One thing is, and this one was very popular back in the when I was coming of age, they draw a line in the sand. They say, we do not watch any R rated movies in our house, or we do not watch any movies made after the year 1970 in our house, or whatever it is. We only watch public. And that can work to a degree. You can get rid of some bad stuff that way. And when you say leave the world, I think that’s all it really ends up equating to is people draw a line and they say, everything on this side of the line is worldly. Everything on this side of the line is, okay, the problem with that, again, is the human heart and the fact that we live in a fallen world. And guess what? There’s lots of PG 13 movies that are filthy, that require discernment, and there might even be some good R rated ones. You know what I mean? I grew up in kind of a homeschooling community, and people wouldn’t give themselves to any new art. I can remember a family that just didn’t watch movies. Guess what? They had books of Renaissance paintings, and you could find naked ladies in those Renaissance painting books, and you could be enticed by the naked ladies in those Renaissance painting books. You can read the work of Homer, and it can fulfill your bloodlust. I’m not saying don’t read Homer. I love Homer. But I’m just saying Wickedness is all around us. And what you have to do is actually have discernment. You can’t just draw a line in the sand and say, well, okay, everything’s good on this side. Everything’s bad on that side. If you just were to lock yourself in a bunker and it was just you and your spouse and your kids, there would be five sinners in that bunker. And actually unfortunately, I could only really say this anecdotally, but I think it’s true that a lot of sexual abuse, a lot of molestation, a lot of that sort of stuff actually springs up in very conservative communities where they’re just kind of creating their own little cult of the family or their own little cult of personality, and they’re trying to shut themselves out from the world. But if you think that makes you holy, then it doesn’t. And a lot of times, God’s judgment on that can unfortunately be pretty severe. And people will think I’ve removed all sexual temptation, but then they still have the sexual temptation that’s in their own heart. I mean, you could see this throughout Christian history in the monasteries. I mean, not to get into maybe a controversial subject, but you can look through human history and you can see people try and shut themselves out from the world. And always, always they have their own human heart in there with them. So that’s one error. I’ve told you one out of three errors that I think people make. The second one that they make is they say, okay, I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to just draw an arbitrary line in the sand. I’m going to have discernment. Okay, so far, so good. But then they fall into what I perhaps uncharitably think of as the Gospel Coalition error. And I like things that the Gospel Coalition publishes. Don’t worry. But one thing that can kind of happen with some of their pop culture stuff is they find a way to kind of baptize it a little bit. They’ll say Luke Skywalker is actually a type of, you know, something like, know it’s, he’s a metaphor. And it’s like A, I’m not sure that George Lucas would actually agree with you on that. B, God made the world and he built a lot of Christian typology into the world. It turns out you’d be hard pressed not to find a metaphor for. And like, here we are, we’re talking you’re a counselor, you talk to people. That makes you a little bit like the great physician Jesus Christ who came to heal people. We can think of a Christ like metaphor for you. Does that necessarily mean that you’re good? No, it just means, no, I still have to use discernment about you and about your practice. Right. But it’s easy enough to sort of baptize it and say, well, he’s being like Jesus. And I find that people have a little bit of a cheap relationship sometimes with movies and entertainment where they’ll find these kinds of analogies mean I don’t know that anyone’s ever actually I’m sure people have done Luke Skywalker’s. Jesus. But I’ll see things like that where they take a movie that is popular and they sort of find the Christian associations in it. And I think that that can be a little cheap sometimes. And then there’s a third error that’s a corollary to the second error, and that’s among people who are even more conservative and maybe even to the right of something like the Gospel Coalition, they end up actually sort of doing the same thing, but they’re just looking for different associations, different typologies. So they’ll say, this is such a great movie about fatherhood, and it has fathers and sons relating to each other. And it’s not that a movie can’t teach us something about Jesus. It’s not that a movie can’t teach us about fatherhood. It’s not that I don’t have movies that I respond to because I see great truth in them. It’s just that you have to not think shallowly about these things. You have to actually ask, what are the filmmakers trying to say? Or the musicians or with any kind of art. You have to ask, does it matter whether they would agree with what I’m pulling out of here? You have to ask, how are they saying it? Through cinema, through visual language, when it comes to movies. And those are the kinds of things that we try to answer on our podcast, and we have a great, fun time doing it. So subscribe today listener sanity at the Movies podcast.

00:15:25 – Johnny Sanders
Man, you’re good at this. I think what you’re saying, though, is really important, particularly as Christians. The temptation is, I mean, anybody that’s grown up in church here’s the Sunday school answer. It’s always Jesus. Yay. Luke Skywalker’s, Jesus. Game over. No more thinking.

00:15:48 – Nathan Alberson
Right?

00:15:49 – Johnny Sanders
And there is a deeper level there, like you’re saying. And what I’m about to draw, I’m not equating the medium of a movie, and I’m going to draw this to the way that we read Scripture. Again, not the same things, but similarly, we can read Scripture and oh, man, King David. I I see myself in just I’m reading Scripture, I’m reading those psalms. I’m just like King David. And there might be some truth to that. You may have some similarities in a phase of life, but you don’t want to read yourself or your own shallow understanding into it. Like, what is Scripture saying? What is the meaning? Not my meaning. What is the meaning here? Same thing in culture. We just don’t want to go at that shallow level, actually get underneath there, actually think about what’s going on. And that takes some brain effort. It’s not just it does. Eating the popcorn and going on with your life.

00:16:51 – Nathan Alberson
Yeah, I remember early on when I was a little bit more abrasive, there are people who would say, I’m abrasive on Twitter now, which I suppose we’ll talk about at a certain point. But early on, this was around the time that the first Wonder Woman movie came out, and there was a lot of people going back and forth about the feminism in that movie. And there was a popular Christian sort of celebrity who put out a tweet where he just said, you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to go to theater and I’m going to eat my popcorn and I’m going to enjoy the movie. And I just thought of all the responses you could have. I mean, if you want to say, guys, it’s annoying that you’re reading so much into this and making it is such a culture war when it’s just a wonderful if you want to do that and you think that you can do that. I might not agree with you, but that’s an argument. To just simply say, I’m going to intentionally disengage that’s not an argument. That’s not helpful. We need to be engaged. We don’t get to shut off our brains as Christians. I think what you say about use the example of King David and it’s like you can go to a sort of shallow church or hear a shallow sermon where someone will say know when we see the story of David and Goliath. It is just a story of overcoming a challenge. Now, I think equal and opposite to that, though, you can go to a church where they’ll say, when you see the story of King David, remember he’s a type of Christ. And so it’s just this sort of theological point. Meanwhile, everyone sitting in the pew is like, I know what a David and Goliath story is. It’s the story of overcoming a big challenge. Like, you’re going to tell me that the one thing that everybody, sports teams, David and Goliath stories. You’re going to tell me that’s nothing. And it’s like, well, actually, we need to have the discernment and not just run to it’s all allegory or just reduce it to an easy little self help parable. Maybe there’s something more there that we need to see. And I think that can be true of our preaching, that we have those kinds of problems, that we fall into shallow little ruts. And it can certainly be true of the way that we read culture and read pop culture and engage with different texts and different art and stuff like that. So what we always say about our podcasts is we don’t want to teach people what to think, necessarily. We want to teach them how to think. We want to teach them how to be engaged and how to actually be critically thinking about things. And unfortunately, not that I’m necessarily any better than anyone else, but critical thinking is in short supply these days, so you just have to learn how to do it.

