EP 45: The Intersection of Evangelicalism, Business, and Consumerism with Tim Gloege, Ph.D.

Uncategorized Jan 28, 2022

Right now, so many of us are connected through the shared emotional reactions to tragic events we have witnessed and continue to experience.

Like all traumas, vicarious and collective trauma cause a breach in connection or a betrayal of trust in Self and/or others.

And with disconnection comes the risk of a break in a healthy community.

We continue to witness fanatical devotion to a product, a person, or a place that is often fueled by charismatic leaders selling healing and community through absolution by association or by purchasing a product.

Charismatic leaders get the best of us. They speak to our hearts. Our pain. And inspire hope.

We feel lifted up while getting a break from the weight of the burdens we are carrying.

Unchecked, this type of leadership cares more about a self-serving agenda that is not interested in collaboration and shared power.

This is where consumption of products is sold as a form of connection, versus the nuanced and challenging work of being in community with diverse people.

Leading well is not just about results or metrics but heart and values. And checks and balances with accountability. It is about doing the work that creates trust and connection, verses creating division and distrust.

Today’s guest is a historian whose body of work focuses on the intersection of modern evangelicalism, consumerism, and capitalism - all systems that I have been curious about as we navigate polarities in community, collective traumas, and healing.

Dr. Tim Gloege is a Historian and author of Guaranteed Pure: the Moody Bible Institute, Business, and the Making of Modern Evangelicalism and Librarian at the Grand Rapids Public Library.  After he earned his Ph.D. in US History at the University of Notre Dame, his family moved to Grand Rapids where Tim spent a decade writing and serving as lead parent for our two amazing kids. Most recently Tim moved to the very different world of public libraries and currently works as a librarian at the Grand Rapids Public Library while continuing to write.



Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • Why purity, certainty and control are three key pillars of modern evangelicalism
  • The shared mindset and tactics behind consumer corporations and corporate evangelicals in post-Civil War America
  • How notions of consumer choice have been embedded into evangelicalism
  • How consumerism shows up in the modern prosperity gospel and ideas around manifesting
  • How celebrity faith leaders shape shallowly-connected communities

Learn more about Tim:

Learn more about Rebecca:


Scroll Down for The Full Episode Transcript:

Tim Gloege: There is a temptation to think of leadership purely in terms of charisma and celebrity, right? And so, then that leads leaders, then, to maybe steamroll over their subordinates instead of actually listening to them.

[Inspirational Intro Music]

Rebecca Ching: Charismatic leaders get the best of us. They speak to our hearts, our pain, and inspire hope. We feel lifted up while getting a break from the weight of the burdens we’re carrying, but unchecked, this type of leadership cares more about a self-serving agenda that is not interested in collaboration and shared power. We see proof of this in the cult followings and actual cults created by charismatic leaders. 

A tragic but effective example is Gwen Shamblin, founder of the diet book -- ugh, I even hate saying this -- The Weigh Down, and the cultish remnant fellowship church. She used her charisma to tap into rampant body shame many felt by connecting weight loss with worthiness and holiness in God’s eyes, weaponizing faith and wellbeing. She exploited her community and controlled all in her programs by requiring them to join her church that promoted mysogyny, abuse of corporal punishment of kids, and restricted connection to those, quote, “outside the church,” just to name a few. She did this all while accumulating massive amounts of wealth from these individuals. That’s why we need leaders who respect the vulnerability so many are navigating right now, who do the work to create spaces that don't just serve one, but do their best to truly support all.

I'm Rebecca Ching, and you're listening to The Unburdened Leader, the show that goes deep with leaders whose burdens have inspired their life's work. Our goal is to learn how they’ve addressed these burdens, how they rise from them and become better and more impactful leaders of themselves and others.


Right now, so many of us are connected through the shared emotional reactions to tragic events we’ve witnessed and continue to experience. Now, it’s important to note there is a powerlessness that comes from these shared traumatic experiences. The communities we’re in are more likely to heal when they gather and create a positive shared meaning around what they’ve all experienced. Now, there’s often a natural default to spontaneously create spaces to honor loss like makeshift memorials or more organized ceremonies, but unattended or addressed only on a surface level, these wounds can fester and become toxic individually and collectively. Like all traumas, vicarious and collective trauma cause a breach in connection or a betrayal in trust in self and/or others, and with disconnection comes the risk of a break in healthy community. Sometimes this happens quickly, but often it’s a slow bleed, and I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of connection and community during such a vulnerable and divided time right now. 

Like many of you, I’ve watched a multitude of documentaries exposing leaders who wove together dogma, communicated by charismatic leaders with demands for devout dedication through 100% obedience and a heavy push to their followers to show their devotion by purchasing their goods and services. There’s a clear pattern that we’re seeing play out again and again. For me, the doozy of them all was Gwen Shamblin of The Weigh Down. It was both eye-opening and a chilling example of a leader who used her charisma and her so-called, quote, “gifts” to cultivate belonging by weaponizing faith, health, family, and the desire to be financially sound.


Through a cult-ish church and extremely dangerous weight loss program that body shamed and fueled disordered eating and full-blown eating disorders, Shamblin exerted control by claiming to be the voice of God. People were staying because they were afraid of retaliation. She promoted corporal punishment to parents that led to abuse and even death. This show left me slack-jawed and deeply disturbed by its appeal, even in the present, and unchecked practices for so long. I’m seeing how important it is to stay curious about the systems you’re in that influence your capacity to connect in a healthy way and build trust that’s foundational to healing and growing together.

Systems and communities that promote individualism and rigid beliefs of good or bad or right and wrong cultivate connection around fear rather than building a sense of true belonging for everyone. We continue to witness the drive of fanatical devotion to a product, a person, or a place that is often fueled by charismatic leaders selling healing and community through absolution by association or purchasing a product. This is where stuff and consumption of products is sold as a form of connection versus the nuanced and challenging work of being in community with diverse people. These types of communities also offer the myth of certainty which is a fleeting comfort. Many of the systems we’re in have taught us to move away from quality connections to growth at the expense of relationships. Leading well is not just about results or metrics, but heart and values and checks and balances with accountability. It’s about doing the work that creates trust and connection versus creating division and distrust which is why I called upon a high school friend of mine who is a historian and whose body of work focuses on the intersection of modern evangelicalism, consumerism, and capitalism. 


All systems that I’ve been curious about as we navigate polarities in community and collective traumas and healing.

