“Most of us have two lives: the life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.” —Stephen Pressfield, The War of Art
Several years ago, I was given a copy of the above-quoted book, and I’ve given away several copies in the ensuing years. It’s meant so much to me over the course of multiple readings for its ability to do one thing well: to name the forces at work in my life. If you’ve read it, you likely feel the same way.
For the last twenty years, I’ve held a total of two jobs—pastor and journalist—and I’ve been driven by the same belief in both avenues of work. Namely, I believe that each person has something unique to offer to the world and that there are forces at work to both nurture and negate that work. Various people of varying beliefs have varied labels for these forces, but I’m not threatened enough to worry about who uses which term. Resistance sounds just fine to me. In fact, it fits quite well.
I should know. I feel it all the time.
Whether as a church planter and pastor or as a journalist, I’ve gotten quite good at diving into the conversational deep end, so to speak. Both jobs require the ability to dig deep, to unearth the real elements at work in someone’s story, and it’s a real privilege when someone honors you with their story in a meaningful way. Even after twenty years, I’ve never taken that for granted.
What I love most about this work, and why I never tire of it, is that I’m constantly finding myself in the stories I write. At this point, I’ve interviewed well over two thousand artists and authors, directors and actors about their craft and in the majority of those conversations, I walk away with as much insight into my own work as their own. As they detail their resistance, I learn about my own. As they describe their struggles, their pressures, their fears, all of my own come to the surface. If they are able to push on in the face of such resistance, then maybe I’m able to do the same.
I'm constantly finding myself in the stories I write. Matt Conner
For the last few years, I’ve had the idea to launch a podcast, call it The Resistance, and center it around this very idea. I wanted to go in-depth with substantive artists and have them discuss their relationship with the resistance in honest and meaningful ways. I’ve put it off all this time because I’ve felt my own resistance. I’ve been afraid for every reason you can conjure—fear of failure, fear that no one will care, fear of not knowing what to do. Even after I finally decided to physically start this process, I’ve mentally quit a few more times. This work is terrifying. That’s how I know it’s what I’m supposed to do.
Right now, we are officially live with the Series Trailer at all normal podcast outlets (Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, etc.) and the first few episodes are coming very soon. We’ve got conversations in the pipeline with Glen Phillips (Toad the Wet Sprocket), Drew Holcomb, Stephen Kellogg, Denison Witmer, Tokyo Police Club, Lowland Hum, and a host of others. I can tell you that these discussions are rich and filled with the sorts of struggles we all face. They’re powerful and personal. It’s the Resistance and we all face it.
My honest prayer and hope with all of this work is that the power of a shared story does what I know it can do. I hope that at least one person listens to each episode and feels a little less alone, a bit more hopeful, a tad more motivated to move forward and bridge that gap between the life we live and the unlived life within us.
Right now it feels like one of those dreams where you go to school in your underwear. Vulnerable. Afraid. Exposed. I’m pretty sure that means I’m in the right place.
Listen to The Resistance Series Trailer below.
The Resistance will be hosted on the Rabbit Room Podcast Network. Keep your eye out for it!