For so many years I've been committed to those on the fringe. This podcast is a powerful way to connect you to those who are changing the world from the margins of culture. In this inaugural episode I share a bit of my story and why I'm so passionate about sharing stories from the fringe that lead us toward a greater understanding of ourselves and this great big world we live in together.
“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” - Steve Jobs
EPISODE 017: Season 1 Finale: It’s A Wrap!
Season 1 is officially a wrap! WHAT?!? In this brief episode we’ll take a look at some highlights from this inaugural season and look ahead to Season 2. As we work over the next couple months to make Season 2 even better, you can become a patron of the show at Patreon.com/theglobalfringe. For as little as $5/month, you can elevate the voices from the fringe and join the movement.
EPISODE 016: I Am Not Wrong
with Daniel Merk-Benitez
Spoiler alert: I cry for the first time on this podcast while listening to Daniel’s story. He vulnerably opens up about being a church kid, who loved God, and believed something was wrong with who he was. He speaks to what he’d wish for the church and how he’s living out his faith now.
About Daniel: In a previous life, Daniel Merk-Benitez was a church kid and eventually became the creative director for a large evangelical church in San Diego. After coming to his senses, he left vocational church work and decided to try something else. Professionally, he’s currently an interior designer. Unprofessionally, he dwells in and finds his place among Hillcrest, the predominately LGBTQ neighborhood near the city center of San Diego. Unashamedly queer, Daniel is embedded in the LGBTQ community and has found relational depth beyond anything he ever experienced within the church walls.
Follow Daniel on Instagram:
EPISODE 015: What Being Gay Has Taught Me About God
with Shelley Donaldson
Shelley Donaldson is a female…pastor…married to a woman. A trifecta of descriptors sure to blow some people’s minds, she definitely doesn’t conform to any boxes. She adds so much dimension to this episode as she shares her own powerful faith and “coming out” story, which has lead her to be a committed voice for LGBTQ+ teenagers. In true preacher form, she admonishes parents on what their kids most need when they come out. She also sheds beautiful light on what being gay has taught her about the character and nature of God. If you listen with an open heart and mind, both are sure to expand and experience more of God in your own life.
About Shelley: Shelley Donaldson is a graduate of the University of West Georgia, and received her MDiv from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. She has a background in camp and conference ministry, and is a co-founder and co-creator of Creation Lab. She currently lives in Stamford, CT, with her wife and serves as Associate Pastor for Ministry with Youth and Missional Engagement at First Presbyterian Church of Stamford.
EPISODE 014: Loving Jesus and Being Gay
with Tim Schraeder
Kicking off this miniseries centered around faith and sexuality, I couldn’t imagine a more generous and gracious voice, my friend Tim Schraeder. He said, “I’ve been welcome to the table, but told I didn’t have a voice.” As a gay man, Tim was an “inside outsider” in the evangelical church world. A recovering evangelical mega-church marketer and social media guru, Tim’s wrestled deeply for over a decade with his own identity, sexuality, faith, and vocation. With unbelievable grace and compassion, vulnerability and strength, he shares more of this story for the first time so publically.
If you have wrestled with your faith and how to engage in the LGBTQ+ conversation, you need to hear Tim’s story. If you know someone who’s LGBTQ+ and has loved God, this episode will give them hope. If you’ve ever hidden a part of your identity for the sake of fitting in yet still feel like an “inside outsider”, Tim’s journey will inspire you to fully come out into the light and stop hiding.
About Tim: Recovering evangelical megachurch marketer, LGBTQ+ believer, and brand-new New Yorker.
Instagram, Twitter: @timschraeder.
Read Matthew Vines’ book, God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships.
EPISODE 013: Being Gay and a Person of Faith
with April Diaz
For a while now I’ve wanted to do a series on faith and being LGBTQ+, but I wanted it to be the right time with the right people. The time is now. Can you be gay and Christian? How do you reconcile a couple Bible verses with being affirming? How does reparative therapy work – or not? How do LGBTQ+ Christians feel as an “insider outsider”? What can we learn about God through their stories? Perhaps most importantly, how can we be bridge builders regardless of our theological position?
Over the next few episodes I’m going to share the stories of some brave friends who are LGBTQ+ and are people of faith. But before I open up their stories to you, I want to share a bit of my own journey in processing faith, theology, and the testimonies of non-straight folks. If there was ever a global fringe, it’s here.
