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PAW3 – Jaymes O’Pheron

Joshua Ling 0:04
Today we talk with Coach James O Ferran about coaching community and checking my notes here. Christian, transhumanism. What is that? This is the wall Yeah. Moving right, like you’ve been, you’ve been dealing with getting things in Yep. So Right.

Jaymes O’Pheron 0:47
Yeah, moving from Washington State 1500 miles away to Fargo, North Dakota. Cross several mountain ranges, new climates, new people new culture. Though I find I fit in better with this culture in the Midwest than I did back on the West Coast. I have a strong hippie side of me. But there’s something about that Midwest, stable level of respect and charm and kindness that’s given that is just so beautiful to be around on a regular basis. I love that

Joshua Ling 1:23
that’s something I find in both southern culture and in Midwestern culture. Yeah. And I find that people who are grounded in their philosophy, but a little bit weird, tend to find better friends amongst the conservative that just need a little push the Yes, yes. The liberals who don’t know what’s going to happen to? Absolutely, but continue with what you were saying. Yeah,

Jaymes O’Pheron 1:55
so that’s one big shift. And then, of course, at the same time, also beginning my new company, moving from web development into coaching web developers that was kind of expanded beyond that. The more I researched into it, the more I knew that I enjoyed coaching people and watching kind of creatively craft, themselves helping them to reify their vision of themselves, as coaching is all about is assisting in implementation. And so helping with that has always been something I’ve enjoyed and gravitated towards, but finding the bigger scope, and I’ve been finding the needs that are not so unique to our developers, media. Nerds need help with communication was a big part of it. But it’s also being able to connect people together with some of the grander struggles that we’re facing. And one of the biggest struggles that we’re facing culturally right now is, how do you synergize humanity with technology. Because on a fundamental philosophical level, I believe that technology is an extension of humaneness. That’s what it is, that’s what

Joshua Ling 3:17
it should be.

Jaymes O’Pheron 3:18
It should be, shouldn’t be at odds with it, but it has become at odds with it. And there’s so much of how technology has been implement that has become effectively demonised. Not in the sense of making it look bad, making it actually demonic and evil, by having a turn against human hood and diffracting thoughts to fracturing the world diffracting community and culture, right and becoming an engine for destruction rather than an engine for creation and unity and productivity for the glory of God. Yeah, and so part of my, my, my grand conquest, in a sense, has developed into this vision for understanding what makes community work. And then how that can be implemented in a technological environment. So how can you have authentic connection over zoom? How can you do that effectively and reliably and going into the nitty gritty of that? So that’s something I’m passionate about, and exploring and researching. And my third big transition recently moving from Protestantism into Eastern Orthodoxy has also been a huge part of that because I reaching back and studying the writings of ancient desert aesthetic fathers. And I think this is applicable to how to have good etiquette on Zoom. This is crazy. Time was true truths. And this pursuit of the good that shooting the beautiful at a very deep theological level. That and that appreciation for not just appreciate For but the centrality of that to theology and Christology and the incarnation and how that impacts all of life is tremendously powerful in the Orthodox tradition. And so diving into that exploring it in its nuances like opening VISTAs, I mean, I thought that I had a pretty good grasp of how, you know, culture and creativity worked with theology. And I haven’t even scratched the surface.

Joshua Ling 5:34
Exactly. Let me pause you right there. And we can we can kind of do a choose your own adventure thing on this. One, I definitely want at some point a little bit more about you and your background, and just who you are, like, that sort of thing? Because this is about you. This is your highlighting you. A second thing I want to get into. I think, you know, I’m reformed Presbyterian. Yes. So so we actually do have a fair amount in common, we have a few things that are slightly different, but not a lot, you know, especially you coming from a Protestant background, I find Orthodox people who understand for Protestant language, have a much better idea of writing than the other way, you know, and so that’s another thing I want to I want to get into. And then I had one other thing that I’d love to get into, we can get into all of these, but you can kind of pick your path. Sometimes you like to meld them together, I’ve saved

Joshua Ling 6:30
up, part of my creativity is creating connections. So

Joshua Ling 6:35
we’ve been together. And then the last thing I really want to touch on out of the out of these three things is, you know, there’s a lot of scammers and schemers in your field. There are a lot who are selling a false hope. And how is Christianity even if you’re not directly proselytising, the philosophy of Christianity? How is that so much more hopeful than any other form of religion in this world? But yeah, and go with those three? That’s

Jaymes O’Pheron 7:07
a fantastic question that that last one, actually, that weaves into the other ones. So something that is a significant issue when you’re trying to move into the coaching industry, is that it’s blooded. There’s everybody in the third cousin in their pet dog is trying to get into coaching. Oh, and because, in a sense, because of its inherent nature, it’s easy to do that, because it doesn’t requires the same kinds of training or certification, like a therapist would. However, there are a lot of people and unfortunately, the majority of people who, even though they don’t really understand what coaching actually is, and they go awry, because of that. So I’ll explain in brief, I could do a whole seminar on this subject, right. But I’ll tie it into the concept of creativity and culture. And specifically, I’ll even tie it in with some of the religious aspects that that’s actually kind of core to some things that I’ve observed in this because there’s a lot I enjoy it because there’s a lot of people come from a very spiritual perspective, which makes sense. But a lot of income from it from choose specific main branches of spiritual ism, we will call on a spiritual artist. So so one is the woowoo, Eastern, New Age type direction, right? And then there’s the people from very prosperity gospel named in claim it type Christian persuasion, right? Or in some cases, I was I would even I, I know, the two are in there who who would, who would, who who are good, earnest, faithful believers, but who I believe are led astray in this concept. But a lot of them are false Christians. I would say that they’re, they’re using it for the wrong reasons and the wrong ways. It’s their Christianity is closer to magic than sacrament. Yeah, and there’s a very specific technical distinction between those

Joshua Ling 9:31
four Presbyterian you don’t have to explain that to me.