00:19:58 – Johnny Sanders
And that’s something that I constantly harp on on the podcast, that I don’t like to take some of the quick potshots on the left. Not that they can’t be fun. I understand the temptation of did you see what AOC said? Whoa, Bernie’s crazy. Like, I get it. And don’t get me wrong, there’s times I laugh at that stuff, too. But again, it’s shallow. There’s not much meat there. I find myself criticizing much more on the right. Not because I agree more with the left than the right. No, there’s very little I agree with the left on pretty much anything but the shallowness, the shallow response, the quick, like, we’re just going to fix this. We’re going to vote for this next president. It’s all going to be gone. We’re good to go. No, this is so much deeper than that. And two, seeing the giving up part of, oh, it doesn’t matter who we vote for, so what’s the point? And I’m sitting there looking at my kids and like, well, that’s the point. I want my kids to have something to grow for, and I’m going to invest in them and invest in my family, including some of the politicians I vote for. But it’s much more than that. We can’t just be at that surface level. We got to be in it. If you want to fight, then you need to be in it for the long haul. And that’s not just at the voting box. It’s your life. Your life in general.

00:21:34 – Nathan Alberson
Absolutely.

00:21:36 – Johnny Sanders
Well, you alluded to this earlier, so I’m actually really curious on this because I’ve kind of been on the outside looking in of this fun little Twitter issue that, yeah, I’m sure wasn’t as fun for you, being in the middle of it. Most people listening to this probably don’t know what we’re talking about. So would you mind kind of setting the scene of this particular viral tweet and I guess kind of a series of viral tweets and yeah, what happened? What was the issue here?

00:22:09 – Nathan Alberson
Well, the reason that you’re having me on is because I had a couple of tweets go viral recently, and Twitter leftist, sort of atheist Twitter mob came after me, and I sort of went through being canceled, or whatever you want to call it. But actually, there’s another story that you should hear first, if you don’t mind, because this has actually happened to me before on a much larger scale. This more recent one, the one that you saw, was relatively small, actually, compared to the time that they really came after me, which was several years ago now, I want to say it was around 2016. So we were just getting our website, Warhorn Media, up and running. I think it had only been online for a few months. And Star Wars Force Awakens had come out. I think that that was 2015, that that movie came out, if I’m remembering correctly. And I wrote a little article called should I say the name of the article? Do I want people to find this? Sure. So it’s called open lettered array. I’m not proud of anything necessarily in the way that the article was written, but it was an article attacking the sort of girl boss feminism of the first Star Wars, the first of the new trilogy of Star Wars movies, where Rey is just this perfect character with no flaws. And it was written sort of in a, I guess you’d say, like a humorous kind of a way. It was written to the character of Ray. It was like, Dear Ray, I don’t think you’re behaving in a feminine manner, actually. This is not how biology works. You could not simply beat up all these guys, and this is not biblical femininity. And I’m also addressing this letter to Sarah Connor and to all these kinds of archetypical warrior women. So at least in the sort of more conservative circles that I run in, they’re beating up on the idea of warrior women at this point is a pretty old, like on our movie podcast. Sometimes we don’t even mention it because it’s just so like, yes, there’s another annoying warrior woman character in this movie. What do you want me to say about it? It’s just constant. But it felt a little bit more like something that was worth responding to at the time. And of course it’s always worth responding to, but it felt like less of a grazed wood lot in terms of saying something on the Internet. So I wrote this article and published it. And like I said, we weren’t a big thing at the time. Not that we’re huge now, but we had only just launched a few months ago, and this article went out, and my friends, my family, people in our church, and some other people that were aware of us saw the article and then it went away. Like, that was the end of the story. And once again, it’s important to understand just basic biblical and biological facts about sex in this article, but all couched in kind of this cutesy pop culture discourse kind of thing and really showing off how pop, culturally savvy. I was like I was making deep cut references to movies and stuff like that and nothing would have come of it except for it’s the Internet. And so somehow, I’ll never know exactly how, but this Star Trek writer, of all things, gets the article, publishes it on Facebook and says, wow, look at this misogynist dinosaur. Isn’t it crazy that people still think like this? And it was insane. It was absolutely crazy. One of the crazier things that’s ever happened to me. What happened next? It was so much bigger than what you presumably observed in the second one, which we’ll get to. I’m sorry, but you wanted to hear about this sort of thing. And this is the really exciting one. So we were getting hundreds, if not thousands of tweets for our company account, for my personal account, for my pastor’s account. We were getting hundreds of malicious login attempts to our website per day. Which, by the way, at the time, I think my password was like password one, two, three. Because in terms of tech usage, I’m 1000 years old. And so I felt pretty stupid when we were getting all these malicious login attempts. I want to be careful not to overhype it because in both of these cases, I wasn’t swatted. I don’t know that anyone actually meant me real physical harm. But they’re certainly saying things like, you should die.

00:27:14 – Johnny Sanders
Sure.

00:27:15 – Nathan Alberson
And the cute thing that they liked to do in this case was they’d find pictures of if you’re familiar with the biblical story of jail putting the tent peg through the guy’s head in the Book of Judges, or if you’re familiar with the Apocryphal story of Judith cutting off a dude’s head, kind of a similar story in the Apocrypha. People would post those pictures and they would either say, this is biblical femininity, bro, or they would say, this should happen to you. And there are a lot of funny ones, I really think. And we’ll talk about the more recent one here in a minute, I assume. But discourse has gone downhill even in a few years. People were pretty funny in the way that they made fun of me. It hurt, but they were creative, they were colorful. They would say things like Daisy Ridley, who played Ray, of course Daisy Ridley should bench press this fool into the sun and all this kinds of stuff. The other thing is, somewhere in that article I made a terrible mistake. I wrote the words, as men, we have bodies crafted for war. Now, I’m not Arnold Schwarzenegger now, but especially back then I had a neck beard. I was pretty severely morbidly obese and there were some really bad pictures of me online. So people found those pictures and they just had a field day with oh, body crafted for war. Yeah, it looks like you’ve got a body crafted for lasagna and stuff like this. And you’ve got a body crafted for golden corral or crafted from golden corral. And I’ve gotten in much better shape since then. And that was one of the impetuses behind that, because I was embarrassed. I mean, they got me right wasn’t nice, but they had a point. But it was insane. It was just days of I meant to look up the stats because I don’t remember them, but I didn’t get a chance to look them up before we talked. But it was I mean, remember, we’re nobodies, we’re nobodies. And our website was getting hundreds of thousands of hits. This article was huge. And it’s just like every time you check into Twitter or Facebook or any of the social media that either I or Warhorn Media were using at the time, it would just be like more stuff and just people going insane. And you can find articles to this day. You could probably google Nathan Alberson. You can find old blog posts. Nathan Alberson, misogynist dinosaur. Nathan Alberson doesn’t understand women. Nathan Alberson and I was working not for Warhorn Media at the time. I am now a full time employee, but we didn’t have the money for full time employees back then. So I was working a job. I was a supervisor at a call center. And the one thing that I had been very bad about was sharing the faith at that call center. I was much more of an Internet warrior and not much of a real life talker at the time. And so I received a good bit of discipline from God in that this article got to my workplace, and people who didn’t even know that I was a Christian suddenly were confronted with this. And the way that I found out is I went into work, or I worked a full day, and then the night shift lady came in, and she was going to take over. And I said, hey, Barbara. We’ll call her Barbara. Hey, Barbara. How you doing? And Barbara said, Nathan, I saw some very interesting things that you put on the Internet. I was like, oh, yeah, very interesting things, Nathan. And I was, well, you know, we could talk. Nope. They were very interesting things. And then nobody at work really talked to me about it, but I knew they had all seen it and they were all talking about it, because suddenly everybody was treating me differently, particularly the women. And I actually did walk in, and there was a girl who worked there, and she was a vegan, sort of Buddhist, exactly the kind of person that would be the most triggered by this article. And I was like, hey, how you doing, Alexis? And she said, Nathan, I saw your article. And I said, oh, well, you know, I’m actually much more complicated than you would think from just reading that article. Would you like to talk about that? And she kind of shook her head and said, I don’t think you’d be interested in. Hearing what I have to say and walked away. And there were several relationships like that that I just never recovered. And so I had my work place intersect with this in a way that I did not expect. And then I found out years later, actually, I found out I did not know this at the time, but my work was talking about whether they should fire me. And they convened a meeting where I was in Bloomington, India. And at the Were, there were managers that drove in to Indianapolis where they had their other headquarters. So people drove 2 hours or 3 hours just to get to this meeting, where they could talk about, what are we going to do about Nathan, the sexist misogynist threat in the workplace. And I love all the stories in the Bible about Daniel and his three friends in Babylon where they don’t want to eat the rich food, and they’ve got, like, a middle manager. Basically, they’ve got the guy that’s in charge of the food, and he sticks up for them. I love any story where there’s, like, a pagan used by God to help God’s people, somebody who is sympathetic to God’s people. In any case, I had a manager that was like that, and he was at this meeting, and he liked me, and he knew that I did a good job at my work. So they’re all going back and forth for like, an hour, like, what do we do about Nathan? Should we fire him? Do we have just cause? And he finally says, guys, if Nathan had acted on any of these things that we suspect, like, if Nathan was a horrible sexist in the workplace, if Nathan was nasty to women in the workplace, if any of this had actually created anything and made Nathan anything less than a model employee, then we could fire him. But this is just something that Nathan said on the internet. It doesn’t affect anything about this job. Is Nathan not allowed to post whatever he wants on the internet? And this was a new thought to them. Like, they went round and round and around and around and round, and they were like, oh, yeah, I guess you’re right. We never thought of Nathan as a sexist. I’m not, in fact, a sexist. I’m happy to work with women in the workplace. I’m happy to have them over me and under me. It was just like the thing that they were assuming the things that they were assuming about me based on this article just weren’t true. And so they were like, we didn’t think about we never thought about that. And so they let me keep my job.

