God is Grey (Brenda Davies)


Hello and welcome next juggle. I'm your host Blake chastain. I guess this week is Brenda Davies. Brenda is a youtuber and podcast. WHO has a youtube channel called? God is gray where she tackles. Lots of questions related to Christianity the end sexuality as well as a whole host of other issues her story is fascinating and the way in which she began to develop this in her life leading up to it and and all the experiences that that led her to doing this particular project in their particular medium that she has chosen which is primarily Youtube Sup- Youtube is very different and podcasting And of course it is just one of the most popular destinations on on the Internet. Is the number to you. Search engine behind Google itself and the number one estimation for video content on the web at least East within the Western world and we have a great discussion about her journey. As well as what it's like to operate in this sort of space and in many ways respond to a lot of the Evangelical content that is present on Youtube I do sound very old in this conversation. Especially when we go Into what it's like to make content for Youtube and Dan so yeah you'll hear some dated or wrong terminology for me and you know I'm just going to embrace it because I'm getting older and I don't. I don't know the lingo that the user using so yeah anyways of course you can always support support the show by leaving a rating and review on Apple podcasts. You can also let your friends and family know about it And please if you can donate to the Patriot patriotic dot com slash exponential pod. I'll have links in the show notes for all of Ah Brenda's locations online all the places you can follow her and her work and very big. Thank you to Jake Lewis for producing this episode of exponential. Thank you very much jake I do. You want to give everyone as I noticed that sort of content warning and a trigger warning around thirty minutes into the conversation she does discuss an assault. So please be aware of that and otherwise I hope you enjoy this conversation with Brendan Davies from God disclaimer. All right let's get into it. Everyone and welcome back to extend jackal my guest this week. Is The youtuber an podcast. Brenda Davies who podcasts. and has youtube channel by the name got his gray. Welcome to the show. Brenda hi thanks for having me. Thanks for coming on Our mutual friend. Jamie Lee finch. I introduced us and I'm really excited to learn a bit more about you and your work. So let's start where we're usually do in these conversations and just learn a little a little bit about your first introduction to religion and what's your sort of initial religious environment was like shore your We'll try to give you the most abridged version but basically also do you can also do. That's why we're here twenty hour. Yeah I always tell people that I sell to very neatly like in tune with the divine the Holy Spirit God Since I was very young and at that time I would call my family casual Catholics. which is like we went to the church? I mean Sundays were rare. It was just like holidays and then every once in a while if someone was feeling guilty. Maybe we'd show a church and Yeah very casual Catholics. And when I was twelve years old I was a huge nerd in high school. And I don't use that word in a derogatory way day eleven nerd. I was truly one and But none of the boys were interested in me. I was like having crushes no success so my a friend was like oh I go to this youth group and there's so many cute boys there and everyone's super nice and I was like that sounds great and side lied note. I totally love God to really intrigued by this whole concept of a youth group. Because I wasn't very engaged I was just by my bedside by myself praying tonight and my leader. My mentor in the spiritual world was my father and what he did. He'd learned from his Catholic upbringing so so at this point I show up at this Evangelical Church and a lot of the boys were cute as promised thank goodness and they had to be nice nice to you because of the basis of leg being at shirts. They're all coming up and saying hello and so it was really into immediately and I loved having a fresh crop of people that I could meet beats and the first thing that struck me was that I was encouraged that I had a destiny and and not only a destiny but I was capable of reading the Bible on my own and that the concept of God and all of these like really large ideas could be accessible to me in this space and we could ask the big questions and everything about that. I still hold dear. My heart is very beautiful and the things that I see. See as the very positive outcomes of that experience but paired with that they do a little bait and switch and be like oh by the way God cries when you masturbate. God cries if you have sex before marriage and I explain to people how I got duped into this so heavily really as I was five years old Prang at my bedside for wars to end and I had this you know really beautiful connection to the divine fine all on my own so when I was twelve years old very impressionable and someone just approached me and said that thing that you've connected with at your your bedside since you were a child cries if you use your sexuality in this way it broke my heart. A Tornado pieces. I was like. Oh my Gosh Josh. Thank you for telling me. I had no idea that this was so profoundly important. I will do anything. It takes to honor this entity that I love so oh I ended up spearheading and being so motivated by this. I organize chastity ceremony at my church when I was just fifteen years old. I got all of my girlfriends. And Mead's go to the Christian Bookstore and get our chastity rings and we do this whole little ceremony