Jaymes O’Pheron 9:38
Um, but those two branches of spirituality are incredibly common in the industry. And a lot of my friends who actually are even good coaches still tend to walk along those lines. There’s a few that are, you know, honest and wholehearted and in and committed to integrity. And what they’re offering. But I think that it’s just so much in the water, that it’s hard to distinguish the nuances. So if I’m going to distinguish what coaching is, in contrast to other forms of facilitated growth, I’d say right, a partnership of facilitating growth, and one of them expectrum, you’d have teaching and training, where you’re teaching somebody how to know something, or training somebody how to do something. Right, right. And there’s very additive, you’re putting open ahead Stiff Stuff, if

Joshua Ling 10:38
you don’t put

Jaymes O’Pheron 10:40
some glue in there to help it stick. Yes, and that’s incredibly important. You need that that’s my wife, my wife was a middle school teacher. And it’s a beautiful profession that is incredibly needed important. But it’s only one component of the whole picture of what’s necessary. A more personalised approach that is mentorship, where you are helping someone in a personalised path by sharing your personal stories of experience in growth, to help them tailor their learning career. That’s what mentorship would be, right? Right. And then the next step is very similar teaching and training. So kind of teaching training. The next step, I would say, is the consultant, umbrella. Okay. And the distinctives there, I believe, is you are an expert who diagnosis the situation and prescribes the solution. Okay. And so that includes everything doctors, therapists, psychiatrist, spiritual counsellors, the whole range and spectrum of all of that, right? And you want somebody to be an expert. So they give you the right prescription. So you don’t go investing time and effort into solution that’s actually making the problem worse, for example. Right. So that’s a really important component and really important. But it’s fundamentally giving of advice. You’re adding it’s additive in that sense. It’s it’s multiplicative, to a degree is kind of in the middle. But it’s still along that spectrum

Joshua Ling 12:12
formulaic. Yeah.

Jaymes O’Pheron 12:14
Yeah. Exactly. Again, criminally necessary. Yeah. So a coach is non additive. Okay. He’s fundamentally fundamentally multiplicative, in this sense, because he takes what is already present in a person and asks questions to bring clarity to the path forward to help them structure an implementation plan, and help them actually take action on it. So it takes what’s already there and actually make something happen with

Joshua Ling 12:45
it. It’s almost lubricated. A greases? Yeah.

Jaymes O’Pheron 12:51
Yes. He opens the gates. I like the cliche phrase unlocks potential, of course, yeah, cliche, but it actually is accurate.

Joshua Ling 12:59
Well, you look at actual professional leagues, like sports and things, the coaches that work with these players, you know, you got crazy batting stances, you know, I think back like Julio Franco, and Craig Counsell, and a bunch of these guys, if you know, any kind of baseball, these guys had really crazy stances where they’re arching their back in ridiculous ways that actually even hurt them later on. But the fact is, they saw success in that early on and got to the professional level doing that. So you don’t even necessarily want to change that you want to make it the best that it can possibly be. So that’s the difference there

Jaymes O’Pheron 13:36
and help them to like, what worked, what didn’t How can you adjust that to move forward and lay out that plan? Absolutely. And so, the art of coaching is fundamentally one of asking questions, right? And asking questions, you can’t ask yourself like I have a coach. I have multiple coaches one that actually paid for because it’d be hypocritical for me as a coaching is so necessary and I don’t have one

Joshua Ling 14:04
I don’t see any problem with that. You know,

Jaymes O’Pheron 14:06
I need to go out there and don’t I don’t I’m not actually

Joshua Ling 14:11
okay. Darrin don’t not a coach but he is a he is a filmmaker he but he does a lot of other stuff. He’s a he’s a social media maker person. Okay. And he he is very much on the you know, his his whole listen to host his don’t cast as Doa and he hope to have him on at some point but he is a guy who his his whole intro is like, we don’t round table it. We don’t pause. We don’t tell staff to take a discussion. We just do we just get it done. And I really liked that approach. I really liked that sort of thing. Because he’s sort of like the anti coach way. He’s the one who actually telling people go and get stuff done go and you know, work hard and do it to God’s glory, you know? Yeah, but yeah, Like the

Jaymes O’Pheron 15:00
one thing I talk about, one thing I talk about a lot, and I’m particularly I’m not going to mastermind context, which is a particular variety of facilitation that’s in between. It’s a, it’s a variety of coaching. And it’s, that’s you’re coaching a conversation between other people. But one thing at a time was when you’re pulling out action items at the end, right? I’ll tell people, it’s okay. Thoughts are not complete, until they embodied themselves in action. Yes. Right. You have all these great ideas, all these great insights, all these different things until something happens as a result of them. They’re incomplete. They’re not real, they’re not done.

Joshua Ling 15:46
And that doesn’t include the production necessarily. It includes the publishing.

Jaymes O’Pheron 15:52
Yeah, all the way through, actually, right. Having something happened. Yeah. Right, that has a tangible result. Right? And maybe a bad result, but it’s, it’ll at least have some form to it that you can then iteratively improve, right? Yeah. But always like, so you have all these ideas for this conversation? Which thoughts? Do you want to finish? Right? Right. And let’s take some of these inputs in action. What do we want to finish during this week, but action items you can pull out of that? And that’s where the creative part comes in. As far as I’m asking questions to help them draw out the clarity what they need to do, I can ask a question here, draw that out or ask question here to clarify that are what obstacles do you see to this? Let’s create a plan to circumvent that. It’s like weaving a story plot in a sense, but going forward in a person’s actual real life future? Yeah, it’s a very creative act.

Joshua Ling 16:44
Yeah. And one of the things that, that, that brings up to me more than anything, and this isn’t like, you know, I do think that if you are helping somebody, your worth is I’m not reducing what you’re saying in any way when I say this, but it’s really actually being a friend. It’s really actually being the sounding board for all these sorts of things, and just cross

Jaymes O’Pheron 17:07
my coaching hat off when I’m not getting paid. Yeah, I’m always doing it in every conversation, I’m incorporating some element of that, because like, the best kind of statement is a question.

