DEFINE IT! – Sexual Orientation


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Sexual Orientation is different from gender and gender identity. Sexual orientation is about who you’re attracted to and who you feel drawn to romantically, emotionally, and sexually.

Sexual Orientation refers to a person’s unchosen and natural sense of sexual attraction. However, one need not have any sexual experience in order to understand their own sexual orientation.

Research indicates that a person’s general sense of attraction is set, persistent and resistant to change.

Sexual orientation is not binary and should not be conceived as either straight or gay. Instead, sexual orientation should be thought of as existing on a spectrum where many people fall somewhere in between straight and gay.

Asexual, Bisexual, Demisexual, Gay, Heterosexual, Lesbian and Pansexual are a few sexual orientations but the list is much longer and constantly evolving.

Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The official motto is “Better Together” and the members call themselves “Mama Bears”

The group is private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 3,700 members. For more info about the private facebook group email



More than 500 moms of lgbtq kids are standing by to support, connect with and care for lgbtq people like Seth Owen


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Jacksonville teenager, Seth Owen, shared his remarkable story with talk show host Ellen DeGeneres Tuesday, completing a journey that has taken him from virtual homelessness to the embrace of the nation.

You can read more about it on The Advocate at this link.

Unfortunately Seth’s story of losing support from his family due to him being gay is far too common and doesn’t always have such a happy ending.

That is why members of  Serendipitydodah for Moms, a private facebook group for moms of lgbtq kids, decided to start Serendipitydodah Mama Bears to the Rescue.



Serendipitydodah Mama Bears to the Rescue was started in March 2018. There are currently more than 500 moms of lgbtq kids in the group who are scattered across the country, ready to offer support, connection and care to lgbtq people like Seth Owen, who have lost the support of their family due to their lgbtq status.  Serendipitydodah Mama Bears to the Rescue is a subgroup of Serendipitydodah for Moms, a private facebook group for moms of lgbtq kids.

Members of the group are available to connect with lgbtq people in their local area who need some support, connection or care.

The group is a place where these moms can connect with each other in order to plan and coordinate small acts of kindness such as being a stand-in affirming mom at a wedding, visiting someone in the hospital, helping someone get settled in a new area, providing some transportation, including someone in their holiday gatherings, sending a note of encouragement etc.

The most important thing the members of Mama Bears to the Rescue want to do is be a loving and supportive presence in the life of lgbtq people who have lost the support of their family due to their lgbtq status.


If you know of an lgbtq person who could use some Mama Bear love please email

Serendipitydodah Mama Bears to the Rescue is a subgroup for Serendipitydodah for Moms. The members of the group are available to do small acts of kindness for lgbtq people in their local community who may need connection, care or assistance.


Freedom of Religion is NOT Freedom to Discriminate


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The August 2018 synchroblog topic invited bloggers to write about something that Christians do not necessarily always agree on. I decided to write about religious freedom laws and same sex marriage.


50+ years ago religious freedom arguments that are being made today to discriminate against LGBT people were being used to justify the discrimination of people of color and interracial relationships.

At that time scripture was misused to support the exclusion and oppression of people of color and interracial couples. Today, once again, people are misusing scripture in a similar way to justify the exclusion and oppression of LGBT people and same sex couples.

Most Christians have never taken the time to study what scripture says about same sex relationships for themselves. Most Christians read scripture with preconceived ideas that have been formed by believing what they have been told by someone else.

If anyone is willing to set their preconceived ideas aside and take the time to study original language while also taking historical context into consideration they will be able to comprehend that there is nothing in scripture that clearly condemns a loving, healthy same sex relationship. NOTHING!

I know!, because as a parent of a gay son I was diligent in my effort to find out FOR SURE what scripture did and didn’t say about same sex relationships. I loved my son enough to go to the trouble. Do you love anyone enough to go to the trouble? If you do, I would be glad to help you.

In fact, there is more evidence in scripture to support slavery than there is to support the condemnation of all same sex relationships.

Scripture also doesn’t put forth the idea that marriage is to be only between one man and one woman or that it has anything to do with people falling in love. Those who claim that scripture dictates that marriage should only be between one man and one woman are making scripture say more than it actually says.

Scripture proves one thing about marriage … that marriage has been changing since the beginning of time. As society progresses, learns and improves, our institutions change.

Traditionally marriage was not between one man and one woman. The idea of marriage as a sexually exclusive, romantic union between one man and one woman is a relatively recent development. In the ancient world, marriage served primarily as a means of preserving power, with kings and other members of the ruling class marrying off their daughters to forge alliances, acquire land, and produce legitimate heirs. The purpose of marriage was primarily the production of heirs. Often times peasants wouldn’t even bother with marriage since they had no property or position to worry about.

The church didn’t even get involved in marriage until the 5th century. It wasn’t declared a sacred sacrament until the 12th century. And it wasn’t until the 16th century that weddings were performed publicly by a priest and with witnesses. A license to be married wasn’t commonplace until the 17th century which was around the time when romance began to have some involvement. As the middle class formed in the 19th century only then did young men begin to select their own spouses and start marrying without the consent of their parents. The idea of women having rights and not being a subordinate to their husband didn’t become common until the 20th century. It was 1965 before the Supreme Court ruled that a wife could be raped by her husband. Until then husbands who forced themselves on their wives were not guilty of rape, since they were legally entitled to sexual access.

The institution of marriage has always been in a constant state of evolution.

“Marriage, like transportation, has always been a part of human existence. But riding a donkey is very different from flying in a jet, and modern marriage has only superficial similarity to what went before. Just as we embrace each new mode of travel that enhances human welfare, no one should mind adapting marriage to the needs of modern people.” – Steve Chapman

Extending matrimony to same-sex couples advances the same interests cited in support of heterosexual marriage. Legalizing same sex marriages encourages stable commitments that offer a framework for procreation and upholds the interest of children in a legally protected family.

The evidence before us is that same sex marriage offers the same benefits to individuals and society that opposite sex marriage does.

And finally, there is nothing in scripture that would support the idea that Christians should not sell their services or products to someone who is, in their eyes, sinning. In fact, that would go against the very tenets of Christianity.

Any use of Christianity to justify discrimination is evidence of a misunderstanding about who Jesus was and what his good news was meant to convey to and about humanity.Discrimination and exclusion were not values of Jesus and are in conflict with the precepts of the Christian faith.

Oh – and one last point – the First Amendment does not guarantee us the right to discriminate based on our religion, it instead guarantees us the right not to be discriminated against based on our religious beliefs. Many Christians who have been led by their Christian faith to become affirming of same sex relationships are finding themselves to be “discriminated against” based on their religious beliefs and that is certainly unconstitutional.

Be sure and check out the other contributions for this month’s synchroblog:

What God May Really Be Like – Why Can’t Even God-Followers Get Along?

Wesley Rostoll – Why did God accept Abel’s offering and not Cain’s?

Jeremy Myers – Three Views on Hell (and a fourth view I hold)

Liz Dyer – Religious Freedom is NOT Freedom to Discriminate

Jordan Hathcock – Let’s Get Dirty

Christians should stop saying things that produce death!


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Christians should stop saying things that produce death.

Jesus said he came to offer a message that gave life and not death! In fact, Jesus said he came to give abundant life! BUT anti lgbt theology does not produce abundant life in those who embrace it – instead it produces death – emotional death, mental death, spiritual death, relational death and even physical death.

When your theology consistently produces death it’s time to admit you have something wrong.

Individuals, institutions and organizations that condemn, exclude and/or restrict people based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or who they date and marry are embracing and spreading shame based messages that do irreparable harm to a whole group of people.

Christians should stop saying things that produce death.

In Matthew 7 Jesus said if you aren’t sure about something check out the fruit it is producing, because “every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit”

People were asking Jesus a lot of questions.

They wanted to know what they should believe – who they should follow – who they should emulate and support.

They wanted to know who was right – who knew the true way – what prophets should they trust – what rabbi should they follow?

Instead of answering with a list of shoulds and shouldn’ts, or naming names, Jesus offered a formula that would be useful to truth seekers throughout all of time.

Jesus advised those who were listening:

When you are not sure about a specific doctrine, or a certain theological point, or some Christian message you can simply check out the fruit that it is consistently producing.

If it is producing good fruit then it is of God and true. Embrace and follow the teaching.

If it is producing bad fruit then it is not of God and not true. Abandon the teaching.

Anti lgbt theology does not produce good fruit and it’s long overdue for churches, institutions and organizations to stop embracing the anti lgbt theology that produces death.

There is an abundance of information available proving that lgbt people who wholeheartedly embrace the idea that all same sex relationships are sinful and unholy typically experience depression, hopelessness, despair, self loathing and many times suicidal ideation. Good theology should make people more whole and healthy.

Christians should stop saying things that produce death.

If you liked this post you also might like The Fruit Doesn’t Lie



More than 1,100 Thank Yous


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Years ago his parents sent a black wreath to his office to let him know he was dead to them.

A few weeks ago more than 1,100 Moms of lgbtq kids signed a letter to support him and let him know we stand beside him.

He responded with more than 1,100 Thank Yous!

One of my favorite things about Serendipitydodah for Moms are the letters of support that we send out. We send our letters to individuals, organizations, businesses and institutions that are helping to make the world a kinder, safer, more loving place for all lgbtq people. The members of Serendipitydodah can request to have their name added to the letters we send. We sent our first group letter in the spring of 2015 with less than 200 signatures. Today our letter has more than 1,100 signatures.

Recently, after seeing him on Making It, the NBC reality competition series co-hosted by Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman, we decided to send a letter to Jeff Rudell.

Jeff was one of the “makers” on Making It and told a bit of his story during one of the episodes.

Jeff told how his family rejected him when he came out to them as gay and how his parents went so far as to send a black wreath to his place of employment with a card that said “in memory of our dead son”.

His story broke the hearts of the members of Serendipitydodah and we wanted to reach out and let Jeff know that we stood with him and admired him for having the courage to share his story.

