Season 2 John Thompson

This Transcript may have errors that veer from the original recording. 

Ryan Henry: Yeah. This is gonna be a, a great time. I’m, I’m excited to hear your story. Um, but before we get too far into your story, um, we know that you like, you’re basically Mr. Christian music himself. So, uh, we have to have a question, a random question, uh, from our random question generator that has to kind of deal with Christian music.

So if our listeners have never, ever listened to Christian music, which album would you have? ’em start with

John Thompson: would you have start, man. Okay. So here’s the thing. That’s not that hard of a question for me because I’ve been doing this since I was a kid, but the thing I would want to know first is what in the heck do they mean by Christian music? I’ve never in my whole career liked the idea that Christian music is this separate thing that belongs in a separate building down the hall from real music.

Um, I, when I started true tunes, the whole idea was that great music and [00:01:00] true music that, you know, essentially the good, the true and the beautiful, like, like we find it everywhere. We need to learn how to be discerners of the good, the true and the beautiful, so. When people would come up to me and say, okay, what’s your favorite Christian album.

I might like to just throw ’em a curveball and say something like a, you know, a Springsteen album or a, or a Dylan album or something, because I, I honestly can find the Christian truth. Uh, bono once said the, the greatest songs are written by people, either running toward or away from God, you can calculate for X, from either extreme.

Right. You know? And so, um, I would say something like. Bob Dylan’s slow train coming. You know, the, one of the first records he made, or I think it’s the first record he made during his gospel period, but it still retains a lot of mainstream rock credibility. Uh, Bruce Coburn is an artist that was always operating in the mainstream and bringing his faith.

Into his music. He did an album around 1980 called dancing in the [00:02:00] dragons jaws. That, that is just fantastic. Um, he did a record in around 1990 called nothing but a burning light that’s that’s like that. So I, I would probably lean towards something like that because I think that if you go straight into that, that world of contemporary Christian music, now you’re talking about music that was made specifically for Christians, and it has a, a vernacular and a Sonic style that, uh, is really kind of off putting to people that are not, uh, used to it for one thing, even, even believers they’re here.

And they’re like, well, this doesn’t sound like it’s for me, because it’s, it’s kind of become a genre unto itself. And if you’re not really eased into it, or you’re not into that, then you’re gonna think, oh yeah, Christian music is not my thing. And I’m gonna say, well, Black Sabbath. They actually probably made one of the first Christian rock songs ever.

Ryan Henry: Hmm,

John Thompson: you wanna listen to some great Christian rock. Let’s listen to the second black Sabbath album and I can, I can show you some

Ryan Henry: wow. Yeah, yeah,

John Thompson: doing [00:03:00] that kind of stuff because it really does blow people’s minds. And I think music, but one of the highest purposes of music beyond actual sacramental, like using music to, uh, help us enter into worship, it also brings us together and it fosters conversation and it helps us build relationships.

So anyway, there’s a, yeah, it’s not, I I’m prepared for those moments when they come along.

Ryan Henry: That’s great. I love that answer. It’s kind of, uh, you know, a little different than what you might typically expect, but it’s great. Um, you know, I’m gonna have to go back

John Thompson: I mean, I could tell you, you know, I could tell you Petra or something, but I’m just gonna, it’s gonna be boring. You know, it’s like that. That’s I could tell you, Michael, every Smith Amy Grant lead me on is probably one of the best CCM albums, but you know, like then you’re just, then we move on. But if I say blacks, second album, you’re gonna go what?

And we’re gonna start to fight and argue. And that’s how

Ryan Henry: Uh, yeah, I’m gonna have to go back and listen to that album now. Thank you. Appreciate it. I got my homework cut out

John Thompson: listen to beyond eternity and I’ll tell you, I mean, that’s, that’s a pretty confrontational testimonial

Ryan Henry: Wow.[00:04:00] 

John Thompson: rock song. So

Ryan Henry: Yeah.

John Thompson: nice.

Ryan Henry: Hmm.

John Thompson: Yeah.

Ryan Henry: Yeah.

John Thompson: I don’t. Well, I, I appreciate what you’re saying. I don’t think that there really is such thing as secular music. I mean, if, if the gospel is true, then there’s nothing good or true or beautiful that God doesn’t look at and say, well, that’s mine too. That’s my fingerprint. And so whether it’s a beautiful painting, whether it’s a great film, whether it’s a great song, the truth is the truth, whether it was couched in Christian vernacular or written with a specific ministry intent, or it’s just a person who says, you know what, that sunset is beautiful.

It feel it’s drawing me towards something eternal. Uh that’s that’s still, uh, That’s of value. And so I think that, you know, people who have, who have said specifically, I am not a Christian. I don’t, I don’t believe in God. They still, sometimes they tell the truth, you know, and we can resonate with that truth.

[00:05:00] And I think that we need to learn how to do that and not have this attitude that, that we are group. And this moment in time, especially our color people in this socioeconomic class, in this moment in history, somehow own everything that has to do with, uh, eternity and the truth and the gospel. Like that’s so arrogant and, and we miss so much important, valuable stuff.

So, um, Uh, it’s. Yeah, I don’t, I I’ve said for years, I wrote an article for Christianity today, probably 17 years ago. That was just called I don’t believe in secular music. Like, I, I just don’t think it exists. I think music is essentially spiritual. Now it can be used for secular purposes, but I think the underpinning of it is essentially spiritual.

The question is just, what kind of spiritual purpose are we using? Are we we’re tapping into something emotional and spiritual when we use music and it can cause us to wanna buy this cheeseburger over this cheeseburger, or it can cause us to love this kind of person more or hate this kind of person more.

It can [00:06:00] cause us to. Think grandiose thoughts about this political party or this politician, or to hate this group of people or whatever, you know, like we can, we have to think about what it’s being used for, cuz it can be used for secular purposes. It can be used for evil purposes, hateful purposes, or really good life and love affirming God honoring purposes.

But music itself, I don’t think is, is uh, secular.

Ryan Henry: Wow. Thank you for sharing those thoughts. This is great. Um, you know, and this is kind of a sidebar, uh, but I’ve been finding myself in like personal worship times, uh, going and bringing out music that are not typically like your Christian songs, but the Lord speaks to me through those a lot. Here comes the.

Is so significant. I love like that song, like, oh my gosh, God has used that song in such powerful ways for, in my life. You know, where I know it’s the Lord speaking to me, you know, it’s really cool. So,

John Thompson: right

Ryan Henry: yeah. [00:07:00] That’s great. So let’s okay. So let’s get into your story, John. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So John, is there a, um, do you have any, some, some resources for our listeners? Um, if they specifically are looking for, you know, music that yeah. Music that like transcends, or just connects [00:08:00] them to God in a, in a unique way, where would you tell ’em to start?

