The Allender Center Podcast

It’s become an annual tradition for Dan and Becky Allender to reflect on their year on the podcast, and today, we get to hear their personal reflections on 2023.

They discuss the loss of dear friends this year, the fragility of life, the heartache of crises happening around the world, and the impact of disappointment on some of their personal plans and dreams. 

In the midst of grief, they also express gratitude for the goodness they have experienced this year.

As we listen, themes of simplicity, aging, and the awareness of life's brevity emerge. The Allenders discuss the need for kindness and grace in facing disappointment and the importance of not succumbing to fear, leaving us with hope as we look forward to the new year.

 

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As you anticipate and prepare for your holiday feast, we invite you to pull up a seat at our table to discuss the rich sensuality of the aromas, flavors, and sounds that are embedded in the festive season. 

Joining us for this discussion is Lauren Peiser, the Manager of Partnerships at The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology. Today, however, we affectionately dub her our "resident gastronomist" on account of her passion for the enjoyment of good food and drink.

This conversation not only explores the pleasure of a good meal but also delves into the theological aspects of the table and our relationship with food, drink, and the company of others.

We hope you enjoy this delightful conversation as much as we did. Merry Christmas, friends.

 

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Looking for a good book to curl up with this winter? Dan and Rachael both highly recommend the new book by today’s guest, Blaine Eldredge: “The Paradise King.”

The book is a unique exploration of Jesus through the Old Testament and into the New, blending historical fiction with a deep engagement with the biblical text.

Blaine joins us today to discuss the inspiration behind the book, sharing a personal journey marked by challenges and loss. The book and our discussion serve as an open invitation to embark on an exploration of wonder, curiosity, and the transformative power of storytelling.

You can find "The Paradise King" at your favorite bookstores, and don't miss our enlightening episode with Blaine Eldredge.

 

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You have a story and that story matters. Your story in your family of origin significantly affects the way you think, feel, and act in the world today. This is why Dan Allender says, “It is time to listen to your story.”

What if healing begins by listening to your story? By reflecting on—and engaging—the experiences in your growing-up years, you can better understand why your brain has been shaped in the way that it has.

These are the topics that Dan Allender, Cathy Loerzel, and Adam Young explore in today’s bonus podcast episode, which is a co-production between The Place We Find Ourselves Podcast and the Allender Center Podcast.

If you want to experience more of the healing power of understanding your own story, join Adam, Cathy, and Dan in Atlanta, GA, on Saturday, February 3, 2024, for the StoryWork Conference. In-person and livestream tickets are available. CEU’s are also available for therapists.

🎫 Register at adamyoungcounseling.com

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What’s the best present you’ve ever gotten? And what’s the present you were the most proud to give?

Join Dan and Rachael in today's episode as they explore the nuances of gift-giving during the Christmas season. They share insights into their personal approaches to selecting and presenting gifts for their loved ones, while also navigating the complexities of holiday expectations, addressing grief and heartache that can come up, and emphasizing the importance of self-honoring.

The conversation extends beyond material presents to the importance of "presence" – both in relationships and in connection with the divine during the holiday season.

 

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As they anticipate the upcoming Advent season, Dan and Rachael take a moment to look back, sharing their distinct perspectives on Christmas and delving into memories from their childhood associated with the holiday. Whether it's a genuine love for the rituals and traditions or a more somber reflection grounded in challenging past experiences, we’re exploring the diverse emotional landscapes that the season can evoke. 

We invite you to listen as we discuss the role of nostalgia, memory, and location in order to allow for more compassionate and empathetic engagement with ourselves and with others as we navigate the joys and challenges that come with this season.

 

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As we approach a holiday season that’s highly focused on food, we’re thrilled to be joined by Diane Summers, MS, RDN, CEDS-S, CD, a highly experienced and nationally registered dietitian specializing in the treatment of eating disorders, for an insightful exploration of the multifaceted issue of food insecurity. Drawing on her 19 years of expertise, Diane delves into two essential frameworks through which to understand this critical topic.

The first framework begins with a stark reality: 12.8% (17 million households) in the US face food insecurity, with disproportionately higher rates for Black and Hispanic households, as reported by the USDA. Food insecurity is defined here as the uncertainty or inability to acquire enough food due to insufficient funds or resources.

This conversation also explores a second framework, inviting us to examine food insecurity through the lens of our culture's pervasive obsession with altering bodies through dieting and restrictive eating. A note to listeners that this conversation does mention disordered eating but does not go into detail. 

Diane, along with Dan and Rachael, navigate the delicate terrain of recognizing the privilege of having access to enough food while also acknowledging the potentially unhealthy relationships many harbor with food. The discussion touches on the impact of societal norms, trauma associated with growing up in a diet culture, and the subsequent internalization of food as an adversary.

This episode provides a thought-provoking and compassionate examination of the complex issue of food insecurity, with insights into the societal, cultural, and personal dynamics involved.

