This Little Light of Mine is an LGBTQ+ tale of terror (growing up as a closeted Gay Christian in the Evangelical church) that led to trauma (cPTSD, religious trauma, spiritual abuse, sexual abuse, addiction) to what I intend to become triumph.
Join me on my healing and recovery journey towards mental health, spiritual health and emotional health as I find my voice by sharing what happened in my life as a Queer Christian where I was taught that I was not allowed to love.
On today’s episode I’m joined with author Marc-Henri Sendoz Paradella. Marc-Henri’s new book Toxic Jesus – A Journey from Holy Shit to Spiritual Healing is creating international acclaim in progressive Christian, deconstruction and religious trauma circles.
Marc-Henri has a fascinating story of deep faith, questioning, deconstruction and reconstruction.
Don’t forget, if you want the chance to win your very own copy of Toxic Jesus all you need to do is subscribe, rate and leave a review of This Little Light Of Mine on Apple Podcasts. Next story episode I will choosing one of the reviewers and will send them their own copy of Marc-Henri’s newest book so they can devour it themselves.
For those of you not yet familiar with Marc-Henri, he grew up in Europe and was the son of a charismatic Pentecostal minister. As a young boy, Marc-Henri was spiritually and psychologically abused, as he forced to undergo multiple public faith healings to cure him of a leg impairment. Despite the insistence of his church and his family that Marc-Henri had been healed by God, Marc-Henri and his medical doctors continually confirmed that no healing and no change had taken place.[/caption]
Feeling lost, confused, and angry Marc-Henri internalized these messages at a very young age. He believed there was something wrong with him and that he was broken and unwanted by God but put on a brave face and kept pushing forward. He studied Protestant theology at the University of Geneva and fulfilled what he thought was his life mission when he became a pastor of an evangelical church for over 15 years.
But Marc-Henri’s internalized messages of shame and unworthiness never went away. By not addressing his toxic shame, the parts of him and his beliefs that he tried to exile had only grown stronger. His deep questioning of his faith led him to resign when he realized that he could no longer run away from who he was truly designed to be.
Toxic Jesus shares how Marc-Henri faced his shadows, began long-term therapeutic and integrative work and began his process of deconstruction and reconstruction. In that process he discovered the need to grow into a deeper and renewed spirituality, one that would fully take into account what was happening to him, without sugar-coating or falling into the magical thinking he was taught as a child. He found a spirituality that would truly help him to face reality. And as he calls it, a “no b******t” spirituality that will always be a work in progress.
It’s 2021… we made it! Hello, and welcome Episode 22 of This Little Light Of Mine. My name is James Powell and I’m glad that you’re able to join me for today’s story episode, ‘Validate me’.
It feels good to be here and to share more of an upbeat and lighter story episode with you today. And that’s what this episode is all about, validation and feeling good.
In today’s story episode I’m shedding many of the awkward, scared, small and unwanted masks of my school years. This period of my life is my coming out and reinvention. And man, did it ever feel good!
As I reflect back on this period of time it’s incredible to see how fast I jumped at all of these opportunities. I look back with awe and wonder at the cockiness, confidence and zest for life that I had. To be honest, sometimes I wish I could steal some of that and bring that into present day.
I was on an ego upswing and after spending most of my life locked away in a closet of shame and self-hatred my new life of freedom was everything that I dreamed of… or so I thought.
Back at this time in my life I wasn’t even conscious of the new double life that I had created. I didn’t see the all too familiar trap that I was sprinting towards. I didn’t see how my circumstances had changed but that I hadn’t changed.
External validation was the intoxicating drug that I used as a life support for my flat lining self-esteem. And damn, that drug works great! But what I didn’t realize was how addictive it was. Once I got a taste of positive external validation I couldn’t stop. I always needed more.
So, what about you? Have you ever got hooked on external validation? Are you crushed when you don’t get the number of likes you NEED on Instagram? Or what about feedback? Are you able to accept honest feedback or do you need to surround yourself in an echo chamber of people that look like you, act like you and think like you?