Joshua Ling 17:20
Another another metaphor for that, that I would throw on is it’s like a EGPU that you’re throwing onto your graphics card, you’re getting the extra processing from an external source. together to get Yeah, exactly. To get to get the fire lit, get the get the frame rate up and your game, you know, which rolls

Jaymes O’Pheron 17:37
forward into incense into the culture wars and thinking your magnetic technology, because the solution to so much of that is community. Right? One of the truths that I’ve encountered that more I study, or the more I firmly believe this, that lasting transformation is designed to be encountered within community. Okay, you could even say that transformation never happens apart from community. But there are miracles where the Holy Spirit is not constrained. It does work through people in isolation, but then that’s still community.

Joshua Ling 18:18
This way, even if it’s not catalysed, in community, it is it is sustained in community.

Jaymes O’Pheron 18:25
Absolutely. There’s, that’s how God chooses to work in his creation is through community. And so when we try and do this whole independent self reliance to the extreme that we do, particularly in our, you know, Neo Western culture, it’s actively disintegrating community and the fundamental components of community. So that’s one of the things that I study, specifically, for our profession, but also for all of my projects and passions that I’m doing is what really is community. How is it designed to work? And how can we intentionally craft this? Right, right? And how do we do so in any circumstance online or offline? Right? And it really comes to ties into a lot of my I want it to not be a hobby someday, but currently hobby of fiction writing, world building and crafting these nuanced fantasy worlds where I’m thinking of all the different implications of different pieces and how these nations and work with this one and tweaking this one little rule in the physics changes all these different things. Yes, I love that. Yes, there’s something that same mindset, that same way of thinking in the manner of creation translates directly over when dealing with thinking about crafting a culture. Yes, right. Yeah, that’s creative. That is sub creation. Nice. God invented the first cultures. And we are sub creating after him following as his as his image bearers in that sense. So there are, avoid going to the whole seminar of this, but in brief on there’s, I believe that there are four levels, in a sense. And this actually makes it very tangible. I’m talking about connecting world building to community and culture creation. So there’s four levels to it. So the first one is a connection. Okay. And that happens within the frame of a conversation where you’re conversing with somebody, and you create a connection between two there’s an exchange of trust. Right, right. of some sort. There’s an element of vulnerability, that shared element of human hood is brought forward in exchange for this sensory emotional, there’s alignment that’s brought into play,

Joshua Ling 21:05
and it’s even transactional to a certain extent it’s an emotional transaction. Yeah,

Jaymes O’Pheron 21:09
absolutely. Absolutely. And but it’s, it’s one connection. Yes. Right. So if we had a connection earlier, where we exchange services, that was an exchange of trust, right, exactly. It was through a series of conversations, and it was amazing. And then we’re having this other conversation now. Right, where there’s an exchange happening here as well, we’re creating a connection, another connection, but those connections weave together, like threads into the next level, which is a relationship. Yes. Okay. So relationship is woven out of conversations and connections. And it takes the form of a story, right? There’s a story thread that’s happening here. That’s one the other, and there’s all kinds of tropes, and arcs and narrative structures that come into play in a relationship that people have. Oh, yes. Oh, my goodness, yes. But that’s between two people. Yes. Right. Yes, you fractal it out, you start, we have one more person. So those three people in the triangle, right, I’ve got my relationship with him, your relationship with him and our relationship together. And as those are connecting together, my relationship with him is shaped by the fact that we also share relationship with you for tonight, you know, and then that the more complex that web develops, the more nuanced that those those interconnections become, and the more power that community which is that next level develops, yes, because there’s a shared identity, there’s a, in a very real sense, a new soul is born, a new being an entity, um, which unorthodox thought has its own guardian angel. It is an actual spiritual reality that is formed there. And it has its own life. It has its own nature, it has its own rises and falls and all these different kinds of things. What’s fascinating is, is that when you go into this levels, what I call this the story, turn them to an epic. Okay. And you look at the actual origins of epic, right? Culturally, anthropologically, an epic is an origin story. Yes. Okay, is a story of heroes that have shaped a community. Okay. And the goal of a community is to accomplish things for the sake of common values. Okay. There’s certain things that a community can do that an individual cannot. And most things in this world that are ethical, I’ll even say this for everything that is worth doing, can only be done through a community, it’s not, you can’t do things that are worthwhile on your own. And so the community is the catalyst for that. Right? And it does that via a common ground of values. They’re all focused in the same direction, doing a thing together, right? All these common values, but values are meaningless, unless embodied in a person, a hero, a champion of those values that say, we don’t find loyalty to an abstract set of causes. That’s not a thing. Yes, I over design. We operate relationally with a person who embodies those values. That’s why you know, we have creeds and our faith really isn’t in the Creed Correct? Yes. Our faith is in Christ, who is the WAY the TRUTH and the LIFE exactly we find that loyalty in the form of accrete?

Joshua Ling 25:01
Exactly. Yeah, it’s done to create itself.

Jaymes O’Pheron 25:05
Alright, so the next level because we think we think, Well, I first philosopher, I thought that was that was the end of the three truly, three is a good number. Right? Right. But then I started realising that there’s another level to this. Because in my own experience, I see this a lot, right? Communities fail. They collapse, they don’t have longevity through time. Right. The next level is culture. And I define a culture. Right, as the system of communication of values from one generation to the next, is propagating those values to the, into a heritage, right. So it’s not just those origin heroes, they have to be able to pass on that torch.

Joshua Ling 25:50
You might even use a reformed Presbyterian word like covenant. Yes. Yeah. This is this cultural covenant, one of

Jaymes O’Pheron 25:58
the mechanisms of that absolutely, absolutely. Oh, that that continuing covenant in that continuing community through time that is bigger than any individual, or even the specific generation of heroes, and you’ll be able to hand pass that torch on, right. That’s a culture. And it’s done through myth. So the ethic becomes a myth. And a myth, in our, in our modern secular mind tends to be associated with something that’s fake, right.

Joshua Ling 26:26
I know that and pretty much all my listeners are gonna know this by probably two or three. So yeah, no, you don’t know,

Jaymes O’Pheron 26:34
is a participatory story. Short, yeah. It’s a story that you participate in, that you continue on and extend. It’s like the fanfic universe. I’ll actually I really liked writing fanfic, actually, I think honestly, all fiction is fanfic.