00:34:43 – Johnny Sanders
And.

00:34:46 – Nathan Alberson
I only found out about that, like, years later. But that was crazy. The amount of hate, the amount of people just saying you should die, people know, like, pictures of heads being cut off, like an old painting of Judith cutting off the general, whatever’s head and people saying this should happen to you. Like the idea that it is surreal to be that hated. Like, you don’t know me, you’ve never met me, you have no idea who I am, and yet I represent everything that is evil to you, everything that deserves to be destroyed to you. That is a very strange feeling. And I assume we’ll talk about what I learned, but one thing that I very quickly learned is it hurts. And you might think it wouldn’t. And actually I sort of thought that it wouldn’t. Maybe you think it would, maybe you think it wouldn’t, but it really hurts when strangers are saying you’re ugly and you’re fat and you deserve to die and you represent a horrible, outdated I sort of thought it wouldn’t hurt because whatever, they don’t know me and I don’t know them. They’re not actually mad at me. They’re mad at an idea that they have about me. People that know me in real life, even people that disagree with me strenuously don’t want me to die and don’t think that I’m an ugly troll. So why should I be hurt by the Internet? This vague like these names and these fake names and these profile pictures. They don’t like me. Who cares? Well, I cared. It hurt. It really felt bad. And so it took a long time for our website to recover from the negative reviews that we got in various places where you can review websites. We had to pull basically our ministry was and is a ministry of that local church which has now planted the church that I’m working for. But be that as it may, like I was a youth or what was I I was a small group leader at the time. They had to pull my picture. They had to pull my phone number again, I don’t want to overhype it. I’m not sure my life was actually in danger or anything like that, but it’s just crazy knowing that there’s like hundreds, if not thousands of people out there that hate you. And that was the first one that happened and that was however many years I think it was 2016. So that was almost a decade now. But that was my biggest time actually putting up with this kind of thing.

00:37:49 – Johnny Sanders
Wow. Yeah, I had no idea about that one. Before we get into this more recent one, some people may know this may not. I’m not going to equate this near to Nathan’s stage. This was a very localized fire that I dealt with back in December. So I share this example in mean, I know yours went kind of just it wasn’t just a small area and went bigger, but typically you don’t think of Indiana as like, oh, well, there’s where all the liberals live. Not that I’m sure there are plenty that are there, but you think of California or Oregon or whatever, rural Oklahoma. That’s not where you think of you think it know God’s country. There’s no liberals, nothing. You can just say or do whatever you want. And this might get into discussion later of some other things that you’ve learned. I made this blog post and also a video. Now, mind you, I actually stand by all the content of what I said. It was basically attacking pronoun usage and just really kind of the gender ideology, transgender type of movement. And I will not apologize for that content whatsoever. And I know that’s really at the heart of why people got upset because you’re not supposed to say those things, particularly as a counselor, like you’re supposed to gender affirm and all that stuff. Well, I’m kind of like in your shoes there. I’m just a nobody. I just started Truth and Grace counseling. It was brand spanking new and some local activists about 30 minutes away from me in a little bit of a bigger town, like 100,000, they got a hold of that and they weren’t too fond of that. And you could see the rainbows on their profile pictures and two spirited, and you kind of knew who you were dealing with. And something that I learned from that, again, not apologizing for the content or the message behind it, but I realized, especially if I’m going to put my name on something, I need to go down for something that I really believe in. Because this blog post and video, like it had like Elon Musk on it. It was right when he took over Twitter and it was cutesy, kind of like yours was. It was not meant to be taken as super serious. I said something in there that kind of reminded me of Men Built for War that said something like, I clearly a masculine male, can say I’m a female or whatever. And again, it was MIT kind of tongue in cheek and I take things sarcastically. And of course the internet doesn’t always do a good job of that. So anyways, there’s some of these local activists, they are ticked, you should lose your license, all that good stuff. So I ended up tweaking the blog post. It’s still up there, but it’s very much more clinical type of language. And that’s one, I would not apologize for that one.

00:41:11 – Nathan Alberson
Right.

00:41:11 – Johnny Sanders
I think the structure is good. If that makes me lose my license, then please take it. I don’t want it at that point. But I learned that if I’m going to do some of these things, I don’t know if or when something might take off, but if it does, am I going to stand behind it? I know I can’t be perfect on everything, but I need to be cautious with the structure of how things are because I know that may not be why they’re going to hate it, but they’re going to use it against me. And I’m wondering with you, particularly on this first one, with that first article, which you had no idea was going to go to that degree. Do you kind of feel similarly that, hey, I could have structured this differently? What was kind of your post mortem thoughts on the article itself? What did you learn from that?