EPISODE 012: Mental Health on the Fringe
with DJ Chuang
There are an estimated 21.4 million Asian American in the United States. One in 5 Americans struggle with mental illness, which means over 4 million Asian Americans battle some sort of mental illness. DJ Chuang knows firsthand the struggle, shame, and challenges as an influential Asian American with a mental illness. His current mission is all about eliminating the stigma and erasing the same around mental health with Asian Americans and people of color.
In this episode we have a frank conversation about how being on the fringe of culture impacts mental health and what’s needed for people of color to ask for help. “There is no shame in sharing one’s pain.” This episode offers so much hope, freedom, and personal power for those who are struggling.
Get the MultiAsian.Church ebook free at http://multiasian.church/ebook/ and use code GLOBALFRINGE during checkout.
About DJ Chuang. He’s a Strategy Consultant, currently working with American Bible Society on the .BIBLE top-level domain.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube at: @djchuang
erasingshame.com - the podcast for honest talk about healthy living - relationally, emotionally, mentally, and personally
EPISODE 011: Own Your Authority
with Sarah Bessey
As a rabble-rousing peacemaker, Sarah Bessey is no stranger to living in the tension of bridging divides and calling out oppressive and unjust systems. As a writer, speaker, preacher and recovering know-it-all, we talk about her own experience navigating the minefields of discourse in the public square. In this episode we explore how everything we say and believe is a reflection of what we think about God, so how we engage and invite others in places of disagreement reveals so much. Sarah beautifully and boldly teach us how own our authority and activate our agency to create a life we want to live. She’s also a mom of 4 tinies and we talk about how we can have it all as women just not at the same time. She bunks myths, normalizes the craziness, and invites us to listen to our family and the Spirit to create the life we want to live.
About Sarah Bessey. Sarah hails from Western Canada, married to a Nebraskan, and raising 4 tinies. She’s a happy clappy Christian, banging pots and pans, hollering that there’s more room for everyone. She’s authored two books - Jesus Feminist and Out of Sorts, with another book coming out (eventually). As a peacemaker, you can find her at the intersection of tensions in everyday life
Instagram and Twitter at: @sarahbessey
EPISODE 010: Rethinking Incarceration (and Most Everything Else Race Related)
with Dominique Gilliard
This episode will mess with you (at least it did me). Dominique Gilliard is an author, pastor, profession, justice seeker, and one of the most influential activists in the U.S around issues of racial injustice and systemic brokenness. In this episode, we talk about his unusual upbringing and how those holy interruptions became the fertile soil for his life’s work. We discuss the role Christianity has played in the justice system and mass incarceration and what "law and order" really means. Dom gives us a mind-blowing history lesson about the school to prison pipelines, as well as the hidden pipelines of mental health, private prisons, and immigration. The stories and statistics will likely cause heart and mind to be stunned and activated around the work we need to do to reframe our theology to better reflect the Gospel. Get ready!
About Dominique DuBois Gilliard. He’s an ordained minister and the director of Racial Righteousness and Reconciliation for the Love Mercy Do Justice (LMDJ) initiative of the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC). He is the author of Rethinking Incarceration: Advocating for Justice that Restores. He also serves on the board of directors for the Christian Community Development Association and Evangelicals for Justice. In 2015, he was selected as one of the ECC’s “40 Under 40” leaders to watch, and Huffington Post named him one of the “Black Christian Leaders Changing the World.”
An ordained minister, Gilliard has served in pastoral ministry in Atlanta, Chicago, and Oakland. He earned a bachelor’s degree in African American Studies and History from Georgia State University and a master’s degree in History from East Tennessee State University, with an emphasis on race, gender, and class in the United States. Dominique earned a Master of Divinity degree from North Park Seminary, where he currently serves as an adjunct professor.
EPISODE 009: Raise Your Voice
with Kathy Khang
Kathy believes, “When more of us from different intersections and margins raise our voices, we live a fuller picture of the Good News.” Taken from her brand new book, Raise Your Voice: Why We Stay Silent and How We Speak up, we dive deep into how race, gender, and culture impacts our voice, thus see a fuller picture of God. Kathy tells the biblical story of Esther in a way I’ve never heard before but resonates so deeply. In this episode, she doesn’t shy away from addressing issues of justice and mercy and how we are created to use our voice for the betterment of another. And as a justice warrior, Kathy helps us identify necessary self-care as an act of political warfare.
About Kathy Khang. Kathy is a writer, speaker, and a new yoga teacher. And she's the real deal.
