Religion & Faith

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When a family member comes out as transgender, non-binary or gender-diverse, parents may question their spiritual beliefs, Especially if their church has given the message of being non-affirming towards LGBTQ2S+ people and, in turn, towards their child. These are affirming resources for a parent or transgender person.

I Found a Church 

CREDIT:  Artwork by David Hayward of NakedPastor.com

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AFFIRMING MINISTRIES & ORGANISATIONS

 

 ALBERTA

Pride Corner on Whyte

​Private Facebook page. Pride Corner space on Whyte Avenue in Edmonton is monitored by adults.

In May 2022 the City of Edmonton officially proclaimed the corner of 104 Street and Whyte Ave "Pride Corner" after support from the Strathcona Business Association, and 10,000 signatures received in support.

Click to read the ARTICLE by Pamela Young, an Edmonton freelance writer, about the history of Pride Corner, published April 18, 2022 in Xtra e-magazine.

" 'Pride Corner on Whyte' envisions an Edmonton where every member of the LGBTQ family (plus local businesses) can safely be on Whyte Avenue without fear and without subjection to homophobic street preachers.

   For over 10 years, street preachers have stood on their milk crate with their microphone and 'preached' their messages. It is homophobia disguised as bible quotes.

   It is long past time to reclaim the space on the corner of 104th street and Whyte and have it be known as 'Pride Corner'. A growing group of counter protestors have made it their calling to stand on 104th and Whyte to fight the good fight."

"Xtra is an online magazine and community platform covering LGBTQ2S+ culture, politics and health. We aim to break boundaries, think outside of binaries and build bridges within our communities and beyond."

Affirming Ministries

Public Facebook page. Edmonton area.

"We support & create affirming places for LGBTQ+ persons and communities in the city of Edmonton and the surrounding area. Affirming Ministries publicly declares our commitment to inclusion & justice for all sexual orientations and gender identities!"

Affirm United

Click to find an Affirming Ministry in Alberta.

"A proud partner of The United Church of Canada for the support of all gender identities and sexual orientations

What we do:

  • Education– to promote greater awareness of sexual orientation and gender identity gifts and struggles.

  • Action– to work to end discrimination against people in church, society and our own organization.

Support– to help people of all sexual orientations and gender identities find support and community within the United Church of Canada and beyond."

Unitarian Church of Edmonton

"Who We Are:  The Unitarian Church of Edmonton (UCE ) is a liberal, multi-
generational, religious community. We celebrate a rich mosaic of free-thinking, spiritually questing individuals joined in common support and action. We welcome a full range of theological perspectives -- from theism to atheism – as well as a full range of spiritual traditions and practices. As a Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregation, we strive to be a community where everyone is able to fully participate, regardless of gender, gender expression, race, colour, ethnic or national origin, religion,  sexual/affectional orientation, age, class, physical character or disability."

Facebook :    https://www.facebook.com/UnitarianChurch

Website:       https://www.uce.ca/

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UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA

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Celebrating gender diversity: A toolkit on gender identity and trans experiences in communities of faith

United Church of Canada.  2019.

"Welcome to The United Church of Canada’s Toolkit on gender identity and trans experiences. As The United Church of Canada seeks to fully celebrate God’s diversity, understanding gender identity plays an integral role.

Trans people are offering valuable ministry within the church, both as lay people and as clergy. United Church communities of faith are sponsoring trans refugees for resettlement. This resource has been created to help  individual members and communities of faith to deepen their understanding of gender identity, help them create welcoming and affirming communities, and integrate trans people’s gifts and capacities for ministry into the life of the church, including liturgy and expressions of worship."

Celebrating gender diversity: Five stories

United Church of Canada.  Video.  2015.

"This webinar was recorded on December 3, 2015.

      As we seek to fully celebrate God’s diversity, understanding gender identity plays an integral role. Trans* people face many barriers in society—barriers that are often present in the church as well. This webinar will help you learn more about the lived experience of trans and genderqueer* people in the United Church of Canada. Deepen your personal ministry and/or your church’s affirming ministry, by listening to and learning from the experience of trans people of faith.