We sent the following letter with more than 1,100 names of moms of lgbtq kids added to the letter:

Dear Jeffrey,

We are members of Serendipitydodah for Moms, a large private Facebook group created in June 2014 for moms who have LGBTQ kids and want to develop and maintain healthy, loving, authentic relationships with their LGBTQ kids.

We presently have more than 3,100 members in the group and many of us are working to bring attention to acceptance and equality of LGBTQ people.

We are writing to you because we want you to know that we were encouraged when you shared your story on Making It. Of course we were sad and broken hearted to hear about the way your parents abandoned and rejected you, but we are so thankful that you are willing to share your story because we believe it is important for others to hear stories like your own. We also want to let you know we care about you and recognize the courage it took for you to share your story publicly. We are moms who understand because some of our own children have had to exhibit the same kind of courage when they finally determined to come out and begin living fully into the person they were created to be.

Although there is a lot of ignorance and hate out there, we want to encourage you. Every day there are more and more people who are supportive and affirming of LGBTQ people. The tide is turning and things are getting better. Laws are changing and many, many people do care about you and support you.

So, hang in there and keep dreaming and striving to live a full, happy, successful, good life. 

More than 1,100 of us are signing our names to this letter with much love, gratitude and encouragement sent your way. We think you are amazing! We love your creativity and are rooting for you and wish you the best in all that you do!

Thank you for the way you are encouraging others just by being your authentic self.

We will continue to fight for you and support you just as you are.

Love is the movement,

(followed by 1,100+ names of moms of lgbtq kids)

BUT that isn’t the best part!!

The best part is that Jeff responded with a beautifully written thank you AND INCLUDED A THANK YOU FOR EACH NAME ON THE LETTER!!!

Yes, you read that right.

Jeff Rudell took the time to type out a thank you for more than 1,100 moms who signed the letter of support we sent to him.

Jeff Rudell took the time to send us more than 1,100 thank yous.

Needless to say, we were blown away.

Spreading love is amazing because so much of it always comes right back at you.

Here is Jeff’s response (you probably want to grab a kleenex):

Dear Liz:

I hope you will forgive me the informal manner of my address but, after weeping over your letter for a good 20 minutes, I feel like we are close enough that I can call you by your first name.

I am deeply moved by your note. Humbled. Encouraged. Overwhelmed. In truth, your note affected me in quite a few ways. Chief among them, however, was a deep feeling of joy that the world contains people such as yourself and all the other members of your group. It was not always so. That you all have gathered together, in love, gives me more than a little hope for all our futures.

I agree with you that stories such as my own need to be told. Too often shame or fear keeps people from sharing their experiences and that leaves so many others in the dark, feeling isolated and helpless. I was happy and honored to be able to speak of my own history (and I was deeply impressed that NBC was willing to include it in the final edit of the show). As you well know, my story, awful as it may be, is in no way unique or unusual. LGBTQ children everywhere go through the same thing I went through, or worse, every day.

I was uncertain, and a little anxious, about what sort of response my appearance on the show might receive. One hears horror stories about trolls and haters on social media. To my great delight, I am happy to report that the responses have — across the board — been positive, hopeful, encouraging, and loving. A 22-year-old man and woman offered to adopt me as their son. A grandmother in her 80s offered my husband and me use of her spare bedroom should we ever find ourselves in need of shelter or respite in the mountains of Kentucky. I have a standing invitation to Thanksgiving dinner at the home of more than 100 different families across America. And the messages of love and support go far beyond even those kind gestures.

Your note, however, was the one that hit hardest. That so many of your have come together, united in your efforts to retain relationships with your LGBTQ children…honest to God I cannot imagine a more beautiful thing, anywhere, ever. Thank you for the work you are doing. Thank you for loving your children (and thus helping to make more loving citizens). Most of all, and most selfishly, thank you for sharing that love with me. You have helped make me a better person with this gift.

With very best regards to each and every one of you!




I’m sorry for my delay in writing but I wanted to take time to read each name aloud, and say thank you. Such an act of kindness takes time to absorb and appreciate and having each of these names in my mouth helped me find a place for each of them in my heart.