00:42:03 – Nathan Alberson
Well, I certainly learned that one of the weird things about the internet is that it’s for everybody unless you are. Well, I thought I was writing to my audience and I was writing to my audience. I wasn’t writing primarily a piece meant to proselytize or to explain something to someone who didn’t already agree with me. It was basically just, I hope, the good kind of preaching to the choir like, hey guys, let’s remember that we have the truth on their side. Now, that being said, well, a that being said, that’s not what happened. A bunch of people that had no context for it got a hold of it. And that is just one of the weird things about social media and about the Internet. And one of the I don’t want to say necessarily a bad thing, but you just always have to remember, if you’re writing for your Aunt Bertha, your old biology teacher might also see it, and your old biology and teacher and Aunt Bertha would never naturally talk to each other or be in the same space. You would not sell them an idea the same way. But if you just post something on Facebook, they’re both there. If you just post something on TikTok or whatever the kids are using these days, they might both see it because for some reason your old biology teacher is on TikTok in this analogy. So that was good. Now, on the other hand, I think I sort of learned I always thought that I was the kind of person that could structure things in such a way that pagans would like them, that I could reach people by meeting them halfway, by being really savvy about my approach, by showing that I was one of them. So I think in my mind, what I thought is, well, when people read this article, they’ll see all the references. They’ll see that I’m a movie guy, that I’m a pop culture guy, actually, I’m a better pop culture guy than they are. I know more references than they do, and somehow having that stuff in there will perfume anything that they don’t like. And it turns out in Two Corinthians Two, the apostle Paul says, we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and for those who are perishing, we are the aroma of death. People didn’t care about any of my cutesy stuff. They didn’t care about any of my meeting them halfway. They didn’t care about any of that. All they smelled was the aroma of death. All they sensed was God’s judgment. I mean, if you read Romans one and you see that everyone has the truth of God somewhere written on their heart, and people live in rebellion against that. And people felt violated. They felt slapped in the face by me standing for God’s truth. I mean, they took it really personally, and it just didn’t matter. I mean, if anybody let me just be self aggrandizing for a second. If anybody was going to be able to say, hey, guys, we all speak the same language, but I want to kind of sneak some truth into my speaking of the same language, I would have been able to do it. I mean, I was such a pop culture guy, such a movie guy, and I really tried to do it, and it did not work. So am I therefore arguing that somebody listening to this should go to their workplace and just set themselves on fire and say everything as terribly as possible? And if they see someone who has pronouns in their bio, they should tell that person they’re going to hell? None of that. We need to be wise. We need to be discerning. We need to be kind. We need to be gentle. These are all real things. But as we do that, we do need to remember that Christ said, if they hated me, they’ll hate you. And the Apostle Paul said, we’re the aroma of death to people that are perishing. And so I will talk to young people. Young men in know my beat is pop culture. So I’ll talk to young men who are like, I’ve got to see the latest Quentin Tarantino movie, or whatever, because then I can talk to people and we can have a dialogue, and then I can share Jesus with them. And I was just like, dude, if you’re not sharing Jesus with them now, you’re not going to suddenly have the courage, because you’ve accumulated some points with Quentin Tarantino. And I’m just here to tell you, the second you bring God’s law into it, they ain’t going to be impressed that, you know, you’re Quentin Tarantino. They’re just not. I realize I’m wildly generalizing here, but it has been my experience that at some point, we just have to tell the truth to people. And again, I want to be very clear, that does not mean we have license to just be jerks. It does not mean we carry God hates fags signs like that church did. That was evil. That was mean spirited, cruel. We do not do that. But on the other hand, again.

00:47:22 – Johnny Sanders
We.

00:47:22 – Nathan Alberson
Can’T create, like, a camouflage that’ll let us sneak the truth into the camp. I really wanted to do that. I really resented growing up in a conservative, like I said, home school community where people just hated pop culture as a matter of course. And I wanted to be the guy that could marry those two things. And I now do a movie, podcast, and other things for a living. So I guess in some sense, I did. But you can’t do subterfuge truth. It doesn’t work. That way. So I don’t know if that even answers your question.

00:48:00 – Johnny Sanders
No, I think it’s a great food for thought. There that again, that discernment. That wisdom needs to be there. I think that’s something that I really learned in my own little small journey, and I’m actually really grateful that that happened to the degree that it did because it was a very small it was ugly, but we’re talking dozens of people, dozens of pretty miserable people, and it stayed there. And I was actually really grateful it was that size instead of the hundreds, thousands. You learned a lot, but that’s a whole lot more intensive, and I was very grateful that I didn’t get to that degree.

00:48:44 – Nathan Alberson
Well, I’m sorry to interrupt.

00:48:47 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah, go ahead.

00:48:47 – Nathan Alberson
I should say before we get too far afield, I think your listeners will already be able to hear that there are things I regret about the way that I wrote that article. That like you said, as long as I’m going to go down I might as well go down for something good and for something that really represents and for something that’s not just like sort of casually tossing things off. I do think it would have been better if my article was structured and strategic and kind and good in a way that it perhaps wasn’t if I had brought more maturity to it. I just don’t think that that necessarily would have made a difference to my critics, as we’ll call them, but it made a difference to me and it made a difference to the Christians that were watching me. And it’s always better to do well than to do poorly. Sure, anyway.

00:49:38 – Johnny Sanders
But taken there that if you had the perfect article and it was just structured beautifully, they’re still going to hate you. That’s just the reality that you have to get to that. They hate you because they hate God.

00:49:55 – Nathan Alberson
I think a lot of people want to avoid that truth because it’s not a very pleasant truth and because they like things. If you’re a movie guy, it’s like, well, maybe I can use my movie lore to reach somebody. Yeah, you could make friends with somebody and go see a movie. There are ways you could do it, but you’re not going to ever escape from just having to actually stand with Jesus for Jesus and for obedience to Jesus, and people aren’t going to like that necessarily.

00:50:27 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah, no, I think that is a truth that we have to know and be willing to deal with that upfront. Now, not everyone’s going to have a viral article or whatever, but you might have a family member that hates you. You might have a coworker, and that’s hard, too. You have to come to terms with that. And it kind of goes back to what we talked about earlier, of just with stuff and culture. There’s no quick Jesus answer that’s just going to get you through that. You got to go deeper and there’s no yeah, exactly.

00:51:00 – Nathan Alberson
Yeah. Got to use your mind. Got to have the Holy Spirit working in your heart.

00:51:05 – Johnny Sanders
I think this transitions well. And I’m curious with kind of this context of this past bigger experience into this one that happened just a few months ago or whatever it was. So yeah, kind of. Tell us about this latest Twitter adventure that you had.