and I really lived like that and in this realm for I guess up until I was about twenty six twenty seven years old and the sounds somewhat similar to you. Some folks I knew I could. I grew I in in a small town on in Indiana and then moved to the Chicago suburbs. And that was when I I sort of knew Catholics Just because there weren't that it was a small town in there. There is only one small Catholic church in there were many Catholic families but then I plugged into a similar sort of youth group and there were Catholic. Kids there is such a to me such an interesting like vector for some people who may have just entirely missed evangelicalism entirely. They get routed. They get routed into through youth group. And then you have this extremely as this within within your youth group experience was this sort of formative thing was even when you're like twelve. You're getting these messages about your purity a- At this at this local church. Oh yeah absolutely and it was also I mean obviously fascinating as well because you're coming into puberty you just starting to shave your legs etcetera and you know the sex. Ed is so shining in this country and a sarcastic statement that I literally had sex ed at seventeen years old to pregnant girls in my class so that was also the only only space in my life that anyone was talking about sex so there was obviously just the adolescent fascination going on there as well and it felt very refreshing to feel like things were so open and looking back. It's so funny because it's so repressive when you actually deep deconstruct and break it down and figure out the PTSD of what you've been through with parody culture but in the moment it feels so freeing. Because you're you're like oh my gosh. I'm in a public space. I'm talking to adults openly about masturbation and purity and my worth as as a woman and you know it was really exhilarating to have those conversations in a public arena. was there any sort of disconnect between you and and and your your family in regards to this I mean you were. You were invited by a friend to go to this Evangelical Church and then all of a sudden. You're there and three years later later. You're leading this purity ceremony. I mean what was what was the reaction like Within within your family because it seems like you definitely even from what what you've told me so far you very religiously inclined and now it's just part of your nature so yeah. How do they respond to this? The sort of manifestation of that inclination I mean honestly. They were thrilled. They were like okay. Great we don't have to talk to you about sex. She's she's GonNa sign this contract. We don't have to worry about her she's not drinking. She's not doing drugs. She's not sticking out of the house tonight. Like I was in shock under the thumb of what I thought was God Really in the you know manifestation of these youth leaders these people that were around me and and also you know in so many ways it was bring out the best in me it was also bring out the worst in me I was. I was arguing with my biology teacher about evolution evolution. I made a paper mcshea project. Fifteen of a girl nine months pregnant holding a gun to rebellion called it abortion. So I was definitely you know very vocal about what I was learning in that space and becoming very legalistic but I was also really falling in love with God more than ever and feeling like more of a sense of purpose than ever and I did get to break this down with my mom later because how it all played out as they ended up following me into even dot com and we started attending church together and the ironic thing is. That's been such a huge journey for me and my dad for example because he tends to go legalistic and that's because does he was raised with a lot of fear is the way I see it. No offense to him whatsoever his his mother just really crammed in Hellfire and Brimstone since he was the young kid and that's what he imparted to me. So I think his journey and evangelicalism was very much so clinging onto those fear based ideas. Is this fundamentalist ideas for my mom. She was really drawn to the spirituality of it the prophecy the speaking in tongues sewing excetera Cetera and she was like more mystical with it so they both found their places in that space and since then the three of us of all been on journeys together both. It's like being in it and coming out of it. And so is this a more charismatic to nomination that you're in or like what what sort of denomination or was there any at this at this church that you started out at I mean. Isn't it. Funny how they all call it nondenominational. But it's definitely like this is a denomination it's not even Jello Christian church and you know. We had a bunch of like white boys with a couple of tattoos. It had greasy pass that they wanted to tell us about married to their wives. Having amazing sex like you know and like jars of clay and DC talk walk and you know that was the other thing coming out of Catholicism. I mean now I die in a Catholic Church. I'm like shut up with that Christian music. LemMe just sit down here Erin. Here's some angel voices singing and being this beautiful space but at the time as a teenager the VENDELA church was like Whoa. You guys are listening to rock music nick and your pastors. Have you know like so fun at the moment rain. Yeah that that veneer fun is is very very enticing. Exactly Yeah so you mentioned that they you're in this sort of space till you're twenty six. was that in reference to the really legalistic sort of purity culture steph or was it your entire experience and explore that a little bit. Yeah sure so so basically I never I would not say fell into legalism. Besides maybe the papers Michelle Project that I. I