Thank you, Liz Dyer, Founder & Owner

Thank you, Abby De Fiesta Cortez 

Thank you, Adele Berardi

Thank you, Adrienne Haslam

Thank you, Aimee French

Thank you, Alecia Moss

Thank you, Aletheia Wall Zambesi

Thank you, Alise D Chaffins

Thank you, Alison Defrese

Thank you, Alissa Butler

Thank you, Allena Brown

Thank you, Allison Baswell

Thank you, Allison Gonzalez

Thank you, Allison Wilson

Thank you, Amanda Corry Thorderson

Thank you, Amanda Curtis Dwyer

Thank you, Amanda Dalton

Thank you, Amanda Gayle

Thank you, Amanda Grace Blackmon

Thank you, Amanda J Brewer

Thank you, Amanda Shingola Everly

Thank you, Amber Guerrero

Thank you, Amy Brooks

Thank you, Amy D’Arpino

Thank you, Amy Forbes

Thank you, Amy Goad

Thank you, Amy Hansley Bennett

Thank you, Amy L Parker Orwig

Thank you, Amy Ridgely Allridge

Thank you, Amy Rueter

Thank you, Amy Stubbs

Thank you, Amy Wells

Thank you, Anani Steadman

Thank you, Andrea Coffee Peacock

Thank you, Andrea Larson Schultz

Thank you, Angel Barber

Thank you, Angela Bengston

Thank you, Angela H. Coble

Thank you, Angela Harrison Darland

Thank you, Angie Laws

Thank you, Angie Leavitt

Thank you, Angie Silver

Thank you, Angie Stratz Ashmore

Thank you, Anita Breuer Peters

Thank you, Anita Jewell Carter Cockrum

Thank you, Anittra Kilgore

Thank you, Ann McGee Green

Thank you, Ann Phillips Smith

Thank you, Ann Zweckbronner

Thank you, Anna Parks

Thank you, Anne Campolieti Anderson

Thank you, Anne Rolfert

Thank you, Annie Shelton

Thank you, AnnMarie Augugliaro Gilbert

Thank you, Antoinette Sanchez

Thank you, April Silbermann

Thank you, Arlene Schulz

Thank you, Ashlie Burnette Webb

Thank you, Athena Sims

Thank you, Autumn Kinsman

Thank you, Barb Cressy

Thank you, Barbara Winkler

Thank you, Beau Simcoe

Thank you, Becky Abbott Kelley

Thank you, Becky Cantrall

Thank you, Becky Henry

Thank you, Becky Horness

Thank you, Becky Krauklis Rominger

Thank you, Becky Norum Warner

Thank you, Belinda Adkins

Thank you, Belinda King

Thank you, Bella M Kaplan

Thank you, Bella Squicciarini Kaplan

Thank you, Beth Barndt Ruthenburg

Thank you, Beth Breems

Thank you, Beth Campbell

Thank you, Beth Highton Carter

Thank you, Beth Loring

Thank you, Beth McGill-Rizer

Thank you, Beth Richardson

Thank you, Beth Wiggins Baswell

Thank you, Bethany Kirwen

Thank you, Bethany Wood

Thank you, Betsy Bruce Henning 

Thank you, Betsy Sforza Gutridge

Thank you, Beverly Wynne

Thank you, Billie Jo Marrs

Thank you, Blanca Benavidez

Thank you, Bobbi-Jo Phoenix Turner

Thank you, Bonnie Miranda

Thank you, Brandy Darr Doty

Thank you, Brenda Ahlemann

Thank you, Brenda Diesslin

Thank you, Brenda Fiet Walter

Thank you, Brenda Holloway Bratcher

Thank you, Brenda King

Thank you, Bridget Murphy

Thank you, Brigitte Spence

Thank you, Britiney Fife

Thank you, Brittney Jo

Thank you, Bryna Dawn Carter

Thank you, Candace Kitchkeesick

Thank you, Candace Winters

Thank you, Candice Staats Morales

Thank you, Candy Cathey

Thank you, Cara Peachick

Thank you, Cari Martinez

Thank you, Carie Poynor Downes

Thank you, Carla Hegeman Crim

Thank you, Carla Iturregui Picasso-Brown

Thank you, Carla Michaelsen

Thank you, Carla Short Spivey

Thank you, Carlee Roche

Thank you, Carol Caudill Thames

Thank you, Carol Foster Lamar

Thank you, Carol Lundemo

Thank you, Carol Mason

Thank you, Carol Smith

Thank you, Carole Bass

Thank you, Carole Christian

Thank you, Carole Glover Kuriatnikova

Thank you, Carolyn Brice Briggs

Thank you, Carolyn Cage Johnston

Thank you, Carolyn Walker

Thank you, Carrie Black

Thank you, Carrie Colladay Stell

Thank you, Carrie Fulton

Thank you, Carrie Garske Shank

Thank you, Carrie Henderson

Thank you, Caryl A Williams

Thank you, Caryle A Cox

Thank you, Cassandra Graham

Thank you, Cassy Taylor Campos

Thank you, Catherine Marie Matesi

Thank you, Cathleen Frantzen Schaber

Thank you, Cathy Calamas

Thank you, Cathy Ledbetter Lafever

Thank you, Cathy Light Evans

Thank you, CeCe Garrett

Thank you, Celia Hadden

Thank you, Chasity Davis

Thank you, Chelsa Nunn Morrison

Thank you, Chelsea Mornings

Thank you, Cheri Nill

Thank you, Cherie Andres Draper

Thank you, Cherie Stevens

Thank you, Cherie Thomas

Thank you, Cherie Walker

Thank you, Cheryel Lemley McRoy

Thank you, Cheryl B. Evans

Thank you, Cheryl Bakkila-Perkins 

Thank you, Cheryl Couch-Thomas

Thank you, Cheryl Wilson

Thank you, Chris Behne

Thank you, Chris Clements

Thank you, Chris López

Thank you, Chris Pepple

Thank you, Chris Walker

Thank you, Chrissy Mae Brooks

Thank you, Christie Hoos

Thank you, Christie Kornmaier Wood

Thank you, Christie Nader

Thank you, Christie Weston Butterman

Thank you, Christina Aronovici

Thank you, Christina Johnson

Thank you, Christina Lehmann Bergevin

Thank you, Christina Pierce

Thank you, Christina Rosbury

Thank you, Christine Bullock

Thank you, Christine Foster Shaw

Thank you, Christine Gilmore

Thank you, Christine Williams Walraven

Thank you, Christy Emigh

Thank you, Christy Seps White

Thank you, Cilla Thomas

Thank you, Cindy Brenner Sarquiz

Thank you, Cindy Helzer Baldwin

Thank you, Cindy Homer

Thank you, Cindy Jo Conner

Thank you, Cindy Morgan

Thank you, Cindy Naas Nathan

Thank you, Cindy Richard Broussard

Thank you, Cindy Rodriguez Castro

Thank you, Cindy Watson Bowen

Thank you, Cindy Winsky Lear

Thank you, Colette Park

Thank you, Colette Stasiewich

Thank you, Colleen Craig

Thank you, Colleen Hepler Brassington

Thank you, Colleen Kane

Thank you, Connie Dupuis

Thank you, Corinna Garcia

Thank you, Cosette Johnson Blanchard

Thank you, Crissy Flores

Thank you, Crista Mason

Thank you, Crystal Baker

Thank you, Crystal Squires

Thank you, Crystal Wagner

Thank you, Cyndi Houts Spieker

Thank you, Cyndi Silva Raugh

Thank you, Cynthia Corsetti

Thank you, Cynthia Gaye Rahm-Clark

Thank you, Cynthia Vermillion

Thank you, Dana Baker

Thank you, Dana Blankenship

Thank you, Dana Burgess

Thank you, Dana Huntington-Smith

Thank you, Danette Mohring

Thank you, Danielle Castellini Giannascoli

Thank you, Daphne Bookas Alvarado

Thank you, Daresha Kyi

Thank you, Dawn Acero

Thank you, Dawn Bellotti

Thank you, Dawn Bennett

Thank you, Dawn Carafeno

Thank you, Dawn Ervin

Thank you, Dawn Pogalz

Thank you, Dawn Roth

Thank you, Dawn Varvil

Thank you, Dawna Campise Raehpour

Thank you, Dayneen Glastetter

Thank you, Deanna Jolly Frazee

Thank you, Deb Busch

Thank you, Deb Foreman Cyr

Thank you, Deb Gallagher

Thank you, Deb Vaughn

Thank you, Deb Woodman

Thank you, Debbie Billetter

Thank you, Debbie Grider Perkins

Thank you, Debbie Griewe

Thank you, Debbie King

Thank you, Debbie Matsunaga Pettit

Thank you, Debbie McCullough Hayhurst

Thank you, Debbie McQueen

Thank you, Debbie Rogers Greenan

Thank you, Debbie Shelden Ingram

Thank you, Debbie Wasielewski Tavarez

Thank you, Debbie Wilcock Kenworthy

Thank you, Debbie Woods Coy

Thank you, Debby Lloyd Boutwell

Thank you, Debby McCrary

Thank you, Debi Jackson

Thank you, Debi Tucker Boland

Thank you, Deborah Carlyle Enman

Thank you, Debra Hill

Thank you, Debra Honeywell Myott

Thank you, Debra Rene Skinner

Thank you, Dee Dee

Thank you, Dee Rankin

Thank you, Dee Reed

Thank you, Dee-Ann Bodenheimer-Enslin 

Thank you, Deena Corwin Pfahler

Thank you, Deleise Carper Brewer 

Thank you, Dena Heinen Edwards

Thank you, Denise Lodge Everitt

Thank you, Denise O’Dell Hutson

Thank you, Denise Ramirez-Tatum

Thank you, Denise Trainer Webb

Thank you, Detra Damskov

Thank you, Di Petsche

Thank you, Diana Dermit McCarthy

Thank you, Diana Walla

Thank you, Diane Brady-Leighton

Thank you, Diane Bruyn Van Kley

Thank you, Diane Simms

Thank you, Dina Palmisano Wolstromer

Thank you, Dominique Pfeiffer

Thank you, Donna C Smith

Thank you, Donna Campbell Thornbury

Thank you, Donna Davis Poock

Thank you, Donna Holmes

Thank you, Donna McAtee Edwards

Thank you, Donna Thompson Spencer

Thank you, Donna Turner Hudson

Thank you, Dorene Rose

Thank you, Dori Spaulding MacFarlane

Thank you, Doris Gaither

Thank you, Doris Wright

Thank you, Dorothy Banzon

Thank you, Dyanne Khalaf

Thank you, Edith A Love

Thank you, Eiriol Lane

Thank you, Elaine Falk Parker

Thank you, Eleanor Dennison

Thank you, Elisa Stoneman

Thank you, Elizabeth Aldridge

Thank you, Elizabeth Estep Woodmansee

Thank you, Elizabeth Frauenknecht

Thank you, Elizabeth McConnel Sutton

Thank you, Elizabeth Medlin

Thank you, Elizabeth Pierce

Thank you, Ellen McCrory

Thank you, Ellen Passwater

Thank you, Ellen Pridmore Green

Thank you, Emily Aceituno

Thank you, Emily Farley

Thank you, Emily Richards Rivera

Thank you, Erika DahlePetras

Thank you, Erika Fuchs Kuhlman

Thank you, Erin Green Kelley

Thank you, Esa Ann

Thank you, Eva Sullivan-Knoff

Thank you, Felicia Dodd

Thank you, Fran Shirer

Thank you, Frances Lavender

Thank you, Frances O’Flaherty

Thank you, Francine Rowland Woodcock

Thank you, Franny Buell

Thank you, Gayla Hicks May

Thank you, Gena Rogers

Thank you, Gena Sanders Davis

Thank you, Genell Brown

Thank you, Geneviève Trotter

Thank you, Georgi Persons

Geraldine Gray Kiser

Thank you, Gerry Phifer

Thank you, Gina Drew Butcher

Thank you, Gina Williamson

Thank you, Giny Bailey

Thank you, Gladys Rodriguez

Thank you, Glenda Crump

Thank you, Glenda Moore

Thank you, Glenda Purkis Boulton

Thank you, Gloria Melton

Thank you, Greta Medrano

Thank you, Gretchen Doornek Mueller

Thank you, Gretchen Veling

Thank you, Gwen Harker Poole

Thank you, Harriet Sutton

Thank you, Heather Blazek

Thank you, Heather Clevenger

Thank you, Heather Cooper

Thank you, Heather Diaz

Thank you, Heather Frost Holtslander

Thank you, Heather Gee-Thomas

Thank you, Heather McCracken Bottoms

Thank you, Heather Rae Turner

Thank you, Heather Shamp Mitchell

Thank you, Heather Taylor

Thank you, Heather Tescher Brazelton

Thank you, Hillary Heidelberg

Thank you, Holly Cummings

Thank you, Holly Daniel Ransom

Thank you, Hope Lane Addis

Thank you, Ida Federico Hammer

Thank you, Ilene Pedersen

Thank you, Ineka Estabrook

Thank you, Irene Gilliland

Thank you, J. Regina Blackwell

Thank you, Jackie Berens-Andrew

Thank you, Jackie Britt Mulholland

Thank you, Jackie Copeland

Thank you, Jackie McQueen

Thank you, Jacque Wright

Thank you, Jacqueline Rutledge

Thank you, Jacqueline Steverson Brown

Thank you, Jade Cutter

Thank you, Jamie Harris Parnell

Thank you, Jamie Hovland

Thank you, Jamie McAfee

Thank you, Jamie Tessing Bruesehoff

Thank you, Jammie Risley Hahn

Thank you, Jan Pezant 

Thank you, Jan Roberts

Thank you, Jan Simmons Johnson

Thank you, Jan Wightman

Thank you, Jane Clementi

Thank you, Jane E Lages

Thank you, Jane Moody

Thank you, Jane Quintanar

Thank you, Janet Bossemeyer-Mazerolle

Thank you, Janet Brandes Ambrosio

Thank you, Janet Lee Anjain

Thank you, Janet Phillips

Thank you, Janet Souza

Thank you, Janette Leverenz

Thank you, Janice Dunn White

Thank you, Janice Hoffman Woodruff

Thank you, Janice Norton Ritter

Thank you, Janice Taylor

Thank you, Janie Romine

Thank you, Janine Rauscher

Thank you, Janine Sarah Moore

Thank you, Jaron Terry

Thank you, Jay Nevitt Geiger

Thank you, Jayne LB

Thank you, Jayne Spear

Thank you, Jayne Tucker

Thank you, Jean Abbott Herrick

Thank you, Jean Youmans-Stanton

Thank you, Jeana Owens

Thank you, Jeannette Cona-Larock

Thank you, Jeannie Babb

Thank you, Jen Irvine

Thank you, Jen K D-Lewis

Thank you, Jen Tengs-Howard

Thank you, Jenn Riedy

Thank you, Jenna Robertson

Thank you, Jennie Young-Walczyk

Thank you, Jennifer Adams

Thank you, Jennifer Angulo

Thank you, Jennifer Buol

Thank you, Jennifer Davis Smith

Thank you, Jennifer Demi Raehl

Thank you, Jennifer Donovan Jasgur

Thank you, Jennifer Dunnam Stringfellow

Thank you, Jennifer Hancock

Thank you, Jennifer Lindsey

Thank you, Jennifer McClelland Meyer

Thank you, Jennifer McDonald

Thank you, Jennifer Miller

Thank you, Jennifer Page

Thank you, Jennifer Palmer

Thank you, Jennifer Robinson

Thank you, Jennifer Schaffner Burkhardt

Thank you, Jennifer Seeger

Thank you, Jennifer Sollazzo Smyke

Thank you, Jennifer Stake White

Thank you, Jennifer Sumner

Thank you, Jennifer Szabo

Thank you, Jennifer Tatum Downs

Thank you, Jennifer Teeter

Thank you, Jennifer Wilkins Pearson

Thank you, Jenny Bishop Morgan

Thank you, Jenny Williams Hines

Thank you, Jerri Surles Collins

Thank you, Jessica Banks

Thank you, Jessica Fahlgren

Thank you, Jessica Johnson

Thank you, Jessica Markwood Weiss

Thank you, Jessie Swinford Shirrell

Thank you, Jill Arrowood

Thank you, Jill Blythe

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Thank you, Jolene Weaver

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Thank you, Judie Brown Gordon

