March 27, 2019
**Trigger Warning - Emotional, Physical, Sexual & Spiritual Abuse**
I'm delighted to welcome my friend Jayla Damaris to the show this week. Jayla shares her powerful, traumatic, painful story of growing up in conservative evangelical Christianity, abuse she suffered as a child, breaking free to build a new life. And then, finding herself rejected and abused spiritually, emotionally and physically by her husband - and recovering from this and beginning life again.
This is a story of courage, a story about breaking free from an abusive past and the worst of patriarchy and evangelical Christianity. It's a long but much needed story, with a lot of lessons for all of us.
You can support Jayla as she tries to raise funds to go back to Canada, at her Go Fund Me here:
March 20, 2019
Pastor & author Brandon Carleton joins me today, and shares his powerful story of deconstruction and reconstruction - with a very unique perspective. Brandon left traditional church, but still felt a call to explore spiritual community. So he planted a church with his wife, but a church with a difference.
Unlike other pastors, Brandon actually tells his members not to come if it's not for them. He puts no obligation, no guilt, no commitment on people to attend - instead of prioritising the good of the church, he prioritises people's individual journey, their needs, their welfare, over that of the church itself. The church exists to serve its members, not the other way around.
Brandon and I discuss our own experiences of traditional evangelical Christianity and church, and find shared lessons from our respective journeys of deconstruction and reconstruction, and facing mental illness. We also discuss the humanity of Jesus, and what that tells us about his divine nature - and we find that there may well be hope yet for spiritual community.
Brandan's memoir "Meaningful Again" is available on Amazon now.
March 13, 2019
Today my dear friend, LGBTQ activist and blogger Steve Doran, appears on the show. He shares the story of his experiences as an LGBTQ Christian in the evangelical church.
We hear how he moved from a more traditional perspective even as an LGBTQ man himself, to becoming an advocate for more LGBTQ inclusion both in the church and in our wider culture. Steve courageously shares his coming out story, the painful experiences he has in parts of the church. We discuss how it affected his emotional and mental health, and how he came to find a new, inclusive faith community which accepts him as he is.
Steve is now doing great advocate work and writes regularly on LGBTQ inclusion, and has a powerful story.
March 5, 2019
My beloved friend Alexander Shaia returns to the Poema Podcast this week - and today we explore the historic pilgrims journey of the Camino in Spain. We explore the history and true meaning of the Camino - and it's lasting impact on the lives who engage in it.
This leads into a wider discussion of the lost art of rites of passage - using the Camino as an example, Alexander discusses what a true rite of passage really is, the sacrifice involved, and how it's impact is as much if not more seen after the experience itself has finished, rather than just the period actively engaged in it.
Alexander and I explore the idea that true growth can only come through sacrifice, through a willingness to engage with our own pain rather than continue to numb it with the habits, addictions, and busyness of regular life - and how if we do engage in this process, we can discover true, authentic transformation and spiritual formation.