Joshua Ling 26:49
Yes, I mean, the sun

Jaymes O’Pheron 26:55
always work. But it’s that kind of you’re creating a story that people want to help continue the storytelling, right. So there’s three specific components, the circles, background technology, there are three specific components by which or means by which culture is propagated, okay. So one is through language, or communication. One is through creation, okay, art, which includes music, um, you know, actual painting, art, any kind of creation, though, really, that we encounter through our senses. And then through ritual. Okay, or CO acting or CO action, in a sense, we’re doing something very precise definition of ritual is a physical action, which has spiritual impact. Okay, something happens spiritually, because so working

Joshua Ling 27:51
out would be included. Yeah, yeah.

Jaymes O’Pheron 27:55
But you know, if you’re working out with somebody, yes, there’s a bond that’s created that one of the biggest ones eating together. Yes. Is one of those powerful. This is the actual fundamental nature of sacrifice. Yes, in Scripture. It’s not about the killing. It’s about the sharing of a meal. Right? So specifically what it’s about, and that creates communities why you don’t eat food sacrifice to idle because you’re becoming one with the demon, bad idea of community with a demon. This is why when you excommunicate you cut off, you don’t eat with them, that’s when you’re communing with them. That’s right, what’s happening, right? It’s not just like, it’s not saving, like shunning or not cute, actually correct, indicating, it’s like you’re not communing in the Eucharist with them that what that word actually means, right? You’re still communicating with them, because you’re trying to draw them back in again, but you’re not communing with them right? Not being one with them, right? Yes, yes. So this, these three components, right, are what embody the values that a culture is propagating. And when those break down, when communication breaks down, when art and creation break down, when ritual breaks down, to become secularised and so on, it loses that coherence that cohesiveness and the culture breaks down. Right. And so technology from what I said before example, communication and language is empowered through engagement of the senses, more of the humans you’re bringing in, whether it’s you’re seeing each other versus just on the phone just via text, or give each other a hug and a handshake, or eating a meal together, engaging all the senses, the smell and the taste. All these senses engaged, sharing emotional vulnerability, all these things together. Those are part of what makes communication work. Right. Yep. And that’s muted online. It’s possible to do it you can talk about you can even eat meals together online. It’s not quite the same, but it’s close to them. would otherwise be right. You can talk about senses when you use storytelling techniques to help people engage with their senses and the things around them to embody themselves again, they become more connected. Right, right. So there’s ways that you can transcend that barrier a little bit, of course, to be able to still make connection. Through an online meeting, it’s still possible if you know what the fundamental components of connection actually are. And then you’re transcending.

Joshua Ling 30:31
Yeah. And this is this is one of the things I really wanted to get to. Yeah, I have a science fiction story. That is actually like the origin of it is twofold. One, the TV show Firefly, just a big inspiration, in general, but then secondarily, the verse. And this is what I was looking down for Leviticus 1711, which says, For the life of the flesh is in the blood. And I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls for it as the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement. Yes. So this is a this is a fundamental Christian value, and not all Christians hold to it. I don’t think it’s something that you’re an immediate heretic if you have a hard time with this heterodox but in life, right, the the, the continuation of the connection between the soul and the body, which is life, is perpetuated by blood.

Jaymes O’Pheron 31:26
Now, I’m sure you’re aware, you probably already made this connection. But this is actually reify. Physically, yes. Because the spirit, the life, right, right. The breath literally in the Hebrew, randon, the Greeks, and the nefesh is breathed into us by God, correct? Yes. Right. So is that right, the Spirit of God and moves as a win? I guess. It’s very tied physically to breath, which is why incense is like the embodiment of prayer, right? And what

Joshua Ling 31:57
it covered carries the literally the life moving. Yes,

Jaymes O’Pheron 32:03
this is what is the physical reality of spirituality. Like they’re merged together in separate so we’re

Joshua Ling 32:08
totally on the same page here for this. Totally. Alright. Yep. So here, here was my thought. Okay. First of all, I don’t know if you remember years ago, I had the experience of being one of the people who were protesting down in Atlanta, when the federal court saw Terry Shabbos case years and years and years ago. Are you familiar with the Terry Scheiber case? Oh, no. Oh, this sounds familiar.

Jaymes O’Pheron 32:33
Is that one of the was that one of the euthanasia type things taking off life support when he was a vegetable? Yeah, yeah.

Joshua Ling 32:42
It was a female. But yes, she Yeah, she was a read off. Yeah.

Jaymes O’Pheron 32:46
Because his his because her husband was trying to get her shut off. Yes. Um, despite her still being present, you know, there’s like Trump or what legal loopholes. And I was, I bought the book for my dad, but didn’t read it myself. So scan just I’m generally

Joshua Ling 33:04
just just a little little bit little backup on that, though. She had not a lot of brain activity to the point where technically by our current medical standards today, she was a vegetable. However, she was still responding in a very obvious toddler like sense, in her own way.

Jaymes O’Pheron 33:23
For some reason, the mature rule is not the only part of our existence. Right? Right, exactly.