John Thompson: you, well, I would invite anybody. That’s interested in that to just join us on this true tunes journey. Like it’s something I started when I was a kid and then kind of lost and I restarted it a few years ago. We have a podcast that true tunes podcast that’s out there. We have, uh, uh, true We have a Facebook channel at true tunes now, and I.

Curate a Spotify mix every week. And I put 40 songs, uh, out every week. And it’s everything from roots gospel, you know, sister Rosetta, THP songs to contemporary gospel, to occasionally a contemporary Christian song to indie alternative songs. And it’s all over the map. Uh, in terms of genre, some of it you’ll find like maybe an old black Sabbath song or a king X song or a, something like that.

But it’ll, it’ll, there’ll be a thread, sometimes a thematic thread, sometimes a stylistic thread, but over the span of 40 songs, if you listen to that [00:09:00] mix every week, you’re gonna hear new artists. You’ve never heard, you’re gonna hear stuff you maybe have heard, but haven’t thought of in a while and you’re gonna hear some stuff and go, boy, I never thought of it from that perspective.

So if you follow my mix on Spotify and you listen to the podcast, you’re gonna hear conversations and you’re gonna go, well, I didn’t really think this of this as a. Like you would call it maybe Christian artist and we don’t have that limitation on the show. Now we do talk to Amy Grant on the show. We talk to a couple of artists that come, we talk to young worship artists, but we also talk to Michael McDermott, a singer songwriter from Chicago.

We talk to buddy Miller, we talk to Bruce Coburn. We talk to, uh, blitz and trapper this fantastic mainstream alternative rock band from Portland. All the conversations have a spiritual tone. And I think over the span of the conversation, you’ll people will start to see what I mean. And then we do these jukebox features in almost every episode where we’ll highlight an album from over the span of time.

you know, or maybe a, a couple of albums. So it, I don’t think there’s a quick [00:10:00] fix to it, but the, the theme of the show has been listened to better music and listen to music better. So we’re trying to, to both give an example of, and model this process of active listening. And then I’m, I’m trying to act as a coach, which is what I did at the record store that I had back in Wheaton in the day, you know, people would come in and I’d say, well, if you, you know, let me, let me kind of suggest some things and then show you kind of how to listen to this stuff a little differently instead of saying, oh, my kid likes this.

Can you give me a Christian version of this? Like, we, we always hated that that’s such a, such a reductionist way of thinking about, uh, the sanctity of art, you know, and of humanity to reduce it into, oh, let’s just make a Christian version of. Red hot chili peppers or something like that. That’s just so dumb.

Ryan Henry: Yeah. Interesting. Yeah. Cool. Thank you so much, man. I, I got your website here, pulled up and I’m just like, man, I can’t wait to, to dive into this more and show my show. My, my son, he’s a, he’s a emerging, I don’t know, just great musician and I’m excited. He loves listening to [00:11:00] all types of music, so. Awesome.

Well, I really wanna get into your story. So if we can go back to the beginning and if you just would tell, talk to us about where, where you grew up.

John Thompson: Yeah. I grew up in, uh, south central and central Illinois kind of in the country there. Um, my mom became a Christian at the tail end of what is called the Jesus movement. You know, back when lots of young people in the tail in the sixties and early seventies were, were caught up in this sort of revival that was, um, taken place.

It was really kind of an extension of the counterculture. When a lot of hippie kids had kind of run down the, the free love and drug Woodstock era thing, and a good chunk of them. encountered this version of Jesus that I would think is more historically correct, you know, than the version that maybe the mainstream church had been projecting and they resonated with it.

You know, Jesus was, uh, turned out [00:12:00] Jesus was pretty passionate about peace and about reconciliation and about caring for your neighbor and things that really mattered to those young people who were also very concerned about the Vietnam war. They were concerned about the environment. They were concerned about social justice issues related to, um, you know, the, the civil rights issues and things like that.

So millions of young people were becoming, uh, Christians. They were embracing this long haired, hippie freak Jesus. And they were, there was, you know, it was on the cover of time, Newsweek. It was, you know, hundreds of thousands of kids getting baptized in the ocean, out in Southern California. There was pockets of it in the Midwest pockets of it out in new England.

And it actually started and took root in central America, south America, England Africa. It was, it was a global thing. And so, and music was a big part of that as well. And my mom was. Uh, affected by that. So she, she was influenced, she, she was, she brought into this women’s Bible study now [00:13:00] for a little bit more context.

My biological father was a, a very violent, sociopathic alcoholic criminal kind of person. He was a very bad person and he abused her and he terrified my brothers and I, and, uh, so when she came to faith, uh, as a very young kid, I latched onto that faith as well. So I, I really don’t remember a time in my life where God didn’t feel very present to me, but my relationship to that was out of necessity.

And, you know, it was like a lifeline that was like a, it was like a kid holding onto a tow rope behind a speedboat, going through shark infested waters. That, that was that’s the best way I could describe what my, what my faith was like as a kid. But it did feel real. It just didn’t feel like I had, like, to me, it felt often like, Uh, God or the gospel was just the next best thing to drowning or being eaten by sharks, which is kind of what the [00:14:00] alternative seemed to be.

Um, when I was 10, right before, uh, we had to leave this situation, cuz it was, it had become life threatening. Um, my grandma knew that something was about to happen. I had become very passionate about music and I was, I, we lived out in the country outside of Peoria, Illinois, and I would just have these radio headphones that, uh, had, you know, there were big bulky headphones that had radio built right into it and I could dial in whatever and I just, I listened to everything.

I mean I just, I listened to gospel music. I listened to rock and roll. I listened to college radio, you know, so I, I really developed a very wide range of tastes. I mean, it was, it was crazy. Um, now when I look back. my, my mom started to get a little bit worried about how passionate I was about certain songs.

You know, that seemed to be, uh, not consistent with this Christian. Faith, you know, and, uh, she talked to her mom about it. My grandma, my grandma went to a [00:15:00] Christian bookstore and had heard about through my aunt, had heard about Jesus music, you know, but, but my mom was listening to Jesus music and it was nice, but it was really kind of for her generation.

It was real gentle folky, you know, feminine, uh, stuff. And, um, loved, loved it. Mom loved it, but I needed something a little bit gritty or a little bit darker. And, um, grandma found the, these tapes and she, one of ’em was a span to Garmo and key, uh, an album called straight on and it. She made the mistake of telling me it was Christian rock, which meant I was like, oh, thanks, grandma.

You know, like I figured it would sound kind of like the stuff that mom listened to. And so I, I didn’t really listen to it that much at first, but shortly after she gave it to me, we ended up going into hiding and ha and spending, um, a good amount of time on the run from my father. So we lived at, uh, the wayside cross rescue mission in Aurora for a while.

And then they relocated us to the Riverwoods Christian center camp in St. Charles. And we spent a lot of time hiding there [00:16:00] basically. And my mom would cook meals in the kitchen and help that with accounting and my brothers and I were little, I was, I was barely 10. Uh, I think I turned 10 that summer. And, um, that tape was one of the only things I had.