* Trans refers to a person who has a gender identity that is different from the gender they were assigned at birth, and/or expresses their gender in ways that differ from societal expectations. Trans is often used as a substitute for transgender, to include people of a variety of gender identities (such as genderqueer).

* Genderqueer is someone who does not necessarily identify as a man or a woman, may identify as both a man and a woman, or identifies outside the confines of traditional Western ideas of gender.

Resource for more Information: The United Church's trans and gender identity kit, Celebrating Gender Diversity explores gender identity and the integral role it plays in creating welcoming and affirming communities."

Gender identity in the church

United Church of Canada

"The United Church of Canada affirms that all human beings are made in the image of God and welcomes people of all gender identities into full membership and ministry. God loves us all (Psalm 139, John 1:1–5, Acts 10:34–43). We continue to listen to stories of trans people and learn how to become more welcoming. "

Gender, sexuality and orientation

United Church of Canada

"The United Church affirms that gender and sexuality are gifts of God, and that all persons are made in the image of God. We welcome into full membership and ministry people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. The United Church is opposed to discrimination against any person on any basis by which a person is devalued (search “Commitment to Inclusion” on United Church Commons(opens in a new tab)).

The struggle for justice against sexism and gender-based violence, and towards justice for people of all gender identities and sexual orientations, are fundamental ways in which the United Church seeks to transform structures and systems and be faithful to God's vision for humanity."

Trans and Gender Identity, The United Church of Canada

United Church of Canada Facebook page.

"WELCOME! This group is a place for trans, non-binary, gender-nonconforming, Two Spirit people, their family, friends, and allies, to ask questions, discuss issues, and share resources aimed at encouraging the participation and ministry of trans and Two-Spirit people in the life of The United Church of Canada."

Trans Network

"The United Church Trans Network is for trans people and allies. Send your request to join by e-mail to  transgender@united-church.ca "

https://www.bc.united-church.ca/sites/default/files/Trans%20Network%20Invitation.pdf

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US & INTERNATIONAL

 

Welcoming congregations in   (______)

Institute for Welcoming Resources: Towards a Welcoming & Inclusive Church. National LGBTQ Task Force.   (US)

Resources for supporting affirming churches. Can also search across the world for affirming congregations and churches. A few Canadian churches are listed.

These documents can be downloaded from this page:

God's family: Creating allies for our LGBT families

Building an inclusive church: A welcoming toolkit 2.0     .......etc

(see website for more resources)

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the NakedPastor -- David Hayward

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​Where'd Jesus Go?  

Lost Transgender Lamb  

CREDIT: Artwork by David Hayward of NakedPastor.com

David Hayward, of the NakedPastor, is a former pastor, amazing artist and painter, author and blogger. He lives in New Brunswick.      (CANADA)

Click to watch VIDEO.  David talks about who he is and how he wants you to feel your freedom.

The Naked Pastor

"Hey! I’m David AKA the NakedPastor.  Alright, so my name isn't actually NakedPastor, and I'm not naked either!  I'm David Hayward and I make art that always seeks the naked truth."

   In 2010, after 30 years as a pastor, I left the ministry to focus on NakedPastor and the community that was emerging around it.  It’s now my full time gig! I believe that questions are the answer to authentic growth.  It’s why I use words and images to challenge the status quo, deconstruct dogma, and offer hope for those who suffer under it

   With a Masters in Theological Studies, as well as Diplomas in Religious Studies and Ministry, and University Teaching, I’m no stranger to belief systems.  My art expresses the stories and struggles of spiritual refugees and those who question, doubt or reject the confines of religion.  Each piece encourages important conversations and acts as a catalyst for critical thinking.

   When I started NakedPastor, it was a novelty but has since grown into a diverse global community of independent thinkers who support each other on their journey to personal spiritual freedom.  Committed to truth, authenticity and understanding, I support LGBTQ+ people and groups, BIPOC and women artists, creatives, journalists (and more), and encourage you to do the same.

   If you want to read more about my deconstruction process, click and read "My Story"."