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Thank you, Julia Elliott Campbell

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Thank you, Julie Greene

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Thank you, June Test Castonguay

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Thank you, Lesley Busi Rickman

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Thank you, Leslie Bohon-Bothwell

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Thank you, Libby M Aragon

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Thank you, Lindsey Whitworth

Thank you, Lisa Ann

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Thank you, Lisa Burgess Berry

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Thank you, Lisa Fischetti Schlossberg

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Thank you, Lisa Jane

Thank you, Lisa Jordan Ashby

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Thank you, Liz Hamor

Thank you, Liz Taylor

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Thank you, Lori Lamb

Thank you, Lori Love-Wise

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Thank you, LuAnn Shaffer Welham

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Thank you, Lynette Joy

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Thank you, Lynne Steele Ford

Thank you, Madai Girard

Thank you, Maggie Borowski

Thank you, Mai Friesen Swan

Thank you, Maleea Shaver Castillo

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Thank you, Mally Shell Hatch

Thank you, Mandy Giles

Thank you, Marci Cobb Morey

Thank you, Marcia Jonczak

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Thank you, Marcie Castiglione

Thank you, Margaret Martin

Thank you, Margi Wilmans 

Thank you, Margie Candler

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Thank you, Maria Iacona

Thank you, Maria Mongelli Glanzmann

Thank you, Marianne Minier Walker

Thank you, Marie Vincent Turnbull

Thank you, Marilyn Fowler Brownjohn

Thank you, Marilyn Weaver Folk

Thank you, Marilynn Bourne Fowler

Thank you, Marjorie Rudolph

Thank you, Marla Hagemeyer

Thank you, Marlene Hoefer Brummond

Thank you, Marlene Lund

Thank you, Marsha Ladd

Thank you, Marsha McCollum

Thank you, Martha Jr Conley

Thank you, Martha Maust

Thank you, Martha Parshall Richards

Thank you, Marti Parsons Grahl

Thank you, Mary Anicich

Thank you, Mary Ann Grisham

Thank you, Mary Carter Knisley

Thank you, Mary Davidson

Thank you, Mary Estelle Montgomery

Thank you, Mary Figueroa-Garrison

Thank you, Mary Jo Whitley

Thank you, Mary Kay Weil

Thank you, Mary Prados Peterson

Thank you, Mary Price

Thank you, Mary Siever

Thank you, Mary Walton

Thank you, MaryRuth Green Gossett

Thank you, Maureen Anne Claffy

Thank you, Maureen Harden

Thank you, Meg Shull Bierwirth

Thank you, Meghan Fisher Brandes

Thank you, Melanie Burke

Thank you, Melea Broekers

Thank you, Melina Madolora Wikoff

Thank you, Melinda Cullins

Thank you, Melinda Shatzer Bowersox

Thank you, Melissa Ballard

Thank you, Melissa Brady Silva

Thank you, Melissa Everet

Thank you, Melissa Hinebauch

Thank you, Melissa Morritt Coble

Thank you, Melissa Narvaez

Thank you, Melissa Nicholson Smallwood

Thank you, Melissa Podolak McGuire

Thank you, Melissa René Everet

Thank you, Melissa Rogers

Thank you, Melissa Sosenko DeStefano

Thank you, Melissa Stevenson

Thank you, Melissa Talarico

Thank you, Melissa Torres

Thank you, Melissa Wegner

Thank you, Melody Dolle

Thank you, Melynda Madrid

Thank you, Meredith Webster Indermaur

Thank you, Merrell Dilsavor

Thank you, Merryl Dietz

Thank you, Michele Engle

Thank you, Michele Harrison West

Thank you, Michele Manuel Fuselier

Thank you, Michele Wessel Tarnow

Thank you, Michelle Black

Thank you, Michelle Bradshaw McComb

Thank you, Michelle Brittain Rovine

Thank you, Michelle Eckmayer

Thank you, Michelle Irion Jackson

Thank you, Michelle Knotts Gill

Thank you, Michelle Martin Gardner

Thank you, Michelle McCann

Thank you, Michelle Melom

Thank you, Michelle Oh

Thank you, Michelle Selengowski

Thank you, Michelle Vosejpka

Thank you, Michelle Wallace

Thank you, Michelle Zulch

Thank you, Millie Donnell

Thank you, Mimi Lemay

Thank you, Miranda Devenport

Thank you, Miriam Pendley

Thank you, Miriam Righter

Thank you, Missy Keaton

Thank you, Missy Moore Weening

Thank you, Misty Dupuis

Thank you, Molly Griffin

Thank you, Molly Williams Broderick

Thank you, Molly Wills Carnes

Thank you, Monica Ausderau Larmon

Thank you, Monica Luna Bliss

Thank you, Monica Maday

Thank you, Monica Neu Kwarta

Thank you, Monica-Niki Elenbaas

Thank you, Monique Rodas

Thank you, Morven Roberts Baker

Thank you, Nanci Tillman Slagle

Thank you, Nancy Adams Smith

Thank you, Nancy Barron Booher

Thank you, Nancy Dryer Deeb

Thank you, Nancy Johnson Campbell

Thank you, Nancy MacDonald

Thank you, Nancy Ruh

Thank you, Nancy Thompson Flikkema

Thank you, Nancy Villegas

Thank you, Nancy Wance

Thank you, Nancy Williams Eakin

Thank you, Nanette Sanderson Sparrow

Thank you, Natalie Murray

Thank you, Nicole Blagg

Thank you, Nicole Garrison Park

Thank you, Nicole Havlen Hair

Thank you, Nicole Mohr

Thank you, Nikki Holmes

Thank you, Noreen Sharp Wendeln

Thank you, Ofelia Dafne’ Barba Navarro

Thank you, Olivia Santos

Thank you, Paige Gant

Thank you, Paige Stover

Thank you, Pam Cotton

Thank you, Pam Ensinger Antos

Thank you, Pam Graeler

Thank you, Pam Moreau

Thank you, Pam Swendig

Thank you, Pam Walsh

Thank you, Pamela Davidson Lorton

Thank you, Pamela Fields

Thank you, Pamila Moore Gantt

Thank you, Patricia Berning

Thank you, Patricia Sjöberg

Thank you, Patti Atwood Grossman

Thank you, Patti Detzel

Thank you, Patti Higgins

Thank you, Patti Mercer Churner

Thank you, Patti Stone

Thank you, Patti Stratton

Thank you, Patty Abrams Snader

Thank you, Patty Loraine Woodruff

Thank you, Patty Meriwether

Thank you, Patty Yamsek

Thank you, Paula Unrau

Thank you, Pauline Carlson

Thank you, Pauline Cieri

Thank you, Pauline Daly

Thank you, Peggy Graff-Perrett

Thank you, Peggy Knight

Thank you, Penny Watne

Thank you, Phyllis Barber

Thank you, Rachael Hawkins

Thank you, Rachel Belknap

Thank you, Rachel Derman

Thank you, Rachel Drouillard

Thank you, Rachel Eve

Thank you, Rachel Fields

Thank you, Rachel Keyte

Thank you, Rachel Ross Boone

Thank you, Rachel Sargent

Thank you, Rachel Whitehall

Thank you, Rebecca Armstrong

Thank you, Rebecca Baxter

Thank you, Rebecca Fako Uecker

Thank you, Rebecca Hedges Lyon

Thank you, Rebecca Little Swinney

Thank you, Rebecca Nei

Thank you, Rebecca Roberts

Thank you, Rebecca Sayre

Thank you, Rebecca Wilson

Thank you, Regina Pitts Woods

Thank you, Renae Erickson

Thank you, Renae Shaffer-Stone

Thank you, Renay Boyes

Thank you, Renee Cuffe

Thank you, Renee Hartweg

Thank you, Renee K Williams Erwin

Thank you, Renee Utley Bennink

Thank you, Rhonda Eubanks

Thank you, Rhonda Hartzell

Thank you, Rhonda Morrison

Thank you, Rhonda Smith Mailhos

Thank you, Rhonda Wills-Johnson

Thank you, Riah Daniels

Thank you, Rika Moya

Thank you, Rita Daruvala

Thank you, Rob Ullinger

Thank you, Robbin Ramseur

Thank you, Robin Beck

Thank you, Robin Burt Schuster

Thank you, Robin Gowan

Thank you, Robin Preece Parker

Thank you, Robin Protsman

Thank you, Robin Spring

Thank you, Robinette Nacca-Cooke

Thank you, Robyn Deterding

Thank you, Robyn S Haag

Thank you, Robynne Buckingham

Thank you, Rogena ‘Reggie’ Johnson

Thank you, Roh Hardin

Thank you, Ronda Zylstra

Thank you, Ʀosaııie Ĺane

Thank you, Rose Nemcosky Arneson

Thank you, Rose Stucchio

Thank you, Roseanne M. Shannon

Thank you, Rosemarie Varrichio Campbell

Thank you, Rossana Neglia McLaughlin

Thank you, Roxanna Villars Gambrell

Thank you, S Anderson

Thank you, S Brae Adams

Thank you, Samantha Jill

Thank you, Samantha Nelson

Thank you, Samara LaRusch Jenkins

Thank you, SanDee Hunter Duncan

Thank you, Sandra Cathers

Thank you, Sandra Gainer Fuentes

Thank you, Sandra Miller Lenard

Thank you, Sandra Nelson Harris

Thank you, Sandra Van Dyne

Thank you, Sandra Vincent Richard

Thank you, Sandy Acevedo Degenhardt

Thank you, Sandy Collins

Thank you, Sandy Gregg

Thank you, Sandy McClure

