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Can I Laugh On Your Shoulder?

May 1, 2024

In today’s episode, I’m joined by the remarkable Ryan George. Ryan is the author of the book, Hurt and Healed by the Church: Redemption and Reconstruction After Spiritual Abuse. 

He spent the first 20 years of his life in a cult, attending a series of independent fundamental Baptist (IFB) churches, including one where his dad was a pastor with ultimate authority. Later in life, Ryan was confronted with the devastating truth of his father's serial sexual abuse.

Despite the trauma he experienced, Ryan didn't abandon his faith. After leaving the spiritually abusive IFB movement, he embarked on a 25-year journey of reevaluation and reconstruction. Today, through his blog, books, interviews, and spiritual adventure company, Dude Group, Ryan offers hope for those navigating their own paths of healing. 

I do want to warn our listeners that this episode focuses on sensitive subjects like church hurt and sexual abuse. However, Ryan’s story is so powerful, and filled with hope, compassion, and healing. 

2:48 – Ryan 101

Oldest of six homeschooled children + a pastor’s son
Husband and adoptive father
Adventurer and blogger
Author of 3 books

6:51 – The Path To Healing 

Discovering his father’s abuse
Navigating the aftermath
Sharing his story to help others

18:16 – Jesus’ Model Of Justice

Jesus as a model for handling anger and betrayal
Pursuing justice with compassion
Seeking Heaven on Earth

33:31 – Finding The Real Jesus 

What identifies a cult from a healthy church environment 
Ryan’s experience with IFB churches
Seeking out the authentic Jesus 
Recognizing that churches have both moments of beauty and moments of failure

54:54 – Takeaways

Being the person that confesses first
Podcast recording stories
Connecting with Ryan


"Wounds from relationships are only healed in relationships... And I think that wounds from the church can only be healed not necessarily in a church building, but by people who also love Jesus."
“Give people the gift of going second... You have to start with yourself, or it can spin in some very horrible places. You become a bomb thrower…. I want to be the person that confesses first, so that people go, ‘Oh, that’s the real thing.’”


Learn more about Ryan:



Ryan’s Website

Check out Ryan’s books:



Connect with me:

Barnes & Noble: 
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About Can I Laugh On Your Shoulder?

Can I Laugh On Your Shoulder? Podcast is a weekly podcast where we have honest conversations about faith, business, life, and everything in between. Hosted by speaker and author, Molly Stillman, her mission is to make you laugh, cry, and laugh till you cry. She wants to create a community of people who are unafraid to be themselves and have honest conversations about the things that matter most. Her vision is to create a safe space for people to explore their faith and share their stories and gifts with the world.