think that it was more. Uh I lean to the mystic side like my mom and I always felt like a lot of feelings about it and a lot of Holy Spirit revelation prophecy etcetera era. I loved that and I still hold dear to those memories but what happened is what I call my pendulum swing which I fear is everybody that goes through the deconstruction phase. This happens to them. I was attempting to save myself marriage. I made it till twenty two and and at that point I was just losing my mind I was just getting so horny. I could barely see straight and I started really really diving into the verses that I'd been given to promote saving sex for marriage and I was definitely trying to do a lot of justification but it really wasn't ernest. I was like okay. Why as is this really true? I need to know because my body is like overwhelmingly right now. All I could think about so I eventually Shirley was really open about it and talked to a lot of Christian friends. I talk soup lots of Christian friends who were like well. I had sex for marriage and I really regretted it like it would have been so much better and I'm like okay next because unlike you're just telling you that you got to have sex so that's not helping. And how do you even know you regret it. It's so much you already did it. You know I was just like I have a Sassy side. I'm like Jersey Philly girl I was just like nobis. Let's get down to it. Why am I doing this? S. and I had one friend that I thought was clinging onto virginity with me by the way. I don't really embrace the word virginity anymore. But for the sake of Evangelical Evangelical Conversation will keep it sure but she was like the last person I knew clinging to it and I called her and it was so funny because a heard voice immediately. I was like how you doing. She was like good. Ed and I immediately was like you lost virginity all my gosh. And she started laughing and she was like I know so. Sorry I couldn't take it anymore. So hung up with her and I was like Oh my gosh. I'm the last virgin standing like. I don't even know how you can do this so I ended up trying to give away my virginity and a one night stand because I didn't want it to be exaggerated or made to be two special. I didn't the guy lighting candles or thinking he was important. I just I just felt like an edge that I needed to scratch and I was like. I can't live like this anymore needed. Just get rid of this beyond with my life and then figure out where to go from. I'm here and that person that I subbed with for the very first time ended up finding out that he was my first sexual actual experience and really falling in love with me and really pursuing me so we ended up dating for two years but the entire time we were sexually actually active and I was going through a lot of the traumatic symptoms that religious people experience in sexuality like having slight panic attacks acts like getting really scared. Feeling like I'm definitely going to health by compartmentalizing. My sexuality and my spirituality because I'm terrified terrified that God hates me for having sex so it was really delightful. Just all persons should be enjoying their sex slave slave But you know still being a human being and falling back into it time and time again so finally my boyfriend and I look back at him with so so much kindness because he was twenty two friggin years old. I was twenty four and he was like let's get married. I can see this causes you so much pain and suffering. Will it help you for just married and I was like yeah like lease romantic proposal ever right so I I remember distinctly and I never want this to hurt him either but I just remember walking down the aisle and I just felt my spirit screaming like no. This isn't right like I knew I was doing this. I didn't know I was doing it for the wrong reasons. I thought I was atoning for my sin of sex. I thought I was fixing it as house like I've already messed up so much beyond repair. I will fix this by marrying the sexual partner that I'm with and I will stop sinning and that was why I got married and that day of marriage was a beautiful day but it was all wrong and I knew it so two years go by I and God bless him. He admitted that he had been cheating on me. The whole time and that was excruciating and my first major heartbreak AAC and all of those things but it was also my first moment where I felt I'd been given permission actually take a step back and be like okay. Okay wait. I was told that if I did. X Y and Z. And I was a good girl and I was perfect and pure and blah blah blah. That you would protect me that you would provide for me. That I'd live happily ever after and being a spiritual person and I still am. I really felt like God's response to that was like did I say that the one that was the author of this doctrine that you've been given and basically after that I decided to go. Oh on what I affectionately call my rampage. I just completely let go of any everything I was like. I'm not going to count numbers. There's I'm not going to live in Skilton shammy more. I'm going to pursue anything and everything I want and completely let go and that was the beginning of it deconstruction phase which hit around twenty seven years old. Wow that's I mean that's that's so much in that in that story I mean So much like you just lived like I dunno sometimes to me having having conversations like these. It's just so striking tracking how much pressure we put on ourselves You know how much turmoil that we sort of sometimes willingly willingly and sometimes not so willingly you know our inflict upon ourselves and all the all the things that they you struggled with just just with your sense of self worth and understanding your own your own impulses in your own desires That's just