Thank you, Sara Cunningham

Thank you, Sara Hoel May

Thank you, Sara Lunde Larson

Thank you, Sara Oliver

Thank you, Sara Vazquez

Thank you, Sarah Keller Garcia

Thank you, Sarah Langley

Thank you, Sarah Mills Holbrook

Thank you, Sarah Sherman Rocha

Thank you, Sarah Thacker-Estell 

Thank you, Shannen Rhoda

Thank you, Shannon Eaton

Thank you, Shannon Jarvis

Thank you, Shannon Keefe

Thank you, Shannon Mcpherson Doherty

Thank you, Shannon Sharesky

Thank you, Sharon Hanby Williams

Thank you, Sharon Harding

Thank you, Sharon Parish

Thank you, Shawn Rozett Senning

Thank you, Shawna Dicintio

Thank you, Shay Bisbee Haude

Thank you, Shelley Holland

Thank you, Shelley McBride

Thank you, Shelly Willis

Thank you, Sheri Martin 

Thank you, Sherilynn Hickenbottom

Thank you, Sherri Jackson Simancas

Thank you, Sherrl McFerrin Townsend

Thank you, Sherry Baisden

Thank you, Sherry Pyles

Thank you, Sheryl T Martin

Thank you, Sheryl Warren Olszewski

Thank you, Shirley Carley

Thank you, Sondy Eklund

Thank you, Sonia Garza

Thank you, Sonya Hook

Thank you, Spring Davidson

Thank you, Stacey Frazier

Thank you, Stacey Jackson Baeumler

Thank you, Stacey Wadle

Thank you, Staci Lee Kennelly

Thank you, Stacie Houghtaling Belair

Thank you, Stacy Gouge Drake

Thank you, Stefani Ragsdale

Thank you, Stefanie Bianchi Connolly

Thank you, Stephanie Anderson

Thank you, Stephanie Bullock

Thank you, Stephanie Coleman Mack

Thank you, Stephanie Daniels

Thank you, Stephanie Ernst

Thank you, Stephanie Gilbert

Thank you, Stephanie Kreps

Thank you, Stephanie McGreger

Thank you, Stephanie Niles Ray

Thank you, Stephanie Redding

Thank you, Stephanie Stanley

Thank you, Stephanie Thomas

Thank you, Stevie Prince

Thank you, Sue Cottle

Thank you, Sue Ellen Ward Lowe

Thank you, Sue Howard

Thank you, Sue Reynolds

Thank you, Sue Schultz

Thank you, Sue Stewart Newman

Thank you, Sue Tresatti

Thank you, Sue West Helms

Thank you, Susan Berland

Thank you, Susan Boyce

Thank you, Susan Cloys Seaman

Thank you, Susan Dollar Michaels

Thank you, Susan Foss Naranjo-Stultz

Thank you, Susan Hammontree Fortney

Thank you, Susan Jewell

Thank you, Susan Ledbetter

Thank you, Susan Mackenzie Treber

Thank you, Susan Merritt Slattery

Thank you, Susan Metcalf

Thank you, Susan Rest Asplund

Thank you, Susan Ridley Griffin

Thank you, Susan Stockton Roberts

Thank you, Susan Wardzinski

Thank you, Susanna Bedser

Thank you, Susy Rowe Barnhill

Thank you, Suzanne Alexander

Thank you, Suzanne Lambert Mann

Thank you, Suzanne Martin

Thank you, Sylvia Davis

Thank you, Tamara Darbin

Thank you, Tamara Kaye Hooper

Thank you, Tamara Totoro Dick

Thank you, Tammi Perkins

Thank you, Tammi Woodward

Thank you, Tammie Jarnagan

Thank you, Tammy Chism Madley

Thank you, Tammy Flowers Mejdrich

Thank you, Tammy O’Brine

Thank you, Tammy Warren Tearoe

Thank you, Tammy Watchel

Thank you, Tammy Watson

Thank you, Tammy Wenzinger

Thank you, Tamra Jennings

Thank you, Tana Lightbown Hendricks

Thank you, Tanya Higgins

Thank you, Tanya Hutchinson

Thank you, Tanza Bauer

Thank you, Tara Dominy Bonner

Thank you, Tara Lawrence

Thank you, Tara Nicole

Thank you, Tara Soughers

Thank you, Tari Card

Thank you, Tasha Moreno

Thank you, Tenley Dyck

Thank you, Teresa Comby Childers

Thank you, Teresa Martenson

Thank you, Teresa Medlin Poston

Thank you, Teresa Parker

Thank you, Teresa Perkins

Thank you, Teressa L’Heureux

Thank you, Teri Henderson

Thank you, Teri Stueland Kay

Thank you, Terri Cook

Thank you, Terri Gervasi

Thank you, Terri Nolt

Thank you, Terri Schempf

Thank you, Terri Smith

Thank you, Terri White

Thank you, Terry Hall Sanchez

Thank you, Terry Moran

Thank you, Theresa Cooper

Thank you, Theresa Moore Martinez

Thank you, Theresa Tasker

Thank you, Tiffany Christie

Thank you, Tiffany Powell

Thank you, Tina Marie

Thank you, Tina Pawlick

Thank you, Tina Peck Rumbley

Thank you, Tina Thomas

Thank you, Tina Wesley

Thank you, Tonda Campbell Hoyt 

Thank you, Toni Ann Bradley

Thank you, Toni Black Sanchez

Thank you, Toni Dyer

Thank you, Torri Winright

Thank you, Tracey Gombold Bell

Thank you, Tracey Jo Pryor

Thank you, Tracey Reams

Thank you, Tracie Mickey Loux

Thank you, Tracie Sells

Thank you, Tracy Decker Chappell

Thank you, Tracy Jepson

Thank you, Tracy Kane

Thank you, Tracy Stittleburg

Thank you, Tracy Trotter Nagy

Thank you, Tracy Williams Matos

Thank you, Tricia Kaufman-Waddell 

Thank you, Tricia Rogan Alberts Bollmann

Thank you, Tricia Willard 

Thank you, Trish Ives

Thank you, Valencia Greene Foster

Thank you, Valerie Amoling Cronin

Thank you, Valerie Glines Messina

Thank you, Vanessa Ford

Thank you, Vanessa Goosen

Thank you, Vanessa Horton-Hendershot

Thank you, Vanessa Melchiori

Thank you, Vicki Delong Tacoma

Thank you, Vicki Evans Sevey

Thank you, Vicki Kemp Whorton

Thank you, Vicki Kluzek

Thank you, Vicki Luna

Thank you, Vicki March Belsterling

Thank you, Vicki Westphal

Thank you, Vicki Wimmer Johnson

Thank you, Vicky Barnes

Thank you, Vicky Snow Decker

Thank you, Victoria Larson

Thank you, Vlada Knowlton

Thank you, Wendie S Dillehay

Thank you, Wendy Brown

Thank you, Wendy French

Thank you, Wendy Harley

Thank you, Wendy Koster

Thank you, Wendy Lea

Thank you, Wendy Margaret Jennings

Thank you, Wendy Swanson

Thank you, Wendy Vinson Nelson

Thank you, Wendy Wiley Canedy

Thank you, Whitney Straub

Thank you, Whitney Treloar

Thank you, Whitney Webb

Thank you, Yvette Griego

Thank you, Yvonne Frith

Thank you, Zaneta Salde Encarnacion

Thank you, Zenia Robertson

Thank you, Zora Oh    

Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The official motto is “Better Together” and the members call themselves “Mama Bears” The group is private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 3,700 members. For more info about the private facebook group email


Mama Bear Story Project #36 – Jeannette Cona-Larock


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The Mama Bear Story Project is a collection of portraits and autobiographical essays from members of Serendipitydodah for Moms – a private Facebook group for open minded Christian moms of LGBTQ kids.




Or will it be the other way around?

I never thought I wanted children.  I was fortunate enough to have a father that never questioned my ability to do anything I set my mind to do, a mother who had her own degree in a science field atypical of women in her generation and I had just enough hutzpah to believe I could do anything.  Growing up in the 70s and 80s, it seemed ridiculous to consider having a family when I was determined to be a career woman.  I took the hardest classes in high school that I could despite the times and found myself working through a chemical engineering curriculum in college.  There wasn’t going to be any MRS degree for me.  Life was black and white, based on data and right or wrong.

A difficult breakup after college brought to light some things that had been hidden from me and taught me that the world isn’t black and white but that there are shades of gray.  Some self-reflection taught me that I always had the decision to view the world in a positive light or a negative one.  I worked on myself over the next two years reading books like How to Win Friends and Influence People andThe Power of Positive Thinking as well as The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

My views on the possibility of becoming a mother changed when I met my future husband, at work no less in a large chemical company.  I could see a long-term future with him and it included one with children.  By that point in my life, I was ready.  I learned that it’s okay to change your mind. Changing your mind can be a new path on your evolution as a person.

We were blessed that getting pregnant wasn’t difficult and by the time I was 32, we were expecting our first child.  From the time we were engaged, we worked on our genealogy, combing through old records prior to the ease of computers and traveled to countries to see dusty old books filled with generations of history.  We looked over common names, discovering lineage and blended our two trees together.  We learned that family is shared history and love for one another.