Dr. Tim Gloege is a historian and author of Guaranteed Pure: The Moody Bible Institute, Business, and the Making of Modern Evangelicalism. He’s also a librarian at the Grand Rapids Public Library. He earned his PhD in U.S. history at The University of Notre Dame. His family moved to Grand Rapids where Tim spent a decade writing and serving as lead parent for his two amazing kids. Most recently, Tim moved to the very different world of public libraries and currently works as a librarian at the Grand Rapids Public Library while continuing to write.

Now, I want you to pay attention to the three qualities Tim identified as the pillars of modern Evangelicalism and the connection they have to supremacy culture. Listen to how Tim explains the mindset behind building corporate Evangelicals and the impact it has on how we consume. Notice how his studies showed how both the leaders of mega churches and large businesses view those they served and led, playing upon distrust and collective nostalgia. Now, please welcome Dr. Tim Gloege to The Unburdened Leader podcast.

Tim, welcome.

Tim Gloege: Thank you. Thank you so much. I’m glad to be here.

Rebecca Ching: I want to jump in. We’ve got a bunch of nerdy, heavy, deep stuff to talk about, but I just feel like I need to be transparent for those of you listening. Tim and I go way back. Tim and I graduated high school the same year. We’re, like, Gen X-ers on steroids. We went to senior spring break together, but it was not your typical spring break. It was like church youth group spring break.


Tim Gloege: [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: It was still fun, don't get me wrong, but it was just maybe not your -- I mean, when you say ‘spring break senior year,’ it can evoke some different things. So I just feel so honored to be able to have friends like you, Tim, to say, “Hey, it’s been a while, but do you want to come on the show and talk about these things?” And you said, “Yes!” So Tim, thank you. I’m really glad you’re here.


Tim Gloege: Yes, I’m really excited about the conversation and everything you said was true, so… [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: [Laughs] I still have memories of road tripping from Minneapolis to Colorado --

Tim Gloege: Yep.

Rebecca Ching: -- and watching the three amigos in this souped-up van.

Tim Gloege: [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: All right, so I want to bring it down to a little bit more serious, so note that we’re actually recording this conversation on the one year anniversary of the January 6th insurrection on The United States Capitol. 

Tim Gloege: Mm-hmm.

Rebecca Ching: I feel like I’d be remiss not to ask you as a historian and also a person of faith, what came up for you as you watched the events of the day unfold?

Tim Gloege: As a historian, there was, for me, a real palpable sense that I was witnessing something that was unprecedented in U.S. history and not in a good way, and so, a real just heaviness, a fear, lots of fear, and a sense that we had crossed into territory that yeah, we just had not been before. I hadn’t felt that dark since 9/11 which was a similar thing. Again, just a really unprecedented kind of sense of what was going on. I think as a person of faith, that side of me felt a real despair and a real darkness, and I think this real desire, this instinct to try to separate myself from those people that were doing that, and I think we maybe all have that instinct. And so, myself as a person who identifies as a Christian, I would say, “That’s not what Jesus stood for, and those people aren't real Christians,” and that kind of rhetoric which I  understand and I understand in myself, but I don't think that it’s right either because then I’m not taking responsibility for what happened and what is going on.


And so, I think, for me, there was also a kind of reckoning with my own faith tradition and a sense that hey, this has proved positive that something has gone terribly wrong, and I need to ask hard questions, and I need to take a certain sort of responsibility for that, that I have a responsibility to speak to those people, to speak into that, and to try to figure out what is going on and how we can prevent it from happening again.

Rebecca Ching: Mm, yeah, thank you for naming that. I really resonate with some of those internal polarities and those parts that want to just blame and separate, but I appreciate the call to take ownership as we share the same faith. Yeah, I think the last couple years have led me to just continue to have my own reckoning with that too, and I think it’s essential, absolutely essential. I’m curious, though, from your unique perspective if you can speak to what collective experiences do you think led up to this day?

Tim Gloege: Yeah, I do think it’s complicated, right?

Rebecca Ching: [Laughs]

Tim Gloege:  [Laughs] That there’s no one thing, and if you talk to any historian, they're going to start every single question with “it’s complicated.” So that’s the caveat on that. I think the people that were there at the Capitol, it was a diverse group of people, right, you know, in a certain sense of the word at least. And so, you had people who are trying to fulment callouts of a war, who probably knew full well that Trump had lost the election and were just trying to stir people up and get something started, and, you know, other groups as well. 


But I think the people that I study the most, which has been American Evangelicals, and that, you know, some horrible miscarriage of justice had occurred in November, and that was the reason why they were there. And so, that question of why those people are there is something I’ve been thinking about a fair amount, I think, actually since the election of Trump and when it came to light that, you know, 81% of American Evangelicals voted for Trump, the question was why did that happen, and I think those two things are related.

I think, for me, again, it’s a complicated thing. There’s probably no one answer, but I think within Evangelicalism, there are three components of Evangelicalism that kind of fed into that. One is this kind of demand for purity that they can only associate with people that they feel are pure. I think the second thing is this assumption of certainty, this conviction that they have the objective truth, and those two things kind of play off of each other, right? Because if you know the truth then you know that you're pure and you know who the bad guys are. Then, the final thing is this quest for control, this desire to --

Rebecca Ching: Wow.

Tim Gloege: -- really control everything including the narrative and including the country and how other people behave. So I think feeding into that is this very binary thinking, right? That there are only two types of people in the world. There are the good guys, and there are the bad guys; there’s light and there’s darkness; there’s truth and there’s error. That feeds into what happened at the Capitol because ‘the devil won,’ you know, would be their narrative, and so they're fighting the devil by going into Congress and messing things up.


Rebecca Ching: Wow.

Tim Gloege: So I think it’s that combination of things -- and just kind of run amok.

Rebecca Ching: So all these three components that make up what you’ve deemed of modern Evangelicalism, I can't help but think that’s exactly what supremacy culture is.

Tim Gloege: Yeah. Absolutely.

Rebecca Ching: I mean, that’s exactly what supremacy culture is. Now, I think that’s important to name and, again, for those of us that have a similar faith tradition, that’s a tough pill to swallow but an absolute one we need to look at.

I want to segue more into your work then. Thank you for sharing that reflection. So you're an author, historian, librarian. You're an expert, and this is what I was most excited to talk to you about ‘cause these things fascinate me on how they all come together. The intersection of Evangelicalism, business, and consumerism, and that you really bring into focus how business and faith communities alike use similar tactics to achieve their goals and spread their message which, yes, is so true.

Tim Gloege: Mm-hmm.

Rebecca Ching: So the intro to your book which is called Guaranteed Pure writes: “Conservative Evangelicalism and modern business grew symbiotically, transforming the ways that Americans worshiped, worked, and consumed.”