00:51:22 – Nathan Alberson
Well, okay, so I was off of Twitter. I did not actually get off of Twitter then, but Twitter became increasingly an unpleasant place, especially for somebody like me. And I don’t love social media. I don’t have a intrinsic philosophical problem with social media, which we can talk about at some point if you want, but I have no reason particularly to be on social media. I don’t know whether I’m a millennial or Gen X or whatever, but I’m just past the age of really needing to use it for not my job. But maybe that’s not true, I don’t know. But in any case, I was off of Twitter for several years then. And then, you know, I work for social media company is my job to promote these podcasts. It is my job to promote these things. I should be on Twitter, especially with Elon taking it over. It felt like there was going to be more space and less censorship, and I just liked what he was. I don’t love everything that Elon does or everything that he’s done with Twitter, but I felt like the algorithm was kinder in terms of people actually even seeing my stuff. And so I was like, I’m going to get back on and I’m going to start using this. And this was only maybe less than a year ago, got on there and started tweeting again. And I pre program my tweets and I write them in advance and maybe spend an afternoon. What are some nuggets of wisdom? What are some provocative things? What are some funny things? I mean, I have files of I’ve been doing creative content work for a long time, so I have files of jokes and files of insights and stuff like that. I’m the kind of guy that organizes things into not actual notebooks, but digital notebooks. So I just grab stuff and I tweet it. And I’m not going to pretend like there’s always great discernment in that. I want there to be, but also it’s like I’ve got an afternoon. I need to make this intentionally grabby and sort of a little bit provocative, but also not too much. And I’m always trying to walk that line anyway with all that as a Mia culpa because I’m sort of thinking like, your listeners might be like, well, he had this one experience, so how could he be dumb enough to have a second one? But anyway, I wrote these tweets that got me in some hot water, and the first one tells a literal truth in a provocative way. So when I was getting married, I had a list of four things that I was looking for, and I wanted somebody that I was attracted to. Obviously, anyone who tells you they don’t want that is selling something. To quote The Princess Bride. I wanted someone who believed in biblical femininity, someone who understood that I was looking for an Ephesians five wife, that she wouldn’t be surprised by the word obedience or anything like that. Again, if you’re a Biblical Christian, that’s obvious. I wanted somebody who was willing to learn and grow and be teachable. That’s what I always look for. If I’m hiring an employee, if I’m choosing a friend, you don’t want somebody that’s the best version of themselves that they’ll ever be, because that person’s not going anywhere. They’re stuck, they’re proud. You want somebody that is interested in growth and change and becoming better. You want somebody with the humility to see their own flaws. That’s just like, why would you hang out with anyone else if you had a choice, right? So those were the kind of the things that I had in mind when I hit the dating scene. And I thought, hey, I’ll do a tweet about that. And then I admittedly, and perhaps wisely, perhaps unwisely, I don’t know, but I wrote it in a way that’s more provocative, I think, than what I just said. I’ll just read the tweet. The tweet is, quote, when I started looking for a wife, I wanted one who was pretty, who would be obedient and teachable, who thought I was funny. Oh, yeah. I also thought that I should marry somebody who thought I was funny, which might sound sort of proud and self aggrandizing, but it’s like, what do you want me to do, marry somebody who doesn’t think I’m funny? You want me to be miserable? All I do is make jokes. That’s my personality. If I marry somebody who doesn’t like my jokes, I’m just going to be sad. So if all the women there’s not enough women and I have to choose one, and there’s one with Godly characteristics who doesn’t think I’m funny, of course I’ll marry her. But if there’s enough fish in the sea, why not find somebody who is going to appreciate my sense of humor? I mean, come on. I mean, I actually had a friend say to me, well, Nathan, you shouldn’t look for someone who thinks you’re funny. Whatever. Let’s not over spiritualize this dude. Actually, I was with a pastor at the time, and he said to my friend, hey, whatever, let’s not over spiritualize this dude. So anyway, I wrote the following tweet quote when I started looking for a wife, I wanted one who was pretty, who would be obedient and teachable, who thought I was funny. I felt embarrassed by that list, and in some ways, I’m tempted to feel embarrassed by that list, but I shouldn’t. Those are good things to want. Now, I just before even reading the tweet unquote, by the way, I gave you a little window into my thought process about actually getting married and to some of the tension and neuroses that I felt about that thought process, like, hey, babe, I’m hoping you will obey me. Who wants to be that guy? But I would encourage young men who are looking for wives to look for things like that, to look for a godly woman. And so that’s all I really meant. But I did word it in a provocative way. And then around that same time, I wrote another tweet, which I don’t really feel bad about. This one, I don’t know. It says, you can spot a rebellious woman. Read feminist just by the way she walks and dances and stands and goes through doorways. Her body language always says, quote, I don’t need anybody unquote. It’s very unattractive. Now, you cannot always spot a rebellious woman by the way that she goes through doorways. I am well aware of that. However, in this medium of pithiness that we call Twitter, you engage in hyperbole as a matter of course. Hyperbole is a good rhetorical strategy sometimes, or at least a venerable one. And I was engaging in hyperbole, which, if anyone doesn’t know, that just means exaggeration. So I’m making a point. I’m saying you can kind of tell who hates God just by looking at them, which is true if you have eyes to see. Not always true, not 100% true. Certainly there’s many nice, lovely, wonderful pagans out there who I believe will go to hell if they don’t repent and believe in Jesus, but they’re cool to hang out with. I’m well aware of that. In any case, I sent this tweet. And again, I’m not sure how these things work, but somehow in this case, I think I am. I think that there is a person who is online who simply looks for tweets like this to show to the mob and to try and get in the Frankenstein movie. It’s like the little boy or the woman or somebody or in the French Revolution movie, the person that’s running ahead and says, hey, mob, come this way. There’s the monster. Get him. Bring your torches and pitchforks and stuff. So somebody found these tweets. They tweeted them again. Most of my audience is conservative, is Christian, isn’t going to be super surprised by any of this. Maybe some of it they’ll think is provocative, maybe some of them that they won’t. But these tweets had already gone by. They’d gotten whatever likes and retweets and all that that they were going to get. And then this mob found them and descended on me. Like I said, it wasn’t anything like as bad as the other one. This one probably lasted for a little over a weekend, but they were mocking those tweets. I will say. Interestingly. You heard me say earlier that people were pretty colorful and funny in the way that they made fun of me the first time. I don’t know if discourse has changed or if I just attracted the wrong kinds of people this time, but it was all very boring and repetitive and just made me feel like man, when people hate God and they hate God’s truth, it just sort of SAPS them dry. Or maybe we could make some grandiose statement about Internet culture and where it’s taking us, I don’t know. But the point is it was really boring. It was just like the same stuff. So for the doorway know, people would say make jokes about going through doorways, know, just kind of do the most literal reading and then mock the most literal reading as if that’s a valid for the for the wife one. They really centered in on the word teachable. And they said, Nathan, what you’re really looking for is a dog. And I got pictures of dogs and hundreds of dog tweets. But then I did also get you should Die, and I got people talking about, can we call CPS on this guy? Which is pretty disturbing. I mean, I don’t know why A, if you met me and my not, we wouldn’t strike you as normal or provocative or anything, but just a boring married couple. Pretty happy one, I think. By God’s grace, you don’t know me, but somehow you’ve extrapolated from this obviously intentionally provocative tweet. Like even assuming the worst of the tweet, you’ve decided you need to have my house and my children. It’s just kind of awful. So again, I’m hesitant to overhype these things. I’m hesitant to say persecution, although I suppose that word does apply to these instances. But in this particular case, that felt like persecution. That felt pretty nasty. Like the whole CPS thing, it’s like, come on, guys, you disagree with somebody and so you want to think of a way to destroy his life. So that felt nasty. Now, the fun part about this is that JK. Rawling actually got a hold of the walking through the door tweet and she responded to it, I want to say, compared to most of my critics, a pretty classy way. For one thing, she took a screenshot and she removed my name. So she didn’t send anyone else after me, which is really nice. And she did not have to do that. She could have wielded her power to send a much larger mob after me, and maybe I’d be saying, this is the worst one that’s ever happened to me, but she did not do that. And she actually had a pretty funny know remember I say you can tell a feminist by the way she walks through the door, and it’s not very attractive. And so JK Rawlings says sarcastically, quote, you may scoff, but my own husband’s interest in me was first awakened by watching me ricochet haphazardly off a doorframe for half an hour before he came to assist me. So that’s a. Pretty sick burn. And it is making fun of what’s hyperbolic about my tweet. Obviously, demure women know how to make it through a door just as well as harpies. So you got me JK Rawling. Good job. That was fun. I mean, I will always have that. I will always be able to say that JK. Rowling made fun of one of my tweets, which is pretty great. She did, what do you call it? A davra cadavera. What’s? The Killing Curse in Harry Potter?

01:03:37 – Johnny Sanders
Well, she’s not a part of Harry Potter anymore, so she can’t do any of true.

01:03:43 – Nathan Alberson
That’s true. Talk about a woman who’s experienced cancel culture.

01:03:46 – Johnny Sanders
Poor JK.

01:03:47 – Nathan Alberson
Rowling. I like JK. Rowling. I like Harry Potter just fine. Although it was a little slightly after my time. I remember the younger kids reading it and I read it and I enjoyed it. But in any case, super fun to have been attacked and attacked fairly successfully by J. K. Rawling herself. Now, the other maybe interesting point of comparison just before I’m done with this part of the story is something has either shifted in well, I don’t know. I don’t know whether I can make any broad statements about culture or about my standing or about anything else. I don’t know why this happened. But the first time, with the open letter to Ray, the really big one, the thing that was actually most disheartening was that nobody defended me. Nobody stepped in between me and the mob. Nobody, and I do mean nobody. I had people reach out privately and say, I’m sorry you are experiencing this, but nobody who wasn’t a workmate or somebody that was part of our organization did anything. If I was going to make a statement about this, I’d say, I don’t know. Maybe we just all have more handles for what cancel culture is. We have the term cancel culture. We know the mob goes after people and we don’t like it by and just people don’t like when they see this is happening now and they see the flimsiness of it. I don’t know. In any case, this time, lots of people on Twitter did stand up for me and argue with people. It’s pretty senseless trying to argue with a Twitter mob, like a real mob. All they want to do is destroy. They don’t want to hear arguments, they don’t care. They’re not interested. But I mean, even assuming the best about them, they’re not interested. That’s not what they’re there for. But in any case, lots of people actually stood up for me. I felt much less alone. I felt very lonely. The first time I kind of had that existential feeling that this is way too grandiose of a metaphor. But Elijah, when he’s hiding out in the caves and he says, I’m the only one left to serve you, God. And God says, no, actually, there’s whatever the number is, there’s lots of other people that have not bowed the need of baal. Well, the first time I sort of felt like I was the only one who hadn’t bowed the need of baal, which is, again, way too self aggrandizing of a metaphor. But I did feel pretty lonely this time. I did not. So that was nice. And maybe that’s one of the reasons I’m saying that the first one felt so much worse. But in any case, that’s the story.

