071 – Matthew Pearson – Diocese of Madison Seminarian

In this Happy Hour podcast, we’re chatting with Matthew Pearson about his vocation, the Vatican during COVID, and Breaking Bad!


  • (9:27) Who is Matthew Pearson?
  • (13:01) What led Matthew to study media?
  • (22:00) Where stage of the seminary is Matthew in?
  • (30:23) How does Matthew see his interest in media carried out in his priesthood?
  • (38:32) Covid in Rome.
  • (42:48) Breaking Bad.
  • (1:20:45) The Backflip story.
  • (1:38:31) A message to those who are discerning.


Ryan Freng 3:33
Hello and welcome back to a another backflip. Happy Hour. I’m Ryan Freng. co creative director here at backflip. Joining me as always is John Shoemaker, other co creative director say Hey, John. Hello. What is happening, man? How are you?

John Shoemaker 3:49
Great. I’m good.

Ryan Freng 3:51
Are you ready to go to Apple holler and eat some apples and shout?

John Shoemaker 3:56
I assume that’s what I’ll be doing all day long tomorrow.

Ryan Freng 4:00
Yeah, John’s going on a shoot tomorrow. In the what is it Kenosha Racine area. place that I went to in high school, actually, I believe for a dance, Apple holler and doing some filming over there. And my sister and their family are going to hang out with you. So

John Shoemaker 4:16
that should be fun or where the talent?

Ryan Freng 4:20
Yeah, and then your whole family. So that’ll be awesome.

John Shoemaker 4:23
It’s gonna be great. Cool.

Ryan Freng 4:25
Well, this is a happy hour. It is a little bit early. We bumped it up, because our guests who will bring him in a moment has to get to class. So I’m not actually drinking any alcohol right now. Because I tried to rise to the level of the guest if you know they’re not drinking, I don’t want them to feel bad or I don’t want to be the guy drinking when they’re not drinking. Maybe that’s John maybe I shouldn’t have said that. But I got an espresso here that I just made because we got that new Nespresso, like, like we talked about last week. This is actually a decaf. It’s like a cold latte. So Pretty good. Got some janky pumpkin spice in there, which is really good. And then I have all the other things. I’ve got some water. I’ve got some sparkling I’ve got some creamy Root Beer Zevia you know when you want the flavor, but want to fit in that bikini? Get Z via so that’s what I got. What do you got?

John Shoemaker 5:23
You have like an airplane like drinking problem like joke going on for like, you know the classic cheesy. Can’t drink is a drinking problem on the years is like you just drink all this stuff.

Ryan Freng 5:43
It is a problem. It’s just drinking liquid drink a Holic? Yeah.

John Shoemaker 5:50
I know. I mean, if I had like Bailey’s or something, I would totally do that. I don’t have anything. I’m never like prepared, especially if I’m here at my house. I have like slim pickings. And yeah, so I’ve just got I’ve got coffee. And if you’re wondering it’s Panera coffee guna Nice. From the giant order Panera coffee yesterday. But you know, here’s a hack. You know, I don’t know if this is good or bad. I guess if you’re a coffee kind of sewer, you would scoff at this and you’d be really, really not happy. I like coffee a lot. But also, sometimes I just don’t want to work real hard for it. So the hack is I put the Panera coffee. Or you know, it’s already put it in the coffee pot last night and I set the

Ryan Freng 6:49
auto drip coffee pot.

John Shoemaker 6:51
Your time this morning. As a way to hit up obviously it didn’t need to be made that it was like timed to heat itself so that when I got up it was hot.

Ryan Freng 7:04
Now that’s awesome. It’s a wrap after that. Yeah. Yeah. You could have also like, put it in the fridge and made some iced coffee. That could have been fun.

John Shoemaker 7:15
Yeah, yeah. But I mean, it

Ryan Freng 7:17
doesn’t sound like something you’d

John Shoemaker 7:18
like. It’s starting to get the I mean, I do like iced coffee. But it’s getting to be the we’re gonna have a warm weekend here. But it’s good at that time of year, just like warnings.

Ryan Freng 7:31
Love it. All right. With that, let’s bring on our guests. We got Matthew Pearson here today. What’s happened in Matthew, thanks for waiting patiently while we just blabbed on?

Matthew Pearson 7:43
No, no, no problem. Thanks for having me. This is this is great. Thank you for the invitation.

Ryan Freng 7:48
Yeah, absolutely. And thanks. I think we rescheduled once on you as well. So I appreciate that. But But we’re here and it’s so much fun. You know, it is a happy hour. Like we said, you got to go to class after this. But I believe you do have some something you’re drinking that you can share with us.

Matthew Pearson 8:07
Well, I have Yeah, I mean, I just have basic, you know, kind of brew coffee here. And then a glass of straight gin and always gets me through the class. It’s soda water. I’ve become a big fan of soda water in the last few years, you know, sparkling water? I don’t know. I think they I think they say it helps with digestion or something. But I just liked the it’s little, you know, adds a little life to regular water. That’s all so, you know, it’s good for your speaking voice too. I think you know, it keeps the keeps the throat clear, you know?

Ryan Freng 8:39
Yeah, I’ll take all of that I drink you know, this is just club so this is just Oh yeah, co2 water. But I like it as something that’s not just water, like John and I have talked about it. Just water can be so boring. And so then you tend to, you know, drinks drink more calories or something. But with like sparkling water, it’s like grabbing some a little fun little fancy.

Matthew Pearson 9:01
One, I think I think to the same thing with you know, a lot of people get into soda. I think they get quasi addicted to soda because of the because of the fears, you know. But yeah, I don’t need that kind of, I don’t need that kind of sugar in my life. So this is kind of a workaround, you know, our little squeeze a lime or something, you know, goes a long way.

John Shoemaker 9:19
Do you make your own? Do you have like a like a thing? Or do you Sodastream?

Matthew Pearson 9:24
No, I don’t make my own. But uh, but I definitely that’s a future idea. For sure. Once I get kind of settled into a place for more than you know, a year at a time, then I’ll definitely probably invest in something like that.

Ryan Freng 9:38
Yeah, we’ve got one of those soda streams, we’ve actually gone through three of them. They just keep replacing them. Because some seals get broken on it. Okay, because we use it so much like I’ll make like five bottles a day.

Matthew Pearson 9:50
And you can you can control the amount right? Like how fizzy it is.

Ryan Freng 9:54
Yeah, I mean, we just always do three. There’s three levels, one, two, and three. We just always do three because it tastes like The normal stuff you get, okay? But yeah, you could you could change that if you want it.

Matthew Pearson 10:04
I had I had the Perrier ones with your good friend, Father Scott Jablonski. He had bought some of these Perrier ones lime flavor. And those things have I mean those things burn a little bit they got cranked up so

Ryan Freng 10:21
sure, well I feel like too there’s there’s a difference between and you know what we’ll start getting into some meat maybe someday but this is important this stuff this stuff is like confused you know is co2 like they put co2 into it you can actually get naturally occurring sparkling water. So I think grandparent a the French sounding ones, you know, those are actually naturally mostly naturally occurring sparkling water, which kind of blows my mind,

Matthew Pearson 10:51
you should you should send us to on this clip and try to get a you know, gotta get an endorsement, you know, sponsor the show,

Ryan Freng 10:59
be like you’re gonna make so much money. All right. So a good way to start maybe would be just to have you tell us a little bit more about yourself. We kind of have a little bit of a bio in the description. You’re, well, how are you known? And I’ll just say you’re a beanbag champion, but I don’t think he made it that far when we played.

Matthew Pearson 11:22
No, no, we got I believe we got third place, if I remember. Right,

Ryan Freng 11:26
okay. Yeah, that was way better than us because you guys knock this out the first time. But your your seminary at the Diocese of Madison, and during your fourth and final year at the NAC the North American college in Rome. He got some other stuff in here. But why don’t you give give us a little bit more about who you are? Sure.

Matthew Pearson 11:47
So I mean, yeah, so I was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Born in 1990, I grew up there went to Catholic school until second grade. And then we moved to a little town called Cambria, which is not far from like beaver dam or Columbus, if you know that kind of area. And then I just kind of grew up in a normal small town life. You know, until, until obviously, I graduated high school. So we I kind of grew up in, I mean, I went to grad school, like I said to a second grade, so I, I kind of had that exposure, which is I think, important, you know, for my kind of eventually coming back, so we didn’t really go to Mass too much. You know, when I was when I was growing up, so I just kind of, you know, it was a typical kid playing sports, you know, hanging with friends, you know, wasn’t getting in too much trouble occasionally, you know, but sports kind of kept me on the straight and narrow. Because, you know, I mean, if you screw around and you know, got in trouble got a drinking ticket, or, you know, obviously get involved with drugs, kids these days, or even in the crazier stuff in school, but you get into trouble, like they can play sports. So that was a good motivator for me. I graduated high school, I went down to Northern Illinois University for for two years studying media, communications, it’s kind of stuff. Funny enough, part of the reason I went there was in high school during the summers, I would go and go down and stay with my grandparents outside Chicago and work at a golf course as a caddy. So I did that for six summers. So that was I mean, significant kind of formative part of my life. And that, you know, it’s good, hard work, you know, it’s a totally different environment than I was in, in small town, Wisconsin. You know, got to meet plenty of interesting people, you know. And then so part of the kind of what they would offer at this place at this golf course, was, you know, they tried to give guys scholarship money and stuff for, for for going off to school. So that’s part of why Yeah, I mean, they probably, yeah, in the grand scheme of things, I think they probably saved me. Probably about $18,000 in student loans over over that time period. So yeah, big help. Still got plenty to pay off. But you know, but, but 18 is a bigger number, you know, you add that to it. So that’s pretty great. So yeah, I so I would go to school, do some media stuff. And then I kind of spent some time working in the working world for four or five years.

