Jon Miller: [00:00:00] All right. Welcome to the Beyond The Lines podcast. This is episode zero of the podcast, and we're going to make an introduction to what this podcast is all about. Today I'm joined by my cohost Clayton Eddleman.
Clayton Eddleman: [00:00:12] Hello, thank you.
Jon Miller: [00:00:13] So good to see you, Clayton.
It's great to be here.
And also we have Cal Jernigan on the podcast, man.
He is the lead pastor of Central Christian Church in Arizona. He's an incredible leader and he has gained an incredible array of knowledge and wisdom when it comes to walking beyond the line. Welcome Cal.
Cal Jernigan: [00:00:30] Thank you. Hey, um, first off it's great to be with you guys. I'm excited to do this and I think this will be really good to kind of enhance what we're trying to do and help people to understand.
So, what do you want me to do here?
Jon Miller: [00:00:42] Yeah, let's jump right in. Uh, I love that. What is beyond the lines? What lines are we talking about?
Cal Jernigan: [00:00:47] Okay. All right. So here's the deal. Um, so those of us who follow Christ, you know, basically say, yeah, we're, we'll go wherever you ask us to go, we'll do what you ask us to do.
But, um, unfortunately, so many of us, we put a limit on it and, uh, as long as it sounds reasonable, as long as this sounds doable, as long as it doesn't make me afraid, um, I'll go that far. But we put hard stops. We go, uh, I'll go, I'll do this. And I'll get a little uncomfortable and get a little uneasy, but that's, as far as I'm going to go.
And then once I hit that, I feel like I've, I've done what I've committed to do. Beyond the lines is it's just a concept that says that obedience to Christ, um, is without limit it doesn't it doesn't have, uh, until I'm uncomfortable. Uh, so I I'll, I'll, I'll obey until I'm uncomfortable. I'll love until I'm uncomfortable.
All right. You know, I'll, I'll commit until I'm uncomfortable. So it's, it's, it's just a commitment to go that wherever I want to stop, I won't stop. God doesn't stop there. I won't stop there. And the example of Jesus is to go to the extreme. And so many of us in our Christian walk, we just want to quit before we really put much into it.
That's the concept of beyond the lines.
Jon Miller: [00:01:59] Wow. What about for like people who. Maybe aren't following Christ, but what value is this podcast to them? Maybe they, they, they're not sure about Christ. Maybe they never heard about him, um, or know much about it. What, what value is walking beyond the line to them?
Cal Jernigan: [00:02:14] Well, and again, when we say, we say beyond the lines, we're talking about loving beyond. That's the concept loving beyond. Uh, and Jesus' you know was very, very clear in John 13:34 and 35, which, you know, one of the biographers of Jesus was the apostle John. And know, Jesus just basically said, look, there's going to be a way that you can live
that would demonstrate that, um, you're, you're actually in my camp, you're in my entourage or one of my disciples and that. That thing that he said would be that you actually love people. I think the tragedy of the Christian Church in America, the church in America today is, um, we've gotten a really bad reputation for being hypocritical.
That we've gotten a really bad reputation for being judgmental and condescending. Um, and I believe we've got all of that simply because we've not done what Jesus said. If you would love people the way I've loved you, if you would lay down your life for people, the way I've laid down my life for you.
Then they would understand that this is for real. Tragically what I think we've done is we've convinced people that this isn't for real, because we don't take it seriously. Because we put the hard stop. To love that person would be difficult to love them would be, you know, make me incredibly, uh, uneasy.
And so I'm not going to do it so they never see it. So we as a church need to quit letting ourselves off the hook so easily. And excusing our bad behavior as it was just that's that's reasonable. That was, that was, I did enough. And I just think people are looking for people are looking for a Jesus
that's real. And people are looking for Christians that are real and people are looking for a church that's real. And that's the idea. Love beyond the lines. Don't put, don't put a fence around your love and go that's as far as it's going to go.
Jon Miller: [00:03:55] Yeah. Wow. I love that. Um, you've had, uh, quite a personal journey, I think, with learning what it means to walk beyond your own lines.