Joshua Ling 33:28
So with all that being said, I was actually down years and years ago when this happened with my family, with my parents protesting that and that had a profound impact on me, being there for that, and arguing these things with other folks and people who are just interested in learning, you know, very deep things. And so, you know, the thing that my mother kept coming back to is the life is in the blood, the life is in the blood. And we can say that, you know, I’ve met people with just basically a brainstem, you know, who’ve not who still have interactions with other human beings, and it’s not even the interaction that makes them alive. That’s the thing we need to realise. But that’s, that’s a sign of the life that is in them. So, with all that being said, I thought, okay, science fiction. Let’s take this to its end degree. And I’m gonna, I’m gonna give you a little bit of the story, and I just, I just want to hear your thoughts on it early and how this dovetails into what you talked about with Zoom, and what you talk about with all these other sorts of things. Okay. All right. So we have this guy Blaze and his wife, they are in a war. They are not conscripted. They’re their militia, you know, kind of a thing just fighting for their own people. And the the woman is mortally wounded. And in order to save her, he being a technological person, her as well. takes her back to his workshop and in a blog Panic tries to save her heart and her brain because that’s basically all that he can save at this point. He keeps that he saves the heart, he loses the brain. And he leaves the heart pumping, as on life support for a while. And then in his grief builds an Android powered by in this world vampiric technology is what they call it, where blood actually fuels. Right? Right. So basically, he creates this Android tries to make her as realistic as possible. Everything else. This is all illegal in his world, because there’s a Conservative government. And essentially, he’s trying to make her as realistic as possible to hide her and still have her around and he is totally conflicted as to whether she’s alive or not, if this is really right or not, or if this is a recreation of her based on his memory only, etc. And I

Jaymes O’Pheron 35:55
merely like a in orthodoxies venerating a commemoration of a relic in a sense, or just actually, right,

Joshua Ling 36:03

Jaymes O’Pheron 36:04
which is a relic isn’t just just a commemoration, but actually

Joshua Ling 36:08
the obvious, I’ll say my conclusion, you know, being that I read that, and I take it very literally, is that I believe she’s really there, you know, yeah, she, she is augmented by all this technology. But she’s really there. And this is one of those things that, you know, you’re talking about zoom in, I’ll let you dovetail into this, but I believe I really am talking to you, I don’t have a problem with that barrier. I have no

Jaymes O’Pheron 36:32
less real of a person, because I’m talking to you via screen anymore, then you’ll be less than the person if I was talking to you through a you know, suit can with a string. Right, right. Right. As a couple directions, I want to comment on that one briefly. And I know people have this thing, a whole hang up in the sense about technology. Right? Right. And there’s a couple different directions to tackle it from. But one way to conceive it? Well, I think of it in the philosophical, setting aside the phenomenology of it in a sense, and how we interact with it. Um, but if you look at it from just a completely think of digital things as abstract, like, platonic ideal kind of things, and it’s information transmitted from one database to another, it’s still the same information. So there’s certain amount of that, you know, mutability and non fungibility in that as part of that. But ultimately, everything digital is still somewhere embodied in physical matter. Yes. Right. It’s

Joshua Ling 37:51
a physical matter, right. Like, yes. etched into? Yeah, yeah. At least negative physical matter.

Jaymes O’Pheron 37:59
Yeah, it’s there. It’s there. It’s in the physical world. Yeah. Um, and so there’s is still a physical interaction. Um, if I interact with you, right now, you know, what, some of the politics that the slightly you’re still you even if you’re wearing a mask, yes. Right. And it’s still talking, there’s an issue there. Right, there’s, there’s still a need. There’s an ambition there. And that’s real. Right. But you’re not less human? Correct. Because you’re wearing a mask, that you if you try and carry that through write that has very dangerous implications. For example, you could even argue that that would be I mean, if you’re going to argue that way, that would probably be the better arguments for abortion, because you can’t actually interact with them directly. Right? Therefore, they less human well. How far do you want to take this argument? Right? So But no, we are human inherently. As we interact just by sight of God, right, regardless of how each other and we ascribe meaning and definition to each other by how we interact. But that doesn’t change that fact. Right.

Joshua Ling 39:13
And let me just say to anyone who’s listening, this is in no way at all advocating for transhumanism. Pandora, my character is is still has a human heart and blood. She is still human.

Jaymes O’Pheron 39:27
Oh, actually, I want to take that over that. So I actually labelled myself as a Christian transhumanists. Okay, that’s a nice thing. So people define transhumanism very differently, though. Right. Right. Right. So

Joshua Ling 39:40
obviously, I’m talking going beyond God’s creation. Yeah. Well, so

Jaymes O’Pheron 39:44
there’s a component to hit this here. Right. Right. So like I mentioned earlier, technology is fundamentally an extension of humanity.

Joshua Ling 39:55

Jaymes O’Pheron 39:56
Okay, right. I’m following. There’s not really anything distinction. Ultimately, that’s what makes us it’s not what makes us human. But it is a human ability that’s distinctly granted to us to fulfil that, which makes us human the image of God,

Joshua Ling 40:10
I’m following you. It’s dominion, though. Yeah. So

Jaymes O’Pheron 40:12
in contrast to like, you know, a eagle is given his own wings with which to fly. Right. And we are given not much, by way of physical ability to do pretty much anything,

Joshua Ling 40:25
right? This is the argument. Are we supposed to be rained on or not?

Jaymes O’Pheron 40:32
Are we supposed to be blind if we lose eyesight? Well, no, we put glasses on. Right. Right. That’s our ability that is given to us in order to fulfil God’s command to be sub creators. Correct? Right. And so clothing is a part of us. And in fact, we’re Orthodox, and all this also, more explicitly, hierarchically made explicit, and in Catholic thought to have multiple orders of relics. Right. So we have first order relic is an actual piece of a person, right? Bone or hair or something like that. Right? Right. Second order rock is something that belongs directly to them. Okay, like their clothes. Right? So looking at the used stuff. Yeah, like it was a saint with a prosthetic arm, that would be a second order.

Joshua Ling 41:23
And see, these things would make sense. Even if you don’t believe in relics in the sense of like, you know, you’re right. Yes. Yeah. This is a song that

Jaymes O’Pheron 41:31
makes sense. Yeah. Yeah. And you have third order relics or things that they encounter encountered had contact with, you know, that kind of stuff. And so, but they’re all tied to the person. Right there still, His presence is still there. Effectively, I mean, even see that ongoing, the whole relics thing, but you know, you can see in Scripture with, you know, st Elijah’s bones, right, right, fallen, fallen touches bones that are resurrected spontaneously, but he’s still there. It’s still down. Right? Right. That’s where he’s like, you know, we are alive in our spirits, but our body is sleeping, that body is still you write it’s not you anymore. It’s still you, and it’ll be resurrected bodily at the end. Right, then, so

Joshua Ling 42:13
the tragedy of the of the fall, is that it’s not all of you.

