James Prescott

exploring how words & stories shape lives

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Building Bridges – LGBT & Faith: Resources

Hi friends, hope you’ve been enjoying the series on LGBT issues/stories & faith. Next week I’ll be hosting Liz Mallory, a bisexual Christian who has written a comprehensive series on God and sexuality/LGBT issues on her blog, which covers every dimension of this issue, and the series will conclude with me sharing another story.

I’m privileged to say I’m guest posting for Liz today, and my post goes live at about 8.30pm UK time today. You can check it out here.

But in this post I’m going to do something slightly different in relation to this issue & maybe help you on this journey in a different way.

It Does Get Better – A Gay Christian’s Story (Guest Post by Gareth Streeter)

Today I’m honoured to host Gareth Streeter here on my blog. Gareth is PR for the Christian charity Oasis UK, a Christian, and in a monogamous same-sex relationship. Today he’s sharing some of his story with us. Take a read, it’s deeply moving & challenging for us all:

If someone had asked me to share my story – or at least, my ‘gay Christian’ story –a few years ago, I would probably have said no.

Being gay, I would have said, was something I had made my peace with. I was not a member of any gay sub-cultures and my sexuality was not particularly a big part of my identity. People at peace rarely have the need to talk about it!

But in the last few months, something’s changed

How & Why I Became A Straight Ally

Last week I introduced a new series of posts, on the ‘topic’ of LGBT and faith, and shared some of my thoughts on the issue, and some boundaries/ground rules for this series. In the next two weeks I’ll sharing guest posts from a gay Christian in a same-sex relationship, and a bi-sexual Christian happily married to a man.

But before we get to those, I felt it would be helpful to share my own journey with you, and explain how I arrived at the position I now hold, as a Christian straight ally.

As I mentioned last week, a straight ally is someone who whilst straight themselves, takes a stand for LGBT rights, to advocate for them, and work with them to grow awareness. In the Christian church, this would be someone who advocates for a more welcoming, Christ-like approach to the LGBT community from the church, building bridges between the church and the LGBT community, and speaking love to this community.

I mentioned last week one of my reasons for being so passionate about this, is because of my heart for the outsiders, the minority groups, the ones others forget. But as someone who is straight, with no immediate family in the LGBT community, I accept it still could appear confusing to some why I’m so passionate about this subject and where the interest came from.

So let me explain.

Why Authenticity Can Require Sacrifice

One thing which keeps me blogging is the opportunity to interact and build relationship with you, my readers. As regular readers will know, one thing I am passionate about is authenticity. For us all to be true to who we really are, to discover our true identity & calling.

Maybe it’s because of my own past – a victim of bullying, feeling an outsider, growing up in a broken home & losing my Mum relatively young, and being shy & introverted – but I’ve always felt a passion, a desire to speak out for minority groups. For those oppressed, rejected, outside, misunderstood, either by church or culture, or both.

For me to be true to who I am, to practice what I preach and be authentic in my writing, at least some of my writing is going to involve speak out for some of these groups. This is what’s led me to speak up & blog about gender equality in church. And it’s what’s now leading me to speak up on one of the most contentious issues in the Christian church today.

A topic which is divisive, and which makes this one of the bravest blog posts/series I’ve ever written.

Because the group I’m speaking out for is the LGBT community.

4 Secrets To Inviting Creativity (Guest Post by Shannon Trindade)

Today I’m delighted to be hosting Shannon Trindade here on the blog. Shannon is a writer, blogger and communications pro who helps business & individuals all over the world connect better with their audience.

She’s an excellent writer & communicator & has a powerful message about creativity to share with us today. So, without further ado, over to Shannon…

If you’re like me, you’d do almost anything to experience more “ah-ha moments”. Those moments of pure creative energy are priceless.

In addition to feeling euphoric, creative moments allow us to experience being connected to something bigger than ourselves. More accurately, it’s a type of connection beyond what our brains can comprehend, control, and measure.

So how do we get more creativity in our lives?

It’s clear you can’t force creativity and ah-ha moments into your life, but you can help them evolve naturally.

Why Talent Is A Sacred Gift, Not A Possession

I love to write. Tapping a keyboard, putting words into a document, for the betterment of others, it’s what brings me most joy. It’s my therapy, it’s my solace, and yet it’s also the medium I do most good in the lives of others. It’s both my most public and most private voice. The space which is mine and mine alone.

I’ve often worried about dying young, and not fulfilling my potential, and leaving nothing behind. But over Christmas, watching documentaries about Freddie Mercury and how he approached his own death – which unlike many of us, due to his condition, he had time to prepare himself for – one thing stuck out.

He threw himself into his creative work.

He knew that was his legacy, and like all great artists, when you listen to the words and music of his later life, they all seem like a goodbye message to us all. They’re some of the most authentic songs ever written. All with a raw honesty which suffering and death tends to expose in a way nothing else does.

For me, it was a reminder of the sacredness of every single word I put on a page. And I suddenly felt a sense of responsibility. That my words are a gift which has to go beyond myself.

Beyond, even, my lifetime (which hopefully, has a while to go yet).

And isn’t this the beauty of creativity?

Muppets, Umbrellas & The Truth About Story

I’ve always loved the Muppets. And every time I’ve watched a Muppet TV show or movie I seem to learn a lesson. Over this last Christmas, they might have taught me their biggest lesson of all.

So what do I mean? Well, let’s backtrack a little.

All life is a story. It’s a story which is being told by each of us, and somehow each of our stories intertwines with many others to create a bigger story. There’s stories being told around us each and every day.

But there’s two things we often forget about stories.

First, we have the power to shape our own story – we get to define our stories, they don’t just happen to us unless we give them the power to.

Second, our stories are like delicate flowers or ceramics – fragile, easily breakable, and delicate.

How do I know this? Because my until recently I’ve given authority to my circumstances to define much of who I am, rather than realising the power I had over my story.

Why ‘Transformation’ Is My One Word 2015 (#OneWord2015)

For the last two or three years I’ve adopted a ‘One Word’ for the year. The concept is to choose a word which will define your year, which will guide and direct all you do and be at the centre of everything that year.

For 2014 I chose ‘courage’. And this turned out to be very prophetic. I was confronted with the worst of myself and the best of myself.

The best? That I have a writing gift which God wants me to use to benefit others for good – and which actually makes a difference in the world. That I’m well-liked, respected person and writer with a lot to give to the world, and have infinite value and worth as I am.

The worst? My abysmal management of my finances which was going to land me in major trouble unless I took action. How disconnected I’d become from God, and from my own calling. And in what bad health I was in, physically, mentally, emotionally, professionally and spiritually. And above all, my epilepsy-related depression.

This is what happens when you choose a word for the year. In some strange, cosmic way, it comes to challenge you, and incapsulate everything you are in that year. And it’s not exaggeration to say it changes your life for the better.