Related Resources:

Listen to our previous conversation with Diane Summers in Food, Kindness, and Our Bodies

Resources cited in this episode: Poverty, by America by Matthew Desmond; USDA Food Security in the U.S. Statistics, 2022

 

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Have you ever wondered if you or a loved one may have adult ADHD? It's estimated that more than 8 million Americans, nearly 5% of the population, are living with this condition – many without even realizing it, as reported by WebMD.

While ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition present from birth, it often goes undiagnosed until adulthood. This topic is gaining increasing awareness, and an adult diagnosis can lead to newfound self-awareness, helping individuals shed years of shame and confusion.

Joining us as our esteemed guest is Dr. Pam Davis, the Director of Graduate Programs in Counseling at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. Dr. Davis is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor in North Carolina and a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor for the Association of Play Therapy.

In this episode, Dr. Davis answers our questions about the symptoms of adult ADHD, the reasons for missed childhood diagnoses, and how to navigate this condition, whether it's within yourself or in your relationships with others. 

Please note that this episode, like all of our podcast content, is not intended to replace medical advice. If you suspect you may have ADHD, it's advisable to seek professional assessment and treatment options from a healthcare provider.

 

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Trauma is inevitable in a fallen world. It can range from small "t" traumas to capital "T" traumas, but the common thread is the violation of your dignity as a human being. 

If trauma is inevitable, this means we are all encountering stories of trauma every day - in our own lives and in the lives of those around us.

So what are we to do when someone we love or care for is hurting? You might find yourself saying, "I'm so sorry to hear that," but often, it feels like you're not doing enough to truly help.

To make a real difference, we must begin by gaining a deeper understanding of the impact of trauma and abuse, starting with our own experiences.

If today's conversation strikes a chord with you and you're ready to explore your own trauma stories to better support others with courage and care, we invite you to check out the newly launched Effective Trauma Care Online Course.

For more information, visit theallendercenter.org/online-courses

 

 

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How can we become more capable of repairing our relationships with ourselves, others, and with God?

In this episode, Dan and Rachael dive into the concept of repair in both personal and larger societal contexts.

They stress the importance of humility in our repair process, introducing the concept of "epistemic humility" as a way to express love by making space for others. It’s a curious approach that acknowledges the limitations of our perspective, which is shaped by our unique experiences.

The conversation becomes personal as they reflect on a past publication that may have caused harm and explore how these experiences can be used for growth and repair.

By practicing repair with justice, mercy, and humility (Micah 6:8) in our day-to-day personal relationships, we can also begin to address broader societal issues with a similar approach. Rachael closes out this episode with this reminder: “Repair is a core part of what it means to love and be loved.”

This episode contains brief explicit language that may be offensive to some listeners; discretion is advised.

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We’re so pleased to be joined by therapist and author Aundi Kolber, known for her acclaimed works "Try Softer" and, most recently, "Strong Like Water."

As a licensed professional counselor specializing in trauma- and body-centered therapies, Aundi's expertise is deeply informed by her personal journey of healing from complex childhood trauma. 

Aundi candidly shares her personal journey of healing, from confronting the profound extent of her past trauma and discovering healing methods that nurture a sense of safety, self-care, and self-compassion.

She shares: “Part of my own journey, and I think my writing, I hope, I pray, that the trajectory of my writing is about that to live into these values actually has required me to get softer so I could get stronger.”

We invite you to join Dan, Rachael, and Aundi on this week’s episode of the Allender Center Podcast.

This episode contains brief explicit language that may be offensive to some listeners; discretion is advised.

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When it comes to telling the truth, we grapple with a fundamental tension— we’re living in a fallen world as imperfect beings, yet we also recognize and long for the beauty of truth.

When it comes to relationships, especially close ones, this tension can become even more complex. The fear of potential consequences often competes with our desire to be honest and authentic.

Navigating this path can be tricky. There's a fine line between being authentic and being cruel. What's needed is a generous spirit, an understanding of how much truth we can bear, and kindness.

Dan closes the episode with the gentle reminder: “And this is why I keep coming back to Jesus being able to say, I am the way and the truth and the life. And if I'm intending to follow, to be aligned and alive and molded, then I want that way. I want that truth. I want that life. And I'm going to find it not in myself, not in you, but in him, and therefore in me, and you and us. And it just holds the tension that what we dream we will never get, but what we dream we will become.”

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Ever wondered why we sometimes keep the truth hidden, even from those we love most? Today, we’re exploring the intricacies of truth and deceit with questions like:

Why do we resort to little white lies?

What drives us to withhold the truth?

Is keeping a secret ever an act of love?

And how do we navigate the weight of truth when it feels unbearable?

The humbling reality is that none of us can handle the unfiltered truth all the time and we all have the capacity for deception.

How does recognizing our inability to bear the full truth serve us? How can we move toward greater honesty and authenticity, both within ourselves and in our relationships with others?

Join Dan and Rachael as they navigate the depths of truth, deception, and the hope that emerges from our quest for more honesty and love.

 

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Join us for an all-new episode of the Allender Center Podcast as we sit down with our dear friend Matthias Roberts, author of the upcoming book "Holy Runaways: Rediscovering Faith After Being Burned by Religion."


