Over 5 months ago, Eric and I took a walk down a gravel road past my church. We talked of life, God, psych hospitals, Faithful Friends, smoothies. Somewhere between the dust of our steps and the breeze around us, the Spirit stirred us and an idea was conceived. A podcast.
5 months later. Last night. January 25, 2018. We birthed a 5 minute 30 second trailer for Revealing Voices. It goes something like this:
Eric (E): We welcome you to the trailer of our Revealing Voices podcast. Before launching into the trailer, I want to say thank you to all of those who supported us in our successful Indiegogo campaign in November and December. In the upcoming episodes, we will will thank you personally for your generosity.
(E): Now please let me introduce you to my friend and co-host Tony Roberts. Tony is a published author and blogger, focused on matters of faith and mental health. He is the father of four and grandfather of two, with one on the way. Music feeds Tony’s soul and John Prine is his muse.
Tony (T): And that was my friend Eric Riddle. Eric is a man of faith, a husband, a father of two, and an Indiana University basketball fan. He is a Product Developer by day and a Mental Health Advocate by night.
(T): In many ways, the seeds of this podcast began in March of 2014. That month I published Delight in Disorder, a spiritual memoir about my life as a pastor battling bipolar disorder.
(E): I saw an article in the local newspaper about the upcoming book launch.
(T): Right, so Eric contacted me.
(E): It was Jen, my lovely wife, who spotted the article and gave me Tony’s contact info. Within a few days, we met for coffee.
(T): Jill’s Diner.
(E): Right. Jill’s Diner.
(T): And we shared some of our faith and mental health history.
(E): And we found we had a lot in common.
(T): Even drank our coffee black.
(E): And very strong.
(T): So, we were both coming through low periods. We agreed to meet weekly to walk, talk, listen, and pray.
(E): Yes. And out of these times together, we agreed that two things were lacking in our lives. One – a mental health peer support group where we could share our stories with others who have had similar experiences.
(T): And two – a safe place to explore the role of faith in our recovery. About nine months after that coffee at Jill’s Diner, our shared passion for mental health ministry gave birth to a group we call Faithful Friends. We’ve now met weekly for over three years.
(E): It’s been an amazing three years, but there was a bit of stagnation when Tony moved to Rochester, New York in 2016.
(T): Within 18 months, I moved back to Southern Indiana from my adopted home in the Finger Lakes. Eric and I picked right up where we left off. We went for a walk.
(E): Down a gravel road past your church, yeah?
(T): There you go. My church. Good people. Strong faith. So I had heard about these things called podcasts — all the rage among the younger set.
(E): Well, as a man of that younger set, I can say I’ma great fan of podcasts. I probably have over 20 that I listen to in any given week. So I had thought of doing a podcast for some time, but I knew I needed a co-host to seriously make it happen. But Tony, you had never listened to one, right?
(T): That’s right, so I asked you to help me dial one in on my iPhone.
(E): Tony is a quick study and easily entered the wonderful world of podcasting. Our focus was on faith and mental health and we found none that approached the topic as we would.
(T): We had a niche.
(E): Was that an itch.
(T): Well, that too. We were itching to fill that niche.
(E): So we started meeting in the Fall to brainstorm. Cast a vision.
(T): How do you cast a vision? Is that like fly fishing?
(E): Indeed. I think we’ve caught a big one.
(T): And here we are.
(E): Yes, here we are.
(T): Where are we?
(E): On the verge of Revealing Voices —
(T): Raising unanswered questions; sharing unanswered prayers.
(E): We will not be an advice program. Not a Q & A.
(T): More like a Q & Q.
(T): We are faith-based. We will dialogue on issues of ultimate meaning with persons of diverse faiths.
(E): We are peer-led. We are not mental health professionals, but we know what it is like to live with a mental health diagnosis.
(T): We are story-driven and stigma-breaking.
(E): Yes. The best way to break stigma is not with political jargon, but with emotionally honest stories.
(T): So will our podcasts include, you ask?
(E): First, our own stories of how we live out our faith while navigating distinct struggles with mental illness.
(T): Second, engaging interviews with mental health professionals, leaders and members of faith communities. And those involved in the peer recovery movement.
(E): We will share prayers from you, our listeners. Reflections from Tony’s book and blog. Maybe even some of my Haiku.
(T): All this and more, launching March 1.
(E): That’s when we will upload it on iTunes and our website.
(T): We are Revealing Voices.
(E): Raising unanswered questions; sharing unanswered prayers.
Picture credit (above) to Ruby Reese Photography
Music credits to Tre Scott
Trailer will be officially released in the next week or two as we finalize our iTunes feed!
We are very grateful for all of you who have supported us in our journey!
– written by Tony Roberts & Eric Riddle