01:06:30 – Johnny Sanders
That’S interesting there on that second or that last part. I think that’s probably a bit of encouragement for audience out there that’s concerned. I know, like you said, cancel culture is kind of a household term at this point of, oh, my gosh, I don’t want to be that person, I don’t want to lose my job, all that. Of course, that’s still a concern. I’m not going to act like that doesn’t happen to people, but it seems to have lost some of its just nastiness that absolutely nobody will be around me. There’s enough people that are aware of it. And like, you’re saying that it’s a nasty thing, that, yeah, there’s still danger, but you might be more likely to have people that are there on your side. Kind of like your old boss. That but, yeah, Nathan’s not doing anything. You have more of those people on the internet, but also in your real life to be able to stand up. Now, obviously there’s going to be a lot of nasty people on the other side, but I do think that’s a bit of encouragement, especially on Twitter, which, again, is not a perfect place, but it’s better than it was a couple years ago. Absolutely. So as much as what we shared earlier of trying to craft your things online in a good manner, you want to defend something that’s good at the same hand, especially for these tweets. Are you going to proofread every single tweet? You can’t make every tweet a perfect thing. So not living in an amount of fear of like, oh, my gosh, if I say men are men and women are women, I’m going to lose everything. It could I guess I’m not going to say that’s impossible, but self censorship seems to be probably a bigger problem for many people than the actual censorship. Would you agree with that?

01:08:37 – Nathan Alberson
Yeah, no, I think that’s absolutely true. I mean, I think one thing that’s probably changed is that there are many people, pagans, Christians, left, right, whatever, who are just tired of the monolithic nature of what happens in our mainstream media a lot of times, of what seems to happen in the world. It’s just whether you agree with when you go to see Buz Lightyear or whatever, and there’s a lesbian couple in there, whether you agree with that or you think it’s horrible or anything in between, it’s annoying that they’re pretending like there’s no argument to be made there, like they’ve just already won. And I think in many ways, donald Trump is not a good man. But one thing that did happen in 2016 that I think a lot of conservatives really appreciated was just having the feeling that, oh, it’s not a fatal complete. They have not just already won. There’s still an argument to be had, and I’ll use my favorite phrase, we can still occupy space. We don’t have to just go and retreat to the hills yet. We can just still say, hey, I don’t agree with trans stuff. And actually, I’ve got most of human history on my side, and there’s no particular reason for me to feel weird about that. I don’t have to be aggressively angry about it on the other hand, either, but I can just assert that I’m the normal one, and I think that that has changed to some degree, and it’s been good. There’s still a lot that’s I don’t like this word very much. It’s too overused. There’s still a lot that’s toxic about culture and about the nature of discourse these days, but I think a lot of people are just tired of what is toxic about it, which is a good thing.

01:10:38 – Johnny Sanders
No, I definitely think that’s a good point, that certainly in Christian circles, truth is well, if it’s not, it needs to be at the top of your priority. We need to fight for truth. But you’re seeing that in some of the culture at large, which is a very good thing. Not saying that everybody that’s trying to fight for truth, some of the transgender stuff and everything, not saying that they’re all Christian, but that does show that our culture kind of they use this fight type of language there. It’s not completely over, that we’ve not completely lost. All semblance of truth, as much as that seems like, is the case sometimes god’s given us enough grace that we’re not done yet, so let’s not act like we are. And even if we are all the way done, that’s not our call. So just make the best of the life you have in front of you, and if you’re going to go down, go down swinging and go down with a great story. Don’t go down. Just kind of cowering in fear we’re all going to die, but I’d rather you die with a pretty cool story. You get to die with JK. Rowland roasting you.

01:11:57 – Nathan Alberson
That’s pretty. And in addition to everything you’re saying, which is just one of the ways that we quote, unquote win, is by simply asserting, hey, look at me. I believe that a wife should submit to her husband. Now look at my marriage. It’s actually very recognizable. We’re not monsters. My wife is not bowing to me. She’s not calling me sir. I’m not beating her. She’s very happy. She certainly tells me what she thinks, and she certainly puts her foot down and all kind of look, we are in a complex dance that is a married relationship, and it’s a complex dance that you could recognize and that your parents had and that you have if you’re in a relationship. And I happen to believe something, and I happen to just be normal. I think many Christians just live in this kind of with a perpetual sort of chip on their shoulder, like they feel like they’re OD, and so therefore, they act odd. And that’s where you get some of the cosplaying Christians that are like, I believe that my wife should submit, so she’s going to wear a dress like she’s from Little House on the Prairie. And you get people acting weird precisely because they kind of already feel defeated. And so they’re like, okay, well, I guess I’m weird. I’ll own it. I’m weird. And it’s like, I think just strategically speaking, it’s better to say I have these beliefs that you guys are all acting like are weird, but actually, I’m just a dude. Look at me.

01:13:46 – Johnny Sanders
Look at this.

01:13:46 – Nathan Alberson
It’s not that weird. We have kids. We teach our kids to obey us. Our kids are happy, whatever.

01:13:56 – Johnny Sanders
I think that’s really important. And it goes back to something you hit on earlier of unfortunately, and I don’t have any stats on this, but just anecdotally there seems to be too much smoke, so there’s probably fire of some of these more conservative, more homeschool families, which, to be transparent, I’m conservative, we’re homeschooling our kids. I’m not saying that’s bad, but particularly more old school, where there was some of that hush hush sexual abuse don’t say anything, living in fear. And it’s just because, oh, we’re doing the right thing by being conservative and homeschooling, and then that’s it. Battles won, it’s all over. And you’re not actually living a joyful life. You’re not following God’s commands. You just think you already want it, and you haven’t. And that piece there, again, not saying that, oh, people see how great our kids are and our lives are well, therefore they’re going to come to Jesus. But it is some good evidence there. Yeah, we’re not all monsters. I actually was thinking of this when you were talking earlier. I’d forgotten about it. I don’t remember what you had posted.

01:15:15 – Nathan Alberson
Actually.

01:15:15 – Johnny Sanders
It was something along the lines about your views on spanking of like, hey, great thing about spanking is you spank them and it’s over. You don’t have to make a big scene or whatever. Which I thought was a great critique, again, on some of the far right people, that, boy, I spanked my kids 50 times a day, they’re going to learn to respect me. And it’s almost kind of that cosplay type of analogy had there. I said something along the lines of it was almost verbatim. I tried to make it like a literal quote to my daughter that was acting up at the lunch table, and I wanted to eat my lunch. I don’t want to discipline you. And I said something like, some of your friends were catching up with me because it was like a residual of some of the tweets that you got some of the haters. And I said something like, honey, I don’t want to have to spank you. I said it wasn’t a threat and legitimately it wasn’t. It’s like, I want to eat my lunch. Just leave me alone. And they take that of, oh, you’re abusing your daughter. She’s going to grow up to hate you. She’s going to have all these scars and say, well, I need to be obedient. Just nonsense things. And not that I’m going to convince them of anything, but I do know that I put my daughter to go take a nap after that. And she says, I love you, and she hugs me. And that’s great. I don’t have to prove that to anybody. I have it. I know I’m not a perfect father, but I have this authentic, real relationship. And that’s what you need to really invest in. Not trying to do things to win points, but do it because it’s good. And that’s going to exude from you, exude from your kids, exude from your wife. Don’t try to win those internet points just to win internet points. It’s not going to get you much.

01:17:15 – Nathan Alberson
Yeah, no, absolutely true. Like I said, I’m doing internet stuff because it is the nature of my job. But a lot of people that I see that are on there that are just there to be a culture warrior. I don’t want to be too reductive about this. I think there can be some good things about that, but go outside, smell the roses. Is this battle actually happening in your family, in your extended family, in your workplace? Do you know anyone that represents the extreme negative point of view that you’re fighting against? Or are you just fighting these weird, abstract internet battles and attracting the most trollish sort of opposition when instead you could be loving your neighbor and doing 100 times more good for the gospel? Again, I engage in culture polemic. I like many people that do. I am not totally against it, but I do see an immature version of it that’s out there.