Matthias, a queer psychotherapist specializing in religious and spiritual trauma, brings a unique perspective to the conversation. His book is a beacon of hope for those who have felt ignored, oppressed, or rejected by their religious communities and churches. It offers a clear path forward, centered on speaking truth, deep listening, and acting with compassion.

Join co-hosts Dan Allender and Rachael Clinton Chen as they engage in a conversation with Matthias about the origins of his latest book, the struggle between staying put and envisioning fresh paths forward, and the unexpected connections between concrete and our faith. Yes, concrete.

If you're eager to explore a fresh perspective on faith, healing, and the power of community, this episode is a must-listen.

Plus, don’t miss Matthias's book, "Holy Runaways," now available for pre-order at https://matthiasroberts.com/holyrunaways/ and coming to bookstores everywhere on October 3rd.

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Welcome to a very special episode of the Allender Center Podcast! We can hardly believe it, but today marks a monumental milestone – our 500th episode! 🎉

Join your hosts, Dan and Rachael, as they come together to celebrate this incredible journey with you, our listeners, and to answer some of your questions about the inner workings of the conversations that happen here on the Allender Center Podcast.

As a heartfelt thank you for your support, we're doing something extra special:

Head over to theallendercenter.org/500 to not only listen but to WATCH the live recording of this celebratory episode with Dan and Rachael. 

You’ll also gain access to a special bonus section, where Dan and Rachael dive deeper into your questions and share some personal behind-the-scenes stories. It's a unique peek into the making of the Allender Center Podcast that you won't want to miss.

👉 Get access to this week’s video episode and bonus segment at:
theallendercenter.org/500

All of us here at the Allender Center are grateful for your loyal listenership. It's your continued support and engagement that have made this journey so remarkable.

So, we hope you’ll join us as we celebrate 500 episodes of growth, healing, and connection. And here’s to 500 more!

 

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When we examine the far-reaching impact of spiritual abuse, it becomes evident that it transcends isolated incidents, permeating a broader culture, system, and ideology that inflict harm.

In this week's episode, Rachael engages in a thought-provoking conversation with Joel Kiekintveld, a pastor and Adjunct Professor at The Seattle School, shedding light on the intricate dynamics of systems and cultures that foster spiritually abusive environments.

Joel recently hosted Season 4 of Transforming Engagement, the Podcast, called "Church After Mars Hill," in response to the widely popular podcast, “The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill.” Through their series of conversations, Joel and his guests not only examine Mars Hill Church as a case study to identify the systems, cultures, and leadership structures that contributed to its downfall, but they also create a space for introspection and imagination for what can be done with these lessons learned. In the aftermath of the destruction wrought by spiritually abusive church cultures, their dialogues explore the delicate tension between deconstruction and rebuilding.

We hope you enjoy this conversation and also check out “Church After Mars Hill,” the full season of Transforming Engagement, the Podcast, at transformingengagement.org/podcast 

 

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In a time when divisions seem to define us, can we still foster meaningful conversations capable of driving real change?

In anticipation of the upcoming virtual summit, “Seattle School Connect 2023: Discourse,” we’re exploring the intricacies and challenges of engaging in discourse with Dr. J. Derek McNeil, President and Provost of The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology.

Discourse isn't simply having a conversation; it's a transformative dialogue that can impact and change us. In this episode hosted by Rachael Clinton Chen, Derek McNeil walks us through some of the challenges we face in a world filled with polarization, trauma, the influence of technology, and much more. He also delineates some of the essential elements necessary for authentic discourse to thrive, emphasizing the creation of intentional and sacred spaces where curiosity and empathetic understanding can truly flourish.

We hope you’ll join us for Seattle School Connect 2023: Discourse, a free virtual summit kicking off this fall. This series is designed to engage in challenging discussions in order to enhance our capacity to serve God and neighbor through transforming relationships.

The inaugural event hosted by The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology is centered around the art of discourse, focusing on pertinent cultural topics. With a lineup of 6 live conversations, we aim to explore the practice of constructive conversations while embodying values of humility and hospitality. By engaging in these discussions, attendees will gain insights into bridging gaps, confronting personal assumptions, and building relationships grounded in empathy and growth.


Registration is free and open to all. Learn more at https://theseattleschool.edu/event/connect2023/

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We’re back with Curt Thompson, MD, to talk about hope.

Have you ever wondered how to summon hope when everything seems bleak? Is hope a fleeting notion or something we can truly cultivate?

Hope, like faith and love, is not just an abstraction, but a skill we can nurture. It's a profound practice that finds its home in both our minds and bodies.

Curt shares: “The things that I pay attention to on purpose, I remember. And what I remember becomes my anticipated future. Hope is a function of the mind that addresses the future. And this is what I mean when I say hope is a thing that I form by paying attention to the glory that is offered to me in the middle of my pain, in the present moment. And it requires lots and lots of practice, but it then is not like, ‘Oh, maybe I'll have hope. I hope I have hope.’ It's a thing that I maybe I won't like. And so… I'm going to have to practice.” 