Ryan Freng 14:41
Yeah, studying media. What What got you into that? Because Because obviously, John and I, you know, that’s what we do. And we also studied media. What What got you into it? What were you interested in?

Matthew Pearson 14:53
So my I suppose my initial interest was in the sports world. So the idea of being this sports broadcaster. It seemed like it’s all I knew at that time, you know, 18 years old, I, you know, I thought I’d be good at it. I could, you know, speak decently well. So it just seemed like an interesting path to take. And I would say though, like, I probably got off of that pretty quickly in that first year, because not not that I didn’t want to be involved in sports, but you just realize how big the media world is, and what it incorporates. And, and then obviously, around that time, my interest started to change as far as you know, getting you know, it’s kind of when I started reverting to the faith was those first couple years of college. So my interests in like, that my view on the world changed pretty significantly in those two or three years. And so then media became something, you know, it’s part of evangelization, it’s part of communicating with people. And also I just, I, I’m a person who’s not, I’m not a good artist, but I really like art. You know, like, I could never draw, I could never paint, that kind of thing. So what I found with like media, and with, you know, or photography or videography, or even editing, is that you kind of had this power to create artistic things for someone that doesn’t necessarily have the talent, but might have the eye for it. So that’s kind of something I discovered along the way that kind of kept pulling me back in. Plus the idea of, you know, the world’s really interesting place, you know, telling stories about it, or, you know, people’s stories are incredible, you know, so, yeah, kind of all that together, it’s kind of what kind of pulled me into that world.

John Shoemaker 16:52
could always be a critic.

Matthew Pearson 16:56
Ya know, that’s a, that’s a different way of seeing the world. I mean, I guess it’s necessary in some level, but, you know, but usually, you know, usually a critic is someone who’s also producing, you know, I guess, like, if, I mean, if you look at if I look at it from like, the theological perspective, the people who are, you know, going back and forth about theology, they’re doing theology and they’re critiquing the position of somebody else. So like, they’re doing both. I think that’s pretty normal. But to just be one and not the other is kind of strange.

Ryan Freng 17:30
Have you ever seen a boom goes the dynamite?

Matthew Pearson 17:34
No, I don’t think so. Oh, the, the guy on Reggie Miller, the sports guy.

Ryan Freng 17:40
Yeah, what’s his name? I don’t actually know his name. Yeah. It’s like I know him as like, Boom goes the dynamite kid. He’s like, and boom goes the dynamite. Like he’s yelling at his sports casting. But he got to get that catchphrase in.

Matthew Pearson 17:54
Yeah, yeah, that poor guy. Yeah. I don’t know. If you ever bounce back from that. I mean, hopefully, you can capitalize on the internet fame. But

Ryan Freng 18:02
yeah, I mean, there’s so many different opportunities out there. Especially now. So maybe, you know, maybe think about it. At the end of this. You can give us your best. Boom goes the dynamite maybe.

Matthew Pearson 18:15
Yeah, give it a shot.

Ryan Freng 18:17
All right. So you’re you’re in college, studying that media. And you said you were getting more back into your faith? Yeah. Yeah. Let’s, let’s, let’s continue on. Sure.

Matthew Pearson 18:28
Sure. So, yeah, well, here’s a great, here’s a great crossover of the media and the faith. So I think it’s my, my sophomore year. And so we have like, basically our, our introduction to editing class, you know, and I, this was the same this was right after the summer of the Catholics come home commercial. I don’t know if you guys remember them. Okay.

Ryan Freng 18:56
Yes. I was just talking about this the other day, but I couldn’t remember what it was. That’s the one in the big warehouse where they’re projecting an image, right?

Matthew Pearson 19:03
Yeah. Yeah, it was yes. Campaign. That’s the

Ryan Freng 19:07
one I was trying to remember. John. Yeah.

Matthew Pearson 19:09
And so this would have been this would have been the summer of 2009 Catholics come home. And then funny enough, though, it was actually in the fall of that year, which is where the same timeframe my story takes place that Pope Benedict declared a year of priests year for priests. So which I didn’t find out till you know, maybe a couple of years ago but so I’m so I’m in this editing class, and I’m, you know, thinking about you know, I need to I want to take like I want to take like a theology class this year. I want to like study some stuff about God, you know, so I was looking on the online for something and I couldn’t take anything at the university because all the classes that are discussed that are all law or lawyer classes to legal classes, so I couldn’t I’d have the prerequisites to take them. So. So anyway, I was a Google search, whatever. But I came across the basically what I was an RCA class. So class to be confirmed, you know, at the Newman center there on campus. And so I kind of looked into this and I was like, Okay, it looks like they have this theology class thing at, you know, on Sunday nights at this Newman Center, maybe I’ll check that out. And so I was, I wasn’t sure that I was like, yeah, we’ll see if I if I get over there. So it was like a Thursday or something. I’m in this introduction editing class and the lady, you know, she comes around with the, like, a shoe box. You know, if you guys remember these times a little tapes, you know, and so she comes around with a little shoe box of when they called DV tapes or something I forget. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Dv

Ryan Freng 20:55
cam tapes.

Matthew Pearson 20:56
Yeah. Yeah. So she comes around the shoebox. Yeah, exactly. That’s right. Yeah. So she walks around with the shoebox full of these, everyone has to grab one. And, you know, this was your, what you’re going to practice with, so everyone had like skateboarding or people on the beach, you know, surfing and kind of these activities. And then she was gonna walk us through, you know, cutting how to line up, you know, certain, certain cuts to make it look different, or whatever it was just practice. And so the tape I get is, it’s an interview, it’s just a, you know, a one shot of this Haitian priest, who was living, who was living up outside of Chicago. And this was right after the earthquake. So the local newspaper, the campus newspaper, when interviewed him, right. And so they had this, you know, this one shot of him. And so it didn’t make sense for the assignment. But somehow it found it into this box, and ended up in my computer. So I was like, Okay, I think I think there’s a pretty, like, that’s pretty clear sign that I better go to this class, you know, on Sunday. So, so, yeah, that so that kind of jumped me into that. And I was proud, you know, it was a Yeah, powerful moment, once I got there and started realizing what the process was. And yeah, and so I saw Yeah, go through our CIA that year. And then Easter Vigil 2011, you know, I was confirmed, receive First Communion. I just left when I was in Catholic school as a kid, we just left the year before First Communion. So I was in second grade. So, but so it’s, it’s I mean, especially now, for me, you know, I’ll be ordained a deacon here and a couple of weeks, or three weeks from, from today. And I remember when, yeah, it, I’m looking back to that confirmation time and 2011, because they also lay their hands on you and your confirm, okay, like the the bishop or a delegate of the bishop lays his hands on you, on the top of your head, you kneel down, and they, you know, they lay their hands on you, they invoke the Holy Spirit. And so I remember, you know, very clearly that that moment, and so now to think that I’m going to go and do that again. You know, 10 years later, is kind of, it’s kind of wild, you know, and to do it in such a different way. And for, I mean, a very different sacrament, but very related to the first one. So, so yeah, it’s, uh, yeah, thanks for thanks for letting me go down memory lane there. That was great.

Ryan Freng 23:38
Yeah, yeah. And so you know, for those who don’t know, can you describe a little bit more to you’re wearing a collar? So most people would be like, Oh, that’s a priest. But you know, you had just mentioned you are going to be ordained. Yeah. Did yeah. Can it soon, which doesn’t sound like priesthood. So So where are you at in formation in seminary? What is all that?

Matthew Pearson 24:03
Yeah, so the quick kind of breakdown is that there are there are five different designations. So there would be a elector, which is three read at Mass. There’s an acolyte, which is where you serve at Mass. Then there’s a candidate candidacy. And then there’s a deacon and a priest. These are the five that we work with right now. So anyone who becomes a priest has to have those four previous titles, those four previous orders, or installations, you might call it. So I was ordained or I was installed as elector and an acolyte a couple of years ago. And then candidacy might be the better one for understanding why I’m wearing a collar because candidacy is the first is a pub Like recognition by the diocese that you are studying to become a priest. So it’s a, it’s a movement of you being more or less like what we call a pre theologian, which is someone who’s just studying philosophy and theology. This is a formal acceptance that the bishop is saying, Okay, I think this man is able to complete his theological studies, and he is going to promise that in front of the church, therefore, in some in most places, that means you can present yourself as a cleric. Or at least present yourself in the in the collar. Because it’s a public type thing. So then after candidacy, you know, comes the accurate. And sometimes those first three, the order can be a little different, but that’s mostly how it goes. And then there’s the jacket, which I’ll do in about three weeks, and then followed by priesthood. Next summer. So moving quick now, you know, it’s about nine months, nine months to go here. So it’s pretty, pretty amazing.