Connect with Kathy’s work at www.kathykhang.com.
Instagram + Twitter: @mskathykhang
EPISODE 008: Seeing God in Black Culture
with Dr. Daniel White Hodge
In the span of this podcast, Dr. White-Hodge dropped about two-dozen references to authors, movies, musicians, theologians, historical data, and current political realities that tie together how and where we see God in black culture. We explore how Tupac is a theological prophet, current political landscapes reveal our heart toward the Gospel, and where there is hope moving forward. Dan wraps by giving white folks specific ways we can be allies for people of color. As a theologian, professor, hip hop culture expert, and provocateur, Dan doesn’t disappoint for one minute in this episode.
About Dr. Dan White-Hodge. With 24 years of multi-ethnic & intercultural youth work experience, Daniel White Hodge, PhD, is a recognized urban youth culture expert & cultural literacy scholar. Dr. Hodge is the Associate Professor of Intercultural Communications at North Park University in Chicago where he chairs the department of Communication Arts. His research interests are the intersections of faith, Hip Hop culture, race/ethnicity, & young adult ethnic-minority emerging generations. Dr. Hodge has worked in the Hip Hop context for over 20 years and continues to focus on justice & disparity issues as it concerns ethnic-minority populations. His latest book, Homeland Insecurity: A Hip Hop Missiology for the Post-Civil Rights Context, was just released. Dr. Hodge and is wife, Emily, reside in Chicago with their dancing/acting daughter, Mahalia.
Connect with Dan at www.whitehodge.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Instagram + Twitter: @danwhitehodge
EPISODE 007: To Be Black (and Female) In America Today
with Amena Brown Owen
Men and my white friends need to listen to this episode. Amena has a powerhouse way to speak with such poignancy and persuasion to core issues of identity, belonging and purpose. She speaks in Technicolor and with beauty. Her friendship has illuminated what it’s like to be a black woman in our country, which has been a model as we raise our black daughter.
In this episode we talk about her new book “How to Fix a Broken Record”, redefining womanhood when it all doesn’t go as planned, the beauty and terror of being black, and how to care for your soul in it all. A storyteller at heart, Amena weaves us through her narrative, easily finding connection to ours. She even generously shares a recent poem, “Breathe”.
About Amena Brown. She is a poet, speaker, author, and event host. Named one of Rejuvenate Magazine’s Top 40 under 40 Changemakers, Amena is the author of five spoken word CDs and two non-fiction books: Breaking Old Rhythms and her latest release How to Fix a Broken Record. She has performed and spoken at events across the nation such as Creativity World Forum, IF Gathering, and Chick-fil-A Leadercast, as well as touring with Gungor, Ann Voskamp and the Voices Project Historically Black College and University Tour. Amena is also the host of the limited edition How to Fix a Broken Record podcast about her book of the same name and the co-host of podcast, Here for the Donuts. She and her husband, DJ Opdiggy, live in Atlanta where they host an open mic every fifth Thursday at Urban Grind Coffee.
EPISODE 006: Desperation isn't a 4-Letter Word
with Dr. Ken Fong
Ken Fong is joyful disruptor. He’s quick to disarm your defenses and invite you into relationship. In this episode, we dove fast and deep into the scary tension when faith becomes desperate, his journey as a courageous ally for LGBTQ folks, and using your"chips"for those who don't have them. His stories, laughter, and brutal honesty will guide you as you move from here to there, in whatever ways that looks like for your own journey.
About Rev. Dr. Ken Fong. He is a recently retired pastor, affiliate associate professor of Asian American Church Studies at Fuller Seminary, host and co-producer of "AsianAmerica: The Ken Fong Podcast"(www.aapodcast.com), and global photographer. For the past dozen years, he has evolved into a courageous straight ally for AAPI LGBTQ Christians, eventually making it possible for them to be beloved and active members of the church. Currently, Ken is finishing a doc film with director Christopher Wong about this journey. This film is living proof of how one can thrive by leaving the'center'and moving to the fringes and margins.
Engage more with Ken at the "AsianAmerica: The Ken Fong Podcast": www.aapodcast.com.
Follow on Facebook at Ken Fong and (when he occasionally tweets at) on Twitter @KenUyedaFong.