 

We thrive on shared experiences of hope within a community. Even a brief 3-minute interaction can spark the daring prospect of relying on another person. Our communal practice etches hope into our brain's pathways, grounding it in the way we engage with one another. Although personal introspection has its place, the true growth of hope blossoms within the context of human connection.


Tune in to this thought-provoking dialogue as we explore the intricacies of cultivating hope and the transformative power of embracing it together.

As you listen, we’d be honored if you shared this episode with someone else, too!

theallendercenter.org/podcast

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This week, we have the privilege of welcoming psychiatrist, speaker and author, Curt Thompson, MD, to the Allender Center Podcast.

Curt skillfully guides us through a journey into the roots of shame within the human experience. He explores its emergence even before the infamous act of consuming the forbidden fruit, noting that the serpent's temptation, often overlooked as an act of violence, effectively exploits and manipulates shame. This manipulation resonates through time, manifesting in ways that disconnect individuals from one another and create internal divides, subsequently impacting personal unity and relationships.

Joined by co-hosts Dr. Dan Allender and Rachael Clinton Chen, this conversation unfolds at the crossroads of theology, neuroscience, and the intricate tapestry of the human experience.

We think you’ll encounter at least a few thought-provoking concepts that you may not have considered before – we certainly did! And there's still more to come. Stay tuned for Part 2 of our engaging discussion with Dr. Curt Thompson next week.

 

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Let’s talk about gaslighting — a manipulation tactic that seeks to distort reality and erode one's sense of self. In this episode, Dan and Rachael dissect the mechanics of gaslighting, from its manifestation in personal relationships to its insidious presence within larger structures and societal frameworks.

Gaslighting operates in the shadows, a subtle and insidious act that can be challenging to spot and break free from. 

Our hope is that this conversation will not only help you identify instances of gaslighting but also shed light on the path toward profound healing. 

 

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When trauma occurs, how can you respond effectively in those critical moments? Tragedy is an inevitable part of life, and having immediate tools to respond can help mitigate compounding trauma. 

Join Dr. Dan Allender and Rachael Clinton Chen as they offer a practical framework for engaging with traumatic experiences. They present a 3-step process to help you respond: sitting down, grounding yourself with both feet on the floor, and focusing on your breath.

This is not about resolving trauma, but rather how to tend to your body in those crucial moments. While these strategies are not a substitute for professional help or a comprehensive trauma healing journey, the aim is to provide practical tools to regulate and care for yourself or others during those initial minutes or hours after a traumatic experience.

Please note, we understand that discussing traumatic experiences can be triggering, and we encourage you to be compassionate with yourselves as you listen.

Join Dr. Dan Allender and Rachael Clinton Chen as they equip you with essential insights and practical tools for trauma triage, empowering you to respond compassionately and effectively to trauma when it occurs.

 

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Join Rachael and Dan in this podcast episode along with Jill Dyer, Facilitator Care Coordinator at the Allender Center, to delve into the transformative power of prayer as a part of the healing journey and connecting with God and ourselves amidst harm and trauma.

We understand that the thought of prayer can evoke different reactions. While it may bring comfort to some, it could also trigger further trauma and avoidance for others. 

With this in mind, this discussion explores various forms of prayer that authentically emerge from within, going beyond structured words and embracing our embodied expressions of prayer. Jill shares how prayers can take many forms, from expressions of laughter to heartfelt laments, all of which can be powerful ways to connect with God. 

The conversation also delves into the importance of attachment with God and how prayer can aid in repairing and deepening that connection. Join us in considering the profound impact of prayer on the journey towards healing and growth.

 

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This week’s bonus episode was recorded with philosopher, professor, and author, Dr. Esther Lightcap Meek, as she was entering into her role as the inaugural Senior Scholar at The Seattle School in late 2022.

Joined by hosts Dr. Dan Allender and Dr. Chelle Stearns, this discussion centers around the importance of valuing and delighting in the real. 

Epistemology is “the theory of knowledge,” or how we know what we know. Esther argues that knowing is not about acquiring power or control over things but rather about engaging in a loving relationship with reality.

If you have a passion for philosophy, theology, or are simply seeking a fresh perspective, this episode is for you. In fact, you may find yourself listening more than once to extract all the nuggets of wisdom contained within.

 

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We are thrilled to have Marcie Alvis Walker, the creator of the popular Instagram feed "Black Coffee With White Friends" and the author of the compelling memoir "Everybody Come Alive: A Memoir in Essays," as our special guest on this week's episode of the Allender Center Podcast. Hosting this insightful conversation are Rachael Clinton Chen and Linda Royster from the Allender Center.

Marcie shares a bit about her process of writing her debut book, in which she beautifully shares her unique stories with candidness. She skillfully interlaces the tapestry of her cultural upbringing, along with her personal experiences grappling with various forms of racism, perfectionism, and the complex dynamics with her mother. Get ready to be inspired and moved as we hear a glimpse into her powerful narrative, and be sure to pick up her book “Everybody Come Alive: A Memoir in Essays,” available wherever books are sold.