Jaymes O’Pheron 42:19
Right? Exactly exist, that division that is unnatural, and should not be. Exactly, yeah. And so you have this idea of, it’s not just your physical body, it’s also the things that belong to you, that served you that you use your clothing as technology, right? Ultimately, yes, it’s an extension of you into the world. And so taking that, right, in the same way, that it’s not wrong, to use a car to go faster than you’re physically able to move, or to fly in a plane, which is you can jump higher and otherwise. And in the same way, that’s one level of augmentation that is natural inherent to the purpose of technology, right? That serves a god glorifying purpose. And some people draw a line of goal embedding things right, you know, right, directly modifying yourself right, like we use, you know, devices inside ourselves to, you know, fix problems. So he’s a procedure and he writes your view of course, you have contact lenses you Howard

Joshua Ling 43:22
our heart, our starters. Yeah.

Jaymes O’Pheron 43:24
restarts my mind, like on the term now. Yeah. kinds of things. So what’s the philosophical difference, right, between embedding technology in yourself to augment your ability or use it externally, what’s really the difference? Race authentically. And so the idea of Transhumanism is ultimately at its heart, though humanists use it a lot, mostly, um, is being ethical in use of technology. Basically, you say, Oh, if we only if we if we hide from technology, only unethical people will use it. It’s kind of the gun control argument if you outlaw guns on the outlaws use guns, right? Yeah, it’s the same kind of idea. So we need to as Christians who have literally the monopoly on true and right ethics and morals, right, should be at the forefront of technological innovation, amen. Bracing, bringing the human hood into it, instead of surrendering that part of the culture war, or to everybody else, and that’s what I believe is true. Christian, transhumanism.

Joshua Ling 44:36
Exactly. Yes. And that’s, that’s a completely different idea than the, you know, see, perspective.

Jaymes O’Pheron 44:45
Perspective is is the idea that evolution is not as stalled and we’re helping you start improving on where we’re at, and we can do better. That’s not it.

Joshua Ling 44:57
We’re reversing the curse. by his, by his by His power and His by the Holy Spirit’s power in us. We are not recreating humanity. Yes, exactly. That’s, that’s the difference. Yeah. And so I was just gonna point out, you know, this is exactly what CS Lewis talks about in that hideous strength that’s really coming out in this whole thing. When he comes at transhumanism from the the, like you were saying, the, the atheistic side of things. Absolutely. Yeah, so let’s, so let’s get into you. In closing, let’s not in full closing, we got about 15 minutes or so. But like, I really want to know, like, where you’ve come from, I want to know, you know, you talk about your Protestant background just a little bit and talk about like, what led you to where you are physically and spiritually, everything else and just take your time with a man like, I’ll ask questions if I need to, but to hear from you, I want people to know who you are. Because you’re this great coach, you know, you do these great things. And I’ve seen, I’ve seen your stuff, I’ve edited some of your stuff. And I really do enjoy hearing you as opposed to a lot of the scammers and the scammers.

Jaymes O’Pheron 46:05
I found it I authentically want people to be able to grow into the potential and the gifts that God has given them instead of them wasting. Exactly.

Joshua Ling 46:12
And so I want to know why that is you how did this come about? Because it’s God’s story. Tell it man.

Jaymes O’Pheron 46:22
All right. Yeah. So I grew up, I’m oldest of eight. And my family has always been I was gonna say reasonably odd, but really unique.

Joshua Ling 46:35
Mine two, to five. So yeah, walk together. Totally.

Jaymes O’Pheron 46:42
But we my father was tremendously intentional about how He raised us. And I look up to him tremendously for that. He’s one of my heroes because of that. Well, he and my mom came from families that were not wholly dysfunctional, but not really functional, right? In the ways that mattered, right. And there was enough there for them to be aware and say, We don’t want to just take what’s given us and just use it by default. We want to sit back and think what’s the best way to do things. And so my dad sat down and said, Okay, I’m going to start from scratch effectively. And think through how to intentionally craft a culture for my family. And I was the guinea pig. As always, that’s how the oldest gets it. And they learned a lot and my siblings have turned out in many ways better than I have. I went to prison, they haven’t. So that’s a win there. But one of the things that I took from them more than almost anything else other than other than my faith, was that that spirit and passion for intentionality, of thinking things through and asking the questions particularly why cuz I love why it’s in my name. I love that letter. I love that word. I love that question. And always asking probing deeper to understand the reasons behind things. And that led me to a lot of things that got me in trouble. You know, curiosity kills the cat. But frequently, what I what I believe firmly is that is yes, Curiosity killed the cat. But what curious to cat is more curiosity? If I had asked questions about the consequences of actions more, rather than what’s possible, if I thought, what might not be best possible, right, then I would not have gotten into the same trouble. But it was that curiosity that led me out of it. It was sitting there as I Okay, you know, I really freaking messed up here. What did I Where did I go wrong? How can I Right? Right. And that’s what led me back to God. That’s what led me to him in that humility and repentance. What is a form of curiosity? It’s a quickening of the hope that there’s something better than where I’m at. Right. Right. And so as I entered into that kind of mature curiosity, right, not just the the kids why, why why about everything, and you know, running over every Cliff just to see what it’s like, there was a deep, deeper and more mature curiosity of who can I become, right? How can I make amends to the world in a sense by becoming a better person? Right. You can’t undo your past, but you can create a better future. Yeah. And so, you know, through that process, and, you know, through prison, I struggled with that, because I was like, I don’t have five years. I can’t not do things for five years. That’s right, intolerable. So what do I do is I treated monastic Lee actually before I even was aware of monasticism really as a thing before I even knew orthodoxy existed. I was like, This is enough. For me to grow in temper my faith, right it did. I read well over 1000 books and just dove into learning and studying not just books and things that I was curious about, but about people about myself about faith. Because in prison, you don’t have a choice really about what options you have for denominations. And I grew up fundamentalist impacted Baptist and first few years, I was like, they were not fundamental Independent Baptist, okay. And I just went to what was available and I started thinking and like, these people, obviously are worshipping the same God I am, right, in a very different way. And they have very different reputations of things, but the worshipping the same God, and it kind of tempered some of my exclusionary elitism that I had cultivated in my narcissistic youth. Careful carefully cultivated intentional narcissism, unfortunately, part of the curiosity that got me into things was how psychopathic Can I actually get on purpose? Bad, bad, bad question to ask.