I’d love for you to walk all of us through a basic timeline of how that blend of Evangelicalism and modern business has transformed the way we think about leadership.

Tim Gloege: Yeah, and I think that’s such a great question. So I think the leadership portion of my story -- and I end up talking about a whole bunch of other stuff -- but the thing that relates to leadership, specifically, I think is a story that starts with people after the Civil War who are struggling with the problem of trust in an increasingly impersonal society, right? So you had the war. 


After that, you have this kind of dramatic rise in people moving away from these smaller communities into urban areas so they don't know as many people. But then, also, it’s also a time in American history that you suddenly see the emergence of these massive corporations, right, because of changes in law and all this sort of thing. So you have these huge businesses that are creating massive amounts of product. They are super efficient. They can do all this great stuff, but they have a problem, right, which is that for most of American history, when people did business they did business with people that they knew, right? And so, these businesses, these huge corporations that have, you know, thousands and thousands of people working for them -- there’s actually not even one owner, right, because everybody owns stock. And so, there isn't actually one person who is held accountable for what that corporation does, and their problem is how do we get people to trust us, right?

Rebecca Ching: Mm-hmm.

Tim Gloege: And so, the solution that they come up with starts, first and foremost, with using trademarks. The trademark is used to make the corporation into a person. It gives the corporation a reputation. A lot of times they would use a real figure or sometimes a fictional character, but someone who looked like a person, and then they did massive amounts of advertising to get people familiar with the trademark, get them familiar with the brand, and then slowly but surely kind of come to trust it, right? So there’s trademark, there’s advertising, and then part of that advertising, also, is to sow distrust in some of the more traditional ways of doing things, right? And so, you know, “Oh, you can't trust that mom or pop shop. You can't trust whatever you got. You need to come to us and we’re the people that you can demand on.” 


So there’s that business story that’s going on from after the Civil War into 1910, and around 1910, all these things come together and create modern capitalism as we expreine it today. There have been some shifts here and there but, really, the basic kind of framework and foundation for the world that we live in today came about during that time.

Okay, so you have that business side. Around the same time, you have this group of people that I call corporate Evangelicals who actually have a similar problem, and so, they are, for various reasons, trying to create new religious organizations.

Rebecca Ching: So new religious organizations.

Tim Gloege: Yes, so…

Rebecca Ching: Meaning? Tell me more about that.

Tim Gloege: Yeah, okay, so traditionally, people were part of a church that was associated with a denomination, right? If you go back, actually, denominations had almost an ethnic feel to them. There’s ethnic associations with all of these different denominations, but they're very traditional. They're very communal. You know everybody in your church, right? You trust it because that’s what you are. You were born presbyterian, and so, you trust Presbyterians, right? You just basically stick with what you were from when you were born, and especially if you’re in an ethnic minority, say, like Dutch. I live here in Grand Rapids, and so, the Christian Reformed Church is big there. It’s this Dutch denomination, and everybody trusts everybody, and they trust their denomination because it’s Dutch, right, and that’s who we are.


So around 1870, you had these Evangelicals that are trying to create new religious organizations that will service all these different people from all these different denominations, and so, their goal is to kind of break down those denominational identities. But they have the same problem of trust that these large corporations have where you have all these consumers and they're like, “Why should I trust you?” So the people in my book are the people at The Moody Bible Institute, and they are trying to train people to be missionaries and Evangelists and all these different things, so why should I trust you  for my religious education. Well, it turns out that those same Evangelicals were using a  lot of the same techniques that large corporations were using, right? They created a trademark, and so, at The Moody Bible Institute they used Dwight L. Moody as this trademark. They had massive advertising which was through their magazine -- the magazine itself and the content of that became a kind of form of advertisement -- as well as in different religious magazines and periodicals, things like that. Then they started a radio station, and so, it was through mass media and through a lot of the same things.

Then they had that other component as well which was to sow distrust in people’s traditional denominational associations, right? They said, “Yeah, I’m not sure that you can trust your traditional denomination. I think there’s some liberalism that is creeping in, and we are the name you can trust.” And so, all these people who knew who D. L. Moody was back in the day -- and he was just this very famous person. Back in the day, everybody knew who he was. Most people, middle class people, at least -- white middle class Americans thought he was a great person, and they said well, we trust Moody so we’ll trust The Moody Bible Institute.


Rebecca Ching: So it’s an interesting kind of where the influencer came in. He was an early influencer in this change.

Tim Gloege: Absolutely.

Rebecca Ching: And so, there’s this creating distrust in how things have been, and they used and kind of weaponized the word “liberalism” like it’s dangerous, things are changing.

Tim Gloege: Mm-hmm. Yep.

Rebecca Ching: So come to us ‘cause we’re gonna keep things the same? Am I hearing that right or…

Tim Gloege: Yeah, I think that’s right. They were trying to brand themselves as the face of conservative Protestantism, but the --

Rebecca Ching: And that meant status quo?

Tim Gloege: Yeah, and that meant status quo, but the irony of it is they actually weren't, right?

Rebecca Ching: [Laughs] Exactly. Yeah, yeah.

Tim Gloege: The people that they were sowing distrust in were the real traditional people, right? And so, this period of time is a really interesting one in denominations because you did have a growing kind of liberalism where people are really grappling with real issues. You know, I mean, Darwinean evolution comes out, the nature of science, modern sociology is born, history is born, biblical criticism comes out, and all of these things are fundamentally challenging a lot of things that people thought they knew.

Rebecca Ching: And systems of power, right?

Tim Gloege: Yes, absolutely.

Rebecca Ching: Systems of power, yeah.

Tim Gloege: Absolutely, you need to wrestle with that. You need to say what are you gonna do with that? There were some people that in what have now become these mainline denominations that said hey, we’ve got to embrace the new science and we need some very judiciously, some maybe less judiciously, and we need to be honest and say that some of these liberal folks, you know, moved into Eugenics and things like that, so there’s a real dark side to that that we don't want to avoid.

Rebecca Ching: Absolutely.

Tim Gloege: Most of these people are really well-intended people and just doing the best they can and trying to be honest in this honest grappling with their faith. 


There are other people in those mainline denominations that really just wanted to stick with the status quo, and they were the real ones that were doing that. These Evangelicals said (purity, again), “No, you need to separate yourself from those liberal forces, otherwise you are somehow impure.” And so, that was the kind of tactic they took to kind of attack those conservatives. 

Rebecca Ching: Yeah, it’s just such an interesting thing, that progress, right, and growth and new information which, again, is just a play on so much, here.

Tim Gloege: Yep.