And I think we all have lines that we've put in our lives, every one of us. Um, and sometimes we're blind to them. Can you tell us a little summary of how you got here?
Cal Jernigan: [00:04:13] Yeah, I would say this in, in every one of our lives, your, your guys' lives, whoever's listening to this, you know, you only, um, you only learn something when you go beyond what you already know.
I mean, this is so obvious, but we don't think about this. You know, confirmation bias is all about, I only want to hear the viewpoints of people who agree with me. And so we get an echo chambers and we live in a world that we're surrounded by people who all confirm what we already confirm, who believe what we already believe.
I think growth happens when you're willing to step out of that. And go, okay, I'm going to read this author. I'm going to listen to this podcast. I'm going to hear this message. I'm going to watch this Ted talk. I'm going to put, you know, put whatever you want to put there when you're willing to, to wrestle with the ideas that you're not comfortable with, that you're not familiar with.
That is, on that edge that's where growth happens. Uh, again, hard stop. I want to just stay with people who believe what I believe and think the way I think I try, you know, I, I think it's a tragedy how comfortable, you know, in a church we can be with what we'll refer to as a Holy huddle. You know, just, there's kind of these, these are the people who get it.
We forget this was not the purpose. It was to help people to understand what they don't understand. So in my life, here's, the story is, uh, for whatever reason, God's just given me an ability or a willingness or something that I want to know what I don't know. I want to wrestle with what I've never heard.
I want to read what I've never read. I want to, I want to, I want to meet people who are different than me. I want to put myself in places where I'm uncomfortable, where I feel like I don't belong. Uh, for the sake of what's happening here, what did these people know? What are these people about? And I really believe that we become too afraid to cross that line.
And I think God's going to get out there, go experience the world the way it is. And I'm not talking about sin. I'm just saying, get out and go listen to somebody, uh, hear, hear from their, from their point of view. And my experience in my life has been, that's been one of the best things for me to grow.
So that's where that comes from.
Jon Miller: [00:06:20] That's
really good. I mean, it's really true that birds of a feather flock together, I think that's like one of the few real idioms that we say it actually is true. We like to flock together with people who are just like us. And that could be a whole variety of ways. Like, um, I remember a story recently of a friend of mine who studied abroad in Japan and she
uh, spent time there. And she found that all the other, like English speaking students who were studying abroad there, they flocked together and she didn't want to do that. She, she wanted to learn Japanese. And so she hung out with the Japanese students and she actually got ridiculed by the English students for doing that, uh, because they were hanging together and, and she said, I learned like she was fluent in Japan, uh, Japanese, by the end of it.
Um, while she said half of the people who were flocking together, they didn't know the language.
Cal Jernigan: [00:07:11] Right. Well, and that, and that is a great illustration because we justify our kind of isolation with one another. Like this is the smart thing to do. And, and again, it it's comfortable. It's safe. Um, it, you know, it brings you a sense of security.
It just doesn't teach you much because people who are exactly like you have nothing really to show you, but, but when you're willing to take the risk. And, and honestly, I think those of us who walk with Christ, um, you know, we started in this journey because we were willing to take a risk and the risk was to go against the crowd because most of us came from, uh, friendships that were, you know, kind of out there.
And we go, you know what? I don't want to do that anymore. I want to. I want to follow Jesus. And that meant there was a price you're going to pay, but then what happens is, is then we become that Holy huddle. And, uh, that's our group and we only hang out with the people. Now, again, don't misunderstand. It's really important that people who are like faith gather together, we do that.
We call that a worship, you know, as we lift up God, we come together and we, we focus on who he is, but I don't think that we were meant to live our lives with, you know, walls all around us. And, uh, keeping people out. So beyond the lines is just as commitment I'm going to, I'm going to love, I'm going to love liberally. Now
uh, uh, I'm not going to believe everything I'm told. I'm not going to align myself with everyone who I hang out with. You know, I'm not gonna pick up everything that they're about, but I'm going to expose myself and I'm going to get a chance to learn. And I wish we would be less fearful of people who have different ideas.
Clayton you're talking way too much here.