About our guest:

Marcie Alvis Walker is the creator of the popular Instagram feed Black Coffee with White Friends. She is also the creator of Black Eyed Bible Stories. Marcie is passionate about what it means to embrace intersectionality, diversity, and inclusion in our spiritual lives. She lives in Chicago with her husband, her college-aged kid Max, and their dog, Evie. Her new book, EVERYBODY COME ALIVE: A MEMOIR IN ESSAYS, is available wherever books are sold.

 

Listener Resources:

 

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“We're going to invite you as an audience to address the reality that we need to be mothered and we need to be fathered. Whether we have children, whether we have a partner. We need to be mothered and we need to be fathered. And equally, we need to mother and father,” begins Dr. Dan Allender in this week’s podcast episode, “The Eternality of Parenting.”

We all have a deep need to be loved and to belong. Our parents are meant to be the first people to meet this need, but they are not always able to do so perfectly. We all have wounds from our childhood, and these wounds can continue to shape our lives.

As we grow into adulthood, our fundamental need for love and belonging remains constant, even as we develop the ability to care for others. Recognizing this truth allows us to delve into the profound intersection of being both a parent and a child, as we continue to navigate our personal journeys of growth and healing.

Join Dr. Dan Allender and Rachael Clinton Chen as they share personal stories of their experiences with being parented, parenting, and even grandparenting. Together, they delve into the profound concept of "The Eternality of Parenting" and its impact on our lives and relationships.

 

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In relationships, there are conflicts that cannot be resolved with a clear “right” or “wrong.” In fact, the Gottman Institute’s research cites that nearly 70% of relationship conflicts are unresolvable.

Earlier this year, Dan and Becky Allender talked through unresolvable conflicts from their perspective of over four decades of marriage. Now, we’re revisiting the topic with our other co-host, Rachael Clinton Chen, and her husband Michael Chen, who have been married since 2019.

Rachael and Michael explore the complexities of unresolvable conflicts in marriage and share their personal insights about navigating these challenging situations. They both emphasize the importance of story work and how it’s given them a common ground to understand and engage how they’re feeling. They also highlight the importance of returning to one another after the moment to engage those difficult conversations. In doing so, progress can be made, even if it’s not immediate or exactly how either of you would envision it. 

Rachael concludes the conversation by pointing out, “It's not by avoiding conflict or sidestepping it or somehow finding a way around it. It's actually often in the heart of the irresolvable tension that I think the Spirit is making something new. And that really can only be the work of the gospel.”

 

Listener Resources:

* Source: The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman, PhD and Nan Silver, 2015

 

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In a world that can feel overwhelming and unsafe, we all long for safe havens in our relationships. But how do we create that safety?

On this episode of the podcast, Rachael Clinton Chen chats with Dan and Becky Allender about their journey to intimacy and understanding in their marriage. Dan and Becky have been married for decades, but they both say that the real transformation in their relationship has happened only in recent years.

They credit much of this breakthrough to doing story work and understanding their own family of origin stories, as well as each other's. But they also point out that creating awareness alone is just the beginning. Deciding to enter into their relationship with kindness and curiosity has helped them build trust and safety with each other.

Rachael points out: “The more we honor one another's need for safety and meet each other there and rebuild a different kind of trust that we're capable of, that it's actually the more risks we can take in our relationship and we can take together. Because there's a trust “

If you're seeking ways to build trust and closeness in your most important relationships, we hope you'll find this conversation thought-provoking and insightful.

If you and your partner would like to discover more about your stories, grow in kindness and care, and find courage in conflict, we invite you to join us for the Marriage Conference this October 13-14, 2023, in beautiful Park City, Utah. Learn more at theallendercenter.org/marriage

 

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With the arrival of summer, there is an expectation of rest and play. But for many, true rest is elusive. The demands of work, family, and financial responsibilities often hinder our ability to slow down and embrace rest. In our society, busyness is glorified, and we often fear being still, as it may require us to confront our own heartache.

However, reflecting on the invitation of Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30, we are prompted to consider the joy and sweetness that can be found when we rest. 

Dan mentioned in “Sabbath, Explained,” a previous podcast episode: "We need a taste of Eden to be able to continue engaging in the issues of a fallen world and our own fallen heart. But in that, it's also a taste of the coming kingdom. A taste of what we are meant to know today and yet we will one day know in fullness."

While we may not achieve instant transition from a hectic pace to complete stillness, taking gradual steps towards rest has the potential to bring about joy and transformation.

Related Resources:

 

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Artists, creatives, and music lovers, join us in welcoming special guests, Daniel and Lauren Goans, the musical duo who make Lowland Hum. 

In their chat with Dan and Rachael, Daniel and Lauren share a bit of their stories as creatives, talking about their life as artists, their journey of creating music, and the changes they experienced after becoming parents. They reflect on the mysterious and healing nature of singing and songwriting, how music comes through them, and the importance of being present in the moment.