​​​Instagram:   https://www.instagram.com/nakedpastor/

Blog:    https://nakedpastor.com/blogs/news

Website:    https://nakedpastor.com/

Click to sign up to:   "Join The NakedPastor Community!  Sign up for my newsletter to hear more and gain access to some exclusive offers. Your privacy is important. We will never share your email or information with anyone."

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DAVID'S BOOKS

Check Chapters and Amazon.ca site for other books David has published.


Questions are the answer: nakedpastor and the search for understanding
By David Hayward. New Brunswick. 2015.
“David Hayward – the ‘Naked Pastor’ – is one of the most prolific Christian cartoonists of the online world. Describing himself as ‘a graffiti artist on the walls of religion’ with the aim of ‘helping people undress religion to the core essential of their own unique spirituality’, his immediately-recognisable images are shared by thousands across social media every day.

    This book uses David’s cartoons and accompanying text to tell his own story from being a ‘Closed’ Christian, with a black and white, fundamentalist view of the world to the freedom of becoming an ‘Open’ Christian with the courage to ask questions and wrestle with some of the tougher challenges of faith.”

​David's new book "Flip It Like This!" is coming out Jul 19, 2022 :

Flip it like this!

By David Hayward. Release date of July 19, 2022.

"From the cartoonist who points his pen straight at today's pressing issues of inclusion, faith, spiritual abuse, and justice comes Flip It Like This!

    Aggravated women disciples, Jesus hugging rainbow sheep: the cartoons of David Hayward, the artist behind @NakedPastor, are graffiti on the walls of the contemporary church. He sketches the ridiculous, the appalling, and the damaging aspects of the church as we know it--as well as Jesus erasing lines, embracing the excluded, and standing outside the church's walls. In this collection, which includes Hayward's most beloved comics as well as never-before-seen cartoons, we find more of the whimsy, impertinence, and tenderness that we didn't even know we needed.

    These cartoons are for those who have been battered or infuriated by the church and who long to see it change. Upending notions of who's in and who's out, Hayward's comic vision overturns false pieties and harmful dogmas in one fell swoop."

The art of coming out: Cartoons for the LGBTQ community

By David Hayward. 2014.       (Canada)

PODCAST INTERVIEW

 

Drawing graffiti on the walls of religion

Interview with David Hayward on The Hereafter podcasts. Podcast episode 037, Feb 8, 2022.

"In today’s episode, Cortland and Meghan talk to artist David Hayward known across the web as "Naked Pastor". After 30 years in the church, he left the ministry to pursue his passion for art. NakedPastor uses words and images to challenge the status quo, deconstruct dogma, and offer hope for those who struggle and suffer under it.

      David is no stranger to belief systems - he holds a Masters in Theological Studies, as well as Diplomas in Religious Studies and Ministry, and University Teaching. His art expresses the stories and struggles of spiritual refugees and independent thinkers who question, doubt or oppose the confines of religion. Each piece encourages difficult conversations and acts as a catalyst for critical thinking.

NOTE:  If you want to jump straight to the interview, you can skip to 16:35."

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 Jesus and the Rainbow Sheep Selfie

No Strings Attached

You Don't Gotta Do Nuttin!

​​CREDIT: Artwork by David Hayward of NakedPastor.com

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​​ARTICLES

3 Reasons to leave your non-affirming church

by Ken Wilson & Emily Swan. 2019.    (US)

"We’re not here to tell you what to do, but after the United Methodists decided to double down on stigmatizing LGBTQ policies, your heart may be troubled. If you’re straight and consider yourself an ally, you may wonder about going to a church (any church) that treats your LGBTQ loved ones like that. Or you might be one of your LGBTQ loved ones, and you’re open to a nudge in the direction of leaving. Here are three reasons to leave. And, of course, we don’t pretend to know what’s best in your particular situation. But sometimes we normalize to situations that dull us a little and narrow our thinking."

Faith
Gender Spectrum website. “Groups and Resources”.   (US)
Numerous articles regarding faith/religions and gender diverse children.