Ryan Freng 26:12
Yeah, that’s awesome.

John Shoemaker 26:13
Yeah. Do you have people coming up? And you know, how do you respond? Because I think most people who don’t know they probably just start referring to people as Father. You see the caller and whatever? Yep. What do you do with that? I suppose you know, you can still minister to them. But you correct? Yeah.

Matthew Pearson 26:32
Yeah. No, it’s a it’s just a habit of a lot of people. They don’t, because you don’t really want to call someone a seminarian. It’s kind of a weird word. You know, like, hey, seminary, and Matt, you know, it’s just a weird, weird phrase. So people, it’s funny my entire time in the parishes, people always want to know what they call you. They’re always asking that like, what so what do we call you now? And I’m like, Really, I’m, I’m, I’m not any. I don’t have any special title. Yet. You know, I’m just like, I’m Mister. I’m a mister I guess, you know, so. But then yeah, once but still, even. I’ve told people that directly to their face. I go. Yeah, actually, I really don’t have a title. I won’t be a deacon until next year, and then a priest, and then you call me father. And, you know, I’m like, yeah, it’s just it’s, it’s kind of odd. But yeah, he’s just call me Matt. You know, just call me, Matthew. And they’ll go, you know how to explain it to them. And they’ll go, okay. Thanks for that explanation, father, and then they’ll walk away. So it just people like to say it. And so a lot of people do say it. But the funny thing is, and I kind of, I’ll see how this, I’ll see how this works. But I’ve heard from other priests, that people may call you father, while you’re a seminarian. They may just use the title. But I have yet to have somebody asked me like if I can hear their confession. Or if I can, let maybe like, couple people have asked if I can bless something like a rosary or something. I tell him, I can’t. But I’ve heard that once your day. And then those people who don’t know you, they don’t know who you are. But they’ll approach you. And like, it’s like, the Holy Spirit tells them that you’re actually a priest who can, who can actually hear their confession or can bless something for them or whatnot. But it doesn’t, you know, the weather caller the whole time for five, six years, and it doesn’t happen, and then also, you’ll be ordained to happen. So I’ll keep you guys posted. I’ll let you know.

Ryan Freng 28:44
Yeah. And where are you right now, by the way.

Matthew Pearson 28:48
So currently, I’m, I’m still here in Wisconsin, so I’ll be okay. I’m back. I’ll be flying back to Rome. Next week, actually, I’ll be flying back. And then I got up gone. My canonical retreat before your receive Holy Orders, you have to go on a mandatory five day silent retreat. So I’ll have to go on that. When I fly back. And then ordination week will begin on the 23rd or something like that. 25th. So, yeah, it’d be pretty fun. Me a fun time. That’s awesome. Yeah, there’s 2022 of us. 22 of us being ordained in my class at St. Peter’s so

Ryan Freng 29:32
and that St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, is that that’s right. Yep. That’s right. That’s pretty special.

Matthew Pearson 29:39
Yeah, no, yeah. I’ve been I’ve you know, I’ve been to I’ve been to three of them previously, you know, from other classes before me. And, and yeah, it’s pretty, it’s pretty amazing. It’s just amazing place plus, it’s really more about in some respects. You know, you’re Family and friends and people that can come over them getting to experience it. Because I mean, I’ve spent a lot of time in St. Peter’s. But, you know, family and friends and people that come over, you know, obviously, it’s a special moment for them to just see the place. But then to witness something that they don’t get to witness very often, you know, maybe maybe a handful times in their life, depending on how, you know, and that not just that, but to do it in that place, you know, so it’s special for the man, it’s special for the family and for the whole college. So, yeah, it’s a great experience.

Ryan Freng 30:35
I like that to your, your Catholic flex there, you’re like, you know, I get to hang out at St. Peter’s like, it’s not that big of a deal for me.

Matthew Pearson 30:44
Well, it’s funny, because during COVID, it was basically me, it’s harder in the last 25 years, apparently, it’s been harder to go to St. Peter’s that used to be so there’s a lot more security and things. So if you if you want to go to St. Peter’s, unless you’re there at like, 630 in the morning, where you can get in and maybe 15 minutes, you know, you got to wait, you know, a good, you know, 3045 minutes, maybe an hour to get in. Okay. But during COVID There was no wait. So I could literally, I could literally leave my room. And I could be in St. Peter’s in about eight minutes or something, you know, like, it was pretty nuts. Then I could just literally walk right in like it was my parish, you know. So I took advantage of that, you know, plenty, you know, and spent a lot of time in there. And it’s, it was kind of weird without a ton of people in there. I’ll say that. You know, it wasn’t wasn’t that cool. But it was nice to see that people come back this past spring, you know, that was nice. But yeah, it was unique time, unique time.

Ryan Freng 31:58
Yeah, we got a question here from Carolyn kind of relates to your previous story. So how do you see your interest in media? And that kind of thing related area working into your ministry or further ministry as a priest? Or do you?

Matthew Pearson 32:16
Yeah, I mean, I think I plan on it. Even just from the perspective of, it’s somewhat of a hobby of mine, too. So like, it’s good to have. It’s good to have hobbies, as a priest, you know, it’s good to have hobbies, for any line of work, really, I mean, and it’s a creative outlet. It’s, it’s something that’s a good, you know, pastime in some respects, you know, if you’re editing something you like, you guys know, this journey is something that you like, it doesn’t really feel like work, sometimes, you know, what I mean? It just feels like, you know, you’re in your, you’re in the zone. And so I liked that. And I also from a ministry perspective, I think there’s a lot of, there’s a ton of stories you can tell in the church, whether it’s even just, you know, the the old lady in your parish, whose husband died five years ago, but you know, as, you know, her house looks like a church, put her down in front of the camera and asked her a few questions. What was it? Like, you know, what’s it like, you know, how was your marriage? I mean, people have cool stories, and it’s like, you know, why not use that, to kind of educate your parish, or, you know, just celebrate someone’s life and what God’s done in their life, you know, and so it seems like, there are simple ways to use media to kind of help the ministry,

John Shoemaker 33:41
we’ve been talking some about, you know, like, witnessing is always, you know, we came up anyone who came up through, you know, maybe St. Paul’s, or any sort of, like, vibrant young adults program. You know, knows that witnessing is like one of the strongest ways to encourage people and, you know, change hearts. And you can do that, like you said, through just like telling stories, getting, you know, using video clips of people like, well, let’s get those stories out there because it can be challenging to get everybody in front of everybody else to hear those inspiring thing.

Matthew Pearson 34:27
Yes. Yeah, no, this is an interesting homiletics thing from one of my classes, like, so liturgically so within mass, or within like, the structured prayers of the church. It’s only this is canon law. It’s only a deacon, a priest or a bishop who can proclaim the gospel and preach. Okay, so it seems like oh, that’s not fair. Like, wow, you mean people that aren’t can’t preach Gospel like, how does that work? Well, the way that people who are not ordained preach the gospel is precisely what you just said. It’s in telling people their testimony, proclaiming the glories of the Lord singing the mercies of the Lord telling a friend at work, telling your children telling people around you what God has done for you. That’s preaching the gospel. That’s the way people who are not ordained preach the gospel. So developing that skill within the church, developing that normalcy of something like that, getting people to practice their story a little bit like, thinking about what God has done in their life different times where he is intervene. That’s the gospel. That’s, it’s not necessarily it’s their gospel, but it’s also belongs to the church. It belongs to everybody what God has done for you what God has done, for me, it belongs to the whole body of Christ. So just like the scriptures belong to the whole body of Christ. So getting people into that frame of mind, and realizing that there’s tremendous power, sometimes more power than a boring homily from a priest, there’s more power in a testimony of somebody who sings the mercies of the Lord. So it’s a very powerful thing. So I agree totally.

Ryan Freng 36:25
Yeah, that’s such a good reminder to and for anybody who’s listening to the Bible, and in your podcast, you know, with was it Father Mike Schmitz from ascension press, we’ve come through Judith, we’re in Jeremiah, lamentations. And, you know, there’s a lot of personal stories in there. And that’s, that’s a good reminder that, you know, our lives, and our stories are, and hopefully, can be, are often our stories of faith. And so that is an important thing to talk about and to share with each other. And I guess I’ve never heard that, that, you know, how do we, what does it share the gospel or Hama lies? Well, we can tell our stories and tell our experiences, I love that.