EPISODE 005: Breaking Barriers while Drinking Whiskey
with Tash McGill
Tash is my favorite tattooed, whiskey-drinking Kiwi! She breaks all kinds of cultural barriers because of her commitment to help people change the way they think and see the world. As a globe-trotting writer, marketing and strategy consultant and coach, Tash knows how to guide people from here to there to accomplish their unique goals. She was a youth pastor in her former life but still looks for ways to invest in teenagers. In this episode we talk about how she’s found herself on the fringe as a woman, a New Zealander living in the U.S, and as someone being uninvited from the table. Instead of becoming a victim or angry outsider, Tash is inventing ways to reinvent herself, take action, and build the life she wants to create. We also dabble in our mutual commitment to fight the patriarchy.
About Tash McGill. She lives and works between New Zealand and the U.S. She's a writer, writing about things that matter; culture, people, relationships, spirituality. Tash is a collector and thinker, cook and cocktail lover, communion-minded whisky drinking girl. She loves deeply and talks fast.
She's a proud New Zealander with mixed ethnic history and a deep respect for Te Reo & what it means to live under Te Tiriti O Waitangi.
Instagram and Twitter: @tashmcgill
EPISODE 004: Disruption + Dreams with Charles Lee
As an idea-maker, Charles knows ideas are sexy. But ideas are just the beginning to actually producing valuable work and innovating anything transformative. Charles is one of the smartest and most kickass people I know. I respect his life and leadership fully. He knows what it’s like to take an idea and bring it to life. For the last 9 years he’s build a globally-respected company that's moving some of the best companies of the world into their preferred future.
In this episode we talk about the value of disruption in our lives. We discuss all things leadership, including what entrepreneurs, idea-makers, and visionaries must know to see their dream come to life. Charles talks candidly about what it’s like to be an Asian-American in most spaces of influence and contribution.
About Charles Lee. Charles is the Founder & CEO at Ideation, an idea execution company that specializes in helping brands scale their business by effectively integrating their strategic plans into day-to-day implementation. Executive leaders from brands including Toyota, Wells Fargo, Google, TOMS, NBC Universal, WME, Caterpillar, Sequoia Capital, Vanguard, ONE Campaign, (RED), and many others have benefited from engaging Charles on various projects and events.
His book Good Idea, Now What?: How to Move Ideas to Execution is a must for visionaries, idea-makers, entrepreneurs, and creative. It is a practical book designed to help people move ideas to implementation.
EPISODE 003: I'm Angry Because I Care
with Irene Cho
In this episode we talk about what it looks and feels like to be a woman of color in 2018. We talk about “the man who shall not be named”, the shifts in the evangelical church, and what reconciling people of faith need to do to move from here to there.
About Irene Cho. Irene is the daughter of Korean immigrants. She grew up in the US as a woman of color and a person of faith. She’s currently making a profound difference by day as the Program Manager for Urban YM Resources at Fuller Youth Institute and by nights and weekends as an active social media contributor in issues of race, politics, and religion. Irene has been advocate for the underdog - as a woman and a person of color. She gets it. And she uses her strong, sassy, and educated voice to draw the attention of the people toward justice, mercy, and reconciliation.
Twitter + Instagram: @irenemcho
EPISODE 002: Reinventing Myself with Rebecca Lujan Loveless
The first guest on The Global Fringe couldn't be more suitable. Rebecca Lujan Loveless and April have been friends for over 15 years and have journey as friends on the global fringe through all sorts of changes and personal iterations. In this episode, Rebecca vulnerably shares how she's reinvented herself these last few years through pain, creativity, and designing a future that's been a part of her soul from the very beginning.
About Rebecca Lujan Loveless. She was born and raised on the beautiful island of Maui, Hawai'i. She was often found with dirty feet and messy hair from running free through the pineapple and macadamia nut fields. As a young professional, Rebecca worked in international development and urban community development. She traveled the world working in communities that have been ravaged by poverty and war. Some of her most cherished memories of these years are the many meals she helped prepare with women in kitchens in India, Malawi, Thailand, South Africa and many other countries with rich, delicious cuisines.
Rebecca now uses her vast travel experience and the leadership, management and culinary skills she's learned from around the globe to start City Kitchen Sacramento, a farm-to-fork weeknight meals for busy people who love global comfort food. Rebecca believes something magical happens when we gather at the table to eat good food with people we love.
Follow Rebecca + City Kitchen Sacramento:
Facebook: Rebecca Lujan Loveless
Twitter: @rlujanloveless + @citykitchensac
Instagram: @rlujanloveless + @citykitchensacramento