I literally everything I owned fit in one orange duffle bag. A tape recorder and that cassette was one of the things. And so finally, outta boredom, I listened to that. I remember I was at the wayside cross rescue mission there in Aurora, popped that tape in and listened. And it really got through to me.

It was actually very intense musically. It was very intense lyrically. Um, it had a darker sound to it and it really spoke to me and it, um, and it was, it was important. It, it was powerful. And. Uh, uh, there was something about the, I, I said this in my book that I felt like I was kind of listening under the door to a conversation that these people were having about a very real relationship kind of connection to God, not this just a lifeline kind of thing, [00:17:00] but I didn’t quite yet, you know, and also when you’re 10 years old, you’re kind of figuring out the difference between just being connected to your parents and actually being your own autonomous individual person.

Um, but I knew that something had to shift like this, this living in, on adrenaline, uh, surviving and being the oldest brother of, of at that point for kids though, I had this sense of having to take care of my little brothers and that was causing a lot of stress and anxiety and all that kind of stuff. So my, I felt my, my faith kind of shifting, starting when I was about 10 and that music became a big part of that.

Um, We ended up settling in the Chicago suburbs. We were able to come out of hiding and start going to the Episcopal church that my grandparents had had been going to. And that was always, you know, part of the background of our faith. We had gone to kind of all different sorts of churches, um, wherever we lived, which is another thing I’m now grateful for is that we went to this tiny little church in the country that the town was too small to really have more than one church.

So [00:18:00] everybody went to just church, you know, and then we, we went to charismatic churches and we went to, um, more stoic kind of quiet churches. And this, uh, this Episcopal church really became home in Glen, Illinois. And I was very fortunate to have a very active youth group with youth pastors who not only were serious about teaching.

The Bible and serious about character formation, but they also took a very mentally role in my life as a young kid who needed that. Like I, you know, I needed some serious help. I was messed up. Like I, I was dealing with some significant PTSD, but, but I was hiding it very, very well. And I was forming kind of characters, uh, almost on the verge of what some people would call, um, dissociative disorder.

Like I, I would project a version of myself that was fine and everything was perfect. And I was the perfect kid and all that kind of stuff. But inside I was, I was crumbling and I was developing a lot of serious health problems too. [00:19:00] We went to our youth group, went to a charismatic Episcopal church in bath, Ohio.

And, um, again, I’m the good church kid. I memorized all the books of the Bible. I was, you know, always at youth group, every time the church was open, I would be there doing stuff quick to serve, you know, very connected to this, but still kind of like on the rope, , you know, still not quite figuring out the, that this what my adult version of faith, that wasn’t just a survival mechanism was gonna be.

And at this conference, a band played and that always got my attention. and during this concert, this Christian rock kind of rock band, Jesus thing, you know, um, they did the thing, you know, that we’ve all seen a million times, you know, where during the show, first you rock out and the kids are all going crazy.

Then you do a sermon and the sermon is kind of like, you gotta get serious about your faith. Are you a Christian? Are you not? Are you going this way or [00:20:00] that way? And you know, um, and then if you want, if you want to get saved, you know, you want, you know, it’s an altar call and, and so come forward and, and they made room down by the stage for, and I’m thinking back, like what, what are the odds of a, an Episcopal, a charismatic Episcopal church, having a rock band, do an alter, like it’s, it’s like a, the weirdest group of planets align. and then, and the fact is the, the message that this guy gave was, was not exactly inviting me forward, right? Because I’m already a Christian. I’ve been a Christian for as long as I have conscious memory. This guy knows nothing about hers, at least saying nothing about if you’re a young kid dealing with significant trauma and you need to get to the next, you know, the third gear of your seven gear, semi truck of faith come forward and talk to somebody sophisticated about advanced level therapy.

Like , it was this really simple, even simplistic. Like if you’re not saved and you need to get saved, come forward and everything. [00:21:00] But I felt this compulsion, like I needed to go forward for this altar call

Ryan Henry: Yeah.

John Thompson: and I wasn’t gonna do it because he wasn’t, it wasn’t for me, like this invitation was to get saved and I was already baptized in the Catholic church as a baby.

I was already, um, I had been reaped at eight years old at this little church in the country. I had gone through confirmation class at the Episcopal church. I was, you know, I was already a Christian. Why, why do I feel this compulsion to go forward at this altar call?

Ryan Henry: Wow.

John Thompson: But then I felt myself just get up and go

Ryan Henry: Hmm.

John Thompson: group is going, John is going this, why in the world is he going down?

He’s he needs it less than anybody. Like now I’m, I’m feeling like I’m showing off. I’m doing this for attention. My brain is just spinning about why I should not be walking. I should just pretend like I gotta go to the bathroom and just take a left turn and go down the hall. But I go forward. and they’ve got a guitar case open on the stage and you’re supposed to put anything in that [00:22:00] case that you’re trying to get rid of.

So you’re repenting, like, you know, pornography, drugs, whatever cigarettes you want to give up. Right. I can’t believe there’s like a Playboy in this thing. Like some kid has brought an actual Playboy into the concert. Like, like where did you even put that? like, that’s a commitment. Right? And, but there’s a, there’s a Playboy in there.

There’s a little bag of pills or whatever in there. I got nothing to put in there. Right. When it’s my, when I make my way to the thing I’m, and, and, but then I felt this sense, this not audible, but this just very clear sense that I needed to just let go of this anger and fear and pain. Because if I didn’t, if I didn’t just let this go, it was going to kill me.

Like I, that I felt like I was on a thread that was very, very thin. And so I just kind of had this picture in my mind of almost like vomiting, pain and anger and bitterness, and [00:23:00] even hatred for my biological father and fear into that guitar case. like on top of all of that other stuff,

Ryan Henry: Wow.

John Thompson: sins, my brokenness was hidden.

It wasn’t anything anybody could see, but it still had to come out and it had to pour into that guitar case with all that other stuff. And when I, when I had that experience and I walked away this woman, one of the youth leaders from some other church who was one of the counselors, you know, had probably, you know, just, they were there to kind of talk to any of the kids that went.

uh, she asked if I needed prayer and I said, yes, but she, when she asked me what I needed prayer for, I said, I don’t know how to describe it. like, I, I, I cannot, I cannot talk about what’s going on because then it involves me having to eventually explain what’s gone on when I was a kid. And I did not talk about that stuff.

Right. Um, so a group just prayed for me and sent me on, we were staying at a host home that night, but [00:24:00] before we left, there’s a guy in the foyer selling records from a local Christian store, like Christian albums. Right. And I haven’t seen any Christian music since my grandma bought me that tape four years ago or

Ryan Henry: Yeah.