01:18:24 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah, kind of getting towards just wrapping things up here, just trying to get some takeaways for the audience, especially with some of your experience both in the podcasting world and kind of having the mob against you. What would you say are some kind of take home, some real practical things the audience could do to do what you’re mentioning of engaging in the culture, but not just to fight these big wars and win Internet tough points or whatever. What are some practical ways that you can engage in the culture, but in a very healthy and biblical way?

01:19:06 – Nathan Alberson
Well, I am a great believer in the local church and in real Christian community. I had an old pastor and mentor who used to say, there’s no such thing as a lone ranger Christian. And it is absolutely true. If you’re just on the internet, guns ablazing and then you don’t go to church, I have no respect for you. If you can’t actually partake of Christ’s Bride in a real localized way, if you don’t have Christian friends, if you’re not part of a real community, then if you can’t do the 101 stuff, then why should I trust you to do the 300 level or the 400 level stuff? And if you’re doing it without accountability, the good thing is I’ve been lucky enough or blessed enough to be in a job where I have a boss and he can say, no, Nathan, don’t tweet that or that’s too much. People edited my article for better or worse. Maybe at the end of the day we look back and say, we didn’t catch everything. But I was part of a Christian community which actually came directly out of my church, and there were people to encourage me, there were people to rebuke me, there were people to provide accountability. And you need that. And you need to not sort of give in to the cultural myth of found family and just surround yourself with the people that you like or the people that you feel like get you, the people that are going to tell you, no, that article is great. That tweet is great. You need to be part of a church where there’s people with bad teeth and people of a different socioeconomic class than you and people with different backgrounds. The wonderful thing about a local body is that you’re not actually going to like everybody and there’s going to be some of your rough edges will be worn off and some of their rough edges will be worn off, and God works through the church. Who is the great church father who said, you cannot have God for your father without having the church for your mother? So this doesn’t directly answer your question, but it is foundational. If someone is not interested in simply reading their Bible, in simply loving their wife, loving their husband, taking care of their kids, going to church, I have zero interest in anything that they have to say about the broader culture. None. I don’t care what gifts they have of rhetoric, what gifts of insight, what gifts of discernment. If you cannot do the basic stuff, it’s like if you go to a church and nobody’s friendly, nobody shakes your hand, you’re not going to go back there. It doesn’t matter what their doctrine is like. If they can’t do kindness, then you really don’t care what they say about the sovereignty of God. And it’s not that the sovereignty of God isn’t important, it’s not that doctrine isn’t important. But if they can’t do 101, you’re not going to be real interested in their 400 level stuff. And so I think the most important thing that anyone can do is go to church and then sort of coming out of that. Love their local community. Love. Go to things, be part of things. Have friends, have neighbors. Don’t just be I’m not an anti Internet guy. I work I literally get paid to work in new media. I’m a new media guy. I’m a podcaster, for crying out loud. But I’m telling you, if your only thing is podcasts, listening to them, creating them, if you’re just a content creator, then you’re not living the life that God made you to live as one of his body, you have to be part of the body, and you have to love the people where you’re at. It may be much more important for your wife to bake that pie, and then you both to trudge over to the family that just moved in and say, hey, we baked you a pie. And it’s an awkward, terrible conversation. And then you invite them to church, and you feel stupid inviting them to church because you don’t have, like, a good lead in. And if your wife is like my wife, then she’s very upfront about it. And I’m like, I still want to find a way to package it. But she’s just like, you should come to our church. But doing that so much more important than the most awesome the. Again, I don’t want to sound defensive about this, but I like Twitter. I like these things. But they’re designed to flatter you. They’re designed to make you feel like you’re getting likes and hits, and they want you to get enough, not so much serotonin that you’re done. And I don’t know how serotonin works. You probably do with your feel, but just using the pop culture way that serotonin works. They want you to get enough serotonin that you don’t give up, and you’re just happy, but enough that you keep coming back. So they want you to feel like you’re getting engagement and like you’re making a difference, but usually you’re not. So be part of life. That is the first thing. And then when you engage, when you do these things, do it with accountability. Do it with discernment. Do it with people who can tell you, no, that’s dumb, or no, you know what? Actually, it wouldn’t be wise to go. We know your work now has this policy about LGBT, but we actually think it’s more important that you support your family right now than that you make a big statement and go down in flames at your workplace. Or we think, as your pastors and elders, we’ve prayed, we’ve thought we’ve discerned. We think you’re actually in a really good position to take a stand right now. In other words, there’s some strategy to this. It’s not just like, you’re sinning if you don’t say the truth here, and you’re successful if you say it here. There’s some strategy. There’s some discernment. There’s some times of life that are better than others. There’s some stations of life that are better than others to do things. And those are decisions that are really hard to make unilaterally. You need people who can hold you accountable. And then finally I’ve learned that attention is addicting. And negative attention is addictive too. For all of the times where I’ve had these mobs after me, there is a part of me that doesn’t want to just block, that doesn’t want it to go away. There’s a part of me that’s like gleeful about people knowing my name even when they’re hating it. There’s a part of me that call it masochistic, but a part of me that’s like, yeah, punch me. At least you’re acknowledging that I’m alive. And that can be addictive, and that can be hugely destructive. Obviously, we all see this on the Internet all the time, where people just get addicted to negative attention and they keep being more and more provocative and saying things in the most provocative way, being rhetorically unwise, just not because they actually want to help people, but because they want to get attention. And when you become that person, you can inspire followers that way, but you won’t actually be giving them anything. What you’ll be doing is finding people whose essences you can drain. Kind of empirically. We’ve all probably worked for people like this, for a boss who it’s actually about him, and it’s about what he can take from you instead of about him making you the best you that you can be for the company or whatever it is. If you become the kind of person that just exists to provoke, that just exists for attention, then yeah, sure, maybe God can use a random tweet or blog post or podcast or something that you do. God’s in the business of using terrible things in his service, but you won’t actually be helping anybody, by and large, you’ll just be sucking other people dry, just looking for followers, looking for proselytes. And I’ll say one other thing. I said that was my last one, but here’s my absolute last one. You got to just be wise. Let me just say something about social media. You need to know what social media you’re using, what it exists to do, what works on it, what doesn’t work, who’s in charge of it. You can’t go to Facebook and do the same thing that you can go to Twitter, that you can do to TikTok, that you can do to Instagram. They all exist for different purposes. They all have different algorithms. They all have different people running them. And so I think actually the most useful way to think of them is, I am walking into the town square, and I want to make myself heard. So how many people are in this town square? Is it the kind of town square with a cork board where you can post, I want guitar lessons? Or is it the kind of place where you could get up on a soapbox and declaim your views? And people will want to listen? Or is it the kind of place where if you do that, it’ll just be noise and everyone will ignore you? You need to know, who’s the mayor of this town? What does he want? Why are people coming into the town square? What are they there to buy? What are they there to sell? Just think of it that way, and I think it can kind of discipline you. I mean, one of the reasons that I don’t feel that bad about my provocative tweets is because I’m not actually on Twitter primarily to win people’s hearts. I am there to advertise podcasts and things that I do, which I think are much more helpful than my tweets, things that I hope will be a help to people. I’m there primarily to attract conservative Christians to come and check out my stuff. And so that’s who my audience is. I’m using a brand that works for me as a whatever. I am millennial Gen Xer, one that was designed for my kind of people with my frame of reference. And I’m going there and I’m saying, hey, look at me. You think I’m funny? You think I’m neat? You think I’m interesting? Well, then come check out the stuff that actually matters. What I’m not trying to do is change anybody’s heart or mind through Twitter. There’s a sense in which I’m very intentionally preaching to the choir, and I don’t feel shame about that. If I was just in my life preaching to the choir, that’d be bad. But Twitter is a place where I go for five minutes a day to preach to the choir and say, hey, choir, you want to learn how to be a better choir? Or come listen to my podcasts or whatever? But if you’re the kind of person that’s going to write a tweet about spanking in order to change someone’s mind or write a blog post or whatever, that’s fine. If you’re the kind of person that wants to make someone say, that’s an interesting thought about spanking, I should go deeper. That’s another kind of thing. I’m not saying which one’s bad or which one’s good. I’m just saying know the difference, know which one you’re doing, and do it well. So that’s a lot. I hope there’s some helpful stuff in there.