Clayton Eddleman: [00:08:38] Yeah, no, I mean, I think it's, um, It's all good. And I think it's not something that happens overnight. Uh, you know, maybe it does for some people, but I'm excited for just this podcast where we get to talk about your journey and how you've can I come to the realizations that you've come to.
Um, yeah. And just super excited to hear your viewpoint on it.
Cal Jernigan: [00:09:01] Well, let me, let me, if I can, um, let me take a moment and just share, like you said, like what kind of experiences let me share with you one real life experience has really shaped my life. So as pastor of this church, you know, I had for a number of years taking people over to Israel, And we would go over to Israel and we'd have a Israeli tour guide and, you know, they would, uh, and I have to say this in a way, I understand the situation far better now than I did then.
So I have to say this in the way I did it. Uh, the, I did understand then, which, you know, this is a dangerous place and, and there's dangerous people here, there's there, we call them Palestinians and we built this wall to keep us safe from these people. And we're gonna, we're going to keep you in the safe places and we're gonna, you know, inform you of, of that.
And, and I didn't know any different. And so several years, numerous years I would take people over and we would only stay in the safe places. Um, and I thought that was the wisest smartest thing to do. Well, then what happened what was one day I was with some friends. We were over in Amman Jordan, and, uh, we had some extra time and one of these guys, uh, that I was with said, well, let's go, let's go over to, let's go hang out in Bethlehem.
And, and I kind of locked up and I said that Bethlehem that's that's in the bad zone and go, what are you talking about? I go, that's in the West Bank, that's in the other that's those are those guys. And every time I had been to Bethlehem before it had been an, a quick get in, get out, you know, kind of hold onto the rope, watch your wallet, you know, watch the back of the person in front of you.
Uh, you know, if anyone goes down, we carry them out kind of a no man left behind deal. It was scary. Yeah. And for my friends to suggest to me that we just go hang out in Bethlehem, seemed like, like, what is wrong with you? And I explained that to them. I said, have you never been there? And they said, of course, we'd been there.
I go, it's dangerous. And they said, who told you that? And I basically said, everybody knows that. And he goes, have you ever hung out there? And I had to admit, I hadn't because I had drawn a line and the line was the wall. And you don't cross that. Long story short. We hung out for four days in Bethlehem.
Met an incredible group of people, uh, came to understand the conflict in Israel from a whole different lens. And again, it's a, it's a conflicted land Palestinians and the Israelis are forced to live together for lots of political reasons. They're not good guys and bad guys. It's the fear that keeps you on one side of a wall and says, I will not.
I, that tells you I will not, I will not cross over. I suggest you go discover who's on the other side of the wall and your life will be richer. My life has been much richer since I've made friends on both sides of the wall. Perfect illustration of what go, go beyond the line means.
Clayton Eddleman: [00:11:35] Yeah. No, and I think that's beautiful.
I mean, you mentioned there's not bad guys. There's not good guys. And when I just hear that, I just hear there's guys on both sides. There's human beings on both sides.
Cal Jernigan: [00:11:44] There are good guys on both sides and there's bad guys on both sides. Let's just be honest.
Clayton Eddleman: [00:11:48] Yep.
Cal Jernigan: [00:11:48] And I've met them both on both sides because that's the way life is.
And in America we got good guys and bad guys. And guess what? Um, and then the church, we have good guys and bad guys. We'd love to believe that everyone's everyone's, you know, that everyone's safe and it's in this, not the way it is. It just doesn't work like that. So we need to be a little bit more adventure, uh, adventurous.
And I think we discover a much better life if we weren't so if we didn't live such hunkered down lives in fear. Beyond the lines.
Jon Miller: [00:12:18] Wow. Well, I'm going to cut us off here. Um, I don't want to give up too much of our content for later. Um, so thank you guys so much for joining us, uh, for the beyond the lines podcast, our first episode, which is episode zero.
Um, we can't wait to record many more of these podcasts and have you join us as we continue to discover what it means to walk beyond the lines we've drawn in our lives. Until then let's all continue to learn how to walk beyond those lines. We'll see you next time.
Cal Jernigan: [00:12:43] Thank you.
Clayton Eddleman: [00:12:44] Thanks.