John Thompson: And I stopped and I had about five or six bucks that my mom had given me. Lunch money or whatever for this conference. Right. And I’m flipping through the records and I see Degamo and key. And I was like, oh my gosh, I know this band. And the guy goes, oh, you do. I said, yeah, I’ve got this tape, you know? And he said, oh, that’s a good one.

He goes, you’d like this album. And he pulls out this double live album and it’s got some of the songs from the tape I knew. And he’s like, this is really good. It’s them playing in concert. It really rocks, you know, it’s and, and, uh, I, I said, well, this is how much money I got. And it was, it was less than what the guy was selling the record for, but he’s like, I’ll take it.

And he took my money and he gave me the records. Now I have no more food money, but I have a record, which is now the story of the rest of my life. I

Ryan Henry: Yeah.

John Thompson: trade food for records I still do. But I go to this host home [00:25:00] with my youth group, and they’re putting kids on, you know, the floor to sleep everywhere in this house.

Like cuz there’s thousands or I don’t remember thousands, maybe, maybe just hundreds, but whatever. And I say, can I sleep by your record player? and so they let me sleep by the record player and here’s so here’s this like, you know, 12 year old kid with headphones sleeping by the record player playing his new record listening, cuz I couldn’t talk to the counselors that night, but I could listen to that record.

So Degamo and key became my post show counselors and I listened to that album all night long, hardly slept at all four sides, two records back and forth, back and forth. And it spoke to me and it gave me a sense that I had a calling that I was not forgotten that God was like, look, I haven’t forgotten about you.

I do want to have a relationship with you. This is gonna be a hard road. There are no easy answers. So don’t think that just walking forward means the problems are solved. You are gonna have a long, hard. Journey, but if you can [00:26:00] exhale and if you can trust, I have a, I have a path for you to, to walk and, and that’s exactly what’s happened.

It’s been a large, long, really hard path. And ironically, to skip ahead, 30, some years later, I ended up in Nashville after a lot of other stuff happened, working at capital records where my boss was Eddie de Garmo . And I had

Ryan Henry: Oh,

John Thompson: cassette that I had had him sign when I was a kid, was another whole crazy story.

So I got to work with Eddie for 10 years as my boss at capital.

Ryan Henry: That is amazing. How cool is that?

John Thompson: Yeah.

Ryan Henry: So, okay. Wow. That is that’s. I mean, really unique. I mean, you know, I just love how people

John Thompson: yeah, I hope so. I hope nobody else has to go through what I’ve gone through.

Ryan Henry: right? I mean, but people come to faith in so many different ways, you know, and it’s amazing how God calls each person individually and it’s a really unique to them, [00:27:00] uh, story.

Um, wow. That’s that’s amazing. Can I do have a question when you earlier you had mentioned, uh, your faith kind of shifting at age 10.

John Thompson: Mm-hmm

Ryan Henry: Can you elaborate just a little bit on that?

John Thompson: sure. Well, like I said, my faith, I think as a younger kid, what I remember was it was a survival line. Like I felt, I, I felt, and I, I really knew that God was real and I saw the transformation in my mom’s life. And I wanted access to that. My mom says that, that when I was little, I don’t remember this, but she tells a story so many times, I feel like I remember it, but she got baptized and came outta the water crying.

And I, as the oldest boy got very defensive and was like, I’m what somebody hurt mom, cuz I was used to seeing her cry. Um, and that usually meant she had been hit or something or something had gone wrong, but she was like, no, no, no, these are happy tears. I’m happy. I got Jesus in my heart. And she said that, I, I said, well then I want him in my heart.

And so as this three, four year old kid, whatever it was, I said the [00:28:00] prayer and you know, and I think that in a way that meant something and that, that there was a, a spirit that came into my personality, my heart, my, and, and, but I also was like a little duckling following the mama duck. Like, you know, this is the step she takes, this is the step I take.

Right. And she has to survive this nightmare world that we’re in. But so do I, like I gotta survive this too. And. The other thing is that at one point in our life, she did decide we, I have to leave this guy he’s too dangerous. And she left and we came up to Chicago and my biological father was such a good con man that he became a pastor of a storefront church to convince her that he had changed.

So part of the, the underbelly of the Jesus movement and of the charismatic, um, renewal was that there wasn’t a lot of discernment going on. If a guy like him could become a pastor of a church, but he was so convincing. [00:29:00] He convinced her, he convinced an entire little church that he, and he was a great speaker.

He was a great, he was funny. He was, he did all that stuff and she came back and then all the same stuff started happening again, it was all an act. And so even at 5, 6, 7 years old, I started to see that, that there, there was a lot of lies going on. There was. And so I realized at 10. I have to go from this being like a, a lifeline, that’s just keeping me alive to something that will sustain me.

It’s it’s like when you are running from a bear and, and you get that adrenaline burst and you’re like, okay, I I’ve, I’m away from the bear. I can’t live on that kind of adrenaline based faith forever. Or I will just have a heart attack and die. There has to be a transition. And for me, That transition came into cultivating a level of discernment, which I now I only much later realized [00:30:00] was probably partially related to the fact that I was raised by a conman.

And I’m, I was so committed to not becoming a conman myself because every guy is either wants to be like his father, or is terrified of being like his father or maybe a little bit of both. And, and so having a, having an alcoholic, abusive, sociopathic father, I was terrified of being like my father

Ryan Henry: Hm.

John Thompson: I’ve I’ve realized in hindsight that the truth detector in me, you know, which I think has been fueled by art.

I think art and music and in particular can be a really great way for us to cultivate discernment. If we engage it that way. Unfortunately, a lot of Christians don’t they just use it as a product. That’s like, oh, now I have a Christian version of product. I don’t have to engage in discernment anymore.

Kind of back to what we were talking about earlier. But if we use it right, it can actually enhance our discernment skills and we can become better thinkers and discerners of the truth from the false, the love from the self, you know, fear from [00:31:00] the, you know, the. as I grew, I, I felt that transition happening.

So, and the other thing is the idea that was so pervasive in evangelical subculture was the moment we got saved. you know, and, and one of the things I’m grateful for coming up in the Episcopal church was one of the priests told me, um, when I, when I had, we talked about the salvation experience, he liked to talk about being saved, not getting saved, but the fact that every day we are being saved, like so, so it’s an ongoing journey of salvation.

And every day we choose the steps, we take the path we’re on the house, we’re building the foundation that it’s on, as opposed to the, the idea that we make one choice. And then we’re saved and we don’t really have to think about it anymore. We just reinforce that choice. And that, that process of discernment.

When I talk about a transition, I think I went into, and it’s not like it was an easy one because [00:32:00] I’m still dealing with the repercussions of that kind of trauma and stuff. But I do feel like now the theme of my life is boy today. Am I going to be saved? like, am I going to walk in salvation and freedom and discernment and love and grace, or am I going to relapse into Phariseeism and fundamentalism and strictness?