 

Open letter to a transgender young person
By John Pavlovitz, March 2021.  (US)
“John Pavlovitz is a writer, pastor, and activist from Wake Forest, North Carolina. A 25-year veteran in the trenches of local church ministry, John is committed to equality, diversity, and justice—both inside and outside faith communities. When not actively working for a more compassionate planet, John enjoys spending time with his family, exercising, cooking, and having time in nature. He is the author of A Bigger Table, Hope and Other Superpowers, Low, and Stuff That Needs to Be Said.”

Click here for John's website.  See section on John below.

Pronouns as a spiritualpractice

Mindfulness about gender opened this pastor to God’s voice 

By Melissa Pohlman.  Jan 26, 2022.    (US) 

"By respecting pronouns I could honor my child and the way God made them and help them love themselves enough to really want to live. We can do hard things, especially when it is so life-giving to another person.  We can do hard things, especially when it honors the spark of God in one another most fully.

    How is using everyone’s pronouns a spiritual practice? Spiritual practices are regular parts of our lives that help us stay in close contact with God or that open us to God. Finding out people’s pronouns fits because it helps us to see God in all people, in all genders, and keeps us mindful that God is concerned with both the generalities and the specificness of who we are and how we are made. "

Why being transgender is not a sin

Opinion. By Mark Wingfield. 2018.

"Even among Christians who appear kind or progressive, too often the existence of someone who identifies as transgender gets chalked up to 'sin'. No doubt that’s the root reason so many Christians happily pile on against transgender persons and their family members about bathrooms and schools, because in their heart of hearts, they don’t understand transgender identity and simply default to thinking it is a sinful lifestyle choice."

BOOKS

Bible and the transgender experience: How scripture supports gender variance

By Linda Herzer.  2016.

"A must read for all pastors, chaplains, counselors, and congregants, and for family and friends of transgender people, as well as for gender expansive individuals seeking to find their stories in the biblical narrative and desiring to know how scripture supports them.

      The author, a nontransgender pastor, spent three years serving a church where ten percent of the congregation identified as trans men, trans women, cross-dressers, or genderqueer. This motivated her to learn about gender expansive people and put her in situations where her previous understanding of the Bible was greatly expanded. In this scholarly, yet easy-to-read book, Herzer gives clear, insightful accounts of what she has learned."

How we sleep at night: A mother’s memoir
by Sara Cunningham. 2014.  (US)
Sara is the founder of Free Mom Hugs.
“A Christian mother comes to terms with her son being gay through a personal journey that starts with the Church and ends at the Pride Parade. Sara is in partnership with Jamie Lee Curtis, who has purchased the rights to her book and will release a movie based on her story.”  Movie will be on Lifetime.

Solus Jesus: A Theology of Resistance

By Emily Swan. 2018.

"If you read one book this year about the future of Christianity, then choose this book. Five hundred years ago the Protestant Reformation claimed the Bible as the authoritative guide for Christian living (“Sola Scriptura!” Only Scripture!). In this groundbreaking work, Emily Swan and Ken Wilson claim the authority of the church is shifting back to where it should be: in Jesus (Solus Jesus!).

    As co-founders of Blue Ocean Faith, Swan and Wilson are pioneering what it means to be post-evangelical—post-Protestant, even—in a time when such re-imagining is desperately needed.

    Solus Jesus not only grapples with the authority question in Christianity, but also provides a massive re-think of traditional atonement theories. Leaning on the work of René Girard, they conclude that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus together reveal a completely good, non-violent God who is on the side of the oppressed and scapegoated of this world. As a work of queer theology, the book is intersectional in its understanding of justice, and invites readers to reconsider our understanding of what it means to follow Jesus.

    This book is timely, to say the least. For Christians looking for guidance on how to address distressing issues of injustice; for help understanding how they can faithfully follow Jesus and love their neighbors as themselves; and for practices for how to experience the living Jesus and his Spirit of love—Solus Jesus is the book for you."