Rebecca Ching: So I’m curious, though, as we dig deeper into this, what kind of consequences has the blending of these cultures, of business and Evangelicalism, has that had on the culture at large from your perspective?

Tim Gloege: Yeah, and that’s another really great question. I think there are a couple of things. I think just, in general, modern business conceptualizes and thinks about people in certain ways, right? And so, I think it has kind of stunted the broader culture’s imagination when it comes to thinking about who we are as people. How should we live and how should we organize ourselves? So, you know, business thinks of people, primarily, as either you are labor (a worker) or you are a consumer, right? They don't think of you as being, I don't know, like a parent. Or they don't think of you as being a community member or something beyond these kind of stark economic roles.

Yeah, so I think as these Evangelicals who are now supposedly representing conservatism, as they start adopting those same views of humanity and they start shaping their religion around those things as well, then these fairly new constructs that really only matured in the 1910s are suddenly seen to be, like, eternal, and maybe even God-given or something like that, when they're really, you know, a pretty recent innovation. 


But on the one hand, these Evangelicals started thinking about their faith as driven primarily as a personal choice, right? So you end up shopping for religion the same way that you would, I don't know, shop for shoes, and that’s not at all traditional. I mean, people usually did not choose their faith. You were usually born into your faith, and to be a faithful Christian meant to live into it, right, and not to choose. For Evangelicals, the choice itself really became paramount.

That whole dynamic has really had an impact on the culture at large, but I think, also, then, an outcome of that is that it’s just really been corrosive to real community, and I think, ultimately, to democracy because people less and less are imagining themselves as these other entities, as these other type of people. They see themselves primarily as consumers. They see their freedom, you know, what does it mean to be free? To be free means that I can consume as I want. I can buy what I want, and so, if somebody is getting in the way of me, you know, consuming the way that I want, then they are against my freedom. There’s this whole range of other things, right, of other ways that you could define freedom, and we end up kind of forgetting about those things.

Rebecca Ching: Yeah, let me jump in, though, about this concept of consumerism connected to -- so we kind of consume our religion, we kind of get trained. All of a sudden now it’s like I’m shopping for what feels good, and if my style changes then I wanna shop for something different.


Tim Gloege: Mm-hmm.

Rebecca Ching: So, then, on a more personal basis, then, looking at the subjects of consumption and even consumerism, how would we -- ‘cause I really want listeners to really think critically about this in their own lives and in the places they work, the businesses they run, the places they lead. How would we recognize the influence of consumer-oriented faith and faith-oriented consumers in our own lives or the lives of our neighbors.

Tim Gloege: Yeah, I think both of those things are really important, right?

Rebecca Ching: Mm-hmm.

Tim Gloege: So for a consumer-oriented faith, I would say really listen to how a faith leader talks about people first, you know? The way they're talking about people, is it clear that that person sees them just as an audience, as a consumer, or do they see them as something more than that, right? So how are they thinking about people? I think that’s a real kind of tell. I think the second thing, and maybe this is even more important, is to look at how the religious organization is structured. It can be kind of boring. People don't tend to, you know, think about people --

Rebecca Ching: So boring. Oh, my gosh.

Tim Gloege: [Laughs] Corporation papers --

Rebecca Ching: I know. The church I go to now -- yes, and corporation papers are so boring too. You're right!

Tim Gloege: But they're so important, yes!

Rebecca Ching: So important. So unsexy, but actually, like, if you don't do them you -- oh, my gosh, I’m connecting the dots here because the church I got to now is part of a denomination that is so bureaucratic. My brain wants to explode.

Tim Gloege: Yes.

Rebecca Ching: But even though there’s a lot of growth there, there’s lots of levels of accountability and layers of oversight. Again, it’s still flawed, but you're right. Oh, my gosh. My escort papers for my businesses are crucial. 

Tim Gloege: [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: If I don't have that, I’m just flying by the seat of my pants, and I’m exposed.


Tim Gloege: Yeah, so exactly right. But then also, you know, I think -- which is another part of the story, right? These Evangelical organizations organized and structured themselves like a corporation, right? So you have one person at the top who is calling all the shots and everybody below just has to follow along with them, and that’s very different from how traditional religious organizations were structured which were actually democratic for the most part where if you're a church member in most of these traditional denominations, you get to vote on what happens, right? Or if not you, then your pastor is part of a larger group that votes on things but there’s accountability, there’s all the stuff that you were talking about, right? These consumer-oriented -- 

Rebecca Ching: Ideally. Ideally, there’s accountability. [Laughs]

Tim Gloege: Ideally. Oh, yes, thank you. So there’s that, but yeah, at least structurally there’s something there.

Rebecca Ching: Yeah, yeah.

Tim Gloege: Maybe some of your listeners are familiar with a recent podcast on Mars Hill --

Rebecca Ching: Yes.

Tim Gloege: -- and the trainwreck that was. A classic example of this corporate structure gone awry, where you have one person or you have a very small group that is kind of secretive and nobody really knows what’s going on. Who’s in control of the organization? That’s gonna give you a hint there, but can I just say, also, the other side is super important too, of faith-oriented consumerism, where I think there are so many well-meaning business leaders out there who maybe hold to a free market fundamentalism, right? Where it’s this belief that markets will fix everything, right? And so, for those people, you know, I say keep an eye out for them as well, right? 


Are they really looking at empirical evidence or do they just have this ideology that they're convinced is going to solve everybody’s problems? Do they believe that anybody who works hard is going to necessarily succeed, ‘cause I don't think the evidence shows that, right?

Rebecca Ching: Oof. No.

Tim Gloege: You know, maybe there are other things going on there as well.

Rebecca Ching: Definitely, not maybe. Yes.

Tim Gloege: Yeah, exactly.

Rebecca Ching: Yeah, yeah. That’s fascinating. That’s really fascinating. So with the consumer-oriented faith, really bringing it back to how do leaders talk about those that they’re serving, leading, preaching to. Are they an audience? Are they a statistic? Or am I really seen as a unique individual with unique needs and differences too? Is it okay to have differences and not be a part of group think, right?

Tim Gloege: Absolutely.

Rebecca Ching: You know, faith-oriented consumerism, you brought up one interesting thing about the free market, but, for me, I’ve been really thinking about how I can be a steward of what I’ve been given. But that changed around how I look at spending my time and my money and my energy and even where I spend my money. That’s kind of how I saw that word too is that my values that are, obviously, influenced by my faith about how I can be a good steward and also supporting businesses that share values, that are looking at things holistically.

Tim Gloege: Yes.

Rebecca Ching: And so, that really feels like it’s a full circle of the consumer-oriented faith to this faith-oriented -- where are my values driving that? 