And this idea that, well, I made a decision 30 years ago, so I don’t really need to think about that anymore.

Ryan Henry: Right, right. Wow. I like that concept of yeah. Every day deciding which one you’re gonna walk in, cuz it really truly is a choice, you know? And um,

John Thompson: Yeah.

Ryan Henry: that’s, that’s powerful. Um,

John Thompson: And I think today we see the results of so many people that are not making that choice because I look around and I see the majority of. Even my good friends, don’t seem to be able to discern basic facts from conspiracies or, you know, we’re afraid of so much stuff and people are operating most of their life from an [00:33:00] attitude of self protection.

And I don’t see that in the life of the early church. I don’t see that in the life of the apostles. I don’t see that in the scripture at all. I see this braveness and boldness and confidence. Um, I think that a lot of people got pretty comfortable in this world and, and the gospel has become very political and very compromised.

And so I think that we’ve lost our ability to discern because we became so much about being just kind of Christian consumers, as opposed to Christian discerners. And we think so much about that salvation moment as opposed to the experience of walking that out. And so that’s kind of become the theme of my life.

Ryan Henry: Yeah. Wow. Thank you so much for sharing that. Yeah. Yep.[00:34:00] 

John Thompson: Sure.

Ryan Henry: Okay. Yeah. So refresh me really quick. The de Garmo and key album you said was really key for you. Um, that was, that was that the album that was given to you at the concert?

John Thompson: Yeah. There’s so there’s two there’s D grandma key straight on is the one that my grandma gave me when I was about eight or nine. And then there was the double live album, no turning back that I bought with the, my lunch money at the retreat. And, um, so both of those were very key to me. And, um, when I came back from that retreat, uh, I was so excited about this music, but the D garment key was still the only band I.

Knew about that kind of felt like they were from my world. I started listening to this local Christian radio station in Chicago and, uh, it was funny. Most of the music I heard on it, I was like, Ugh, this , this [00:35:00] is so disappointing. Like it’s, it’s just, it’s more of mom’s music. Like, I mean, it’s, it’s fine. And there was a few songs, but you know, and then one night now see, Parallel story.

That’s very important. Here is, um, a few years after we settled in Chicago, my, my mom, my biological father were officially divorced. And after a little bit of a, a painful few years transitioning, she met and married a fantastic guy who, um, was first my step. And then he adopted me when I was 18. I got to sign my own adoption papers, which was

Ryan Henry: Oh, wow.

John Thompson: Um, and he had been in rock bands in the sixties and we kind of bonded over music. He taught me how to play guitar. I’d I’d been dabbling, but he actually taught me stuff and, and we could connect on music. He, he would pull out records. He was a relatively new. Believer himself having gone through sort of Eastern religions and philosophy and, and new ag kind of stuff, and very spiritually minded, but had come to Christianity, uh, relatively recently.

Um, but very [00:36:00] seriously. And he was a thinker and I liked that. And so we would put on a Chicago album or a James Taylor album, or Paul Simon. I remember listening to Paul Simon records with dad and we would recognize, you know, the kind of spiritual, like digging for human, the human heart in these things.

And I loved that about, and that was a way that my dad and I really connected well after I came back from that retreat, with that to garment key. Um, the first thing I did was probably eat something, cuz I was probably pretty hungry having spent my food money on the record. But, but then, uh, um, I, I played it for dad and um, and then we started listening to the Christian radio station, uh, a bit and I was like struggling to, to latch into any of that music.

But then one night I remember our whole family lived in this two bedroom apartment. Um, we were, it was very cramped and we, and he had a son from a previous marriage and then my mom and dad had just had a baby. So there’s six boys. Two parents living in this two bedroom apartment in Glen Ellen. And, [00:37:00] uh, just on top of each other.

And I’m sitting in the corner with headphones on it as always plugged into the radio station, listening to that CCM music, trying to develop a taste for it. You know, just trying to think. I I’d actually told myself at one point, you know, most of the mature Christians, I know like this stuff. So maybe once I become a mature Christian, I’ll like it, like maybe I just it’s like, maybe it’s like beer adults, like beer.

I don’t like beer. Maybe once I become an adult, I’ll like beer. Maybe once I become an adult, I’ll like CCM music. Maybe you just have to be an adult to like it. Right. that’s kind of thought of it like beer. And I was like, oh, I just could not get into it. And then one night at nine o’clock exactly. They were playing a certain kind of very traditional song.

And in the middle of the song, the DJ. Pick the needle up off kind of rudely pick the needle up off that song and started playing this new wave rock song. Didn’t say anything then another one and then a hard rock song. And I was like, oh, and he said, things are changing and then played these songs. And I thought, oh, it’s not a [00:38:00] Christian station anymore.

This stuff is way too cool.

Ryan Henry: Yeah.

John Thompson: the third or fourth song, he comes back and I’m thinking, man, whatever, this is, this is really cool. It sounded like college rock. Like I’d never heard any of these songs before. And they were really smart and they were kind of funny and, and really weird music. And I loved it after the fourth song or something.

He’s like, can you believe this is all Christian music? You know, that was, and he lists all of the artists and he goes, and coming up next Chicago zone, you know, they, they run the biggest homeless shelter. They blah, blah, blah. This is Chicago zone resurrection band. And he starts playing this song. Military man from resand.

I lost my ever love in mind. I mean, I was, it was as if you had dropped a toaster into my bathtub, I, I exploded and this song was so cool. and, and jumped up cranked the volume up, unplugged the headphones. So it comes blasting out of the speakers, mom and dad, and the boys have probably were watching the, a team or something.

They’re all like what the heck is going on?

Ryan Henry: yeah.[00:39:00] 

John Thompson: up and down. I’m like, like, it was almost like a signal had come from another planet and said, we found you, John, like, we’ve been looking for you. You found your people like, and I couldn’t believe it. I said, this is, this is actually, I’m having a panic attack.

Like this is actually faith music. Like these people are Christians and listen. And dad says he remembered that moment that he told me later. He’s like, that’s what it was like when I first heard the Beatles. Like, and everybody talks about like of, of the boomer generation who are musicians. They talk about seeing the Beatles on ed Sullivan and how many people were like, that’s the moment I became a guitar player.

That’s the moment I started writing songs. That’s the moment I knew I was gonna be a rockstar or a musician or whatever that night was when I. Okay, this is it. I’m I’m going. And they talked about a festival. Well, first I went and saw resand play with the 70 sevens at college of DuPage. And then I went and saw the first cornerstone festival, the following

Ryan Henry: Oh yeah.

John Thompson: And when I went [00:40:00] to that, I was 13, almost 14. I literally stood there in a field up there Northwest of Chicago. And I watched this music and I felt like God was like, see, I told you, I didn’t forget. You look, look around. There’s what? Six, 7,000 people there. This is your tribe. Like, this is, this is where you’re gonna go.