Welcome to the journey towards healthy self-esteem!
If you haven’t joined our community on Instagram or Facebook, I’d invite you to visit @MyLightShinesBright and make sure to check out our Trauma Tuesday posts from December, January and February where we’ll be focusing on self-esteem.
I’m looking forward to being with you in two-weeks’ time with author Marc-Henri Sandoz Paradella to talk about his new book Toxic Jesus and his journey from Holy Shit to Spiritual Healing.
I’m really excited to share Marc-Henri’s work and I want to give away a free copy of ‘Toxic Jesus’ to a listener of This Little Light Of Mine.
For your chance to win all you need to do is subscribe, rate and leave a review of This Little Light Of Mine on Apple Podcasts. Next story episode I will choose one of the reviews and send you your very own copy of Toxic Jesus and the journey from Holy Shit to Spiritual Healing.
Until then, be safe and know that you are loved.
Wow... what a rollercoaster of year. As much as we love to pretend that we're in control of our lives, 2020 is definitely a year that proves that 'anything can happen'.
It isn't hard to look back on 2020 and say THANK GOODNESS THAT'S OVER. But have you taken the opportunity to look at what you've learned about yourself in the past 12 months? How have you grown as a human in the last year? And maybe even go as far as to think about what's made you proud of YOU in 2020.
Like most of us, 2020 has been full of ups and downs for me.
After a lifetime of hiding so many parts of my life, never did I think I would ever share so openly about religious trauma & spiritual abuse, mental health, addiction, suicide and so many of the developmental challenges that I've faced because I was born gay and grew up in the evangelical church.
Thank you for listening. Thank you for hearing me. Thank you for sharing some of your time to know me.
Isn't that what we're all searching for? To be heard. To be seen. To be known. To be loved.
As we close out the year I'd love for you to consider supporting Beloved Arise as they build a space that fights for queer youth of faith.
Beloved Arise is in the home stretch of their 'Build the Future' campaign and I'm here to publicly pledge my support and to ask you to consider the same.
How will your support be used?
to build a weekly rhythm of inclusive youth group activities that can be access from around the worldmental wellness programming, community service projects, spiritual programming and social gatherings... just like a church youth group... but one that affirms everyonecreation of a BelovedArise app to create a SAFE space for youth to connect, have small groups and to access resourcesa new trauma informed mental wellness program designed to help LGBTQ+ youth overcome hopelessness, embrace their wholeness and flourish as young adults.
I know that 2020 has been a tough year for so many but I know and trust that support for Beloved Arise will not only help young adults flourish.
It will save lives.
So what about you? What's your 2020 wrap up look like? I'd love to hear some of the things that you've learned about yourself.
I'm looking forward to sharing my next story episode called 'Sweet Validation' with all of you on Thursday January 7th, 2021
Thank you again for all of your support, encouragement, love and community this year. 2020 has been a wild ride but as they say... the best is yet to come.
I hope you all have a safe and healthy New Year
You are loved.
Supposed to love Christmas
Well... it's Christmas Eve and we can finally see the finish line for 2020. What a strange year... did any of our futurists or experts predict this one?
As we head into this break I wanted to put together a quick episode to share Holiday survival tips for LGBTQ2S+ Christians or for anyone who might have all the happy joyous feelings that we're 'supposed to' have at this time of year.
I'll be home for Christmas this year and I want to acknowledge how hard that's going to be for me.
To be honest, the break between Christmas and New Years is usually one of the loneliest and lowest times of the year for me.
I know that I'm not alone, and that for many Queer people of faith, the holiday season can be really hard and really dark. That cheery exterior that we are expected to portray in pictures, at parties and on social media.... that's not the reality for many of us.
Christmas can be a reminder and a celebration of everything that the church said that we are NOT allowed to be and can activate many Religious Trauma Syndrome triggers.
To help survive this holiday season I want to propose 7 Holiday survival tips for LGBTQ2S+ Christians.
Goodbye, all done
Trauma is blocked emotional energy that is trapped inside of your body. You need to process it and you need to feel it.