Trans affirming churches: How to celebrate gender-variant people and their loved ones

By Chris Dowd.  Mar 2020.  (US)

"There remains a lack of knowledge and understanding about trans people in the church, and trans people who are religious can experience bias in their faith communities. With the help of their many years of experience working with trans people negotiating their relationships with religious institutions, the authors (one of whom is trans) have created this accessible, valuable guide that will educate and improve churches' relationship with trans people.
  Combining first-hand interviews, the authors' own experiences and scripture analysis, this thought-provoking guide uses this combination of ancient and contemporary stories to outline a theology that welcomes and includes all people whatever their gender identity or sexual orientation. Written from this inclusive Christian perspective, the book answers questions about trans people that are specific to church communities.

  Christina Beardsley is a trans woman and priest in the Church of England. She is a member of the Sibyls: Christian Spirituality for Trans People and the author of several books and articles on faith and gender variance. 

  Chris Dowd is a United Reformed Church minister who has done doctoral research on the spirituality of trans people and has many years experience of supporting trans people."

Transfaith:  A transgender pastoral resource

By Chris Dowd & Christina Beardsley. 2018  (US)

"A resource for ministers and congregations who want to begin to understand and/or welcome transgender people into their congregations. The book has the following aims: to give the results of the first research based project into the experiences of trans Christians in the UK; to provide a theological and biblical framework in which ministers and congregations can begin to understand the insights and issues transgender people bring; to provide a series of insights that inform the pastoral care of transgender people, their families and friends; to provide resources in the form of liturgies and Bible studies that can be used by ministers and congregations exploring and/or experiencing these issues."

  Christina Beardsley is a priest and hospital chaplain, writer and activist for trans inclusion in the Church. She is a member of Sibyls, the UK based confidential spirituality group for transgender people and their allies.

  Chris Dowd was originally a Minister in the LGBT identified Metropolitan Community Churches for over a decade planting a queer friendly fresh expression called Journey in the West Midlands. At the same time, he served as a special category minister for the United Reformed Church as a University Chaplain at Aston University. He retrained as a minister of Word and Sacrament within the United Reformed Church and currently serves as a Chaplain at Hull University and as minister for several churches.

Transforming: The Bible and the lives of transgender Christians

By Austen Hartke.  Jan 18, 2022.

"Transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians provides access into an underrepresented and misunderstood community and will change the way readers think about transgender people, faith, and the future of Christianity. Hartke offers insight into Scriptures often used to enforce a fixed and binary conception of gender, and highlights the narratives of both gender-expansive biblical characters and transgender Christians living today. This new, updated and expanded edition includes even more tools to equip churches, pastors, and allies to better welcome and care for their trans and non-binary neighbors."

Theologian Austen Hartke, a 2019 Bush Foundation Fellow, shares one Christian's experience and theological reflections on his faith and the Holy Scriptures as a transgender man.

Understanding gender dysphoria: Navigating transgender issues in a changing culture

By Mark A. Yarhouse. 2015.  (US)

"In Understanding Gender Dysphoria, Yarhouse offers a Christian perspective on transgender issues that eschews simplistic answers and appreciates the psychological and theological complexity. The result is a book that engages the latest research while remaining pastorally sensitive to the experiences of each person. In the midst of a tense political climate, Yarhouse calls Christians to come alongside those on the margins and stand with them as they resolve their questions and concerns about gender identity. Understanding Gender Dysphoria is the book we need to navigate these stormy cultural waters."

What does God think? Transgender people and the Bible
By Cheryl Evans. 2017.              (Ontario, Canada)
“From the award winning author of I Promised Not to Tell comes this thought-provoking new book, What Does God Think?

   Presented with the idea that her transgender child was 'not of God', Cheryl B. Evans set out to see what God really thinks about transgender people. What does the Bible say? Why is there such a big divide among Christians? Why do some Christians insist there is no such thing as a transgender person while other Christians accept and affirm transgender people? And most importantly, what does God think? This is an invitation to examine the scriptures and give consideration to the social, cultural, and scientific facts that impact what we believe, and the way we internally feel about transgender people.
  Cheryl B. Evans handles this controversial topic with grace and compassion for people on both sides of this debate. If you have been struggling to understand how someone can be Christian and still accept and affirm transgender people then this book is for you. If you know someone who is struggling to accept a love one who has come out as trans, this would be the perfect book to recommend.”