And, and I just was like, whatever circus this is, I am running away with it. Like,

Ryan Henry: Yeah.

John Thompson: is it. It’s gonna take me a couple years. Cuz I still gotta go home and I gotta finish school and stuff. But I sensed that there was, there was no reason that a band like the 70 sevens, they were to me that day, the one that, that got through to me the most their music was, was complicated.

It was wirey, it was intense. It was hard to understand which I needed as a kid. I needed something that wasn’t spoon feeding me stuff. It was frenetic. At one point, the lead singer, Mike Roe falls to his face on the stage and starts pulsing around. Like somebody’s hitting him with the [00:41:00] EKG sticks. Like I, it, it was incredible.

And I said, this, this is this kind of music talks to everybody. This isn’t just for Christian kids. This isn’t just for church people. This is for everybody. This is, this should be as popular as the talking heads. This should be as popular as the clash. Why is it not? And so at 14, I went home and I wrote up what you might call like a manifesto.

I’m what do I have to do to have a conversation with kids like me? That tell them they’re not forgotten that tell them that there’s truth out there for all of us, that there’s relationships out there that we’re welcome into this family. What do I gotta do? And I’d started doing research. I started calling radio stations.

I started calling magazines. I started figuring out what do I have to do? And I found mentors. I found people like a guy named Dave bunker who had been in the music industry. I, I found a job at a Christian bookstore in Wheaton where I was the music manager and I started to build my plan. I talked to radio station people.

I got an internship at that very same radio station. And [00:42:00] even at that internship, I, when one of my first weeks there, I met a guy named rich Mullins who was a brand new artist who just started. And he was there promoting his first record and, and he kind of took me under his wing and became a big brother to me in a, in a lot of ways.

My dad even became a, a mentor to me on the musical side. So all this time I’m, I’ve got a band and I’m playing songs and I’m writing songs. I’m also learning how to write about music. I’m learning how I’m going out and speaking at youth groups all over Chicago, talking about music. I started true tunes.

This record store started a magazine, started a mail order thing, started a concert venue. And it was just because I felt like this, this tribe, most of how people were doing Christian music was creating Christian products to promote to Christians. And my thing was to say, no, no, no, no, no. We just, as Christians need to be involved in making great, great music, that’s open to everybody.

And then part of that is also, we just need to [00:43:00] engage with great music as Christians, because that provides a bridge of conversation with, with kids like me, that we’re, we’re gonna be more likely to engage that. Like when grandma handed me that tape and said, this is Christian rock. And I’m like, oh, thanks.

I’m not really that interested. Even though I was a Christian kid, the majority of Christians don’t listen to Christian music because most of it is not really made for them. Right. So that started the path. And then I’ve just found these people and God has opened doors and I’ve just been faithful. So people have mentored me in different ways at different times.

And I did true tunes for about 10 years. And then I went to work for the cornerstone festival for a good long time. And now I, I did a lot of consulting and writing and wrote books and produced some records. Um, worked on some movies and spent 10 years at capital and working with Eddie. And here I am back doing true tunes in a different way and not making any money at it.

Just like I didn’t the first time . So

Ryan Henry: oh man. Wow. Wow. That’s amazing. Well, I, uh, gosh, I’m, [00:44:00] I’m, uh, I’m trying to kind of think here where else to, to go, because you covered so much of what I was wondering about. Um, would you, could you just, uh, I’m trying to remember if you had mentioned this, but would you take us to the moment, um, of when you were up in the front and you were standing at that guitar case, or, you know, near that guitar case, and you were kind of imagining yourself vomiting, all of this garbage.

John Thompson: of this

Ryan Henry: Did you, did you feel a sense of release there at that moment?

John Thompson: Sure. But yeah. Yes. I think that there’s, there’s a lot of value in catharsis. There really is. And I’ve had several of those moments over the years, you know, the purge, the stuff you’ve been bottling up, the stuff you just haven’t shared with anybody that, you know, and there definitely was a relief, but I, I think that one of the biggest values in it, well, there’s at least.

I do think that all our journeys [00:45:00] are marked by things, right? Just yesterday we had a graduation ceremony and party for my, my youngest son who graduated from high school. And he was saying, we don’t need to have a ceremony. You know, we don’t need to have much, like he was homeschooled. He’s like, I, and he said, no, this is the kind of thing you definitely stop.

And you do something big for, because you wanna have those memories where you mark these things. Right. And so on my spiritual journey, there are markers. Right. I remember when my grandfather told me he could tell, even before we went into hiding before that moment, when I was probably seven, I talked to him about how I felt like God had forgotten.

Because I hated the verse. Romans 8, 28 for God, is, is working all things for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose. That was the version that had been crocheted on this little piece of hippie art that was in our house, probably skipped a few words because it was hard to crochet all of those words, but that was the verse.

Ryan Henry: Yeah.

John Thompson: [00:46:00] And it drove me nuts because the implication to me was either, and this is bad theology, but Hey, I was seven, right? It was either God doesn’t love me because everything around me sucks. And this is terrible. And there’s no way this is good. This is we’re in, we’re in hell right now. Or he loves me, but this is his plan to torture me

And so we’re we’re, or he’s just forgotten us, like he hasn’t gotten to us on his list yet. Um, or that our called according to his purpose, So I, and people are like, oh, well, you know, the, the hardcore Calvinist kind of crowd for, for, you know, if all things work together for good, who, those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose.

Well, that means, well, it only works for good if you are called according to his purpose. So if you’re not called, then all things don’t work for good. Some things are just random and you’re just gonna, it’s just gonna be bad for you. And as a seven year old, I was just obsessing over this life is terrible.

And I remember [00:47:00] talking to my grandpa who was a relatively new believer himself, and he didn’t have any answers to that. And he didn’t pretend to, he just said, you know what? I think that you can, if you’re ticked at God, if you think he’s forgotten, you go scream at him. He goes, you got a hundred acres of woods behind your little house.

He’s like, go out there and just have at it. He can take it. God can.

Ryan Henry: Wow.

John Thompson: That was some wisdom because I went out there as far as I could into that woods. And I screamed my ever loving lungs out at God. I screamed until I felt like my throat was gonna bleed.

Ryan Henry: Wow. John. Wow.

John Thompson: at seven years old, it was like, all I knew was all I felt anyway, was God saying, I hear you.

Ryan Henry: Hmm, Hmm.

John Thompson: I’m not gonna make up something like, oh, here’s your grand plan. Just, I hear you. Sorry. like that. That’s it. That’s it. So when I have that moment going down there and, and purging [00:48:00] into the, into the guitar case only later, do I realize that maybe there was something about the guitar case, and this is possibly all just my imagination and my artfulness, because I, as a songwriter, tend to pour all of my muck into my music and that became a therapeutic way for me to.