Tim Gloege: Yep.

Rebecca Ching: Is there a dark side to faith-oriented consumerism from your perspective? There has to be.

Tim Gloege: Yeah, I think so. I mean, I think it’s in the collapse of the two and seeing it as just this transactional thing, right? And so, I think that can be deeply problematic. Yeah, I mean, what is your conception of God, maybe, is a question, too, right? Is God this divine vending machine that, you know, you plunk stuff in -- you know, you plunk your prayers in and then you get what you want? 


Is that all it is or is there something deeper? Is there a mystery there that is something beyond our comprehension?

Rebecca Ching: Or the transactional relationship with God, right?

Tim Gloege: Exactly right. Exactly right.

Rebecca Ching: The whole prosperity Gospel piece we see with the manifesting in the larger spiritual communities, that’s true. And so, if you're not getting what you want, then you're not praying hard enough, so that brings in scarcity and shame.

Tim Gloege: Mm-hmm. Yep.

Rebecca Ching: Then people kinda keep coming back to try and fix that.

Tim Gloege: Yep.

Rebecca Ching: But consumerism is still consumerism, and if that’s connected to my faith in an unhealthy way which, if you live in western culture, I don't know how any of us don't have a struggle with that

Tim Gloege: Yeah, and there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with consuming, right? But it’s like everything in moderation, and I think if the entirety of our world, if the entirety of our reality is shaped by these types of relationships, I think there’s something wrong and we need to expand our vision, yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Yeah, going back to purity, if you're good enough, then you get what you wanted to. Just thinking about that component of Evangelicalism that you brought up. So I want to shift a little bit to the article in The Washington Post where you were quoted around the miss of Evangelicalism, and you told them that Evangelicalism has used modern marketing strategy to spread their message through celebrities, spokespeople, and elaborate Christian media empires, folks like Joe Osteen or Joyce Meyers, and there’s some other folks like Hillsong, we could probably name that are in the media a lot. How has this influenced the formation of (you’ve already referenced this) what you call corporate Evangelical?

Tim Gloege: Yeah, and I should also say I think it’s rampant, right? You know, I mean, Osteen and Joyce Meyer are these kind of huge or larger than life celebrity sort of people that I think, you know, a lot of people look at as scams, but it’s also, you know, these kind of more, I don't know, respectable, for lack of a better word, people like Billy Graham, who was very much in this mode as well or someone today who’s more buttoned up, Tim Keller in New York City. 


All of these people are using these same techniques, and I think what it ends up doing, how it influenced these corporate Evangelicals, I think, first, is it shaped corporate Evangelicals’ relationship to their faith, right? That, again -- and this is harkening back to what I was talking about before -- just seeing their faith itself as a commodity, like, maybe it’s this, an experience, but it would be an experience like going to Disney World. It’s not a way of life or a way of being; it’s this commodity exchange. I think it also shapes people's relationship to their faith leader and also to each other, right? And so, there’s this relationship where your faith leader is the celebrity, right? And so, you interact with them as you would a celebrity. I’m not sure that’s a real healthy way of faith formation, necessarily.

Rebecca Ching: [Laughs]

Tim Gloege: [Laughs] Right? But then, also, with each other, right? You can have a certain type of relationship with someone where, you know, you like the same movies or something like that, but I think there’s not quite the depth that you could reach if you were engaging on something a little bit deeper.

Rebecca Ching: Right. It gets me thinking, too, about proximity because our relationships to each other, then, can be around these dynamic leaders. I mean, I’ve seen it in politics too. We see it, obviously, in celebrities, all of that stuff which it’s fun to be a fan. Anyone that I know that teaches branding or trains people in the areas of branding they're like, “You want people to Evangelize about your service, your product, your offering.”


Tim Gloege: Yes.

Rebecca Ching: So evangelize, and so, that language has seeped into getting the word out, and, again, we want people to like whatever we’re offering, whatever our companies are, businesses. We want to be useful, but I do see that there’s a shift to how do we move from shareholders to stakeholders.

Tim Gloege: Yes.

Rebecca Ching: Some of it may just be semantics and words to meet the times, but in action it’s not really proving the fruits of it, but it really is more of this not top down. It’s more collaborative. A trauma-informed leadership culture is circular, is collaborative, is where everyone has different roles, and there’s different responsibilities and levels of accountability of responsibility, those types of things. But I do think that’s interesting where we’re so conditioned. You want people to talk about you. That’s just what we’re taught, but I think we’ve lost touch with what you said of just the retail relationship --

Tim Gloege: Mm-hmm, yes! It’s everywhere. It’s absolutely everywhere, yeah.

Rebecca Ching: [Laughs] I was gonna say retail politics, right? Even the back end, off of social media is just conversations. Like, what a joy it was for me when I was thinking about this conversation I wanted to have, and I remembered what you wrote. I was like oh, my gosh, I’m gonna call up my old high school buddy and see if he’s up for this.

Tim Gloege: [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: We have a relationship, you know, and it wasn't anything -- I mean, I think we’re friends on social media, but I don't think we really chatted much.

Tim Gloege: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: To me, what is a real relationship, but I think when we’ve corporatized and put a value on celebrity, popularity, we’ve kind of lost touch with our sense of worthiness and our sense of safety. So then they get wrapped up into what do we own, who do we know, who are we seen with. I think we’re all infected with it.

Tim Gloege: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: I also think we’re at a reckoning. A lot of the leaders I’ve talked to are done. They're sick of it. 


They're like you know what, I’m gonna hang out in some of these online spaces, but I wanna do in-real-life or one-on-one Zoom stuff that we don't have to broadcast for the world. So yeah, this got me thinking a lot.

How does this construct of corporate Evangelical have the potential to impact business owners and leaders at work, from your experience? What have you seen and what are some of the trends that you’re continuing to see move and shift?

Tim Gloege: Yeah, so I think, maybe speaking into what you're talking about here, that there is this temptation to think of leadership purely in terms of charisma and celebrity, and so then that leads leaders, then, to maybe steamroll over their subordinates instead of actually listening to them, instead of actually being collaborative, instead of actually listening to critics, right? Because you're the leader, and so, you always need to be right, and you know everything.

Rebecca Ching: Which is a power over expertise. It's a certainty, right? Going back to you said.

Tim Gloege: Right. Exactly right. It’s exactly right.

Rebecca Ching: Am I gonna get an A, professor? Am I listening well? Am I studying well?

Tim Gloege: You are!

Rebecca Ching: Yes! [Laughs]

Tim Gloege: You are just cleaning house!