I'm I'm so glad you got to a place place where you could sort of deconstructing and move beyond those things because you deserved it and I think we all do like Yeah so so you go through this this phase where your marriage ends and now you in the way the way tell the story like it did sort of free you in a way right. How does that part of your journey like do you just sort of move? You're like I'm not going to think about the the spiritual stuff right now and just just sort of move on and and explore this thing that have shut off for so long because one of the things you. I really liked what you said earlier. You use this phrase saying compartmentalized your spirituality and your sexuality alley so did do you like had to be an either or choice for a while like you had to either be spiritual and like chased and not part of the Fleischer whatever whatever we would say or just be who you are and like and be comfortable in your own skin you. Yeah I mean it's such an interesting journey because someone recently commented on my page it was like a not a hater but Dissenting comment and she said something like well. If we're not saving ourselves for marriage and were cursing drinking or doing drugs like everybody else. How is anyone GonNa WanNa know where Christian and I was just trying to gently expressed to her owes like? Is that your definition of a Christian like Virgin Virgin that doesn't drink or do drugs and doesn't curse like I never heard. Jesus say that we're supposed to be like a purveyors of justice stice and fighters for others freedom and you know welcoming and immigrants and people that are in need and going out and feeding the poor like but I truly believe that Evangelical Ism Hijacked Christianity and attributed. All of these BS traits is to it that it is not the Jesus. Never put that pressure on us. So that's why the journey was so difficult. I would have called it my prodigal son moments because I didn't have the language for it and before you and I started recording. I was just thinking you for popularizing. The eve of ex Fan Anjelica Hashtag because and then Jamie Lee finch and You know many others have taught me the terms of deconstruction and reconstruction and all of that terminology is so beneficial to me. And I keep trying to teach my audience about it because without that language I I just felt lost in the wilderness. And the thing about it was. You're right I did compartmentalize because I found that I could never ever. You're fully cut myself off from my spiritual self. I was still constantly in communication with God. I was still praying all the time I was still reading my Bible. Even I was praying with friends and other people that I felt like actually understood me and I actually resented the fact that because I was getting a little sailor mouth on me and going home with a bartender every now and again and you know emancipating myself golf in the physical ways that I was no longer allowed to supposedly carry the title of Christian and I feel like a lot of people's hair would stand up on the on their arms if they heard me say that people that are more on the fundamental side. Because they're like no but that's what defines us that's how people know us year being of the world and you're denying God and all of this morality but in reality I really needed to to break free and I did it. In a major way which I didn't get to finish describing the pendulum swing like for me. You're all the way up on one side being perfect perfect perfect myself management. Do everything right when something breaks that for me. That was my divorce. It doesn't just go down down and center itself in the middle and present to you a really healthy sexuality in balanced spiritual life dot shit flies to the other side and the other side for me was a tramp age and drug experimentation and all of these things and I'm not wallowing in the pain of that or crawling across my floor and repentance. I have slowly been on a path of realigning my sexuality and my spirituality and I don't know if you're familiar millions. Linda Kaye Klein. She wrote a book called Pure. Yeah that book was so freeing invalidating because first of all she put language to a lot lot of the things I've experienced but also in the end her very last chapter. She talks about how she was going into the bedroom and she was finally like God. You should come in here with me and I was like. Oh my God. I can relate to that so hard I just felt like I had all these sexual experiences and I was like God. You wait out here. You're really important to me but I know you hate me and I know you despise everything that I'm doing so just stay out here and I'll be back in a minute. And then I would click like back in him and that caused a lot of trauma and and invited a couple sticky me too ish movements because I was checked out in so many ways by approaching at that way and it hasn't been until the last four years or so that I had the moment of like a God. Actually no you want to be in this room with me so stay teach me about sexual integrity and and I've never had a stronger sense of right and wrong with my my body and with my sexuality than I have since allowing that compartmentalization diffuse and come together so I could become this one holistic. DOC person that I've always needed to be Within those last four years what was a that began that process you. There's the pendulum swing which is so. Oh so relatable like okay. I was way over here and now I need to experience this life that I feel like I missed out on or like that. That's just so so very relatable in such a good metaphor as you sort of swing. Swang swung swung back to the center so to speak You mentioned even in our like our emails back and forth like you. You have in in