The conversation also examines the significance of the passage from Ephesians chapter five, focusing on the invitation to be engaged and connected with oneself and with others, rather than solely pursuing a disembodied spiritual practice. 

Join us for “The Spirituality of Song” as we explore the artistic journey, some of the complexities of transitioning into new life stages, and the transformative nature of music and the creative process.

 

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From gardening to cooking, acting to playing an instrument, building to writing, painting, and more – there's a profound connection between creativity and the spirituality of crafting. The act of making, building, and tending to something carries a healing and integrating power to our bodies, minds, and souls.

In this episode, we are thrilled to have Melissa Dowell and Jordan Dowell as our special guests. Melissa, not only the Allender Center's Product Development Manager but also a talented theater actor, and her husband Jordan Dowell, a graduate of The Seattle School, an exceptional fine furniture maker, and the founder of This Is Urban Made. 

Joining Dan and Rachael, this creative couple discuss their creative processes and explore the profound beauty, risk, and fulfillment that can come with engaging in our respective crafts. 

Do you have a craft that resonates with you? If not, don't worry! Tune in to this episode and perhaps this conversation will inspire you to uncover the craft that may be hidden within your own life.

 

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In a world that often prioritizes rationality and intellect over intuition and our bodies’ cues, can we really “trust our gut”? 

In this episode, Dan and Rachael explore the historical and cultural division between body and soul, shedding light on how our Western society tends to overlook the stories held within our bodies. 

Drawing from a biblical perspective, they challenge the notion of this separation, highlighting the notion that our bodies are good and created in the image of God.

By recognizing that the division between body and soul is a consequence of brokenness rather than an intended design, we can embark on a path towards healing, integration, and flourishing.

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Shame is a universal experience that can impact our ability to fully engage with the world. It arises when we feel exposed or seen, creating a vulnerable moment where judgment looms, leaving us feeling tainted and unworthy.

In this episode, Dan and Rachael explore some of the characters, themes, and settings that have shaped some of their personal stories of shame. 

This conversation invites us to explore the complex layers of our own stories of shame, as well as how our shame intersects with other people's narratives of shame. As you consider the significant impact shame has on your relationships and your sense of self, we hope today’s episode serves as an invitation for greater kindness, blessing, and hope.

 

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Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am PST

“The fundamental question that anxiety poses [to] us is: What is our relationship to suffering?” notes this week’s podcast guest, author, theologian, and fellow sufferer of chronic anxiety, Curtis Chang.

His new book, "The Anxiety Opportunity,” offers a fresh perspective on anxiety as a doorway to spiritual transformation. He challenges the idea that anxiety is an enemy to be defeated – instead presenting it as a path towards personal growth and a deeper connection with Jesus. 


Curtis points out, “There's an invitation to redemption and that our best self found in Jesus is only found to the extent that we can go through our pain, including our pain of anxiety.”

If you’re ready to think differently about the relationship between anxiety and spiritual growth, we invite you to listen to today’s conversation with Curtis Chang, then pick up your copy of “The Anxiety Opportunity: How Worry Is the Doorway to Your Best Self,” out this week anywhere books are sold.

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In this episode, we delve into the ancient practice of pilgrimage, a ritual journey that takes a person on a quest for new and deeper understanding of themselves, others, or a higher purpose. Unlike a typical trip or vacation, a pilgrimage has a deliberate and intentional start, a journey of transformation, and a meaningful return to daily life.

Brad and Rita Berglund, pilgrimage travel guides with Illuminated Journeys, share their story of how a life-altering event in their family led them on a transformative journey through pilgrimage. After their four-year-old son's devastating diagnosis in 1989, they discovered that all of life is a pilgrimage. Listen as they vulnerably share how pilgrimage helped them find meaning and redemption in the midst of their grief. Their experience inspired them to become guides, helping others on their journey of self-discovery and healing.

Discover the transformative power of pilgrimage and how to incorporate it into your daily life. Join us in this episode as we explore the potential of pilgrimage and how it can help you find new meaning and purpose in your life.

 

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Category:general -- posted at: 6:00pm PST

We are excited to have Sue Cunningham, who is acclaimed by Dan Allender as the officially-unofficial Poet Laureate of the Allender Center, back with us. In this discussion, we’re taking on the term "poiesis," which comes from the Greek word "to make" and is related to "poetry."

At the Allender Center, we believe that writing and telling your story is an essential part of the process of understanding and processing traumatic experiences. We explore how poetry relates to this process in our conversation with Sue Cunningham, Dan Allender, and Rachael Clinton Chen. They also discuss the effects of the creative process on the brain and the power of using descriptive language to make meaning.

We encourage you, our listeners, to be bold this week and try writing some poetry to see what insights you can gain from the experience.

Sue invites us: “Will you have the courage to just say one true thing? And whether it's like you speak it and I'll write it down for you and then give it to you, or you scribble it in a journal or you write it on the back of a napkin, anything to say, it's honoring, you matter. You exist.”