Our child arrived with a head full of dark hair, a fiery personality and I was consumed with a determination to be the best mother that I could.  Circumstances prevented me from returning to the work I was doing and after careful consideration, we decided to have one parent at home and I set about my new role as mother and head of household operations with the same rigor that I had my education and work career.  I pinched pennies, kept schedules, and along the way, determined the type of mother I wanted to be.  I wanted to be one that didn’t yell or lose my patience.  I wanted to be one that educated (even if I didn’t enjoy arts and crafts) and I wanted to be one that encouraged my child to be whoever they wanted to be and the best they could be with no strings attached.  Perfection not requested or required even though I demanded it from myself.  When my second child came long 23 months later, I battled postpartum depression and wondered whether I had failed.  I sought treatment and realized that I could do this and do it well.  I learned that children are loving and forgiving and that I had the strength to do the same.  I also learned that “Perfection is the enemy of Good Enough.”

In third grade, my child came to me and said, “Mom, I want to cut my hair and wear boys clothes”.  By this point in my life as a mother, something inside of me started whispering, “Go with this.”  I said yes and saw how happy my child was.  Everything about this child screamed “out of the box”.  Every costume was a boy/male character.  My child was rough and tough and lived life ferociously.  Pokemon Cards, anime characters and more were the norm.  That didn’t mean we didn’t have American Girl dolls and the few random princess toys at the house for both children.  My child was just a happy child.  Traveling to China, we struggled with our translator to find the words to describe why my “daughter” looked like a boy but not once were we met with disdain.  I learned that I could live in the shades of gray even when I preferred the black and white.

The middle school years were rougher.  Schools with dress codes for special events, comparisons of fashion among pre-teens and teens made life more complicated.  My child continued to want to live in truth but struggled to find a comfortable place in the “norm”.  Together, we pushed boundaries as much as we could.  At some point along the way, the request for the first binder was made for a character cos-play costume.  Again, I found myself fighting internally but supporting the endeavor.  We discussed the physical effects of wearing one long term.  We tried sports bras and other options.  Little by little, I noticed that the binder was being worn more often and we had to replace and keep more than one for washing.  I learned to live with some discomfort for myself when challenging preconceived ideas. I was growing and evolving knowing we were on a different path together and as a family.

Living in a school district that allowed for the choice of high school, we prayed and discussed and ultimately decided on our district high school with a television and radio career pathway to help our child with the best chance of success for a career in film they had known they wanted since childhood.  God knew that our choice was about more than that and led us to the best possible place for our child to be, to grow and to transition.  It certainly wasn’t without its significant challenges given the student body population, but God had sent us loving and caring teachers, amazing friends in that population, new parent friends and a principal that would ultimately embrace my child’s new vision of themselves.  I learned to have faith and to be an advocate.

There were still stormy waters.  The same depression I had seen in myself, I saw in my child.  Reclusive behaviors:  spending too much time alone or locked away in bedrooms, I sometimes checked just to make sure my child hadn’t done anything drastic.  Those were scary moments, but I was going to fight for my child’s survival no matter what the cause.  I learned that I could be a mama bear.

Just prior to graduation, in February 2015, I discovered a letter posted on Facebook declaring to the world what I had long suspected and needed him to discover for himself.  I’ve been asked if I was upset that he didn’t choose to tell his parents first but when I asked him, his response made total sense, “Mom, I knew you’d be okay with it.” The love and support we received from family and friends in that moment continues to bring tears to my eyes.  The one person he had feared telling was one of the first people to respond and said, “To thine own self be true”.  I learned that we all have the power to change both on the inside and the outside.

The changes are more incremental but still momentous.  Court documents officially declaring a new name, the first day of testosterone shots, a new driver’s license and more steps to come like a new passport and surgery.  These steps overlay all the milestones in any young adult’s life:  first day of college, turning 21, anticipated graduation from college and we walk alongside our son not holding him up any longer but giving him wings to fly.  I have learned that all parents’ job is to work themselves out of a job regardless of the circumstances.  In this, we are all the same.

Life will not always be easy but as I consult more and parent less, I see a new role for myself.  One that advocates for other children who need someone in their corner.  I’m not sure how that will take shape, but it has begun with educating those around me, listening when people come to me with questions and living our life as a family out and proud following the lead of my son who is open to everyone in person and on social media.  I have learned that I can learn as much from my children as they can from me and parenting is the best job I never thought I wanted.


Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The official motto is “Better Together” and the members call themselves “Mama Bears”

The group is private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 3,700 members. For more info about the private facebook group email


Mama Bear Story Project #35 – Amy Orwig


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The Mama Bear Story Project is a collection of portraits and autobiographical essays from members of Serendipitydodah for Moms – a private Facebook group for open minded Christian moms of LGBTQ kids.

Amy Orwig

Some moments are indelibly etched in our memories.  For me, the way my husband looked at me, with such love and pride, as the doors to the chapel opened and the Wedding March began, is one of those happy memories that stays with me. (In September, we will be celebrating our 25th anniversary).  The joy of holding our first baby, for the first time, nearly 22 years ago – and again, nearly 19 years ago, when our youngest was born – makes up another happy memory.

Then there are the other memories…the ones that send the world tilting, crazily, on it’s side.  Shared memories, such as watching, with absolute horror, as the twin towers in NYC fell – and the uncertainty and fear for our safety, and our children’s futures, that we felt.  The uncertainty of what to do when our oldest injured herself the first time, the fear when she stopped breathing for a second, (that felt like an eternity), before letting out a blood-curdling cry. (She’s fine by the way).

And the way time absolutely stood still when my husband told us that our youngest was bi-sexual.  It was February 24th, 2017.  We had just enjoyed a wonderful evening with another couple, whom we have been friends with for years.  During dinner, they had told us that their son had proposed to his girlfriend – outwardly, I had congratulated them, while, inwardly, I fretted that our son would ever talk to a girl, let alone go out on a date!  So, on the way home, as these thoughts were going through my head, my husband told me about a recent conversation he had had with our son.  He told me that our Ryan, then 17, was bi-sexual.  And, the world tilted – and I felt sick, and filled with disbelief, and held onto hope that, maybe, he was just confused.  But, when we got home, I told that precious child that I loved him, and nothing could ever change that, and assured him that God loves him, too – and he said, “I know”.  I went upstairs, to our bedroom, that night and searched for what a Christian parent should do in this situation…and the overwhelming answer was just unthinkable!  No way would I kick my child out!  Then, I saw a loving response that mentioned Linda Mueller Robertson’s story.  I read her story, with tears in my eyes, and, from there I found the wonderful Facebook groups.

Those first few weeks, after that revelation, I was a bit of a zombie.  I didn’t sleep well, as my nights were peppered with me waking up, pleading with God to not let this be true.  The world would not be kind to my child, if this was true!  Then, one night, as I stood, shivering in the backyard with our puppy, (wishing he would hurry and do his business), I looked up at the vast array of stars and just cried out to God – why me?  Why us?  We homeschool, we take our children to church every Sunday!  Why?  And, in answer, I felt peace, and I knew all would be well.   A week, or so, later, I dreamt about spiders – not a scary dream, a dream about all of the vast variety of spiders, some of which we haven’t even discovered, yet – and I woke knowing that God was telling me that His creation is vaster, and more diverse, that I had ever realized.  And, again, I felt peace.

Our church has a prophecy ministry.  Now, I will be honest, I was always a bit sceptical about this kind of thing, but I am starting to rethink this, as well.  A couple of months after Ryan had come out to us, my husband expressed a wish to go to the prophecy ministry…so I went along.  Those people told me that I am beloved, (indeed the name, “Amy”, means beloved), and that, because of this, God was going to show me more about love.  And, He was going to surround me with people who were outcasts, who are often avoided by others.  And, He was going to make me like a fighter jet.  And I got chills – and knew that there would be no turning back, we were well, and truly, on this journey…and I felt peace.

On July 22, 2017, our son, who had just completed the rank of Eagle Scout, turned 18.  We had planned to go on a canoe trip, since he enjoyed this sort of thing (my husband and I are not swimmers, so we were a bit nervous), but there had been flooding.  Instead, we went to dinner at Red Lobster, Ryan’s choice, had cake & ice cream, and planned to watch a movie at home.  After our cake, Ryan disappeared into the bathroom for close to an hour.  He had been having stomach issues so, while concerned, we were not completely surprised…until my husband received a text from Ryan.  This text made the world tilt, again, and go spinning in a completely opposite direction.  Our Ryan, the text explained, was actually our daughter.  Doug and I assured our youngest of our love – and tried to go on as though nothing had happened.  And there was no peace in my soul that night.

Since turning 18, our youngest has become a new, even more delightful, person.  We have two daughters now.  Our oldest is Elizabeth, and she is 21, will be finishing her senior year of college this year, has plans to marry her boyfriend, (we like him, so it’s a good thing), and go to graduate school.  And we have our soon to be 19 year old daughter, Chloe.  Every day, it seems, we see a new aspect of this child, whom we, thought, we have known since birth. She is so different now, and, yet, the same.  She is still the loving, caring, hilarious child, with impeccable comedic timing, we have always known.  At first the changes were nearly overwhelming!  There were the struggles, on our part, of getting used to the new name and pronouns.  The struggles to maintain a poker face when seeing that child in a dress for the first time.  The new appointments on our calendar – therapy sessions, doctor’s appointments, groups for LGBTQ teens, and groups for their parents, (I had been surprised to find that nothing like this existed in our area, so I started the groups – so this level of busyness is my fault), have kept us running.  And my husband, Elizabeth, and I have been trying to keep up with Chloe, as she blossoms into the person she was meant to be.