Matthew Pearson 37:16
Yeah, it’s important to remember, because, you know, people tend to want to create these divisions between the priesthood and the laity. And there is a, there are theological differences that are very important to maintain those distinctions, but, but the whole, you know, the whole body of Christ is moving towards one thing, right, it’s moving towards, you know, heaven together, union with God, and everyone has their different part to play, you know, their role to play. So it’s important to know what that is, and how it works. And in some ways, you know, Woe to me if I don’t preach the gospel, said St. Paul. So like, in some ways, it’s, uh, you know, if you’re not telling people about what God has done for you, there’s a certain level that you know, that you’re a sin of omission, maybe where you’re not proclaiming the gospel in the way that you can. A great, you know, a great message is, you know, priests can’t be in, you know, hospitals, priests can’t be in, you know, the factories, priests can’t, you know, drive taxi cabs, you know, all these different jobs that people have. We can’t, we can’t be in all these places, to proclaim the gospel, you might say, but it’s through the laity, that, that, that that’s accomplished, because they are there, and they do have a gospel to share. It’s the gospel of the church, but it’s also their testimony of what God has done for them. That’s what’s going to really you’re right, change people’s hearts and move them towards, you know, towards conversion towards piety and all these things. That’s part I mean, if you look at the structure of the mass, part of part of the theology is that the whole community of believers comes together for the Sunday mass for the for the Liturgy of the parish. And then at the end of mass, you know, the Oh, in the Latin, it’s eta Misa asked in his sent, or go in his sent. And you can interpret that as like, you’ve all received the grace of God, you’ve received salvation, you’ve received the gospel, you’ve received all that the church has to give you Christ Himself. Now, go and give it to the whole world, in your own specific area. So there’s a certain coming together, and then a departing to spread the gospel. So yeah, that’s a great, great image to keep in mind. Yeah.

Ryan Freng 40:00
Let’s see. I’m having a little bit of internet slowness. Am I frozen for you guys are my good? Looks good to me. All right, awesome. What was it like? Because you said, you know, with COVID? Were you in Rome? When when all the crap hit the fan? Like, what the heck was that? Like?

Matthew Pearson 40:22
Yeah, yeah, I was there. Let’s see, yeah, it was we started here and stuff, I suppose right in March. And then it kind of quickly, it quickly moved to quickly changed on like, what was happening. And we didn’t quite know how to react, you know, we’re kind of waiting for the CDC or waiting for these different government entities to kind of give some guidance, we were talking to the State Department, at the State Department, with the embassy, you know, in in Rome, are talking to them about how do we how should we proceed in different ways. And the initial decision was to just kind of just hang out and keep us there. And the administrator at the time, you know, he had ordered, like, an extra month, or six weeks or something of like, have provisions in case there was a like, a backlog or something backorder. So that we could, if there was some reason that everything had to shut down literally, like food and supplies had to stop that we had enough to last us, you know, for quite a while for the whole house. Because you know, when you have 100 was 160 guys or something at the time, you know, it’s like, that’s a you need a lot of provisions. So, so he had done that. And then it kind of kept getting dicey bishops weren’t sure what was going on as far as their guys and if to bring them home. And then finally, a decision was made that if your bishop wanted you to go home, that you had permission to go home. That was right before Trump made the announcement of like, we’re closing the you’re gonna close the borders to certain countries. And so Italy was on that list, Italy. So at that time, we didn’t quite know are they literally not going to let in flights, but it became pretty clear right after that, well, if you’re a US citizen, you were gonna get in no matter what. But we just weren’t sure. So that’s when they allowed bishops to like call their guys home if they wanted. So I’d say about, yeah, maybe about 60 guys left, like, within a couple of days after that. And about maybe 100 stayed, because they weren’t there, like, you know, so we kind of had this split. You know, we started guys started doing online classes and stuff. And then about two weeks later, that’s when the embassy communicated to the, to the college that there was the possibility of certain. I think, if I remember, right, like certain medical things could be delayed. And so when it got to that point where it was like, it was pretty unlikely, but the fact that it was even being discussed, that’s when they made the decision that I think we need to send everybody home. So then about two weeks later, everybody went home, the mass exodus, as they call it. And then I don’t know, at least back here in Madison, you know, we all just got assigned to parishes and which I initially wanted to go home when I realized how kind of wild things were going to get. Not just for myself, but I knew that I knew that all of our priests were going to be locked up also, like, we’re going to be, you know, locked down. And it’s, it’s already tough living alone as a priest, and it’s even tougher, when you don’t have really a parish to take care of, and people aren’t coming to mass and you know, all that stuff. So I thought it would be better for us to be in the diocese to help the diocese and you know, whatever way we could. So that’s yeah, that’s what most of us did, you know, we were with with priests for about Yeah, those those two, three months and then obviously the summer. So, yeah, it was a good good enough time. I watched a lot. I watched the entire Breaking Bad series with another Garrett. I watched I think all of Downton Abbey also Lord of the Rings, you know, we just kind of did the whole the different, the different epics, you know, and whatnot. So it was good time series

Ryan Freng 44:47
to the next. Yeah, that’s right. Also, I mean, you talk about like Breaking Bad. Somebody maybe post the showrunner writer but I do believe that the purpose of that do is to show what it’s like, you know, kind of the descent into choosing hell or choosing wrong or choosing evil. One small step at a time, you know? And then that’s certainly what happens to Walter White is he’s trying to make something for his family. But, you know, it just gets worse and worse and worse and worse. And then he becomes the bad guy he become, I’m the one who knocks, you know?

Matthew Pearson 45:29
Yep. Yep. Ya know, that, that series, I really am such a huge fan of that series, because they’re, there’s incredible depth to what’s happening. But the writing is just, I mean, a way that the story is told, the deep psychology that’s at play, that has such powerful, not just spiritual themes, but just human themes, you know, just who we are to understand who we are. But yeah, I, I’ve thought about that show a lot. Because I think people tend to think it’s about like a concrete decision of like, choosing evil or choosing good or the slow descent. Yeah, that’s part of it. But I really think that that show is more about a damn like, a subtle, suddenly, it appears subtle. It’s Walter White’s damaged identity, and his damaged ego, that he had been burdened with his whole life, he could never like himself. So he actually hated himself. He hated who he became, he hated what his life was, his his identity, his position is his job, his, you know, his role as a father his role as a as a husband, like, every aspect of his life, he did not like himself. So as soon as the opportunity present presented itself, this is why identity, I feel like, as my spiritual life is going on, the concept of identity has become very important to me. And something I think the world needs to hear. But his identity was so corrupted, that as soon as he was given the opportunity, presented with it, to change that, and take on a new identity, he just jumped at it. He had to, because the urge was there, the disgust was there, the opportunity presents itself and he took it. And I do think there’s actually some, I’m kind of, I’m kind of rambling on, but I do think there’s some really interesting, like, male, psycho biology, you know, pretties, to a man that he’d be successful, right? That he’d be like, you know, certainly, you need a certain level of accomplishment, there’s different like, it’s true that it will eat at a man if he, if amongst his peers, if he if he feels as though he is not someone who can accomplish something, and succeed. So like, a lot of our a lot of our back in the day, even like the Boy Scouts and different men’s organizations, there were like these rites of passage that we naturally did, because we realize how important it is to for a man to feel successful, accomplished. Even with his own weaknesses, right. And to be accepted by his peers, as someone who can do something. The spirituality that would come into that would be even if you can’t do anything, right, you’re still

Ryan Freng 49:00
jaunt you’re frozen?

John Shoemaker 49:04
Who you know, has. Yeah, I had a little internet glitch. As soon as I couldn’t tell whether there was a gap. I have a friend who makes a big deal out of trying to create opportunities for his son and like his son’s friends to do kind of like, big, you know, big achievement type trips, you know, whether it’s a wilderness trip or like hiking, going up a mountain like we’re gonna have a inked you know, they’re gonna have something where they want to achieve. They want to push the boundaries of something and challenge themselves, and I want to give them an outlet for it. That is I want to give them an outlet that is healthy, that that they just they meet that desire without going into other things. And I think that’s the one of the other part. I mean, your analysis is really cool of Breaking Bad. But the the other thing is that there’s a there’s an opportunity, like you could be struggling with your identity and then not liking it. But when you have a choice between, okay, do I do with this? I have one thing, one bad thing. Like, it’s just a small thing. And it’s that we always joke about this at work, because it always seems to be like the ocean’s 11. You know, movies, and everything is just like one last job, just one last job. And it’s like, Can I do just one? One questionable thing. And then I’m done. You know, and I think that’s really the lesson of that show is that until you come back, and repent, or until you come back, and admit that it was wrong, and actually face the consequence. You will always be chasing your tail from that one last previous thing, because to try to keep it covered, takes you down a spiral. You know, so you, you never, you can’t just like do the one thing never answered for it. And then you’re good, you’ll always have an answer for it. And that’s kind of the thing that I’ve always appreciated about that show creator that like, he’s showing that, that the reality of of this is like you, you always have to answer for it, you can’t run away from it.