a meaningful way like reconstructed your own sort of spirituality. what were the steps that you took for that. And what does that really look. Okay can mean for you. Yeah I will say that. I consider myself on a path of reconstruction for probably early like ten years. But I just did it very privately and in my own space and I definitely had to walkaway from Church. At that time time I couldn't engage in that space because it was triggering first of all and again Jamie Lee finch helps me understand things like that like recognizing zing religious trauma syndrome. And that's a real thing I was like. Oh that's why my whole body started to shake when I went into church and like it's always like Nice people waving at you and and you're terrified like you're in a haunted house and you're like wow so scared of these really nice people but it is that trauma that I was experiencing so I finally wised up again without the language and was like Thing my body is trying to tell me something. Every time I walk in that door I am shaking. You know like a leaf. Maybe yeah should stop putting myself in that situation for minute and take a breath and I also found the church. Voices to be so loud and overpowering that as I can't hear my own voice let alone the voice of the Holy Spirit or the the nuanced voices of my body. You know like I can't hear anything I just have to get Outta here so I went on that path for a long time but simultaneously without really like the support of I mean. I haven't made friends that have been through so much with me. But I think without the support of knowing or conceiving of sexual integrity like I saw in friends of mine and by the way like atheist agnostics practice beautiful sexual integrity all the time that far surpasses the Christian integrity. I see you know just watching friends that are like having one or two partners year and making sure to go on a bunch of dates rates and get to know them and get comfortable like that was becoming more less and less familiar to me because I was just like jumping into bed with whoever and really disregarding any of that and and really celebrating. You know if you want to do that and nothing against that trust me I do not judge it something maybe it is for some people. Oh but I was definitely in some situations where I was not being kind to my body. Not being kind to my partners. Not Looking at them as they deserve to be treated and vice versa sir which is when I think sexuality becomes unhealthy but all that said I it all culminated? I fell in love with this guy. We broke up and right afterwards I was in one of the most vulnerable dark side like moments in my life that I invited in very abusive person in my life and I proceeded to have I think a two or three year relationship with my first first abusive partner and when I finally came out of that relationship which ended because a friend of mine thankfully early she very gently was like I think you should google emotional abuse checklist and see if you check any of those boxes and I found one of of like forty five different points and I checked every single box and I burst into tears because I was like. How did I get here? How is I gas lit to the point that I didn't even realize this was happening? How did I invite this person? In and where on earth is my self esteem like what what what has happened to me that I've come to this place. I've I've hit this low and right after that it was like actually a steady incline. Because is it hit me like a ton of bricks and from there and I was like I'm GonNa Learn how to respect myself. I'M GONNA figure out how to get here how I got here. I'm going to figure everything out and end so I had already been like this spiritual reconstruction phase of myself like all of my friends would call me a Christian and and make fun of me and you. We know like they do that identified that way but the fruits of my life as a Christian recall. It was not reflective of that and in this relationship or in my sexuality Lectu -ality so after that relationship that's when I started also reconstructing my sexuality and learning about sexual sexual integrity and that's been a beautiful journey can you define that term a little bit more That would what you're going to when you mentioned sexual integrity. Yeah Yeah. Are you familiar with Dan. Savage savage love. Yeah Oh yeah. I love Dan Savage. He is An amazing sex educator and he does a lot of his podcasts very QNA based and learn so much but one of my favorite things that he says is if you have a sexual encounter with someone they need to leave better than you found them if you are inviting someone into your space into your body into your bed when they leave. You've the communication has to have been so on point that there's no questions looming there can be mystery and eroticism but there's no outstanding questions Russians about where you each stand. There is no harm being done outwardly. To the other person and they're leaving happier happier and satisfied and you know all of these things more so than when you found them. I think that's a huge part of sexual integrity another thing. Obviously that evangelical ISM awesome completely. Missed was consent which is a word that I learned about two years ago as a woman in her thirties. Like I didn't even. I was like talking to a friend of mine about being raised on Oprah after school specials. She's my queen. I ball love Oprah but one of the things that I remember is like feeling like rape with some minute took place in a dark alley and it was really violence and I think it wasn't until these recent years of the metoo movement that I started realizing how subtle it could actually be and watching me and a lot of my friends really realize certain certain things that