OTHER RESOURCES

 

Blue Ocean Faith

Private Facebook page. Subgroup of Serendipitydodah - Home of the Mama Bears. (US)

“Blue Ocean Faith is a subgroup for members of Serendipitydodah – Home of the Mama Bears for Moms who want to dive deeper into their faith journey with a community that is fully inclusive of LGBTQ people and those who support them. Two pastors from Blue Ocean Faith Ann Arbor community help facilitate this group. Only members of Serendipitydodah - Home of the Mama Bears can access this special subgroup.”

Free Mom Hugs
Public website and public Facebook group. By Sarah Cunningham. (US)
“Free Mom Hugs is a (US) organization that advocates for equality for the LGBT community by providing resources, education, and support. Sara Cunningham’s appreciation for Oklahoma City Pride began the day she stood alongside her husband in support of their gay son on the corner of NW 39th and Penn at the 2014 Pride Parade. Today she is not only the proud, loving Mom of an LGBTQ child, but she has become a leading voice for faith parents of LGBTQ children. These parents, seeing the need to love and acceptance within the LGBTQ world, attend statewide events, offering Free Mom Hugs to anyone who wants them, and sharing love to all. As recognition has grown, the mission of Free Mom Hugs has expanded to include support, education and empowerment for the community as well as for parents, family, allies and faith organizations.”

Jamie Lee Curtis has bought the rights to Sarah’s book How We Sleep at Night.
Click here for Sarah's Free Mom Hugs Facebook page.

They call themselves Mama Bears. Churches that mess with their LGBTQ kids should listen up.

By Ken Wilson. Article for Medium (e-magazine). 2018. Co-author of Solus Jesus: A Theology of Resistance.

"There’s a movement growing among the mothers of LGBTQ+ kids from churches that make their lives miserable. They call themselves mama bears and they are quietly organizing. Emily Swan and I are connected to about 3,000 of these moms who belong to a secret FB community. Last year it was 2,000. It started in 2014 with a handful. Similar groups are forming and will continue to grow. A public blog called Serendipitydodah for Moms tells one such story."

Serendipody - Links to individual posts, articles, studies & documents

Trans in America: Texas strong (short documentary)

Kai Shappley: A trans girl growing up In Texas
Emmy-Winning Documentary. 2018.    (US)
Trans In America: Texas Strong is an intimate portrait of Kimberly and Kai Shappley, a mother who has to confront her religious community while her 7-year-old transgender daughter navigates life at school— where she’s been banned from the girls’ bathroom.

 

 

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SELECTED BOOKS by JOHN PAVLOVITZ

Click here to go to John's website

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A bigger table : Building messy, authentic, and hopeful spiritual community (expanded edition with study guide)

By John Pavlovitz. October 2020.  (US)

"A Bigger Table invites readers to envision a church that is big enough for everyone, by holding up a mirror to the modern church and speaking clearly on issues at the heart of the Christian community: LGBT inclusion, gender equality, racial tensions, global concerns, and theological shifts. John Pavlovitz shares moving personal stories, his careful observations as a pastor, and his understanding of the ancient stories of Jesus to set the table for a new, positive, more loving conversation on these and other important matters of faith. Though there are many who would remove chairs and whittle down the guest list, we can build the bigger table Jesus imagined, practicing radical hospitality, total authenticity, messy diversity, and agenda-free community.

This new edition includes a small-group study guide complete with ideas for exploring A Bigger Table in a congregation-wide sermon series and program along with a new foreword by Jacqui Lewis and new afterword by the author to explore the challenges of living out the bigger table when voices of hate and exclusion seem stronger and louder than ever."

Hope and other superpowers: A life-affirming, love-defending, butt-kicking, world-saving manifesto

By John Pavlovitz. 2020. (US)

"Overwhelmed by the news cycle and the state of affairs in our world? Pastor, blogger, and powerful voice in the Resistance, John Pavlovitz has the answer: this rousing and inspirational guide, drawing from lessons of our favorite superheroes, for how we can band together, live more heroically (and meaningfully), and save the world.