Matthew Pearson 51:50
Yeah, and I think the other thing too, from from the spiritual perspective, is that if you see Walter White’s progression, the progression initially in the middle stage is that he’s, in some ways he shocked at his evil, he’s because he’s still trying to live in a kind of in his previous identity, right. And he’s, he’s slowly becomes more and more shocked by the level of depravity that he thinks too. And I think that the pivotal moment this is so well captured in the show, is when he lets the girl choked to death, you know, that he, he can’t believe that he actually allowed that to happen. Like, he did it for the evil intention, because he knew that it was she was bad to his business and all this stuff. And that it was better that she she be dead, right? He knew that from an evil perspective. But then when he actually didn’t do anything, he reinforced or he exposed to himself, how easily was and then he gets emotional, he can’t believe how easily was. And you have from that perspective, you have two choices. This, this is this is a big thing with women and men who engage in some sort of abortion or something, right? You either you either get really loud, or you get really quiet. So you either completely embrace the discovery of how evil you are. And then that’s what he does, right? He just keeps going deeper and deeper, and becomes that person. Or you get really quiet, and then you hide, and you never talk about it. Whereas, right, the Catholic perspective is kind of the middle route where you admit it, you come to you get loud about it in a certain respect, If you confess it, right, if you go to confession, you have to speak it to speak it out loud. But then you also get quiet about it, and that you realize that God is drawn nearer to you, and that you don’t have to, you know, no one, you know, there’s, you don’t have to go advertise your sins to the world, right? You’re not You’re not required to yell your sins to the world. You’re required to confess them to God right to a priest and be absolved. But you have the right to a good reputation kind of thing. So it’s like, it’s that middle. It’s that middle ground that that we try to push, you are going to encounter evils in your life. You’re gonna discover things about yourself that you don’t like, or failures. From the male perspective, like we were saying, you’re gonna you’re gonna have times where you fail and are judged by other men and women to be either not masculine or, you know, unsuccessful or ugly. You know what I mean? On athletic, all these things that really kind of can bruise the ego of a man And you may encounter they’re really

John Shoemaker 55:02
personal. Yeah.

Matthew Pearson 55:06
I, I just see, I just see so much as I spent too much time on Twitter, right. So like, I see, I use Twitter as like a, like a cultural kind of map, you know, and seeing how people think. Right? And I think a lot of men that sit, you know, and play video games and, you know, do these Twitter personas or hide behind a computer in different ways? It’s because they’re kind of afraid of being judged, right out in the culture. Because they don’t necessarily like themselves, right? They’ve, they’ve discovered something about themselves, they don’t like it’s been judged, and they’ve been humiliated in some way. And, and that’s what I’m trying to get, you know, that’s what the whole church is trying to bring out. No, no, you’re a child of God. Own that identity, be who you are, in all your weakness and all your sin. And let God love you in that. And that’s, and that’s really where that’s really where spirituality comes from. That’s really where grace comes from.

Ryan Freng 56:08
I’d love to see maybe we could do it to like make an analysis of of the show and forgiveness because like that point you’re making. Season two, I think it is when he lets Jesse’s girlfriend die. I just looked it up real quick, too. And originally, he flipped her on her back, essentially making her choke and I but the network’s I don’t know producers didn’t like that, because they’re like, no, he’s turning too early. So she flips on her back by herself. And he runs to her side. And Bryan Cranston apparently wrote down pros and cons of her dying to try to experience it and it’s like Pro, it’s like, she’s gonna kill Jessie. She’s a junky, drain on society, blah, blah, are those are cons, or sorry, those are his pros. And then the cons are, could be my daughter, you know, she’s a person. Like, it’s all like kind of the normal human decency, things that he made, kind of in the con list of like, should I let her live. And it is the first time that we see him choosing wrong. And I’m trying to think now, or at least not choosing wrong, but mentally making that choice between a and b, because I feel like you’re, like you said, there’s just a lot of series of things that happen. And you know, he makes decisions and does things. But it’s not until that point that he’s really aware of what the choices that he’s making, and he makes it and that’s what it’s Vince Gilligan. He wants to turn Mr. Chip into Scarface. And I think that’s the first instance we see that. And I’m curious, like, what forgiveness is like in the rest of the show, because I feel like, I feel like there is forgiveness and you know, especially with Walter and his wife, and then eventually with Walter and Jesse, there’s some forgiveness, but I have to imagine that it’s that it’s like tainted, you know, in some regard, because that’s kind of what you were summing up there towards the end. You know, we are children of God, we are fallen. But, you know, we fall and we get picked back up or were ready to be picked back up. And there’s there’s that forgiveness that’s always there for us.

Matthew Pearson 58:26
Yeah. A couple a couple of ways to go with that. unique thing, and this is a from Father, Garrett, you guys know, he had said, we were watching it, he goes, it’s interesting. There’s never a reference anywhere in that show. To any kind of religion, at least that I can remember. There’s no like, there’s no like Office, there’s like, oh, yeah, I went to church on Sunday. There’s like zero reference to anything religion based. So I think it’s purposeful, right from Vince Gilligan and from the, from the, from the writers that they wanted to create the sterile world, where man was kind of left to his own device, you might say if like, the natural course of man, will to power kind of a Nietzsche kind of idea, right? But I think when you talk about you, it seems that you know, maybe he and his wife have a forgiveness or or he and Jesse have a forgiveness between each other as a series comes to an end. I would say it’s not. It’s not a forgiveness. I think what it is, it’s an acceptance of who that person really is. So, Jesse, there’s wife, they both come to an acceptance on a certain level that Walter is a psychopath like they Come to that acknowledgement, that in some ways, it was always there. And it finally came out, he hid it, you know? And I wouldn’t I would, I mean, I wouldn’t say He’s a psychopath in the clinical sense, I would just say that he became an purely narcissistic minded person, where he put his desires, his will, above all else, all the relationships that he had built. In his whole life, he sacrificed for creating essentially this identity that he desperately needed, right. And so, he tried to be, he tried to be Jesse’s father figure. And Jesse fell for that. But really, he was always he was always using Jessie. But Jesse needed a father figure, right? He tried to be like a husband, who cares for his wife. He can only do that through, obviously, through the illegal stuff. And he tried to, he tried to always say to his wife, I’m doing this for you, I’m doing this to be a good husband, because he never felt like a good husband, or a father. Because he, you know, he had to his son was crippled. So that was another like, you know, it’s like a bruised ego thing for him, you know. But, so it’s really that they just come to acknowledge that he was always a liar.

John Shoemaker 1:01:33
Thing to about him, when he was always saying, like, I’m doing this for you, is that you could even take that, that identity part. And you could, you could point out that there was actually a lot of people that do that without doing like, illegal, bad stuff, that he’s always saying, like, I’m doing this for you. But did he ever, like ask her if that’s what she wanted? You know, like, we, you know, as, as men, as husbands as fathers or whatever, like, we need to do certain things. We feel that pressure, societal pressure to like, provide and, and do a certain thing. And I think, even if you’re not like just outright doing something evil, there is a, there is a trap to like, like, well, I’m doing this for you. I’m doing this for the family, like, especially the way that a lot of men feel pressured to pursue their careers, you know?

Matthew Pearson 1:02:42
Yep, yep. No, I think I think what you’re pointing out is a, it emphasizes how important honesty is. Because there’s a great is a great line from Joseph, Joseph paper, who’s a philosophy or a lot of philosophy books. But what the one I read a couple of years ago, it’s called the concept of sin. And he basically said, he’s like, because the human person was made in the image and likeness of God, you have to recognize that I’m paraphrasing, but you have to recognize that the same power that you have to hold God face to face to behold all truth, all goodness, all beauty, you have that power in your soul. That same power is capable of infinite self deception. It’s such a great line, that that’s a direct quote, infinite self deception. And so what that means, though, is that the human mind is so powerful, that it can literally create things that aren’t real, this is the new matrix is coming out, you know, like, yeah, you the human mind cannot cannot, you know, it can dream of things, it can project things, it can think of art and then make it come to life, you know, like it can do these amazing things. But it can also completely lie and trick the mind into believing something that’s not real. I mean, this is, if you go from, like a psychology perspective, this is what this is what like, split personality disorders and things like that are about or traumas from your childhood that create these things. You literally create a defense mechanism that’s so powerful, you begin to make it real. And so not believing a lie about yourself is critical to being an actual human person to be a person living in reality. So like, what’s the that’s why again, I go back to identity because I like if you know who you are, everything else is gonna fall into place. That’s the most that’s one of the most fundamental things that you can lie to yourself about. So for a Christian, there’s always the back and forth between Am I a child of God? Or am I a sinner? That’s an identity crisis? Like, what? What actually, you know?

John Shoemaker 1:05:17
Yeah, well, it isn’t. I mean, so many things come down to that, like, that’s, that’s really cool. Like, I like, I like analyzing things in that way, too. I’ve got a lot of intelligent family members, I’ve got a sister who’s a lawyer, and we have these discussions about things. And sometimes I’ll be like, like, I’m aware of the, the art of argument, you know, like, I know how to, like talk about, like, the minut details of things and kind of, like, work our way into that. But there’s a, there’s a truth sitting up above, you know, from a higher vantage point of all this. And the identity aspect of your bringing up is really interesting, because it’s like, isn’t that what a lot of a lot of fighting is about now, too, is like, different groups trying to claim individual individuals, you know, for themselves, and then say that that’s your identity. Your identity is a political party that you affiliated with your identity is that you, what you eat, you know, whether you do or don’t eat, like

Ryan Freng 1:06:31
Vaxxer, anti Vaxxer, your identity,

John Shoemaker 1:06:35
they’re saying, is wrapped up in all of this. And that’s the thing, you are one dimensional. And if you don’t have a grounding to say, like, Well, no, my identity is is here as a child of God, you know, as a son of God as a daughter of God, like, you can be pretty lost.