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Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am PST

“You can’t plan grief. You can’t plan when or how or what will occur,” says Dr. Dan Allender, “But there is something that has to be a decision perhaps made well before. Will I go into these waters or will I remain on the side?”

In today’s podcast conversation, Dan and Rachael welcome Mary Ellen Owen, Counselor in Colorado Springs and Instructor and Facilitator at the Allender Center. They take a look at the process of moving through grief and moving from our heads to our hearts and bodies.

Mary Ellen shares, “If you’re just a theological head exercise, you won’t move through grief. And there is another side… there is a lightness that comes. But… only if you do this in an embodied way.” Listen as she vulnerably shares some of her personal stories about her practices of grief.

 

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Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am PST

Note: This episode contains some explicit language; listener discretion is advised.

After a relationship has ruptured, can there be repair? Dan and Rachael continue to talk through the cycle of friendship and the difficult process of reconciling a cherished friendship gone awry.

Dan asks, “How do you go how you trust someone who's already harmed you to open the door to desire? Because to do that feels like you're now taking on way more than the original wound. You're taking on that shame on you first time for hurting me, shame on me the second time that I actually opened myself to further harm by wishing and opening the door to reconciliation.”

Rachael shares, “It really does take a radical kind of hope. It takes a radical kind of vulnerability, humility, patience.”

Listen as they talk through their personal experiences of rupture and repair, and the wisdom we can find in Romans 12 to “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer,” as we move toward reconciliation and restoration.

 

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Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am PST

Why do friendships end? Perhaps there was a betrayal, the friendship was hard to maintain, or life happens. Whatever the reason, losing a friendship is hard. In this first conversation of a two-part series. Dan and Rachael talk about the very real feelings of loss, grief, anger that can accompany the loss of a friendship.

Be sure to come back next week as we continue the conversation by talking through the hope of repentance, reconciliation, and restoration that’s possible in the wake of lost friendships.

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Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am PST

Our tendency to fight, flee, freeze, or fawn when we feel when we’re triggered is often a response to something from our past. The work is not to eliminate all triggers, but to understand why you’re feeling triggered, how to defuse them when they come, and when to take a moment to slow down to care for our body, mind, and soul in response to those triggers.

Listen to Dan Allender and Rachael Clinton Chen discuss some of their triggers and some of their strategies for defusing those triggers in this week’s episode of the Allender Center Podcast.

 

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Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am PST

How do you know that someone in your life is setting you up for harm? While we don’t want to promote paranoia, it’s important to be aware of some of the common strategies of those who perpetrate harm against you, whether that is spiritual, sexual, relational, financial, or emotional harm. 

Dan begins this episode by saying, “We are meant to expose the schemes of evil, and we can't expose them if we're not aware of them. But to become aware, we're dabbling in some degree of darkness, of the violation of human dignity.” 

So dear listeners, please be aware that this episode covers the sensitive topic of abuse, and we advise you to exercise self-awareness and self-care should you choose to listen. 

As Rachael says, “Our hope is to help loosen the binds, not create more burdens. We'll try to move tenderly and gently with wisdom, but also boldness.”

 

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Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am PST

We are not just a collection of stories - we are a story. So how do we begin to make sense of a collection of seemingly random and unrelated stories to find a theme of who we are and what our purpose is? 

Dan and Rachael talk about uncovering the lies in our stories, finding the connective threads in the themes of our lives, and discovering the ways in which our stories reveal something unique about the character of God.

To learn more about telling your story in a deeper and more transformative way, we invite you to participate in one of our Story Workshops. You can find out more about upcoming workshops at theallendercenter.org/events

 

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Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am PST

If you’re familiar with the work of the Allender Center, you’ve probably heard us say: ““You cannot take anyone further than you have gone.”

Whether you’re in a leadership position at work, at church, or within your family, if you hope to lead and help others along their journey, you have to also embark on your own healing journey. This is not something you can observe from the sidelines and coach someone through without doing the work yourself.

So what’s involved in that healing process for leaders? What stops us from healing? And are we ever “done” healing? 

Join Dan Allender, Rachael Clinton Chen, and Linda Royster as they continue their conversation around the need to heal to lead.

 

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Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am PST

“Every person is a leader in some form. Every person is influencing others to some degree - whether you're a pastor or whether you're managing your children's soccer team, you are in the middle of something complex and difficult,” says Dr. Dan Allender, as he kicks off the conversation with Rachael Clinton Chen and Linda Royster.

In this week’s podcast episode, we consider the paradox of leadership that Moses experienced leading the Israelites. Being in a leadership position is an honor and a calling, but it often comes with significant challenges and complexities. How does a reluctant leader grapple with the lament they feel while being compelled by their calling and purpose?

“We can’t escape the call to lead because… there is hope for more. There’s hope for goodness. There is a call and a burden for people to experience freedom. That’s in part what makes it bearable for me… You move forward because hope abides and comfort does come,” shares Linda.

Next week, we’ll return to talk about the the importance of leaders first experiencing their own healing in order to engage those they serve with kindness, goodness, and hope.