Rebecca Ching: I’m sitting at the front of the room! [Laughs]

Tim Gloege: [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: All right, sorry. Keep going. So yeah, bring it back to the impact of this construct.

Tim Gloege: Yeah, so I think that. I think, also, perhaps, there is a temptation among some leaders to ignore inconvenient facts for --

Rebecca Ching: Ugh! Stop, stop, stop, stop. Pause on that.

Tim Gloege: [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: Pause on that. No, because I think being a good leader and a good business owner and a good steward is completely inconvenient.

Tim Gloege: Yes. Yes.

Rebecca Ching: It’s completely inconvenient, and I think that message, because of all that we’ve breathed in around this corporate Evangelicalism that you're talking about, it’s really had us think that something’s wrong with us if something’s inconvenient and not efficient and easy.


Tim Gloege: Mm-hmm. Yep.

Rebecca Ching: Oh, my gosh. Then, I mean, we can talk about the dangers of what we saw on January 6th of ignoring inconvenient facts, like you lost. I don't know. That’s a big fact.

Tim Gloege: [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: Tell me more. Sorry, I got a little excited there.

Tim Gloege: No!

Rebecca Ching: So tell me more. What are some of the inconvenient facts that you’ve seen business owners and leaders start to dismiss or continue to dismiss? 

Tim Gloege: I mean, like, honestly, the first example that comes to mind right now is this kind of obsession that we see with cryptocurrency and blockchain and everybody is just talking about it, and ‘this is the thing that is going to solve all of our problems,’ right?

Rebecca Ching: Yeah.

Tim Gloege: I encourage people who think this to really, seriously engage with economists who know money inside and out, right? They know how money functions, and they know what it’s supposed to do. And so, engage with economists who are critical of crypto and what they are saying about it. Then evaluate those critiques and see if it holds water. Listen to software engineers. There are a bunch of them on Twitter. You can follow them, and they’ll say, “This is a technology in search of a problem, and there are way more efficient ways of doing the things that it claims to do.” That there are all these problems, but you just feel this balloon. I’m looking at this as a historian and I’m saying is this the same bubble that we saw in 2007, 2008, and is it gonna just blow again?

I think that’s the classic example where it used to be prime mortgages, and we can package them, and they're going to still be completely safe. Well, that proved not to be true, and so, is this another thing where we have this kind of magical faith in a particular technology that is going to solve -- and again, interestingly, it’s meant to solve the problem of trust, right? That’s what it’s supposed to be doing.

Rebecca Ching: Ah.


Tim Gloege: I should say I’m no expert in this whatsoever.

Rebecca Ching: [Laughs] I’m not either.

Tim Gloege: I’m a frumpy historian, so, you know, take it or leave it.

Rebecca Ching: You don't have to be frumpy and a historian.

Tim Gloege: [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: You could just be a historian. Come on, Tim.

Tim Gloege: That’s enough. [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: Yeah, no, not all historians are frumpy. I’m married to one too. You're not frumpy. My husband’s not frumpy. All right, I spoke for that. When we think about inconvenient facts, that takes energy, and also an inconvenience can be afraid of being misunderstood or losing trust, but you keep talking about trust, and I go back to Brené Brown’s research and she talks about trust being built on small, regular connections, and connection is being seen, heard, valued, and respected. And so, that kind of is the antithesis of a lot of what you’re identifying in corporate Evangelicalism and in some of these constructs that both corporate and certain faith communities have adopted where there’s not connection. It’s almost like a dopamine hit. We get a little fix, a little break from the burdens of shame we’re holding onto, but when we really feel seen and understood and we really trust, you can't put a dollar sign on that or a value on that. That, to me, is sacred.

Tim Gloege: Yep, that is really hard work, and there’s no way to do it in a way that is efficient, right?

Rebecca Ching: No time.

Tim Gloege: Lots of time, and maybe not the funnest stuff to do, but super, super important.

Rebecca Ching: It’s not in the budget.

Tim Gloege: No, that’s exactly right.

Rebecca Ching: It’s not in the budget.

Tim Gloege: That’s exactly right.


Rebecca Ching: This is fascinating. So I want to shift a little bit back to you. You studied at The Moody Bible Institute. We’re from the Midwest. If you're in the Midwest, you know that this is a [INDISCERNIBLE]. Now, in our circle of friends back in the day, this was a group of friends that were not from my high school, so you guys were my little reprieve from my own high school drama. I was kind of the heathen you hung around with. I was a liberal heathen always pushing all the envelopes from you all. So I know that Moody Bible -- I was like, “Oh, Tim! You're going there?” [Laughs]

Tim Gloege: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Yes.

Rebecca Ching: It’s interesting because this became the namesake of your research and writings, this place that you went to school for a period of time.

Tim Gloege: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: What personal experiences inspired you to focus on Dwight Moody and what stood out to you about his story?

Tim Gloege: As you said, this was my background, right? I was born into this stuff. I came by it honestly, and I believed it all, right? And so, I think, for me, the irony is when I was at Moody is when I started asking some questions. It was when I was at Moody that I had a history professor who really taught us history, right? And so, as an Evangelical, I just sincerely believed my whole life that what I believed, as someone from the Midwest in 1990 or whatever it was, was identical (in substance, at least) to what Jesus taught and what the Disciples believed back 2,000 years ago, right?

Rebecca Ching: Back to certainty. [Laughs]

Tim Gloege: Exactly. Exactly, and that this faith, this Gospel had not changed one iota in any important regard for over 2,000 years, right? So you study history, and you start to see, not only is that completely false, but what we believe now is radically different from even 500 years ago or even 150 years ago. 


And so, that was kind of mind-shattering to me in a lot of ways. For me, it raised these questions on, like, why did I believe this? Why do I believe this? What was it that led me to believe it? And so, that was, I think, the start of my research and my just trying to figure that out, and then it grew from there. I think Moody, specifically, is probably one of the first modern religious celebrities, and he was very profoundly shaped and transformed by being a celebrity which is kind of an interesting story in and of itself. I was kind of interested in that. I mean, he started off as this kind of working class guy, and then by the end of his life, all these huge robber barons of the gilded age just loved him, and so, he’s this kind of darling of the elite business class.

Well, that was kind of interesting, but I think I was even more interested in how his image and his reputation was used after his death to kind of create these common practices that we see today, and that was not really done by Moody, it was done by this guy Henry Parsons Crowell who was the first really important president of The Moody Bible Institute, and he was also president of The Quaker Oats corporation.

Rebecca Ching: Ah, the crossover.