01:30:56 – Johnny Sanders
I think there’s a lot of helpful things, as I’m sure you would agree with if on those kind of takeaways. Honestly, if you’re not a Christian, but especially if you’re a Christian, there’s just no excuse to not be a part of a church. There just isn’t. You can tell me, oh, I don’t like the church I go into. Oh, there’s this problem, and you’re probably right. So your option is to either gut it out, try to make your church better through however you can, state what’s going wrong, or volunteer in things. You can do that. You can go find another church, or you can go be a part of planning a church elsewhere or something like that moving. There are no other options. There’s not the I’ll just go check something online for a year or two and then we’ll get to something else. No, you got to be a part of a church that tired of hearing those type of excuses. Go ahead.

01:32:03 – Nathan Alberson
Well, I really think there’s not a good church in my area, Johnny. Well, at the end of the if that’s a is it really not true? Is it really true that there’s not a good church in your area? Or is it just that you don’t like the music here? Or you have a slight discrimination here, or they wear ties and you prefer to wear sweater vests, whatever, all those kinds of things that we just need to overcome. And then if there’s really not a good church in your area, your soul, the soul of your wife, the soul of your husband, the soul of your children, so much more important than the benefits you’re getting from your Fortune 500 company. I mean, move. If you really tell me there is nothing, then what I’m going to tell you is your responsibility is to not live where you live. I’m not sure I believe you when you say there’s nothing.

01:32:57 – Johnny Sanders
Right?

01:32:58 – Nathan Alberson
But granting that find a church so.

01:33:02 – Johnny Sanders
Important, 1000%, I agree with that completely. I’ve been in situations where I’ve been not there’s no good churches. But yeah, this isn’t the healthiest situation. I get it, I get those things happen. We’re all messy people, but that is such a rare occurrence, especially in Oklahoma or I assume in Indiana, but really anywhere in this very rare. But like you said, if that is legitimately the case, I guarantee you, you can find a church somewhere and shoot, use the internet if you need to find a pastor that you really respect and ask them, do you have a tool? Do you know somebody nearby? It’s imperative and it is not an option. It’s an option to interact on Twitter or to listen to podcasts or whatever. That is not if you’re going to be a follower of Christ, you have to be in a church.

01:34:00 – Nathan Alberson
Can I just say one more thing about that? I’m sorry to keep interrupting.

01:34:03 – Johnny Sanders
No good.

01:34:04 – Nathan Alberson
I don’t know how you smell and your pastor does and when he gets up there is and he speaks to you. God works through the preaching of the word in a way that God simply does not through a podcast. And I am a brilliant podcaster. Listen to my podcast subscribe share Five stars, everything. I love podcasts. I love what you’re doing, Johnny. I’m just saying that’s like a supplement. It’s not the meal. It cannot be the meal for people.

01:34:41 – Johnny Sanders
Yes, absolutely. So I’m really glad that you let it off with that. And again, the other things you mentioned. Fantastic. Obviously we both agree with podcasting. I think it’s a great. Medium. I love listening to podcasts when I’m mowing the lawn and going for a run or whatever, driving in the car. There’s fantastic things about podcasts. It is not the just, it isn’t, it will never. And honestly, even the podcast of listening to John MacArthur or whoever that is, preaching an old RC sproul sermon or something, those are great, too. You should listen to those. That’s not the same as being in church. You’re going to have a pastor that’s going to have far less speaking ability, probably in your local community, but they’re going to be more important to you. You absolutely have to, right?

01:35:33 – Nathan Alberson
John MacArthur, however wonderful he is, he’s not the man that God has entrusted your soul with, unless you happen to go to his church.

01:35:41 – Johnny Sanders
Absolutely. So, yes, definitely. Please take that home. I think that’s probably a good idea to bring that home on. Maybe not every single episode bring that up. But often enough, you cannot be listening to even great voices on podcasts or even great pastors and think that’s the same thing as being in a body. It’s just not.

01:36:04 – Nathan Alberson
Amen.

01:36:05 – Johnny Sanders
Great. Well, that being said, I know you did a great job of pitching yourself earlier. Let’s let you have one more chance to pitch yourself and where people can find you.

01:36:16 – Nathan Alberson
Well, folks, you can follow me at Twitter on at Nathan Alberson, of course, see wonderfully, provocative tweets about all kinds of things. Taking down those pagans with the sword of justice. That’s me, brother. They don’t stand a chance. I am your hero. Give me your money. But go to just kidding. You can follow me at Twitter at at Nathan Alberson. But more importantly, as I said, I really love the movie podcast that we’re doing. Sanity at the Movies would encourage you to listen to that. Even if you’re not a big movie guy or gal, you’re going to hear a lot of just general truth and all in an incredibly fun package. So Sanity at the Movies also Sound of Sanity, which is more broadly dealing with culture. We’ve got a podcast called The Booking, which is on a bit of a hiatus right now, but we talk about great literature at some point. We’re going to record our four hour episode on Anna Karenina, the greatest novel by the greatest novelist of all time. But we’ve got a big backlog of episodes on the great works of literature, if you like that kind of thing. You can also listen to Chip and Lance, our children’s podcast. It’s like a story kind of podcast with characters and hilarious comedy and stuff like that. You can also listen to The Ville, which is a drama fictional podcast. These are close to my heart. But if you just want an entry point into my wonderful work you’ve been so inspired by everything that you’ve heard on this podcast today, and you’re just like, I want to hear more of that guy. He’s my hero. I never have to go to church again. Go to listen to Sound of Sanity or Sanity at the Movies would be your first stops. So there you go. Is that a good enough pitch?

01:38:09 – Johnny Sanders
That’s perfect. You nailed it. If everybody’s not there right now, I’m very disappointed in you.

01:38:15 – Nathan Alberson
Yeah, me too.

01:38:16 – Johnny Sanders
That’s a great pitch there.

01:38:17 – Nathan Alberson
Did I mention you’re a bad person if you don’t? If you hear all that? Terrible, man.

01:38:25 – Johnny Sanders
Well, you better be there right now. Seriously, if you’re driving your car, you better pull off and get there right?

01:38:31 – Nathan Alberson
Are you still listening to this podcast when you could be listening to mine?

01:38:34 – Johnny Sanders
Get off.

01:38:35 – Nathan Alberson
No. First you listen to Truth and Grace Counseling podcast or no, sorry. Faithfully Engaged.

01:38:41 – Johnny Sanders
Engaged.

01:38:41 – Nathan Alberson
First, you finish every episode, the whole back catalog of Faithfully Engaged. And then, and only then, you’re like, no, my life is over. I have no more good podcasts to listen to. You go listen to Sound of Sanity or Sanity at the movies? Once again, don’t have to be a big movie person to listen to our movie podcast. Just have to want the best content on the Internet.

01:39:06 – Johnny Sanders
Perfect. You nailed it. Well, Nathan, it’s been great, great conversations here. I think the audience really has a lot to glean from. They got a lot of homework to do as far as podcast listening to Kit, too. But I really appreciate you being on today.

01:39:22 – Nathan Alberson
Hey, it’s been a joy. Thank you, Johnny.

01:39:25 – Johnny Sanders
All right, well, guys, hope you enjoyed this conversation. We’ll catch you on the next episode.