Guest Post: My Shipwreck by John Close

We are pleased as punch (what does that even mean???) to host a guest blog from our good friend, John Close, co-host of the Obstacle Course podcast, which I was thrilled (terrified) to be a guest on. You’ll remember him as the guy from our season opener. John’s a good man doing good things in this world. He loves stories and people, and I owe part of who I am today to this man. So in other words, you can blame him…

Check out Obstacle Course on whichever podcast platform you use. I promise we didn’t pay him to say the nice things he did about us.
(PSST…John, your cheque is in the mail)


This past summer some hairy, tattooed, beer-drinking men wanted to interview me about God. If I had a nickel for every time… One of those men was my cousin Blair so I quickly said, “Hell yes.” Blair responded, “We don’t actually believe in a literal hell, John.” What Blair really said was, “Does tomorrow work?” He doesn’t mess around. 

The next day I casually mentioned to my family, “Dad’s going to be recording a Podcast in the guest room tonight so please don’t pull a BBC and barge in asking me for money or to drive you somewhere.” Their blank looks gave me no confidence they understood. I locked the door and hoped for the best. 

The first question Blair and Dallas asked me was, “Do we look sideways to you?” They did. We were recording via Facetime and I was Shipwreck’s first remote interview. They turned the IPhone around and before I knew it, we were rolling. As ex-youth pastors, we were united/jaded by stories of Cheetos, earnest music, hypocrisy and theological conundrums. Once called by God to do ministry, we had all turned and ran the other way. As an Agnostic, I had likely ran the furthest. Whatever that means. 

As co-host of the podcast Obstacle Course, Andrew and I value vulnerability and authenticity in our interviews. All of our guests have bared their soul for us and I wanted to do the same for Blair and Dallas. They made it easy! I joked about things I probably shouldn’t have joked about, opened up about things I hadn’t thought about in years and most importantly, I shared my life story without shame or reluctance. Blair and Dallas made me feel safe and loved. I was free to laugh, cry and most importantly, tell the truth about how I had walked away from my faith and lost everything. Not an easy thing to do. By the time we took off the headphones, 3 hrs had passed. ‘I hope some of that’s usable.’ They reassured me and I thanked the boys for an incredible life experience and let them get back to the Roughrider game. 

I’ve listened to the episode since it came out.  It’s a surreal experience listening to yourself talk about yourself. It’s really surreal laughing at your own jokes and nodding your head in approval at something wise you just said wait am I a narcissist? *John laughs nervously*

We all have a story to tell! In fact, it is in the act of sharing our story that we discover who we are. As a Podcaster, I have hosted dozens of these stories but had never been the storyteller. It was an incredible experience being on the other side of the mic. I want to thank Blair and Dallas for being fantastic hosts and creating a safe place for truth to be told. If you have a story to share, reach out to the boys at Shipwreck. You’re in great hands. 

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