Ryan Freng 1:06:58
Yeah, well, that’s yeah, that’s, that’s fascinating. And I feel like we hear this from like, great. Rhetoric, Titian’s. I just said it to max earlier today, you know, no one cares what you think, unless they think that you care, or no one cares what you know, unless they know that you care. And to the point of like, you are this, you know, like, if we disagree on a topic, it’s very easy, especially with the media to be like, You are this and so we have no common ground, and we can’t discuss this, we’re just going to shout at each other. But as Catholics, as Christians, as just good citizens. We’re called to more than that to say, Okay, well, we have a disagreement. You believe this, I believe this. But there’s, you know, there’s more commonality in there, than there likely is disagreement as well. And that idea that, yeah, how do you know, my friend is this or this is happening to my friend, and my friend thinks this, how do I reach them? How do I convert them? or whatnot? And I love the answer. It’s like, we’ve asked them how they’re doing. Yeah, like, do you know what’s going on in their life? Like, have you walked daily with them? It’s like, wait, no, no, teach me the arguments to convince them. And it’s never it, you know, there’s certainly a time and a place for that type of thing. But like John said, there’s the art of argument. And then there’s what? Real listening and connection and sharing and doesn’t matter that I have an opinion, and you have an opinion. And they’re they’re very different in that sense. Because we can connect on a human level. And once we do that, you know, then we have a chance at at those other things, you know, maybe I need my opinion needs to be changed. But I’m not going to listen to somebody until they’re they’re walking along with me daily.

John Shoemaker 1:08:57
Well, I think that’s a thing that they there’s even like a saying in law school I heard from my sister is like, they say, like, there’s the defensive side, there’s a prosecution side, and there’s the truth.

Matthew Pearson 1:09:12
Yeah, I think an interesting way to come at some of that is the concept of authority. So like, the main, the main thing that gives us faith in what Jesus said, is because he had the authority to say it, or put to put it another way, because he said it. That’s why it’s important. It’s not what he said. I mean, it is but like, the message depends on who’s giving the message, and if they have the authority to give that message. So it’s like, it’s a nice platitude to say, Love your enemies, but it’s really not that important. It’s really not that important for a Christian except for the fact that it came from the lips of Jesus, that’s why it’s important to listen to it, because he has the words of everlasting life, you know, he rose from the dead, you know, like, so his words have an authority. So when it comes to these, these different argumentations, or ways of speaking to people, it’s not just about the argument. The argument is not, it’s not just about the right saying or the right thing like your rhetoric. Yeah, it’s a, it’s about where does that come from? And who has the authority to say those things. So like, a great example is, if I say You’re under arrest, it doesn’t mean anything. But if a police officer says You’re under arrest, it means a whole different thing. It’s just like, there, we already acknowledged the reality of this type of concept in certain ways. But we got to keep going up the ladder to do it about God. And to do it about what, there’s only one guy rose from the dead, you know, well, I guess Lazarus did, too, but because of one other guy, you know, because of Jesus. So, like, there’s only one man who, you know, rose from the dead, walked the earth, and glorified body and ascended to heaven. So he has the authority to tell us who we are. And who did he tell us? We are? Children of the Father, that’s who he told us we are. So like, that’s important. That’s important to listen to. That’s important to shape your life with. But yeah, that’s when it comes to all these things. Developing an authoritative structure of how you argue with somebody is really important. Yeah, it’s, yeah, it’s, it’s where you have to start because we don’t believe in that too much anymore.

Ryan Freng 1:11:47
I love this whole Breaking Bad tangent that we went on, because because, you know, I can tell you. Well, and John, and I feel that, like, we do this art and, and other people, you know, tell stories. You there’s there’s many different reasons, but typically, when we create stuff, there’s, there’s a purpose to it, you know, our purpose might be different than what somebody else receives from it as well. But we want to do things, even if it’s advertising a construction fan, we want somebody to, you know, who watched that, to experience something, have an emotion, walk away from that, that experience with more positivity, you know, more more joy, more happiness, more more thoughtfulness, things to think about whatever it is, you know, there’s lots of different positive things that come out of a video. And I know, you know, it kind of gets me sometimes, when people are like, Oh, we don’t have Netflix, we don’t watch TV. We don’t you know, and sometimes it’s coming from a good place. Other times, it’s not maybe I’m just receiving it in a bad place. I’m like, Well, what do you do for stories? Like how do you you know, how do you share and tell stories? Because like, I watched, I don’t know, what was it? This is a good one, the lobster. And it’s so weird. And it’s like Donnie Darko, so weird. And if you read the byline, you’re like, that sounds stupid. I’m not gonna watch it. But then you watch it, and you you have this human experience, you know, or you talk to that old parishioner who is always walking slowly in front of you, and you’re in a hurry to get around or to get out. If you you know, take a minute and hear her story. You’re like, oh, my gosh, you were doing what? You know, during World War Two, or after World War Two, and you did this and you did that. And you sacrifice this for your family? And like, oh, my gosh, I’m changed from this story. Certainly, there’s, there’s nutrition. You know, there’s there’s candy TV that doesn’t maybe doesn’t have a lot of substance, but it just it gets me sometimes when people are like, Oh, I don’t think we can do that.

John Shoemaker 1:13:59
Yeah, I think it’s that sometimes you’re hearing or people are saying it in a place of judgment. judging people that do watch it, like it is important, obviously, more and more, to be really careful about trying to make sure that you’re filtering stuff or choosing things that are like, age appropriate, because like, our kids aren’t analyzing the shows in the way that we are right now. Now they’re not. And so you have to like, find a way to tie some lesson to it, if you’re gonna go with something that’s more intense. And again, it needs to be appropriate for them. But I think there’s another part of it that you reminded me. I’ve heard of people talking about, they don’t, they don’t like read fiction, you know, or like don’t consume fiction. It’s like, so they’re all about they’re trying to like they build themselves up with this, like, not wealth of knowledge and get better at whatever thing, but it’s like, there’s a lot of truth in fiction in storytelling, that you’re, you’re just like setting aside and not, you know, perceiving as valuable when you’re doing your nonfiction trying to like gain another skill or something like, Jesus told a lot of stories that those and then we analyze them like in depth, you know, through great talks and great halfway decent stuff about, here’s a simple story about, you know, a song who took off and took his inheritance early and whatever, like, just a story, but like the level of I’ve heard extensive, you know, analysis on all of these different stories that fictional stories that Jesus told,

Ryan Freng 1:16:00
Well, I think I just did to what what we talked about, we were talking about earlier, like identity, like, if somebody’s like, oh, I don’t like this thing that you like, I’m immediately like, well, what’s wrong with you? Because, you know, to some degree, it may feel like an attack on my identity. And it’s important to separate that. Like, again, it’s not an attack on my identity that somebody doesn’t watch Netflix, and we can certainly have a conversation about, you know, fiction stories and things like that. But it’s funny that like, that is that isn’t easy, common reaction, like we disagree, that’s a personal attack on me. And I’m judged. Like we wait, let’s not do that. That’s, that’s incorrect.

Matthew Pearson 1:16:39
Well, that, ya know, part of accepting your own identity, and being comfortable with who you are. It what follows from that is that you accept other people for their identity, or for their weaknesses or for their strengths. So it’s like, you know, when you meet someone who’s better than you at something, give thanks to God that they’ve been given that talent, right? When you meet someone who’s weaker than you, right? Don’t look down on them in a way that takes from who they are, because they’re still a person, right was a child of God who can, is capable of love and deserves to be loved. Right? That’s their fundamental identity. Real quick on the prodigal son, it’s a great little lesson, you know, the parable you were just mentioning, in identity, because it’s a perfect identity story. He says, The prodigal son leaves and he says, you know, he goes into a life of debauchery, and he says, I am no longer worthy to be called your son. He attempts to change his identity. Right? Because of his sin, he no longer thinks he’s the son of the Father. And the son or the father responds, my son, who was was dead is alive. So he reaffirms you’ve always been my son. While you were whether you’re in my house or out of my house, you were always my son, your identity never changed. You in some respects, changed how you viewed yourself. You lied to yourself. You tried to act like you weren’t my son. Right? So anyway, that’s just a quick, quick sidebar. But on Netflix, the when they say, Oh, you’re binging, just Netflix, binge watch on Netflix binge. What do they think this we’re storytelling is important. People need stories in their life. There’s reason people binge on that. What do they think people did before Netflix? They binge on books. That’s what they did. People read people read so much before movies and stuff, right? They would literally lock themselves in their rooms and just read books and they go to library and they read books. That’s how they relaxed right? Now. So that’s you could you could argue that it’s better to write read a story and have your mind form, right? How it how it looks in the characters that’s from a from a synopsis standpoint, maybe your brain is healthier that way. But it still shows the fundamental craving of the human person to be involved in other people’s stories, right? As an observer, like I was, I don’t do a ton of fiction reading. And I found that over the years, the way that I get my stories is through I listened to I listen to a lot of Johnny Cash. And so I’ve I’ve kind of discovered about myself that or singer songwriters in general, I should say. I like to hear those stories. I like when someone is able to write a song about a story that is so foreign to me. Like I just this is great. This is a few weeks ago when I was driving. I was driving back to Cross Plains late at night, like 10 o’clock and beautiful night you know, windows down I had Johnny Cash on And there’s this song. And it’s a super sad song. It’s about, it’s about a mother who’s died, she got a young child, and they’re loading her casket on the train to be taken away. Right? And it’s, it’s like, what the Irish would call it dirge. I mean, it’s just a really like, right? It’s just a really sad song. But I’m like, Why do I like this? Like, I’m sad right now. I’m like, this is really bringing me down. But it’s it making me feel good at the same time, because I’m like, entry into something. I’m entering into human pain, and human weakness and this beautiful a through this poem, you know, through this song. And there’s, that’s, it’s catharsis, you might say it’s cathartic. You enter into something painful, but it makes you feel good, makes you feel alive. And people need that. So yeah, that’s kind of a tangent on that. But it’s storytelling. You know,