Tim Gloege: So, then -- it’s the crossover, exactly, and he was one of the innovators in modern advertising. He is the guy who said, “Hey, let’s take this picture of this quaker, let’s slap it on a package, and let’s say, ‘Guaranteed Pure,’ which is what every single box said, and seal it up, and charge twice as much for it, and get people to doubt the oats that they used to buy out of the huge barrels,’ and that was his business.


Rebecca Ching: Oh my gosh. That was our childhood.

Tim Gloege: Yep.

Rebecca Ching: Oh, you're right! I remember thinking the stuff in the barrel was less than the pretty stuff in the -- I mean, I’m just connecting it with the quaker and the ‘guaranteed pure’ on oats.

Tim Gloege: Yep. There’s another aspect of this story, right, which kind of revolves around middle class respectability and the importance of that. The one incident that really got me curious and got the entire thing started was -- I took a year off. I was planning to go elsewhere after I went to Moody for two years, and then realized nothing transferred until I went back to finish up. So when I came back to Moody -- so it’s this fundamentalist institution -- I had started to change, and there was a new intake form that I had to fill out before I could be readmitted. And so, as a fundamentalist institution, you might expect it to ask had I ever smoked, had I ever drank alcohol during my time that I was away (so that was probably expected) had I ever done drugs or had sex. But then, along with all those things, it said, “Have you ever spoken in tongues?”

Rebecca Ching: Oh, interesting.

Tim Gloege: Which is really, really strange. I’m like why would they group this spiritual experience of speaking in tongues (which is very common among Pentacostal Evangelicals) --

Rebecca Ching: Right.

Tim Gloege: People who have almost no difference in their faith tradition than you would find at Moody, they believe almost all the same things, but if I had spoken in tongues, that would have been a huge red flag, just like me doing drugs, apparently. Anyway, so that got me really curious as to why is that, why is that such a red flag for them? It turns out that the beginnings of Pentecostalism were all occurring during the same time that The Moody Bible Institute was being formed. 


There was this huge controversy and scandal over faith healing that occured around the turn of the 20th century that threatened their reputation, right? The bottom line is the institution sees their students as their product, and it was an impure product if you would leave The Moody Bible Institute and be speaking in tongues.

Rebecca Ching: Ooh, that’s where the Guaranteed Pure title comes from for your book.

Tim Gloege: So that’s where the Guaranteed Pure title comes from. You're exactly right. So it’s just all that stuff.

Rebecca Ching: Even those questions about smoking and drugs and sex and alcohol, it’s just the purity police and the morality police.

Tim Gloege: Absolutely.

Rebecca Ching: I mean, as a veteran psychotherapist, the damage that has done…

Tim Gloege: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: So, then, how have your studies led to a sort of maybe deconstruction or some other evolution of your faith? I mean, I know where you were at when we were hanging out in high school, but I’m sensing from this conversion there’s shifts.

Tim Gloege: [Laughs] Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: So yeah, talk about how those studies have impacted your own faith journey and where you're at today.

Tim Gloege: [Sighs] Yeah, so, I mean, it most certainly has. Yeah, I would no longer identify as Evangelical. I do see myself as some form of Christian, I think. Belief is hard, you know. I think we should acknowledge that. Yeah, but I do feel like I maybe can’t even escape being a Christian, that there is something in me that’s there, but that faith, I think, is really different. I think it’s much more centered and very much as a result of my research and my study that, for me, faith community is everything, right? 


Versus the very specifics of what I believe and all sorts of doctrinal minutia, and all of that sort of stuff doesn't matter to me as much as being a part of a believing community that is really interactive, that is democratic, that really loves each other and tries to think the best of each other and is really trying to make each other better versus a kind of hierarchical whatever. So there’s that.

I think uncertainty is central to my faith because that is reality, right?

Rebecca Ching: Yes.

Tim Gloege: A reality-based existence means that almost everything is gray. There is very, very little that we are certain about, and so, let’s just embrace this because what that’s going to do is it’s going to make me humble, right? It’s going to make me open to hearing what other people have to say and not steamroll over people. 

Growing up, I think, for me, what was so important was my intentions much more than my outcome, and I’ve been trying to do some work in terms of understanding race and trying to become more anti-racist in my orientation. One of the key things I think I’ve learned from some of that work is that intentions don't matter, right? We can do some of the most horrendous things with the best intentions, and so, let’s focus less on what we -- and specifically justifying myself and what I’m doing based on my intentions and say nope, let’s take a step back and let’s just look at the outcomes. What is it doing? Am I hurting people or am I bringing out the best in people? Am I causing harm, or am I being a sponge of harm and not reflecting back on people the harm that they might be directing towards me.


Yeah, that’s a kind of odd faith, but I guess for me it’s following Jesus, and I do see that as integral to -- I think the teachings of Jesus are pretty great, and I try to follow it. There’s a lot I don't know. [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: Yeah, and that’s so the opposite of how we were taught in our faith. 

Tim Gloege: Yeah, yep.

Rebecca Ching: If you ever doubted, it was really considered a flaw or questioned, when really, you know, scripture even talks about the importance of questioning authority.

Tim Gloege: Yep.

Rebecca Ching: So I’m curious, Tim, is this what you thought you’d be doing today?

Tim Gloege: Oh, no. No. [Laughs] Not at all. You mean, like, in terms of my life in general? Oh, yeah, no. You go to graduate school, and it is a little bit of a cult itself, right?

Rebecca Ching: [Laughs] Kind of, yeah. That’s true. Fair.

Tim Gloege: You know, you are programmed in a certain way, and you have these definitions of what success is, right? It’s you get a tenure track job at a research university and you publish your books and you go along your way, and then you move up the ladder and all of this kind of stuff. You know, it’s not what I’m doing, and my spouse and I look back on that and realize, I think, now how miserable I think I would have been in that context.

Rebecca Ching: Oh.

Tim Gloege: I’m not sure I was cut out for it, and I don't know. Our circumstances were such that we ended up moving to Grand Rapids, so there were some geographical constraints, and then I had this great privilege of being the lead parent with my two daughters for a bunch of years while I was working on the book, and it was lovely. 


It’s lovely, and then now they're old and they don't need me anymore So I was thinking dang, I need to do something so I took this job at a public library and I really love it. It’s great!

Rebecca Ching: You know, I would definitely maybe push back and say not that you weren't cut out for the whole stereotypical, traditional academia track, but that it just would have been soul-killing for you and what you --

Tim Gloege: Yeah, no that’s -- yeah, that’s what I mean. yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Okay, I just want to make sure because so many people that I know in that space have just lost their soul to be in this -- some are thriving, and they're able to, but it’s not the norm from a lot of those that I’ve done.

