Photo by Amin Asbaghipour from Pexels

This morning I listened to the 1st episode of a new SPI show, The Community Experience. Below are my Cliffs Notes from the episode, things I noticed and found interesting.

BTW, I love SPI for their transcriptions. I hate the podcasts without transcripts. It takes me 10x longer to jump over the episode in the audio form to dig out all the golden nuggets. So, in this article, I’ll extensively use quotes from the podcast.

Here go my takeaways.

Body Doesn’t Equal Health

Jillian R. [the guest]: So to give some context for America, 75 percent of Americans who are adults say that they are not satisfied with their friendships. At the same time, the average American says that they have one close friend. (…)

Then when you see the impact that loneliness has on your physical health, they say that, you’ve probably heard the statistic, that loneliness impacts your health just as much as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. And the one that’s less cited is it also impacts early mortality just as much as excessive drinking.

Gosh! This is huge. Most of world leaders sentenced their citizens to ‘smoking a pack of cigarettes a day’ and early mortality rates equal to ‘excessive drinking.’ In the name of what? Health!

The world has gone insane.

Why was that even possible? My thinking: because we became extremely materialistic. Mind and soul are not considered important. The body is a modern idol.

Jillian R.: I feel like all these accountability groups are really just masks for something way deeper, but masterminds or accountability are socially acceptable not like, “Oh, I just really would like deeper male friendships please, but sign me up for a mastermind instead.”

Tending to your physical needs is OK. Tending to your mind and soul is not socially acceptable. Drop mike.

COVID Acceleration

Jillian said the Great Lockdown forced her to shift more quickly into the role of teacher. COVID accelerated so many things, including remote work or e-commerce. Yet, it had also the impact on our character. No wonder, our habits shape us into who we are and our habits shifted during the Great Lockdown.


According to a dictionary definition, a cohort is:

a group of people with a shared characteristic

It’s a future of online and offline communities. This is where deep connections are born and cultivated.

Circles of Trust Book

Sounded like something worth reading.

Organized Religion

Tony [the host]: And then what else do you think is feeding into this problem?

Jillian R. [the guest]: Well, this is the thing I mentioned at the start of my book, is how many young people are disaffiliating from organized religion and for very good reasons. There are very good reasons why people would not trust the church for example. If they identify as LGBTQ, there’s huge reasons why you wouldn’t feel safe in that community because you’re literally told that you’re bad.

Yet organized religion has so many wonderful benefits in terms of feeling connected to a higher purpose, feeling connected to spirit, having a place where you can go every week to be in community, to help others, to be helped if you need assistance, to be in intergenerational relationships.

As a Christian, I couldn’t notice a bunch of nonsense in Jillian’s opinions. It seems like the most opinionated people about the organized religion are those, who have nothing to do with it. And they lack even the basic knowledge. And logic.

OK, let’s assume that identifying as LGBTQ and organized religion are totally incompatible. Then what about the remaining 93% of young people? They miss all the wonderful benefits with no reason whatsoever?

And I found the “benefits” utterly funny. The center of a religion is God. This is something you won’t find anywhere else in the world – not in a non-profit (higher purpose), yoga classes (connected to spirit), work (a place to go FIVE days a week), nursing homes (intergenerational relationships), etc.

Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels

The only unique benefit of an organized religion is God, and I won’t get into a theological discussion why it is a benefit in itself.

People who criticize organized religion are usually full of prejudices. They criticize it because they don’t believe in the concept of God, it’s fashionable, it’s something (religion=evil) they take for granted without an ounce of reflection, and plenty other reasons which have nothing to do with logic.

Tony: There’s this factor that it’s not just religion, we also have this sense of a decreasing sense of citizenship and civic participation (…) we see that in terms of corporate identity, that there was a greater sense that maybe in the second half of the 20th century that who you worked for, the company you worked for, there was a reciprocal relationship there, your identity was tied to your employer.

See? Organized religion is just part of the landscape. I know Christianity is such an easy target, you can kick it, and a good Christian will only turn the other cheek. But being anti-Christian won’t automatically make you smart. In fact, it makes you look dumb when people have enough common sense to look at the full picture.

Sorry for the rant at the end, but I had to take it off my chest.


The final verdict of the podcast? SPI is a professional brand, the hosts made up for the guest’s awkwardness and squeezed out of her many useful tidbits. I’ll wait till I listen to a few more episodes before giving my final verdict.

Originally posted on Medium.

SPI’s The Community Experience Podcast

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