 

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Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am PST

We are thrilled to welcome back podcast co-host Rachael Clinton Chen, who is returning to us from maternity leave! In this conversation with Dan, Rachael catches us up on life as a new mother, her experiences with labor and the first few months, and her observations on the incredible burdens that women bear. If you are a parent or caregiver, we think this episode will be especially relatable, but we hope that all who listen will walk away with a renewed sense of the awe, terror, and joy of the responsibility of caring for those who are most vulnerable in our lives.

Congratulations Rachael, Michael, and family on your precious blessing, and welcome Evelyn Grace!

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Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am PST

“Our memories are our stories and there's no story that we tell that isn't from our vantage point,” says our guest this week, Cathy Loerzel, MA. 

As we engage our stories and try to recall past events, some of our memories may feel unclear, incomplete, or even untrustworthy. 

Dan Allender and Cathy Loerzel unpack how the brain fragments or scatters painful memories as a trauma response, and how we can work to shed light on those parts of our stories from the past in order to help us live into our present stories with greater freedom.

 

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Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am PST

We all have experienced betrayal in our relationships. We typically think of betrayal as an affair or deception, and some of us may be quick to say, “That doesn’t apply to my relationship.” 

But what today’s conversation points out is that betrayal is actually anything that disconnects us from our partner and places something else above that person we love most. These moments of betrayal can lead to hurt, disappointment, shame, and a loss of trust.

How do we navigate those moments of betrayal when we feel so wounded? And, whether you’re the one who has perpetrated the harm or you’re the one who has been on the receiving end of that harm, how do we bravely enter into the spaces of shame to name the harm that’s been done and grow together as a couple?

Join Dan and Becky Allender of the Allender Center and Steve and Lisa Call of the Reconnect Institute as they talk about re-engaging with your spouse in those moments of betrayal to cultivate a new sense of trust and hope in your marriage.

 

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Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am PST

Attachment is an emotional bond we feel with another person who responds to our needs. This begins as an infant as we attach (or fail to attach) to our caregivers then extends into our adult life, often showing up in the ways we relate to others. In today’s episode, Dan and Becky Allender are joined by Steve and Lisa Call from Reconnect Institute to examine how our attachment styles emerge within the context of marriage, how to identify and name those attachments, and how to learn and heal in our most intimate relationships.

 

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Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am PST

So much of our beauty and brokenness — so much of what makes us who we are today — is tied to our family of origin. 

The ways in which we act, react, and interact with others are directly tied to our childhood origin stories and the hurt that we all inevitably experienced – no matter how perfect (or imperfect) our families were.

Why should we spend time going back to name the hurt we experienced growing up? Is it worth it to stir up those memories, talk about painful experiences, and potentially upset our loved ones? 

Dr. Dan Allender and Adam Young, LCSW, MDiv, candidly share their own personal experiences of courageously engaging their parents in conversations and, over time, discovering more grace, understanding, and freedom in the process.

We hope this conversation sparks courage within you to engage some of the difficult truths of the past in order to discover a new hope for your life right now. 

If you’d like to hear more, we invite you to join Dan and Adam on February 23 for “Family of Origin,” a new online seminar from the Allender Center.

Registration is now open at theallendercenter.org/events

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Annie Allender Robbins and Amanda Christian join their dad, Dan Allender, for a personal and profound dialogue about how they were raised, how that shaped them, and the work that they have done as adults to discover a new width of freedom to be who they really are. Dan also reflects on healing he has found as a parent, and now a grandparent, through his relationship with his children.

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Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am PST

According to the research of the Gottman Institute, nearly 70% of relationship conflicts are unresolvable - meaning, there is no clear right or wrong resolution. After recently celebrating their 46th wedding anniversary, Dan and Becky Allender come together to talk about conflict, particularly within the context of marriage. Throughout any relationship, conflict is inevitible - and it can look different in different seasons or settings. 

You’ll hear Dan and Becky highlight two traps that are easy to fall into: conflict avoidance (don’t go there!) and indifferent compromise (just tell me what to do, and I’ll do it your way). You’ll also hear them talk through some of the keys of navigating moments of conflict: slowing down, naming the patterns, and caring for one another in the moment - even when there is no clear resolution.

 

 

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Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am PST

Wendell Moss, lead instructor and facilitator at the Allender Center, joins Dan Allender on the podcast this week to discuss the crucial passage of Micah 6:8: 

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (NIV)

Why are justice, mercy, and humility bound together in this passage? And how do they intersect with one another? Listen to this deep dive into the way that these three elements interplay and create a charge that, as followers of Christ, we cannot ignore. 

Wendell closes the conversation by pointing out: “This passage is inviting you to a commitment. It is good. It is required. Will you be committed?”

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Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am PST

Welcome to a new year of the Allender Center Podcast! This week, Dan and Becky Allender reconvene to look forward with anticipation and expectation.

Dan asks, “What do you want the year to hold? I think most people speak first of events... But I think one of the things that so seldom seems to be the primary category: who do you want to become?”

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Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am PST