25 – Jim Palmer: Writer, Artist, Coach, & Religion-Free Jesus Follower

Jim Palmer 2Jim has his Masters of Divinity degree in a box beneath his bed. In his former life he was a successful Senior Pastor. That was before he walked out on institutional church and organized religion to find out what was real about his relationship with God. Since 2006 he has been chronicling his journey beginning with Divine Nobodies: Shedding Religion to Find God (and the unlikely people who help you), then Wide Open Spaces: Beyond Paint-by-Number Christianity, and now latest book, Being Jesus in Nashville.

It makes Jim nervous to be referred to as a “widely acclaimed author,” but that’s better than the most recent label pinned on him, “heretic.” In a nutshell, Jim is an ordinary guy who likes people. He is a recovering codependent and a social media junkie who champions the idea that religion doesn’t have to divide people but can empower humankind for courageously creating a world that works for everyone. Perhaps Jim cares deeply about people because of his own troubled childhood and personal suffering.

After leaving church ministry Jim led  a non-profit agency for at-risk kids, and later served as the U.S. Director of Education for International Justice Mission, an international human rights organization based in Washington, D.C. These days in addition to writing, Jim does personal coaching, leads “shedding religion” retreats and workshops, hosts a weekly national Divine Nobody Call, and promotes the Occupy Religion message and movement

This interview is longer than most of my others, and I got to be honest, talking to Jim made my head hurt.  Regardless of where you stand on religion and faith, Jim will get you thinking about the truth required in leadership and being a better human being.