Jaymes O’Pheron 51:06
Definitely. But as I start exploring, like finding out asking questions, I knew scripture backwards and forwards, right, my dad, but it was out loud every year, and I was I was an apologetics I studied and I knew scripture. But I’m like, Well, this is a completely new perspective that I had never encountered before. And casting things against them. Like, you know, this is actually better explanation than what I grew up with. That’s interesting. And start, you know, exploring things. I encountered Messianic Judaism during that time, and they have a coherent internal interpretation of scripture that’s wildly different. Yeah, than everything I had grown off with, by looking at them side by side house like these are completely different interpretations. Right. But they each have internal consistency, right? As far as I can tell, right, at least. I mean, there was inconsistencies in both. But obviously,

Joshua Ling 52:06
we’re human. We can’t see the other of all things. There are certain things that were yes, no, we’re not going to know for sure that we’re right, exactly.

Jaymes O’Pheron 52:13
Not until, as far as I’m able to figure out like there’s no way in the balance to figure out which one is closer to truth than the other. And that at first shook my faith, because I like that’s an epistemological challenge, for sure. How do you have one truth when you’ve got this kind of situation? So I was wrestling with that, and I knew God. Personally, I never questioned like, I’m going to leave the faith. That was never even in my mind. Like, I know God, I want to find him in the best way. Was that really what came what came down to? And I encountered Coptic orthodoxy, which is not actually Eastern Orthodoxy is oriental orthodoxy. Right, which they branched off from 580 500 years for Catholics back branched off right. Over my arthritis ism, with the fifth Council, you can communicate counsel, but they’re very, they’re kissing cousins. They’re very, very, very, very close. And I was really I’m excited about now actually, personally, I know a lot of them have actually come to our parish, in the Eritrean Orthodox churches, which is the same communion. They are. There’s progress working towards it actually. reunifying. Right, with bodies, which is amazing. Yeah, because they’re tracing evangelising. A lot of this the This communication was just that miscommunication. It was more semantics. Right? Like, well, oops. So working, trying to mend that rift and a sandwich is really cool. But I kind of kept it worse at Oxy. And it was yet again, so wildly different than what I had encountered before. And you know, there’s the incense there was, you know, entering the service, barefoot, and unleavened bread for communion and more books in the Bible, and you know, all these different things. And I was like wrestling, like this is so different, right? But there’s something about it. That rang of truth. And this goes back to the to the good, the true in the beautiful, right? Like, you’re familiar with that phrase? Yes. They are the ones like a trinity. They’re three different, you know, hypotheses of the true essence of God, is this trinity, right? And so our premises we can reason from premises but how do we know a premise is true. And good and beautiful. It’s by them being good, true and beautiful. We we intuitively in our spirit, in our news in our in our mind, the heart of hearts, the eye of our mind, we recognise that

Joshua Ling 54:53
Yeah. And so as as you know, good Protestant Presbyterian boy by Greg Bahnson kind of thing sort of showing through, I want to ask by what standard is something good, true and beautiful.

Jaymes O’Pheron 55:06
Exactly, exactly. That is the question, right? How do we recognise it?

Joshua Ling 55:13
I, as a Protestant, Presbyterian guy would say, yeah, it’s the Scripture. You read the Scripture, and you trust the Holy Spirit to interpret it for you, as best as you possibly can keep reading it, keep learning it, keep studying it, and close to that. It’s true. It’s good. It’s beautiful.

Jaymes O’Pheron 55:30
And as an orthodox, I would say, Yes. And

Joshua Ling 55:36
you say, Yes, right. Yes. I agree.

Jaymes O’Pheron 55:40
This is a, this is a core, this is a huge part of is we recognise it because the good the Trinity beautiful is fully manifested through Christ, Christ, the way through life. Yes. Because the truth is beautiful. Right? He is the manifestation of God’s revealed Lord to us. That and there is no way to the Father, but through him. There is nothing that is good, true, beautiful, apart from

Joshua Ling 56:01
the hero, he’s the archetype. I’m totally with you.

Jaymes O’Pheron 56:04
Exactly. And we understand him. And we encounter Christ in a true way through the Holy Spirit. Yeah, cuz he can see, the disciples didn’t always get it. Even though we’re living with them. It wasn’t until Pentecost, they go, Oh, right. Now we get it. Yeah, Holy Spirit quickens our ability to perceive the good, the true in the beautiful in Christ as He manifests itself in the world. Correct. One of the coolest ways in which He manifests Himself and that the apostles preserved that particular manifestation was through Scripture. Yes. So yeah. And that is one way that we encountered the good tubule directly is through Scripture.

Joshua Ling 56:43
Exactly. Yes. And, and, and discernment from that scripture, interprets everything else through the Holy Spirit. Yes, exactly. So through

Jaymes O’Pheron 56:52
our own cogitation, that’s all kinds of that’s where Yeah, so yeah, it’s awesome. So yeah, absolutely. Um, but I encounter like, I recognise this. And I, in my, in my spiritual intuition is I like, this seems more good, more true and more beautiful than what I’ve lived. Right. And I still struggled with it cuz they baptise babies. You know, I

Joshua Ling 57:17
always the big one for

Jaymes O’Pheron 57:20
my narrative of history was like, we’ve been slaughtered by the 1000s. For being anti Baptist, right? I’m not gonna just gonna toss this away on a whim. I need to really understand this before I set this core doctrine aside, this is why I call myself a Baptist. Is this one doctrine? And we don’t do that like?

Joshua Ling 57:40
Right. Weird,

Jaymes O’Pheron 57:41
you know, it was a real stumbling block for me, I met, you know, praying to marry you praying to saints icons, like, okay, I get that. That makes sense. You know, that one was very confused by that with me. Like, you’re not you’re not confused about this. I’m like, No, that’s fine.