Ryan Freng 1:20:59
I love that too. Like, I like weird and sometimes depressing movies. And my wife’s, like, why do you want to watch that? And it’s that, like, I don’t experience some of those emotions, or some of those, you know, many of those experiences and so to walk with somebody to journey with them, you know, kind of pulls your heart out of your chest and, you know, can transform it and put it back in because, you know, hopefully, I don’t have crazy tragedy, like some of you know, like, I was gonna say, what common genocide? Like the genocide, and that was it. That one hotel movie? Dang it. Somebody in the comments help me out? Yeah, no kidding. Hotel Rwanda. Is that it? Sounds familiar. Yeah. But the whole idea of story like what did people do before Netflix? Well, they watch TV, and went to plays. I mean, we still have all these things. We still have TV in place. Right? What do we do before those we read? Okay, well, we still had plays when we had books, what would we do before books? Well, we just had plays and storytelling, like sitting around a fire telling stories. You know, we do a lot of work with indigenous peoples. And so like story and telling your story is huge. And so we had that, you know, for? I don’t know, as, as long as we’ve been around, I guess. Before we run out for that, yeah, go ahead. You

Matthew Pearson 1:22:26
know, before we run out of time, tell me a little more about backflip. How’d you guys get to, you know, make found the company and that might be a long story. But what are some of your guys’s projects and kind of interests and, you know, film styles? Maybe?

Ryan Freng 1:22:41
Quick question for that. Do you have a hard stop at 1230? No, it’s

Matthew Pearson 1:22:46
not a hard stop. No.

Ryan Freng 1:22:48
Okay. Because that might be more than a seven minute answer. John, what are we doing here?

Matthew Pearson 1:22:55
Around 1230 is fine within five or 10 of that?

John Shoemaker 1:22:59
Okay. Yeah, there’s a lot of different ways to answer that question.

Ryan Freng 1:23:05
We’re storytellers.

John Shoemaker 1:23:06
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you can tell we’re jaded by that that phrase, you know, because everybody’s using it, but

Ryan Freng 1:23:15
it’s accurate, but we despise it.

John Shoemaker 1:23:18
Ryan’s wearing a shirt with a cliche that we came up with, that tries to encapsulate what we’re about, let’s make awesome. We kind of the way that we have approached things with our company is that like, there is something awesome about every person, business, whatever it is, and we want to, like, find that thing, and then present it in a really like fun, awesome, creative way. And that might sound a little, like obvious, like it will, isn’t that what everybody’s doing. But we’ve actually found that, no, that’s not like the way that like, so we’re often trying to convince clients, you know, when they’re, like, just it’s just a basic, simple corporate video, or like, well, by the time you’ve said that phrase, you’ve just like under sold your whole thing. Like, shouldn’t where it used the word just in your request for what you want to make, you know, just a Okay, so it’s so it’s supposed to be boring supposed to be blah, like nobody’s supposed to watch it. But you know, so we’ve done a lot of like, clients to like, just because you’re an accounting firm, doesn’t mean that the people there only care about numbers and spreadsheets. You know, to use our example they go home. They go home in the evening and they watch The same popular shows that everybody watches, like we’re, we’re entertained and motivated and moved by the same stuff. So, yes, it’s maybe it’s not going to be the same as like, it’s not gonna be the same as a laser tag place, you know, and they’re like advertising in their video. But like, there’s a reason that people here are passionate about what they do. Can we get it that somehow, you know, can we talk about? And so we, we try to get into some truth, you know, like, what is everybody pursuing? Like, what do people want at the end of the day, they want less stress and like, more time with their family, and more security. But why do we want security just so that we feel good, and we’re taking care of our family, and we get to enjoy life. So it’s like, we try to, like, pursue those things when we’re, you know, making projects. And then we’ve got our own kind of like, our, our humor and our goofiness and our flair that gets into things. And so people seek us out for that, because they kind of know what we bring in terms of our personality, but like, that’s, the underlying piece of it, is what we’re going after. And I think the way we started the businesses that we when, you know, we were young, and we’re hungry, and we saw that not being done everywhere.

Ryan Freng 1:26:42
Especially in the church, like so bad. Yeah.

Matthew Pearson 1:26:47
Yeah, yeah. No, we’re you had the church’s like, I mean, word on fire from, you know, Bishop Baron, that’s the first kind of opening salvo the church’s role in the media, but it should have never taken that long. I’m glad it’s happening. But, but, but even even for, you know, for priests, you know, it’s like, I know, you’re not called to, you know, be a media personality. And I don’t suggest that for, for priests, but the idea of you have, you have something to say to the world, it’s, it’s the gospel, you have something to say, the church has actually given you holy orders to say it. And you should be finding a way to say it as much as you can. And whatever ways you can, you know, it’d be like, you know, a priest from the 12th century, not going to the town squared, the preach the gospel or something, it’s like, that’s what the Townsquare is now, the media, right? And, you know, you don’t have to be an expert, you just have to have to do it, you know. So, anyway.

Ryan Freng 1:27:56
Yeah. And that’s, you know, that’s kind of the little bit about us in a nutshell.

Matthew Pearson 1:28:04
So What projects are you working on right now, any any, any big things that you’re kind of either recording or in the process,

Ryan Freng 1:28:12
we work on a lot of different stuff I can talk to, we’re working with a native indigenous lead agency, working with an energy company actually doing training, and education, through shortfilm, and actual training, promotions and things like that. So a lot of indigenous work, a lot of energy work, working with communities, to help. Basically what it is, is when energy companies come and they have labor, they bring in lots of people and human trafficking, sex trafficking goes up, you know, so we have to do awareness on human trafficking and sex trafficking. Kind of indigenous peoples education and training, because a lot of energy projects go through indigenous lands. So it’s helpful for those workers in those communities. To understand what that means, what does it mean, to be, you know, federally recognized as a reservation? What does that mean legally? What does that mean, historically, what is the history of it? So we have a big we’re working on a big campaign on human trafficking and sex trafficking. It’s been 18 months long. I think we got like, one more month, maybe three more months left. And then we’re that’s in Minnesota, then we’re doing this in Wisconsin as well to some degree. So that’s, that’s a big project. That’s that takes up a lot of my time that I’m kind of a creative lead on.

Matthew Pearson 1:29:50
What’s What’s the fate? What’s your favorite project that you guys have worked on? Together? And last what when? How long have you been together? 10 years?

Ryan Freng 1:29:59
Come on up. Been for 15? I think right?

Matthew Pearson 1:30:04
14 It’ll be

Ryan Freng 1:30:06
14 this year or 15. Next year. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. What’s your answer, John?

John Shoemaker 1:30:14
That that’s a I mean, there’s probably a shortlist that I can come up with it’s hard to nail down a favorite because they’re, they’re good for different reasons. I mean, the stuff we did with with thermo store, and the Air Max was super fun because they, they went with our creative to just be like out there and crazy. And, you know, we had ninjas and a stunt driver, and an explosion, we hired a pyrotechnic guy, and then like, blow up a product and stuff. So that one was really fun, you know, because it was just like, we were laughing so much when you’re writing that one, we because we’re like, talking about something we’re just like, then ninjas come out. And we’re just like, shaking our heads. Like, this is so stupid. And it’s perfect. Like, just so that that one’s always going to have a have a special spot, I think is one of one of the projects. We did one recently, a little more recently, I guess it’s been about two years ago now. For mg and E as a social millennial marketing kind of

Ryan Freng 1:31:38
thing called Are you sure it wasn’t three years ago? Three years ago?

John Shoemaker 1:31:42
Was it three holy cow, I think it might have been called Evie land, which is kind of a kind of a homage to lala land. And we we worked with the Madison ballet and had this whole huge choreographed scene through a traffic jam that we like closed down a street in Warner, Warner Park area. You know, there were like hundreds involved in that production. So that one was a cool one. And then there’s one very recent that I’m super proud of that it’s not out yet. But our studio shoot we just did with how chunk casino Madison was hilarious and amazing work with some really talented comedic actors. And then Luke Karski built an amazing set in the studio that like that roll that opened up. It was on rollers or whatever. So Wow. It like it reveal the sort of like, it’s kind of like a Old Spice Snickers commercial breaking reality sort of thing. Like Yeah.