  It’s exhausting to give a damn these days, isn’t it? Perhaps you’re feeling anguished about what you see on the news or in your social media timeline, or by your personal circumstances, and are paralyzed waiting for political or religious leaders, or celebrities, to rescue us from it all. But what if you didn’t have to wait for someone else? What if you could be the heroThis book - spirited call to action - shows you how.

  In these pages, John offers a path away from the vitriol and toward com­passion, and a plan to transform our burdens into dreams and our outrage into activism. Drawing from lessons of beloved fictional superheroes, John shows us how to identify our origin story, build protective suits of armor, guard against our personal kryptonite, and vanquish our villains. He also identifies ten specific “superpowers” that we can enlist to make our lives and our world better. Along the way, he shares inspiring anecdotes and profiles about ordinary people who saw a gap in the world in empathy or kindness or gratitude and decided to fill it.

  Hope and Other Superpowers is an invitation to anyone hoping to be the kind of person the world so desperately needs—the kind who can save it. In other words: it’s an invitation to you."

If God is love, don’t be a jerk: Finding a faith that makes us better humans

by John Pavlovitz. (Coming September 28, 2021)

"Thou Shalt Not Be Horrible.

  Imagine for a moment what the world might look like if we as people of faith, morality, and conscience actually aspired to this mantra. What if we were fully burdened to create a world that was more loving and equitable than when we arrived? What if we invited one another to share in wide-open, fearless, spiritual communities truly marked by compassion and interdependence? What if we daily challenged ourselves to live a faith that simply made us better humans?

  John Pavlovitz explores how we can embody this kinder kind of spirituality where we humbly examine our belief system to understand how it might compel us to act in less-than-loving ways toward others.

​This simple phrase, Thou Shalt Not Be Horrible, could help us practice what we preach by creating a world where:

* spiritual community provides a sense of belonging where all people are received as we are;

* the most important question we ask of a religious belief is not Is it true? but rather, is it helpful?

* it is morally impossible to pledge complete allegiance to both Jesus and America simultaneously;

* the way we treat others is the most tangible and meaningful expression of our belief system.

In If God Is Love, Don't Be a Jerk, John Pavlovitz examines the bedrock ideas of our religion: the existence of hell, the utility of prayer, the way we treat LGBTQ people, the value of anger, and other doctrines to help all of us take a good, honest look at how the beliefs we hold can shape our relationships with God and our fellow humans -- and to make sure that love has the last, loudest word."
 

Stuff that needs to be said:  Essential words on life, death, faith, politics, love, and giving a damn
By John Pavlovitz. 2020.  (US)
“Over the past few years, John Pavlovitz’s blog, Stuff That Needs To Be Said, has become a virtual hub for millions of people from all over the world, drawn there by his clear, compelling words on compassion, equity, love, and justice. This expansive, like-hearted community transcends race, orientation, gender, religious tradition, political affiliation, and nation of origin–and finds its affinity in the deeper place of our shared humanity, which is the True North of his writing. This collection lovingly pulls together some of John’s most widely-read and most beloved essays on faith, politics, grief, and the elemental parts of being human. It is an encouraging, inspiring, challenging storehouse of “stuff that needs to be said.”

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SUSAN COTTRELL

Theologian, author, vlogger, and mom of 5 kids (2 who are LGBTQ).   (US)

"SUSAN COTTRELL is an international speaker whose TEDx talk has 1.5 million views. OutSmart magazine called her 'The Mother of All MamaBears'. The Advocate dubbed her 'our favorite affirming matriarch'. She is a prominent voice for the LGBTQ community and their faith parents who has been featured on ABC’s 20/20, Nightline and Good Morning America, on NBC News Out, and as a contributor on the 'Our Bible' app. She is a public theologian and through her nonprofit organization — FreedHearts — Susan champions the LGBTQ community and families with her authentic love; and she challenges Christians to love as the foundation of faith. She spent 20+ years in the non-affirming Evangelical church, has a Master of Arts in Theological Studies, and served as the Vice-President of PFLAG Austin. Her FreedHearts Blog and YouTube videos have millions of viewers, and her books ..... are critically acclaimed."