Joshua Ling 57:59
It was hilarious. Oh, that’s amazing. That’s

Jaymes O’Pheron 58:03
it took a long struggle. But one thing that really stuck with me, I ended up like rejecting is I know, this isn’t for me, yet, at least I need to do a lot more research to do my due diligence before I approach something of this magnitude, right, right. Because you can’t take pieces and bits and pieces from it. That doesn’t work. Because that’s the whole point of converting to Orthodoxy is saying this is my epistemology. That the way in which I interpret Scripture is by means of the church, right. And the church is this specific community, not just whatever I happen to call it together in my back garden, right? I have to submit myself to this tradition thing of the apostolic interpretation passed down. Right, not just my own idea of what might be the right interpretation. This is how the Holy Spirit’s reserve interpretation that right, huge to submit to that, that was going against the whole independent part of the fundamental. Right, like, right, oh, I don’t want to submit myself I don’t have to like, always, if I agree with everything they say,

Joshua Ling 59:05
you know. And it’s really funny that you mentioned that because that’s one of the big things in polity and I’ll say this, and then we can you can comment and we can start wrapping I wanted to stay on after we actually finished the this portion of the show too. So stick around for that. I wanted to give you some parallels in my life to almost exactly what you’re talking about. Awesome. Um, this is where Presbyterianism is a funky little dog because you went from the Baptist side. Yeah. To the Episcopal side of church government. Right. This is Episcopalian government in the Orthodox Church. And so the the funny thing with Presbyterians is that they they actually unlike the Baptist kind of situation, is they have higher courts. Right, but those are actually a structure to it. Right? And those higher courts have have jurisdiction over what they have until they don’t there is actually an endpoint to these human courts where it has to be split. There is an actual, like a jurisdictional split that can take place within the system itself, which is a whole other idea. Yeah. No. Like it’s it’s an actual legal split. If you go before the presbytery and or General Assembly, and you still disagree with that, you see what I’m saying? Like, and that’s, that’s one of those really interesting things in and of itself. And I love the submission because that’s, that’s one of the big things that’s pressed in a good way. In a lot of my circles anyway, in in Presbyterianism is like, to be sure about submit, be not submitting in this this particular situation. There’s, there’s there’s good and right pressure from the elders upon the congregants.

Jaymes O’Pheron 1:00:57
I think that’s incredibly necessary. Yeah, it is incredibly necessary. Yeah. Oh, yeah. A lot of one was running around and everyone to doctrine results. Right. Yeah. The one thing that kind of wrapping up my story there in a bit is one yes. stuck with me was the OG path, which is the comic book of ours. And I pray through and it carried me through a lot in prison, because there’s a depth of humility and repentance, through those prayers that was so rich, and so powerful. That was like, Okay, I may not agree with them, but they have the spirit in a very real and practical way. And it carried me through a lot. And then since then I you know, studying the history, and, you know, tracing back like, Okay, this is, this is what happened, this is interesting, like tracing back and exploring and because like, you know, this no, this I do from the woods, this is the historic church, right? This is the, this is the apostolic succession. Right? This is the people that the people that are the body of the Christ that I already owe allegiance to. And so entering into that fold is just natural, to my allegiance to Christ and that size. And so now moving to Fargo, joining a parish here becoming a catechumen. And the richness of Divine Liturgy and vespers and attending and entering into the regular spiritual life of prayer, and fasting, and all these different parts of this is walking into a whole life that is full of spiritual creativity. Yeah, really a culture that has heroes that has a participatory myth that has this community with a story, an epic story, with these deep meaningful connections to God to each other, that has preserved and lasted not just, you know, for one generation, but for you for 2000 years. And part of that is, it’s a continuity from Adam, the way through really, you know, the people of God, and having that continuity, that connection and entering into that just enriches everything in life. And that’s what really the culture is all about. And so that’s what I subject everything I do to that. When I I’m not just like, oh, this is a cool marketing gimmick to draw from, you know, ancient Desert Fathers to help people with Zoom was like, No, this is the real transcendent truth that transcends time. And technology may seem new. But it really isn’t. No. We need to embrace it and submit it, baptise it to Christ, right. And that’s my passion.

Joshua Ling 1:03:48
Yeah. So I’ll speak directly to my to my audience, and you really quickly and then I want to hear where we can find you. And then then we’ll then we’ll go into the after me and you talking. Basically, just everyone listening. My whole thing on this is, even if I don’t agree directly with certain things that he says the best part is, you know, all those other sorts of things that differentiate us. The fact is that there is something missing in 99.9% of churches right now, even in Orthodox churches, and that thing I find more than anything else is beauty. The thing that we are as a Western culture, neglecting more than truth, and goodness, is in fact, beauty. We have, you know, completely given over our creation of art and myth and culture, to you know, basically babysitting the kids. That’s that’s what we have now. We have Hollywood babysitting the kids. And my exhortation to everyone listening is to like James is doing and I know he’s doing it because I keep up with it on social media. And I know A few guys that are doing it and some people go Why do you have a Catholic when your first episode you recorded in an orthodox on the next and the press bees are coming okay. So some of my Presby friends are a little higher higher ticket right now for me to get so anyway, but but here’s the deal be your families barred be your families barred because the your sincerity the sincerity of your faith will be demonstrated by the beauty that you can present before them. And so where can we find you online? James? Yeah, yeah, yes.

Jaymes O’Pheron 1:05:37
So Oh ferran.com is my home online. So Oh, p h e r o n.com. And you can look up catalytic conversations is actually a book written by somebody by that title. That’s not me yet. I probably will write a book called Cat conversations just to try and compete off of that namespace but my web my Facebook group and my page and LinkedIn is all callala conversations is my company, which you can find me at Oh ferran.com

Joshua Ling 1:06:07
Awesome. Thank you so much, James. I really appreciate you everyone. Keep fighting the culture war, keep pushing forward some victories. God All right, Ciao. Ciao