had happened to us and identifying that properly as salts or abuse or whatever so that is prevalent revelant and church because of gendered teachings about sexuality and Modesty Culture and the way. Woman's worth than quote completeness or incompleteness is in her purity and her quote virginity. You know like it's become so clear to me. How much church? Unfortunately has promoted a lot of rape culture sure and those teachings so sexual integrity is all of those things plus the honoring of your body. You know just recognizing and one one moment that I really now understand is a moment that came to me because of purity culture is that I was was at this bar in New York and I was learning with the bar tender and he ended up taking me back to his apartment and we ended up sleeping together and he was being really rough. And that's something I could. Maybe welcome in with someone that I trust but at that moment it was with the bartender tender. I didn't know in an unfamiliar place in a city I don't live in. I wasn't comfortable. I didn't know him like that. Now thank God I feel like I have words and the confidence and the wherewithal to say. Hey I don't WanNa have sex best or hey I don't like that can just chill and be normal but let for me. My purity culture kicked in and I instead how disembodied experience hovered of my my body. I was watching him Hurt me which he would have thought. And I don't mean any harm to him like I think he thought he was having a Kinky kind of experience. That was consensual excited. Say anything first of all but For me I just hovered above my body and I was like well. This is what you get you know so this is what happens when you sleep with a stranger. This is we get when you're dirty and you're impure and you're having a one night stand. Of course they're going to get hurt. So I just tolerated rated it and then I came back into my body and it wasn't until the next morning that I kind of ended up crying in the shower a little bit and being like I didn't like that experience ends at all. Why did it end? But I still didn't feel like I had the freedom to address. Why the Wa? The answer to the Y.. was just because you're a bad girl. That's what happens happens to bad girls so now coming into sexual integrity. Those are the moments that I wanNA teach younger people or even people my age and older after that if come out of this toxic doctrine to be like those are the moments you listen to your body. You're allowed to listen to your heart. You're allowed to say this doesn't feel good good even if you think you're quote sinning you don't have to tolerate pain and That's something I didn't know so. All of those things including luding just basic comprehensive science based sex education. All of that to me is under this umbrella of sexual Integrity thank you so much for that for that explanation and I'm sorry that that that you had that experience in that period culture prime to you to even can be vulnerable to that situation but thank you for for explaining that and really giving such a personal example. Actually WANNA use that. What you mentioned about sex education as a sort of Segue to talk about your work through your podcast and your and your is your youtube channel which is called Goddess Gray? I am really bad at Youtube so l.. Boy so I mean I look I earn it to a foreign land when I start. I feel like I've got a decent grasp on on a lot of things relative into podcasting You know I understand twitter and facebook groups by like one of my major digital blind spots is is youtube so totally curious. How like just in general? How how you found your your niche there and what really motivated you to put put out content for Youtube that told me about the about the show and also about the channel? Sorry I don't even know the link Lingo that's fair that's absolutely and you're not a kit now. I don't WanNa pay it's. It's actually a very diverse place. I had no idea The diversity of agent. Yeah more like I. I don't know if I have the requisite skills you know like I know how to talk back comes pretty easy out of a like a camera presidents and all that other stuff like I just I. I am crossed that bridge yet. Yeah I mean the funny thing about it is. If you would've told me like five years ago that I was GonNa do this. I would have been like. There is literally no way. I'm not doing that even leading up to it like the day before I uploaded my first video. Unlike am I.. Idiot like I don't want to do this horrible all like I. It was intense and and it's a space is can be so uplifting and can be so volatile because it's like any other space people have direct access to you. They can just call you a whore out of nowhere and you kind of have to just sit there and take it. 'cause you put yourself out there it's crazy the whole don't read. The comments thing is real right and yet I do but basically what happened was I wrote. I was keeping a blog and a personal journal entries for my entire tire deconstruction reconstruction phase. And when I first started a blog it was on my space and I was little miss goody. Two shoes I was is getting ready to get married living in. La and my whole blog was about how to maintain your Christianity in these wild spaces. Like I'm Ammon L. A.. I am modelling. I'm going to like cocaine parties and the playboy mansion and how am I maintain adding my faith and to be honest. That portion was really easy for me. Because it's you can miss the The purity of knowing you know like how nice it was no everything and to skew things in black white and to not address gray and nuance so at that phase. I was that girl all and also I was heterosexual virgin saving herself for marriage. So I had all the qualifications of good Christian you know and ends after that