Reach people like my songs are dark. My songs have, you know, bodies in the trunk of cars and, and things like that. And that’s actually helped some people and that, and that’s a unique kind of thing. So maybe that was something that kind of started me on my own musical path towards that thing is that my music is going to involve my pain.

And that it’s not about avoiding pain. It’s not about trying to explain away the pain with cheesy Christian answers. It’s about just surviving it and then using it, you know, , it’s like going to the gym, you. You get through it and then you say, okay, now how can I make this useful? And it’s not to minimize it either.

And especially in somebody else, but, but for [00:49:00] me, going back through my life and seeing screaming in the woods to then having that moment, that alter call moment to then having that cornerstone moment or having the moment in the living room with my parents in the, in the radio and then the cornerstone festival moment, and then another moment at cornerstone, but there’s a lot of ’em at cornerstone.

Uh, and then, you know, all the, I can see kind of a constellation in the stars, you know, it’s like, I can see a pattern where I can go, oh my gosh, like now I can see. And that underscores even more how I’ve needed discernment, because I can also see, boy, if I had done this instead of this, yay, what would I have missed out on now?

I’m not wealthy. I, you know, we we’ve chosen a, a much more humble path than I probably could have cultivated if I wanted to do something else with the relationships and contacts and whatever, but I’ve got a lot of joy. I’ve, I’ve sensed a lot of purpose. I feel like I’ve got a calling and a, and uh, I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.

[00:50:00] So, and I was a pastor at the warehouse there in Aurora for I don’t 12, 13 years. I forget. Long time and I really grew up there. And so Randy, who I know you guys had Randy show find your

Ryan Henry: Yeah. Randy’s a

John Thompson: and he’s one of my best, he’s one of my best friends and brother and I pastored with Randy. People like him came into my life and, and took me under their wing.

You know, I was 19 when I first started going there and he became my big brother that I needed and he heard these stories and he honored them. I was with Randy once the first time, and I just started going to the church there. And we, he asked me to come out and get lunch with him. And we were driving on the street and I saw the wayside cross and I had a little mini panic attack.

I didn’t realize that that’s where I had lived when we had gone into hiding. I didn’t know that. And to be a pastor at the church across the street, from the very place we had gone into hiding when I was a kid was pretty, pretty stunning to me and that have the honor of going over there and as a chaplain and speaking many times and leading worship and ministering to the guys there.

When I [00:51:00] had lived there as a 10 year old kid in hiding was. Was profound. Those are all those kinds of moments instead of it. And it does often start with a moment of confession, a moment of, um, clarity, uh, you know, especially people in recovery, people that have really buried themselves in, in mistakes. It does start with a, a catharsis, but it has to move to something beyond that catharsis.

It has to evolve into discipleship, discernment, obedience. Um, the catharsis is great and it’s, it can be like the spark of something, but, but if you don’t put some fuel there for that spark to ignite, and if you don’t give it enough air, then the catharsis is you’re just gonna wanna move from one catharsis to another.

And that’s not enough to sustain you.

Ryan Henry: Yeah. Yeah. I, I, I really appreciate what you say about discipleship and that was actually one of my questions I was kind of curious is, you know, um, moving forward after that, those many [00:52:00] moments, uh, and like you said, constellation where you kind of felt like God was, you know, leading you, directing you, meeting you, reminding you that you weren’t alone, um, was how, how did you grow in the faith?

You know, was it largely through music?

John Thompson: Um, I definitely think that music has been a constant and still is something that provokes thought and reflection for me. Uh, but I don’t know. In and of itself yeah. It’s not enough to accomplish real growth. Like it it’s, it’s provocative. And it’s part of the process to me, growth comes through service, you know, like I, every place I’ve been involved, it’s like, how can I serve?

So I’m teaching, I’m doing mentoring, I’m doing one-on-one, uh, counseling with people. I’m leading a house church. I’m leading small groups, I’m leading small theology, pursuing classes. Uh, you know, it’s that. And [00:53:00] so, um, and in different seasons of my life, it’s done different things. I mean, frankly, working at capital was one of those things.

I didn’t want that job. I wasn’t looking for that job. I didn’t, I never thought I would end up doing that. Uh, I had been on another path and that path collapsed when the whole industry collapsed that path that collapsed with it. And then out of the blue Eddie de Garmo reached out to me and said, Hey, I’ve got this position open in our publishing company here.

Would you be interested? And I at first wasn’t, but then I felt like God said, you know what? This, this is a season I have for you. You’re gonna go have a boss. You’re gonna have a regular job. You’re gonna have to go in at a certain hour. You’re gonna, and you’re gonna learn a lot because you’re kind of starting from my first straight job I ever had.

I was 37 years old. I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole life. And I went and I did it for almost 10 years and I actually, I enjoyed it and I learned a ton. I learned a ton, but the best thing I did there was serve people like was solve problems, serve people. My giftings got used in a [00:54:00] completely different way.

And when you spend nine years working at the biggest music publisher in the industry, and I’m my roster by the end there, I had all the black gospel rush. I had Kirk Franklin and Marvin SAP and John PKI and all these guys. And then I’m working on films and I’m, I’m doing stuff. And I was going, man, this is amazing.

Like, I wouldn’t have been able to do this stuff as an indie. You’re like, and then when that season ended. all of a sudden I got tapped to be the associate Dean of the school of music at Travecca. I wasn’t, I wasn’t even looking for that. And so I got to go work for six years at an institution of higher learning, working with college students, doing both one-on-one things, working with small groups, speaking at chapels, doing it’s just, it was just, and it still remains this thing where I go, man, you know, it reminds me Peter furler from the news boys.

Um, he’s been a friend of mine for, well to be honest, the first few years I knew I didn’t really like him that much we kind of had a, some friction, but then, but then we figured that out and, [00:55:00] and he’s been a friend of mine for a long time since then, but, um, He, he told me several years ago, I was, I was fried.

I was really frustrated with the Christian subculture. I was frustrated with the Christian music scene and the, the pressure to just reduce everything and all that stuff. And I, I made some comment like, maybe I’m done. Maybe I just gotta get a, go sell TVs at best buy or something. Like just get outta here.

Because I really couldn’t for a moment. I, I felt like I just don’t know if I can see anything redeemable in what’s going on in this industry. and we were backstage at some big, um, event, and he, which is uncharacteristic for him. He kinda looked me in the eye and was like, no, he said, you can’t go anywhere.

He says our generation, you know, we’re about the same age. He said, he goes, everything that God invests in us. It’s not for us. It’s for us to invest back into the kingdom. So whether that’s material things or whether that’s skills and [00:56:00] experiences. You have a level of wisdom and experience and knowledge that you are required to now invest in the kingdom.