Matthew Pearson 1:33:03
So yeah, that that sounds pretty sounds reminds me of an idea of it’d be I always thought it’d be fun to do like a confessional video. But do it like, in that same kind of style? Or like the, what was that Dollar Shave Club? He used to have a crazy promote, we’re just walking around doing stuff, you know, that style, but do it for like a confessional tutorial. You know, I don’t know which one to try to figure out how to make it happen. Yeah.

John Shoemaker 1:33:35
Well, we

Ryan Freng 1:33:35
totally ripped off the Dollar Shave Club commercial, the thermistor project, the first project we did was that and then the second one was an action film. So yeah, those are those are definitely some of the

John Shoemaker 1:33:48
what? Do you have one that like, either the same or like in addition to that, that’s that? I did just think of another one.

Ryan Freng 1:33:57
Yeah, I mean, those are, those are really good. elands probably one of my favorites. Just working with Charlie’s always been super rewarding and fun. And that project is amazing. The other project you mentioned are so good to one of the first like one of the things we did with carbon for anything, I had like bad audio, because we recorded in the studio, but I just thought it was a very pretty project. And it was one of the first projects that we could do what we wanted to do, as opposed to the client telling us how it had to be the Felice Navidad where we filmed what the heck was his name? Film the artist who paints all their paintings, painting it while we’re here. Ryan talking about how he’s going to create the beer because they create the beer and the painting kind of concurrently. And seeing that process come together was really really fun. So that’s kind of an oldie but a goodie and probably better in my heart and memory than it is in in real life. But I remember that one.

Matthew Pearson 1:35:01
Yeah, the hair, I’ll drop, I’ll drop these three on you and then I’ll and then I’ll take off. These are just a plant the seed, okay, these are just his once I’m once I’m back in the diocese, I definitely want to, you know, try to work with you guys a lot on different ideas and see what we can come up with. But I’d love to do, like I told you at the at the party that we were at a couple of weeks ago, Ryan, the idea of like, the first 30 days after ordination, like a little mini Doc, you know, like 1520 minute type thing, interspersed with a couple, you know, interviews from like, you know, the bishop and some older priests, some younger priests, you know, that kind of thing. Just what was their experience, and just throw that together? That’s one idea. The other one, I, I, I’d love to make a long, I don’t know if you guys have seen this documentary, but it’s called into the bottle. It was an old movie five years ago on Netflix is a wine documentary. Anyway, one of the chapters, essentially, of the documentary was on like, you know, the word divine literally means from the vine. So there’s this connection with wine, and divinity, really, in antiquity, I mean, for all of mankind in the Mediterranean world anyway. And so like one of the guys in the one of the documentary, one of the interviews literally says, I don’t even know if he’s Catholic or Christian, but he says, I think there’s a reason that Jesus picked this drink as his drink, you know, like, it clearly fit everything he was doing. So he’s kind of talking about it from just a basic perspective, right. But I’d love to make a documentary on Yeah, the spirituality of like wine and winemaking. And then the crossover to the spiritual life, is there’s a lot of connections, plus the cinematography and the vineyard is just as the work for you. Right. But so keep that in mind. And then the third one would be kind of our storytelling idea we were talking about, it would be like, doing some snapshots, with priests, probably older priests, it would have to be, but like, tell me a story about a time, you know, of, like, someone you worked with, and walked with, and like, how they grew, or how they like, even from the Breaking Bad perspective, how do they grow with you? Or how did they flee from you, but like, most older crease, have these stories, like in their, in their background, and maybe they could tell the story in a way that, you know, conceal the identity of the person, obviously, but could speak of the process of that human connection? You know, so,

John Shoemaker 1:37:56
yeah, we we’ve run and I have talked before about how cool it would be, it would be extremely challenging to do without, like, affecting it in doing it’s like cinema Verity, like how do you record it without affecting the outcome. And it could be heartbreaking to put to do something, kind of, like on conversion. And, and sort of, like walk with people, like on the edge of that. And then like, you would see, like, what choices are made in the end? And sort of have this like, ability to like, see maybe what led to things you know, choosing it or whatever. And, obviously, I I would have my slant on what, you know, which one was the right choice, but you know, like, yeah, I don’t know if you guys writing these down.

Ryan Freng 1:38:56
Okay, I was gonna say I’m writing these down real quick. Yeah, the first 30 days. What was the second one?

Matthew Pearson 1:39:02
The vineyard one, or the wine and spiritual life? Oh, yeah. Got it. And there’s even I’ve even heard there’s a priest in the Archdiocese in Milwaukee father, John Burns. I think he’s, I don’t know if he’s written about this, but I think he has a I’ve heard from other priests that he has an interesting perspective on this idea too, because just for example, someone who owns a vineyard, right, there’ll be times where they starve. They don’t water. Right, the vines. They do that on purpose that the vines go deeper in search of water. Because that, you know, that makes it healthier plant helps the plant you know, helps it to grow, but also expose it to all kinds of nutrients that aren’t it’s already sucked all the nutrients out of higher soil, and that’s to keep digging. So like, that’s just an idea where you could take that idea, and you could build it out in a few different chapters and they are 40 minutes or something, you know? So yeah, plenty of good stuff there.

Ryan Freng 1:40:07
It sounds like he’s, he’s gonna write a book. I do want to get you out of here though it’s 1240. Last thing, anything you want to share, you know, anybody discerning like what, Hey, maybe I could be a priest, or maybe I could be a sister, what do they do?

Matthew Pearson 1:40:25
I think the first thing is to not put too much pressure on yourself. I think that’s the, there should be a certain level of peace that’s recognizable in your decision making process, and what God’s trying to do with you. So I’d say like, first, just don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Along with that is kind of what I mentioned earlier, be honest. And one of the best ways to be honest, is to talk to somebody you trust. Okay. And then the third thing is that God speaks to us through our experiences, and then, and additionally, after our experiences through the church. So go over, you know, if you’re discerning what you want to do, and what you think, what are the experiences that you feel like God has given you that have made you think about this? Right? It made you think about either getting married, or going into religious life, or priesthood. And then discuss those with the person you trust and be honest about it. Because I think every person should, is going to have something specific, some specific experience or experiences that move them this direction. And those are important to analyze. That’s really what you’re discerning, you’re not discerning kind of the big, big picture. Right away. You’re discerning these kinds of these little motivating experiences, and trying to dig into those and seeing what, what was really happening there. And to make sure you’re not deceiving yourself, that’s another because that can that can happen. That’s why you want to talk to somebody about it. So but I keep praying, and God will keep gotta keep speaking to you.

Ryan Freng 1:42:26
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for that advice. And thank you for hanging out and talking with us. You know, I think sometimes people don’t know what to expect. But this was awesome. And I love that we got into Breaking Bad and telling and this was this is all the right things for me. So yeah, thank you for jumping on. And hanging out with us. John, do you got anything for us?

John Shoemaker 1:42:50
Nice to meet you. I don’t think I’ve I’ve only got met you before. So it’s nice. Yeah.

Matthew Pearson 1:42:56
We probably. Yeah, no, same. i We probably met four years ago at one of the interviews that you guys did for us, but it would have been for? Yeah, a couple minutes. But ya know, I spent time with you guys. For sure. Thank you for the invitation. And yeah, I enjoyed. I enjoyed myself a lot. So thanks.

Ryan Freng 1:43:17
Awesome. Yeah, thank you so much, Matthew, for coming on. Good luck in your studies and ordination. You know, we’ll be praying definitely for you. Please pray for us. And for those watching at home. Thank you for tuning in. Thank you for commenting. Do all the things like subscribe, you’ll get notified each week when we go live. Next week, we’ve got Carolyn Avril. And we’re actually going to do it a little bit later, because we’re driving back from Minneapolis. And it’ll be great because it’ll be a little more happy hour time. We can have some drinks. I think it’s three o’clock next week. It’s gonna be awesome. We just finished a big web project with her. So we can talk to her all about that and maybe ask her opinion about breaking bad because she’s one of my recommendation friends. Like, I take recommendations from her seriously. She takes them seriously from me. So I’m sure she’s got some great opinions on that. You should also make sure you check out our podcast wherever podcasts are. So this show is a podcast. So Matthew, you’re going to be in the podcast at some point. As soon as you get it edited. We’re about 50 episodes behind, but they’re coming because we had such a backlog when we started this through COVID. So you can check that out at let’s back up.com/. Let’s back up show or go to our website, hit the podcast button in the menu, or just look it up on wherever you your podcasts are sold. That’s what we got. Thanks so much, everyone for tuning in. We’ll see you next week. Later. Bye.

author avatar
Ryan Freng
Owner and creative director. Shall we begin like David Copperfield? 'I am born...I grew up.' Wait, I’m running out of space? Ah crap, ooh, I’ve got it...