I started kind of lying and pretending to be perfect while I was going through divorce while I was going on this like rampage and it's funny 'cause I ended up going through all of that material in reading back you know what I'd written and recognizing myself reading at being like. Oh Oh you little Brat. That's not true. That's not what you were doing like. That's just what you were putting out into the public world you know but anyway I saw that material and I saw it as an opportunity opportunity to write a memoir about my experience because at the end of it and this was after my abusive relationship. Probably like a year or or year and a half later. I really wanted to turn it into a book because I really wanted to express my feelings and I really wanted to communicate that I believe you could go on this entire journey and still be a Christian and still be beloved by God. It's so crazy to me because now I see see so many people in this space saying the same thing but at the time. I didn't know there was a hat maker or Sarah. SE OR A. Pete ends like I'd all I know idea any of these. People were awaiting me which has been incredible at the time. I felt very alone in it and I was trying to get. It publishes talking to some agents and they were like we love this material. We don't think there's an audience for it. And this is pre trump so I also so think after the whole trump thing that's really shown people like no evangelical ism is live and well and very influential and it's still there and I could make an easier case for the book at this point but anyway I actually in a moment of frustration was was like no. That's impossible there is definitely audience for this. There's no way so I started googling and I was like sex positive Christian. LGBTQ affirming Kris. John and I couldn't find anything. I wound up on Youtube. which just like you was as crazy? Unfamiliar where'd territory to me. And I I found girls like white girls in their twenties saying the same things that had really harmed and hurts so many aspects of my life my sexuality the way I moved the world the way I judged other people. You know girls talking about dressing modestly so that you don't cause men to stumble that God is your birth control so you know you can just trust him with that The you're less than and for having sex before marriage all of these things and I actually was getting so upset and I was sitting with my boyfriend. Whom now having a baby with breath? Thank you It was really an incredible moments. Ever read or hear about how Mary Shelley Kerr Frankenstein mm can stein just like came from like this divine place and I would just like spewed out onto the paper. After she had a dream. It was one of those as much as I was sitting on the couch with him. We were just like drinking wine hanging out and I completely like blacked out. I was on my computer and I wrote like sixty or fifty topics that I thought I could talk about and I came to. My boyfriend looked at me and he was like where did you just go and I was like I think I have an idea and it just felt so right and I picked up a camera and I shot the first message and I just felt crazy. You and I had this like really beautiful like vision. I like walked out of this dense forest in to this square open fields. I was there by myself for like a minute. And then in the distance there was someone waving at me and that person. I now identify as Linda Klein because she was the very very first person. I noticed that was in this reconstructionist worlds and then shortly thereafter. All kinds of people started coming out of the fields and waving at each other. And I feel like that's the community that I found now even with you and your platform like all of us speaking out on these harmful toxic doctrines etc.. But at that moment those first moments I was just out there in that fields alone and it was beautiful because I was gearing gearing up for the worst storm ever I was like I'm GonNa wake up tomorrow morning. Ninety five percent of people are going to say. You're going to hell you disgusting core of Jacksonville and five percent of people are going to be like thank you. I've needed to hear this my whole life and when we woke up in the morning and as the weeks and months on swim by it was the exact opposite it was like ninety eight percent. People saying I've needed to hear this my whole life and two percent. People being like your adjustable who are going to hell will always going to be those people. Yeah I like. That was leased abridged version. But that's it all came from me just really desperately trying trying to share my story and I never thought it would manifest in the youtube space of all places and now. I'm still going to publish that book and everything but that's how it all. Aw began wow. That's that's great. And so what are the sort of things that you explore through your youtube channel. I really I do these. Like clapback. Switch sometimes get flack for people like. You shouldn't be so mean to Christians but Christians can be creating if you have not noticed. Oh I've noticed artist so really I mean I know the unique thing about my channel and my my voice is that I did move from deconstruction section two reconstruction so I one hundred percent identify as a Christian so I like coming from this space of like hi. I'm a Christian global warming Israel. Hi I'm a Christian. Troll isn't a sin. Hi I'm a Christian. We need to vote pro-choice because it's statistically saves more babies lives so those are really the things that I go after and I always try to reach out to people that upset me one on one olive. DM I'll try to reach out. I'll try to be like. Can we have a constructive conversation about some of the things you've said that I really disagree