It’s not for you. And he goes, it’s easy to think of that when it comes to material stuff, but it’s harder when it comes to skills, he goes, who else knows what you know, and how to do what you do. He said, you, if you leave with that, you’re leaving the community with all of that knowledge, all of that wisdom, all that experience, he goes, no, no, no, no, you can’t go anywhere.

you’re stuck here. This is why now it’s not like I’m stuck working in that particular capacity, but it’s just, I I’m part of the body. And my job is to serve the kingdom. And that was a. That was a moment. I was, I was really surprised and kind of challenged and, um, a little irritated. Like I was kind of feeling good about my indignation in that moment and I didn’t really want to be called out, but, but it got through to me later the next day, probably as I drove home, that Peter was right.

And so the challenge was to think, [00:57:00] okay, well then how can I be best used? And then that’s still the challenge. I’m still figuring that out.

Ryan Henry: Yeah. Yeah. Wow. Well, I have, uh, I have one more final question. Well, I should say I should,

John Thompson: Sure.

Ryan Henry: one final question, um, that we like to ask our listeners, um, if you would be able to kind of take us back one more time to that concert and, you know, and, and even, even if you, you know, the almo, um, Degamo sorry, lemme try that again.

If you could take us back to that. Uh Degamo and key album, the first one that you got, and even the second one that you were able to get, um, what would happen do you think, um, if you never got that, that album, where do, where do you think your life would be?

John Thompson: well, okay. The mystic in me, which is strong, likes to think that, uh, God is so gracious with us, that we probably miss all kinds of things that breadcrumbs. And so if I had missed that, [00:58:00] who is love, would’ve left other crumbs for me to find. And, um, I, you know, I think that, uh, this deterministic idea that we have to be exactly right about each little thing, or we are screwed is just, uh, that puts way too much burden on us being super smart and attentive all the time.

I think that if it hadn’t been that it probably would’ve been something else, because as much as I like to point out the kind of coolness of the fact that it was that de Garmo and key tape, and then I worked for Eddie. That is really cool, but. The more important thing is the people in my life. You know, I had my mom later, my dad, I had these great PA youth pastors at St.

Mark’s Episcopal church and a great priest. I had my grandparents, I had my aunts and uncles. I had great friends. I, I had Randy’s sh I had like, when I look at all of that kind of stuff, I, I think that to go back and try to put it on one thing and one [00:59:00] choice by dumb old me.

Ryan Henry: Huh?

John Thompson: Putting too much authority in my hands.

I think that love one thing. I’m, there’s very few things I’m super confident of. But one thing I’m increasingly confident of is how often God, through his prophets, as he is writing the scripture is saying things about him being love, not just him loving, but the very nature of God is love John in his epistle beloved.

And let us love one another. Cuz love is of God and everyone that loves is born of God and knows God. And if you don’t love God, you don’t. If you don’t love, you don’t know God, because God is love. Same guy in his gospel is the one who says for God. So love the world that he gave is only begotten son.

That same guy when he’s writing the, the beginning of his gospel does that whole mystical poem about in the beginning was the word. And the word was God. And the word was with God and everything was made through him and all that. God is love and love is pulling us towards Love’s self. [01:00:00] Right? And so there’s the thing that we find that works.

There’s all the stuff we miss. So if it hadn’t been that, I’m sure it would’ve been something else and it would’ve been, it would’ve mom would’ve given me something else or, you know, because that’s how love works. We have to work so hard to push ourselves away from love. And it stinks when we, when we do that, because if we could just humble ourselves and bend our knee and say, Ugh, I submit to love because love is so much better than fear.

It casts out. Fear. Love is so much better than certainty. It’s so much better than me. It’s so much better. And, and then when we find ourselves in love, then we realize we are worth love and we can love others. And, and it’s just, it all kind of falls together. But, but, you know, yeah.

Ryan Henry: That’s really

John Thompson: think I would worry too much about it.

And I don’t think other people need to worry about getting every little detail. Right.

Ryan Henry: Yeah. That’s

John Thompson: you.

Ryan Henry: Yeah. Thank you so much, John. Um, [01:01:00] Margaret, if I could just ask John really quick, one more thing. Um, and it could be short. Um, but it’s something I think about, um, I think about, uh, you know, there’s a lot of people out there, John, like you who really feel a connection spiritually to music that aren’t your typical, you know, Christian songs and they find almost their religion.

Uh, if I could say kind of like in, in that realm of, you know, listening to, um, all these different songs and kind of finding truth, you know, to that, what would you say to somebody who maybe takes more of an approach of, I don’t need the church. I don’t need to be synced up with other people because I kind of find everything I need through this music.

Would you feel that’s a, it’s a good place to be? What would you say? Do you have anything to say to that?

John Thompson: Yeah, that, well, first I would say, boy, I understand the, and I personally resonate with the [01:02:00] frustration and even fear of connecting with. The institutional organized professional church thing, especially right now, the way it’s, um, kind of going right now, I get it. So I would, I would, I would talk about that with that person and, and make sure that they understand that I can really, really empathize with that.

Then I would. Then I would say, well, let’s really lean hard into what, what it is about that music that is pulling them into the spiritual places. Um, because I think that sometimes we scratch that itch just enough without actually satisfying what it’s calling us to on a deeper level. So if what they, what their heart really wants is some, some answers, some resonance, community belonging, and the music is kind of pulling them there, listening to that music and feeling that might be like scratching the ish, but not actually dealing with what is causing that itch.

And that’s the hunger we all [01:03:00] have to, to know, and to be known, to love and to be loved. And so I would say lean hard enough into it and be, be humble enough and honest enough to, to go where it leads you. And that might be towards other people. And. and then to say, you know, there’s some great quotes, like, tell me about this.

God, you don’t believe in because there’s a good chance. I don’t believe in that God either. And there’s probably people somewhere that you can find yourself in fellowship with, and you can intentionally find the Jesus of the gospel, the same way that those hippies all did in the Jesus movement that you know, that we talked about in the, the Jesus music movie a little bit, you know, where they said, boy, this Jesus, I actually resonate with this.

And it’s not the same as creating Jesus in your own image. It’s not like, oh, we’re gonna manufacture a Jesus that we like. It’s just, when you take away the stuff about Jesus, that’s not him, the political stuff or the corporate stuff or the racist stuff or whatever, what’s, you’re left with that. True Jesus.

Then you’re gonna go, oh man, I I’m actually drawn to [01:04:00] this and you’ll find other people are too, but then you’re gonna have to be in a room with other people. And some people just don’t just don’t wanna do that. that, you know, we’re called a body for a reason, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re gonna have to deal with each other.


Ryan Henry: That’s right. That’s right. Awesome. John, it’s been so good talking to you. I really appreciate you taking the time to be with us here on 180. Thank you so much for sharing your.

John Thompson: Absolutely guys.

Ryan Henry: Yeah. Awesome, man.

John Thompson: All right.

Ryan Henry: Well, I, yeah, take care. Thank you so much. Um,