I often reflect on the past…were there signs, that we missed, that our youngest was transgender?  In retrospect, yes…at the time, no.  There was the lack of interest in sports – but, neither my husband, nor I are athletic, so this wasn’t a total surprise.  There was the time our Elizabeth dressed her toddler “brother” in her My Size Barbie dress – and the look of absolute joy on that baby’s face!  The time we went hiking through a local park, and my husband took the lead, (to go through any spider webs first), and we said, “someday, Ryan, you will be the dad, and you can walk through the webs” – and that child cried.  And, there was the time, before I even had official confirmation that I was pregnant with this child, that I was awakened from a nap by a loud, booming – yet completely silent to everyone else – voice that told me that this child would be used for God’s purposes.  And, as I reflect back on what this last year has been, on the new groups that have found us surrounded by people we might have, previously, avoided, (and missed out on an amazing blessing, I might add), the change in the way I view the Bible’s teachings – now, rather than being a judgmental, law-concerned Pharisee, I strive to be a Jesus follower who loves everyone, and fights for justice – the joy in our Chloe’s eyes, her willingness to share her life with us, I am filled with joy, and peace.  All will be well,

Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The official motto is “Better Together” and the members call themselves “Mama Bears”

The group is private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 3,700 members. For more info about the private facebook group email


Mama Bear Story Project #34 – Vanessa Valenziano


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The Mama Bear Story Project is a collection of portraits and autobiographical essays from members of Serendipitydodah for Moms – a private Facebook group for open minded Christian moms of LGBTQ kids.

Vanessa Nichols


I’m Vanessa, a 41 year old single mom of one amazing transgender son, age 9.

My Dylan, was assigned female at birth, but it wasn’t long before we noticed a rejection of everything female. Around age 2, he gravitated towards boy toys, clothes, TV shows, willfully demanding to remove his dress or hair bows.

As we followed his lead for the next few years, we assumed this to be a phase, or maybe that “she” was the proverbial tomboy. It was definitely on my radar, the possibility that he was transgender, but something I also pushed away, far out of my mind, denying that a child could know themselves well enough to realize such a thing. I was supportive of the gender fluidity of his person, yet consciously avoided researching if young children needed something more when they presented such an obvious rejection of their assigned gender.

I was scared. I was fully aware of the discrimination and difficult path this would mean for my child. And no parent wants their child’s life to be more difficult than it is a straight, cis-gender (non trans) person. So, denial suited me.

By age 5, he had consistently and persistently imaginary played as the male role, drew himself in art as male, and insisted on boy’s clothing from head to toe.

By 6, he was verbalizing that he “felt like a boy” in his “heart and mind”, even had tried on several boy’s names.

I kept an open dialogue with him, voicing my support if he was ready to make that kind of change, but he would tell me, “No, mama. I’m fine being a girl. It’s ok”.

Until it wasn’t.

By age 8, he was self-harming and isolating himself at school. He was unsure of where he fit in and was carrying around so much shame because of how he was feeling, which ultimately, and quickly, led us to his social transition.
He began using his preferred name and male pronouns at home, then with family and friends, and eventually came out at school.

A new child emerged. One I didn’t know existed. One with confidence, spark, and poise. I didn’t know how much hurt he had until he really lived his whole truth. This transformation can only be described metaphorically as a caterpillar to a beautiful, amazing butterfly. It was the most gorgeous, freeing, experience to watch my child bloom into who he really was.

As a mom, an advocate, an ally, and a recent activist, I’ve learned so much. But above all, I have realized what a true gift it is to parent this child. Yes, every child is a gift, but a raising a transgender child has brought so much clarity to my life. The amount of education that my son has provided me, the bravery he has shown, his self-advocacy and the incredible self worth that has emerged, it has truly changed me as a human. Children are brilliant and they understand so much more about themselves than we do. We simply don’t give them enough credit.

And this journey has taught me about unconditional love- not only the love that I have for him but the love that others have shown us. And it’s all been enlightening and rare and gorgeous.

Having a transgender child would have never made my top 100 list of parenting challenges, had someone asked me before having a child. But I am so glad I was chosen for the task.

It is my honor and my privilege to parent this gorgeous soul.


Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The official motto is “Better Together” and the members call themselves “Mama Bears”

The group is private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 3,700 members. For more info about the private facebook group email

Mama Bear Story Project #33 – Amber Briggle


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The Mama Bear Story Project is a collection of portraits and autobiographical essays from members of Serendipitydodah for Moms – a private Facebook group for open minded Christian moms of LGBTQ kids.

Amber Briggle

PRIDE: a mom’s reflection on raising a transgender warrior

I’ve always been proud of my kids. They are considerate and kind (to everyone but each other), they are helpful, they are bright, they are articulate, and they tell the best jokes. Our den is cluttered with box forts and half-finished science experiments, and our walls are plastered with their art and school pictures. They’re the best kids any mama could ask for — and that fact has never changed, even when I realized that my freckle-faced, brown-eyed first born is transgender.

When Max (as he’s called now) told me he was a boy, he was only 2 years old. I didn’t believe him. I explained that there were a million different ways to be a girl, and that we could “redefine girly” together. Eventually we let him cut his pigtails and wear Spider-Man t-shirts, and it wasn’t too long before this kid really did look like a stereotypical boy. For years, I would correct people when they’d compliment him on what a helpful “young man” he was. Proudly, I’d boast that this was my daughter, and that there was no one right way to be a girl, and isn’t this child basically the best for ignoring cultural stereotypes, blah blah blah. This continued for years before I finally noticed the way my baby would get embarrassed, and how he’d shrink a little more every time I explained that this was actually a girl (gasp!). After enough moments like this, I started to wonder: maybe the rest of the world wasn’t misgendering my child — maybe I was.

Throughout all of this, Max was insistent, persistent, and consistent in his gender identity, and patient with me as he tried explaining in a million different ways that he was really a boy. I didn’t know that the word “transgender” even existed, let alone it could be an experience that a child could have. Yet I never questioned Max’s little sister, Lulu, on her gender identity — I had no reason to, since she identifies with the gender she was assigned at birth (a term called cisgender). Despite the fact that she’s four years younger than Max, no one has ever thought to challenge her on her gender identity. So why would anyone — including myself — think it’s okay to question Max on his?

A lot of research, prayer, communication, and discernment revealed the answers that my family was desperately seeking. A rise of visibility among young transgender Americans like Jazz Jennings encouraged families like mine to start talking with each other about their gender expansive kids, free from the shame or guilt that so many of us have been told to believe — that we had somehow failed our children by “letting” them be trans. Yet nothing could be farther from the truth. Because while a 2014 study by the Williams Institute showed that 41% of trans youth have attempted suicide at least once (a number that is nine times higher than the national average), those same transgender children experience the same levels of mental and physical health as their cisgender peers when they are supported, loved, affirmed, and embraced at home and at school. By rejecting a child’s gender expression and identity, we as their parents are slowly destroying them. The decision (if you could call it that) became clear at that point — Max didn’t choose to be transgender, but my husband and I chose to love him wholeheartedly. Ultimately, it was more important to us to support our son, than to risk burying our daughter.

These things take time. This wasn’t an overnight revelation, nor a quick social transition. But after years of watching, embracing, and supporting Max in everything from sports to dress to pronouns, he gradually became the person he was always meant to be — a brilliant boy with a soft spot in his heart for cats, tacos, and ukuleles.

This Pride Month, I am incredibly proud of Max for teaching me as his mama the true meaning of unconditional love and for changing the world in the process. When I was pregnant with him, I never cared if I was having a boy or girl — all I wanted was a healthy, happy baby. Nothing about him has changed except for his pronouns. Unfortunately, there are far too many LGBTQ kids who are kicked out of their homes, disowned by their parents, and ostracized by their friends once they “come out”. According to a report by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, queer-identified youth have a 120% higher risk of reporting homelessness than their straight or cisgender peers. Additionally, one in 30 LGBTQ teens have experienced homelessness at some point in the last 12 months. The people who should be protecting these vulnerable children are the very same ones who are harming them. Rather than being their child’s biggest fan, far too many parents have become their child’s biggest bully. And it breaks my damn heart. Because quite honestly, if it’s hard to love your kids, then you’re doing it wrong. Full stop.

Max challenges me every day to live my truth out loud, to be a better person, to live openly and honestly, and to advocate for the vulnerable, the marginalized, and the invisible. By being true to himself he has opened the eyes and melted the hearts of people across the country, and has influenced policy as a result. When Max had anti-LGBTQ Attorney General Ken Paxton over for dinner — a man who was actively suing the Obama administration over the DOJ’s transgender protection guidelines in an attempt to strip away the visibility and safety of hundreds of thousands of trans Americans in the process — and showed him just how adorable he was with his cute magic tricks and his Pokemon collection, the entire state of Texas watched. When Max was invited to the White House to meet President Obama, the most powerful person in the world paid attention to his story. And when Max travelled to Austin last year to practically beg Texas legislators to stop bullying him and to please not pass any “bathroom bills”, a reporter saw this sweet boy — exhausted, frustrated, and crying in my arms as we I comforted him on the cold, granite floor outside of Governor Abbott’s office. That reporter took a picture that went viral, and people from literally around the world saw what happens when we treat transgender kids as political pawns in pissing contests.

Of the 30 anti-LGBTQ bills that were filed in Texas in 2017 (which, for those of you keeping score at home, is more than any state legislature in the history of this country), we were able to defeat 29 of them — and, to our great relief, not a single bathroom bill passed. I truly believe this positive outcome — in Texas, of all places! — is because of the hard work and sweet faces of kids like Max, who is part of the newest generation of a half century’s worth of LGBTQ activists.

Pride began with another transgender individual: Marsha P Johnson, a trans woman of color who was tired of living in fear and being pushed to the shadows. So when the police showed up again at the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969, Ms. Johnson took a stand, and in turn started a revolution that we are still fighting today. Max is one of this revolution’s youngest warriors: but instead of fists and stones, he’s fighting back with his words.

And Max isn’t the only one. Across the country, we are seeing tiny-but-fierce trans girls like Kai Shappley and Marilyn Morrison living their lives authentically and elevating the conversation about gender and what it means to be nice to each other. We have National Geographic cover girls like Avery Jackson, living in America’s heartland, and bringing visibility to an issue and experience that so few of us had thought about before she came along. And we have national treasures like Gavin Grimm, a transgender young man who sued his Virginia high school for his right to use the bathroom, and was subsequently recognized in a federal court decision for being such an important human-rights hero, that the court’s opinion will bring you to tears.