What I have learned is that when I repress and deny my feelings and my Knowing, I’m blocking my connection with God and I’m hurting myself… and I’m hurting others.
At more than one point in my life I thought it would be easier to leave this world than to feel my feelings, follow my God given Knowing, speak out against those I considered to be in ‘control’ and to share my truth.
I was drifting towards suicide because I cared more about what others thought about me than I did about myself. I believed the lies that I was being taught about my being, instead of trusting my Knowing.
Trigger Warning - I want to share that this is another ‘explicit’ episode as this part of my story contains content that may trigger some survivors. In today’s episode I will be talking about suicidal ideation and attempted suicide. This is a topic that nobody wants to talk about, but we desperately need to talk about. I’m dedicating this episode to all those struggling with mental health challenges and to the incredible services that The Trevor Project provides in the US and that Kids Help Phone provides in Canada to help support young LGBTQ lives.
As always, I encourage all listeners to be gentle with themselves, listen to your own bodies and to proceed with loving intent, knowing that it’s okay to stop and/or take breaks. For some, you may need to skip this episode and that’s okay.
If you are a survivor of religious trauma, sexual abuse or assault or are a person facing mental health issues related to today’s conversation I strongly encourage you to be extremely gentle with yourself and to reach out to a mental health professional that specializes in trauma.
There is no shame in asking for the help that you deserve.
You are loved
Hello and welcome to Episode 18 of This Little Light Of Mine. My name is James Powell and I’m glad that you’re able to join me for today’s episode, ‘Scapegoat’.
Over the past few weeks on IG and Facebook @MyLightShinesBright our trauma topic of conversation has been around the concept of ‘The Scapegoat’. This is a relatively new term for me, and it seems like it’s a term that resonates with many that are on similar journeys of trauma recovery, addiction recovery, those deconstructing their religious beliefs, people experiencing homelessness and many in the BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ communities.
A scapegoat is a truth teller in a family, company or community. They are the ones that will verbalize or act out “the problem” that others are attempting to cover up or deny.
Scapegoats are also called many other names… negative, shit disturber, trouble-maker, problem child, killer of dreams and get labelled with words like hostile, angry, crazy or defiant.
What I’m learning is that insecure leaders or people with insecure positions of power need to marginalize or try to sideline the scapegoat. The truth-telling of the scapegoat brings issues to the surface, questions the status quo and calls for actual transparency and radical change in our world.
On today’s episode I’m in conversation with another radical truth-teller and scapegoat, Junia "June" Joplin.
Junia “June” Joplin began serving in church ministry over twenty years ago, at nineteen years old. She has served congregations in the U.S. and Canada, most recently serving as a pastor in suburban Toronto. She holds degrees from Appalachian State University and the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond.
A long-time advocate for greater LGBTQ+ acceptance in faith communities, June made international headlines last summer when she came out as a trans woman and was subsequently fired by her congregation. June has been acclaimed as a stirring preacher and graceful leader. Her sermons and other content can be found on her website, pastorjune.com.
June is feisty, funny and incredibly vulnerable as she shares part of her story and message of hope and love for fellow truth-tellers.
I hope you grow as much from this conversation as I did.
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James’s podcast has become one of my favourite weekly downloads. His perspective on the issue of faith and the LGBTQ community is so well stated each week, and I have been inspired, challenged and healed as I listen - often through tears!
The guests are fantastic... the format is fantastic... start listening now, and you WILL be inspired.
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I love this podcast! It speaks to often taboo topics / issues in an open, honest and helpful way. James’ and his guests’ personal experiences give the podcast a refreshing level of authenticity. Can’t wait to see and hear what’s in the works! Keep it up.
Raw, thought provoking and inspiring
James has a touching way of sharing his journey of being LGBTQ in the church as a child, what that meant growing up and how he has reconciled with his relationship with God since. His stories, expectations of self and emotional struggles are all things that I identify with (even outside the church).
James and his guests are truly making a difference for LGBTQ2S+ people, parents, allies and spiritual leaders of today through this podcast!