Tim Gloege: It’s hard.

Rebecca Ching: It is hard. It’s its own kind of hard.

Tim Gloege: It’s changing, yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Okay, it is, oh, my gosh. So fast. Okay, so I’ve got some fun, quickfire questions for you as you wrap up.

Tim Gloege: Yeah. Okay.

Rebecca Ching: Okay, Tim, what are you reading right now?

Tim Gloege: Okay, I am reading a book that is called -- it’s under my computer right now -- it’s called The Dawn of Everything by David Graeber.

Rebecca Ching: Oh, The Dawn of -- oh, that sounds good.

Tim Gloege: Yeah, it’s this kind of big history of humanity that’s, like, 300,000 years, and it’s a very thick book.

Rebecca Ching: So some light, easy peasy weekend reading.

Tim Gloege: It’s really interesting, yeah. So you should read it.

Rebecca Ching: [Laughs] I love it. I love it. I bet ya my husband knows about it.

Tim Gloege: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Okay, so what song are you playing on repeat right now?

Tim Gloege: Okay, so I have teenage daughters, and they've really impacted my musical taste.

Rebecca Ching: Yes!

Tim Gloege: So probably, for better or worse, but I’ve been listening non-stop to Halsey’s Graveyard. I cannot get enough of it. Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Okay, Tim, I can't tell you how much my heart is happy to hear you talk about Halsey right now. There’s just -- listeners, you don't understand what this means.

Tim Gloege: [Laughs] Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Okay, so best movie you’ve seen recently?

Tim Gloege: Okay, I am not much of a movie person for some reason. I’ve shifted away, but I believe we are living in the golden age of television. So I’m going to shift it.

Rebecca Ching: Okay.


Tim Gloege: So if you haven’t started watching Station 11 on HBO, you need to start watching that because it’s absolutely fantastic.

Rebecca Ching: All right. Adding it to my list.

Tim Gloege: Yep. Please do. Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Favorite ‘80s movie, music, or anything pop culture? Favorite ‘80s anything.

Tim Gloege: Well, I will do movies because yeah. I’m gonna mess it up again and say there’s gotta be three. There’s Wings of Desire by Wim Wenders, the German director. 

Rebecca Ching: Oh, my gosh! I forgot about that movie forever.

Tim Gloege: Fantastic. Yes, it is so good. It holds up, too. Then, you've gotta throw in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, right? 

Rebecca Ching: Oh, my gosh. We just watched that. We were watching old ‘80s movies. Yeah, that’s epic. Okay, classic. Okay, what is your mantra right now? What’s your self-talk? What do you kind of say  to keep you focused and on track?

Tim Gloege: My mantra is “excellence takes time.”

Rebecca Ching: Oof.

Tim Gloege: So that’s where I am right now. Patience is good.

Rebecca Ching: It’s something I’m working on this year. So what’s an unpopular opinion that you hold?

Tim Gloege: It’s a nerdy one, but it’s to understand how religion works, you need to define religion not as having to do with God or holy books or sacredness or anything, but religion is any system that organizes you.

Rebecca Ching: Ooh, okay. That’s a whole other conversation.

Tim Gloege: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: I love this. Lastly, who or what inspires you to be a better leader and human?

Tim Gloege: Oh, man. You know, there are actually several people in my life, and I’m not going to name them because it would probably embarrass them, but they are quiet, brilliant people who are always trying to bring out the best in everybody around them, and they're people I feel just truly honored to know and interact with. So I’ll leave it there.


Rebecca Ching: Oh, may we all have more of those folks in our life, and may we be those people to others around us.

Tim Gloege: Indeed.

Rebecca Ching: Oh, Tim, this was a treasure. Thank you for your time and for sharing so much of your incredible knowledge with us and connecting the dots with what’s going on today. Thank you so much for your time. It’s been an honor to connect with you, and I know the listeners are gonna get so much out of what you shared today, so thank you so much.

Tim Gloege: Great, you're so welcome, and thanks for having me on. It was really fun.

Rebecca Ching: It’s an understatement to say we’ve been through a lot, and we’re still going through so much. Feeling known and valued feels like a lost art in many spaces that are now so divided and disconnected. So when you do feel known and valued, it can feel like medicine and build so much needed connection. When charismatic leaders and business owners exploit collective pains to further drive their personal agenda, more harm can be done. Instead of offering a community that heals and supports all, these types of leaders can offer a full sense of belonging that further divides and takes a toll on our individual and collective well being.

Tim brought a clarity to us around what’s behind these charismatic leaders we keep witnessing and why they exploit and do harm through the connection of modern Evangelicalism, capitalism, and consumerism. Now, building trust can come in many forms. I’m curious for you, do you cultivate a culture that requires you to fit in or truly value difference and welcome it? What systems are you in that support healing and hard conversations? Which ones push back on questioning authority and how things are done? What do you need to unlearn about building a successful community and business in light of what you learned today about the intersection of Evangelicalism, capitalism, and consumerism? When we go through experiences like we have, it is essential to come together and acknowledge what has happened and talk about how we feel. 


It can be powerful when leaders understand our challenges are complex, and support our inner-connectedness, instead of exploiting collective pain for personal gain. This is the work of an Unburdened Leader.
Leading is hard. Leading is also, often, controversial as you navigate staying aligned to your values, your mission, your boundaries. Navigating the inevitable controversy can challenge your confidence, clarity, and calm. Now, I know you don’t mind making the hard decisions, but sometimes the stakes seem higher and can bring up echoes of old doubts and insecurities during times when you need to feel rock solid on your plan and action. 

Finding a coach who gets the nuances of your business and leading in our complex, polarized world can help you identify the blocks that keep you playing at safe and small. Now, leading today is not a fancy title or fluffy bragging rights, it is brave and bold work to stay the course when the future is so unknown and the doubts and pains from the past keep showing up to shake things up. Internal emotional practices and systemic strategies are needed to keep the protector of cynicism at bay and foster a hope that is actionable and aligned. When the stakes are high and you don't want to lose focus, when you want to navigate inevitable conflict between your ears and with those you lead, when time is of the essence and you want to make hard decisions with confidence and clarity, then Unburdened Leader coaching is for you and where you deepen the capacity to tolerate the vulnerability of change, innovation,and doing things differently than the status quo.

To start your Unburdened Leader coaching process with me go to www.rebeccaching.com and book a free connection call with me. I cannot wait to hear from you!

Thank you so much for joining this episode of The Unburdened Leader. You can sign up for The Unburdened Leader Weekly, and find this episode, show notes, and free Unburdened Leader resources, along with ways to work with me, at www.rebeccaching.com.


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