 

Dealing with dysfunctional family rejection

By Susan Cottrell. Video. Apr 2021.

"Are you dealing with issues from non-affirming, dysfunctional family? How do we respond? How do we protect ourselves and our hearts? This video will help set your heart free to love and be loved - don't settle for anything less!"

Susan's YouTube channel:  https://www.youtube.com/susancottrell

Susan's website FreedHeartswww.freedhearts.org

Freed Hearts

Website of organisation founded by Susan Cottrell.

"Founded in 2013, FreedHearts reaches into hurting communities with a message of love, inclusion, belonging, and hope — for parents, LGBTQ+, educators, therapists, and the church. We help people deconstruct their faith to free their heart to love and be loved.

    FreedHearts is in the trenches, providing safe spaces, inspiration, and encouragement. We have dynamic, transformational live, podcast, print, and film resources for LGBTQ+, parents, families, allies, and communities—to free hearts that change the world.

   We have touched the hearts of millions of people! MamaBears and PapaBears are choosing their child, giving free hugs, standing in, standing up, and speaking out. LGBTQ+ are healing deep wounds from family and religion, so they can love and be loved as they deserve.

   Churches are becoming more affirming and inclusive. Educators are better navigating relationships with LGBTQ+ students and their nonaffirming families. Therapists are more equipped to deal with the tragic impact of faith-based family rejection. We are there for all of them. That is what we do. We are FreedHearts."

A few of Susan's books:

Radically Included: The Biblical case for radical love and inclusion: 49 Verses that will change your life, change your love, and set your heart free!

by Susan Cottrell.

"This small, 64-page book is a powerhouse of truth, love and life!
  The conservative, evangelical church believes itself to be fairly inclusive—after all, Jesus is radically inclusive! But as we found out when our daughter came out: too often, it’s not!  I doubt this is breaking news, that many nonaffirming Christians marginalize, oppress, and exclude LGBTQI people—and even their families—based on 6 or 7 wrongly interpreted passages of scripture. Homelessness, substance abuse, suicide: the results are tragic.
  I did a clear, simple standdown of the 7 'clobber passages' and then I multiplied 7 times 7 to bring you 49 passages that show inclusion as the core message of the Gospel and the very heart of God. The Bible contains hundreds of passages that require love, justice, mercy, hope, encouragement, and trust in God!
  This book explores 49 of those passages to get at the heart of the gospel and the heart of how we are to respond both to the Bible and to the call to be Jesus in the world; 49 passages that will change your life, change your love, and set your heart free!"

 

True colors: Celebrating the truth and beauty of the real you

by Susan Cottrell.  Kindle Edition. 2015.

"A full-size workbook, True Colors brings healing from parent, family, church and community wounds - for people who are LGBTQ and their families. It is time to heal! It is time to celebrate!"
For anyone who has been spiritually hurt by the church, by parents or family members, Susan Cottrell's True Colors is a personal, intimate, powerful tool for genuine self-healing. - Meghan Stabler, National Board of Directors, The Human Rights Campaign."

"Mom, I'm gay" Loving your LGBTQ child without sacrificing your faith

by Susan Cottrell. 2016.

"When your child reveals that he or she is attracted to the same sex, how you respond may have a lot to do with your faith. Doesn’t the Bible say that’s wrong? Will we have to leave our church? Worst of all, you may wonder, “Do I have to choose between my Christian faith and my child?”

    Susan Cottrell is a mom who has been there and wants you to know that loving and accepting your gay child does not mean abandoning or even compromising your faith. This is not a book about the politics or morality of homosexuality. This is a book about how to respond with love and support during this vulnerable time for your child. With practical advice and heartfelt encouragement, Cottrell guides readers through the fear and uncertainty Christian parents of LGBTQ children often feel."

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ARTWORK CREDITLiberal Jane Illustration

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