This Pride Month, and every month, I am proud of the LGBTQ Americans who live boldly every day — whose very existence is its own form of protest. And yet, Max and his peers don’t have political agendas — they’re just kids, worried about the same things that your kids are worried about: whether or not they’ll get to watch one more cartoon before bed, how much money the tooth fairy is going to bring them, and if the cat is going to be okay after eating that weird bug. Somehow, though, that very act of living out loud AND being simultaneously incredibly relatable and adorable is exactly the thing that is changing the world for the better. We saw it during the fight for marriage equality and the overturning of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and we’re seeing it today as we continue to fight for federal protections like the Equality Act, which would guarantee that Max could never be fired from his job or denied housing or services simply because he is transgender.

My son is just one in an army of hope, and I will follow him wherever he goes. He hasn’t led me astray yet — in fact, I and countless others are better for knowing him — and I believe that he and his peers will create a better, brighter, more equal future for us all if we are willing to give them the space they need to lead — not just during Pride month, but year round.

Amber Briggle is a member of Serendipitydodah for Moms who also blogs at Love to the Max

Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The official motto is “Better Together” and the members call themselves “Mama Bears”

The group is private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 3,700 members. For more info about the private facebook group email


The Age of the Spirit


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This post is part of the June 2018 Synchroblog which asks the question “Where does ultimate authority and meaning rest for Christians today?” You will find the links to the other June Synchroblog contributions at the end of this post.


Many people are asking the same question:

Where does ultimate authority and meaning rest for Christians today? 

Christianity is rapidly changing and those changes may be connected to a cyclical pattern that history has revealed to us.

Bishop Mark Dyer claimed: “to understand what is currently happening to us as twenty-first century Christians in North America is first to understand that about every five hundred years the Church feels compelled to hold a giant rummage sale.”

Bishop Dyer went on to say that historically three things happen when the rummage sale takes place:

A new and more vital form of Christianity emerges.

The organized expression of Christianity becomes less ossified.

Christianity breaks free from that which has encrusted it and the faith spreads.

For some context, we can consider that about 500 years ago Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church at Wittenberg Castle and the Great Reformation took place. about 500 years before that the Great Schism occurred. And again, about 500 years before the Great Schism a council called in Calcedon determined what was and was not correct doctrine and then, of course, 500 years before that was when the main event took place and Jesus challenged the existing religious institutions to hold their own rummage sale.

At each of these intersections we see the question about authority being asked.

When Jesus comes to Jerusalem and walked into the temple the chief priests and elders came to him and asked him, “By what authority are you doing these things?” The council of Calcedon met to determine “correct doctrine” to serve as religious authority, one of the main causes of the Great Schism were disputes over papal authority, and the Reformation was a widespread theological revolt against the abuses and totalitarian control of the Roman Catholic Church that was seen as the ultimate religious authority at that time.

If Christianity is in the midst of another rummage sale that would explain some of the changes that we are witnessing and why so many followers of Jesus are asking ” where does ultimate authority and meaning rest for Christians today?”

As a Christian I have been trying to answer that question over the last few years and have come to the conclusion that the answer includes elements of scripture, science and community under the guidance of and imbued with the wisdom of the holy spirit.


I spent much of my life in a faith community that embraced scripture as the sole authority but I no longer believe in the idea that the Christian scriptures are the sole infallible rule of faith and practice.

I value scripture and believe it contains much truth and wisdom. I believe it is an important element in the life of a Christian but I think there is a danger in perceiving scripture as the sole source of truth rather than an instrument that guides us to live in a way that allows us to discover truth.

Barbara Brown Taylor shares some wonderful wisdom and insight regarding the Bible:

“I know that the Bible is a special kind of book, but I find it as seductive as any other. If I am not careful, I can begin to mistake the words on the page for the realities they describe. I can begin to love the dried ink marks on the page more than I love the encounters that gave rise to them. If I am not careful, I can decide that I am really much happier reading my Bible than I am entering into what God is doing in my own time and place, since shutting the book to go outside will involve the very great risk of taking part in stories that are still taking shape. Neither I nor anyone else knows how these stories will turn out, since at this point they involve more blood than ink. The whole purpose of the Bible, it seems to me, is to convince people to set the written word down in order to become living words in the world for God’s sake. For me, this willing conversion of ink back to blood is the full substance of faith.

This brings me to the best thing about the Bible, which is the way that it will not let you settle down between its pages. Pay attention to what is written there and it will keep pushing you out into the world—to look for the rainbow, scoop up the manna, wrestle the angel, seek the lost sheep, give your shirt to the stranger. Open your imagination to the divine stories it tells and the world stands a better chance of becoming a sacred place, if only because you are out there acting like it is.

Mary and Joseph lead me to pay more attention to my dreams, John the Baptist reminds me that the savior you hope for is almost never the savior you get, Mary Magdalene shows me how many kinds of love there are—and Jesus? There’s not enough time even to begin. Give to everyone who begs of you, pray for those who persecute you, watch out for the log in your own eye, love your neighbor as yourself. Thanks to him, I cannot even pass someone in the frozen food grocery aisle at the grocery store without seeing a divine messenger.

This is not something you learn in New Testament class—or Bible study either—at least not if you are there to discover the right answers to all your questions. But if you want to know more about the God-haunted seekers who came before you and are willing to take your place among them, then by and by you will decide for yourself what kind of authority the Bible has.”


It seems to me that human beings have a natural desire for a cognitive narrative to make sense of the world around them. Two of the major premises used by humans to account for our observations and experiences are faith and science. They are often viewed as separate entities but I believe they complement each other. I believe that the integration of science and faith can lead to a more holistic understanding of both. If our goal is to discover truth about ourselves, others and the world we live in, then I believe the unification of faith and science will present new and better questions that lead us to answers that will enhance our knowledge, intensify our beliefs and cause us to live and love better.

Carl Sagan said it well:

“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light‐years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. So are our emotions in the presence of great art or music or literature, or acts of exemplary selfless courage such as those of Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.”


I have come to believe that the best way to learn is in community with others where it is safe to ask questions, share doubts, challenge traditions and disagree. Those who are wholeheartedly seeking truth in a community where they can do those things will be able to accept a new idea, admit they changed their mind, adopt what they once opposed while at the same time living out their present beliefs with conviction. They will be able to be confident without feeling the necessity to be certain. They will accept the tension of knowing something while holding on to the idea that they may be wrong. I believe that community plays a big role when it comes to authority in the life of a Christian. Without community to challenge us, inspire us, motivate us we can easily become stagnant and set in our own ways hanging on to narrow views and missing revelations. Community gives us the opportunity to be refined when it rubs up against us and a place to gain humility when we recognize we are only a small part of something much bigger.  In community we learn to forgive, we discover our own worth and the worth of others, we learn to love, we learn to handle conflict, we learn to accept help and to be helpful. I believe that community is both the catalyst for spiritual growth and the key to restoring faith.

As Proverbs 27:17 states: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another”


Jesus said, “the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything. He will remind you of everything that I have ever told you.”

I believe when elements such as scripture, science and community are imbued with and guided by the Holy Spirit we can trust the spirit to give us the ability to know how to live into the way of Jesus and love in the way of Jesus.

This “spiritual authority” is very different than the kind of certainty that many Christians have embraced in recent years because the Holy Spirit is full of mystery and unpredictability.

The concept of spirit is derived from the Hebrew word ruach. It is something that can be felt and not seen and is often translated as breath or wind. We don’t know which way the wind will blow. Ruach is unpredictable and mysterious.

I believe we are in “The Age of the Spirit” however, I think it is important that we not mistake this time as an excuse for mindless thought and action but instead recognize this is a time for deep introspection. This is not a time to carelessly say “God told me” or “the spirit led me” in order to try and give our own ideas more credibility. Instead, we should remain sensitive to the promptings and guidance of the spirit and as a result be a witness to God’s ways by letting our lives and actions reflect what a spirit filled life looks like.

“The Spirit-filled life is not a special, deluxe edition of Christianity. It is part and parcel of the total plan of God for His people.” A. W. Tozer

However, many are resistant to the idea of the Holy Spirit being the ultimate authority in in the life of Christians. Many believe we need an institution, an educated leader, a book or a creed. I think what scares people the most about the idea of the Holy Spirit being the ultimate authority in the life of Christians is allowing people to depend on themselves.

People might misunderstand what the Holy Spirit is saying to them.

Some may purposely misrepresent the Holy Spirit.

Many are self serving so they may ignore some things the Holy Spirit is revealing to them. 


All of those things will happen … but none the less, I believe that the Holy Spirit is the correct source of authority for Christians today.

Brian McLaren points out:

“Jesus was short on sermons, long on conversations; short on answers, long on questions; short on abstraction and propositions, long on stories and parables; short on telling you what to think, long on challenging you to think for yourself.”

In the end, depending on the Holy Spirit means thinking for ourselves – discerning for ourselves. It’s risky but so are things like unconditional love and grace.

I believe the age of the Spirit has come, will you welcome it?

Phyllis Tickle would be a good source if you want to dive deeper. Here are two of her books I recommend:

The Age of the Spirit: How the Ghost of an Ancient Controversy Is Shaping the Church

The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why


Authority for Believers – Soulcare Ministries

Christian Authority – Done With Religion

Who Gets To Say What Is Right Or Wrong? – What God May Really Be Like

A Surprising Source of Spiritual Authority – Glenn Hager

Is it the Bible or Jesus that is authoritative for Christians? ANSWER: Yes – Jeremy Myers

Surrendering Our Authority To Jesus – K. W. Lesley

Under Who’s Authority – Layman Seeker

authority? – Metler

The Age of the Spirit – Liz Dyer