with Maybe we can show people how Christians can unify fi in these in coming from these two sides of the aisle and a lot of them. Turn me down unfortunately and when that happens I'm like well I'm still going to speak speak out because you just gave all this misinformation about abortion or you said that's crazy nonsense about the border wall and you know I'm just I. I'm sorry I'm going to have to call you out on your nonsense and portrayed Jesus in the way that I see him and you know I still. I have no judgment for these people at all and I don't even want to categorize them as a different category than me because I don't doubt their face. I don't doubt there Devotion to Christianity. But I I do think we need to start coming together and actually listening to each other concludes all faiths and all denominations and people that don't identify with the faith at all because everything everyone is in like so much disagreement agreement right now. There's so much pain of us in them and just battling each other. It makes you lose your your empathy first of all but also your logic for these issues that really matter like the health of the planet is on the table women's bodies whether or not they're going to die is on the table like these are really big issues that Christians and fundamentalists like the terrible moral majority have their hands in and I just I think we need to stand up and say something about it as Christians. Anyone that's still identifies as that needs to speak out against it. You're and I'm not not going to disagree at all. That's entirely. What what this sort of pursuit for my show is an and having people like you want is to be able to have constructive but also critical discussion of the sorts of harm? At least for me. And in particular I'm concerned about Evangelicalism White Evangelical ISM and and how that impacts people but it's so fascinating to see you succeed in build a space like occupies a very similar space as like the people that you're clapping back or that you're doing climax to. I'm sure I sound super old right now. I'm GonNa own it you know I don't Yeah Dour am all the people that you're reading these. You're doing these response videos to you. Share an legal platform in that. You're both on Youtube. And so people are searching for the same sorts of information really. Yeah but you're servicing this. I'm biased when I'm going to say more informed and more healthy approach to sexuality and other elements that obviously impact other Christians because Christians things are humans and they got a wreck in with that stuff. So that's that's just so fascinating that that they are able to use the platform in that that way to expose people to something that they might not otherwise see. Yeah I've I've gotten such beautiful messages from people who who said they were searching for a video From another creator and they found mine and they finally felt like they were allowed to to believe in climate change. They were allowed to believe that they're worth wasn't in their purity or allowed to believe in God and NB lesbian at the same time you know like we have tape like the Evangelical Ism has just bogarted so much of the Bible Poland. What it's supposed to be and what it was intended to be and turned it into a some sex manual or some like really small narrow minded black and white vision vision of the world? And that's why I call my channel got his gray because we have to contend with the gray with the nuance. I know someone that's hesitant ten or that hates what I'm doing would hate that. You said I'm more informed. But that's a huge part of it too. I'm like Christian that I'm clapping back to. I am not trying to degrade you to mean you humiliate you anything like that. I'm just begging you to have an informed. Look look at your view and you can still hold onto your view if you insist on voting pro life. I'm not telling you not to but I am saying. Oh my God. You need to advocate for sex. Ed You know resources for women in need welfare sex education Birth Control excetera because that is what statistically and every available statistic saves babies lives. You can't just take a word or a phrase like pro-life and sit on it and be like I am self-satisfied. I'm doing the right thing. 'cause pro-life sounds flowery and it's coming from the House of people that are calling themselves Christians. It's like no you have a responsibility. If you're telling me the you are devoted to saving being babies lives but you are voting. pro-life and statistically proven killing more babies making more women suffer bringing more people in poverty than you're not aligned with your view you need like I need you to have an informed. Take of what. You're doing. Align your spirituality rally with the way you're moving through the world's or stop saying it and I've Ad Nauseam I mean sometimes it just WanNa smash my head into a wall. Aw trying to explain to Christian. They're like how on Earth could pro-choice save more babies. I'm like for the Brazilian time. These are the factors that saved babies. This is what pro choice legislators bring to the table. You know trump puns cutting funding and bringing back abstinence. Only those are the things that kill babies. Put your money where your mouth is educate yourself stop spout spouting than same nonsense and stop sitting on a lily pad where you think your terminology or what your pastor told you is enough. You're not moving through the world as a real Christian this Jim. If you're not affecting the change that you're saying you want to be. It seems like you're you're really giving the audience which might be really evangelical even jackals searching Youtube for information. You're giving them to things that they often don't get from evangelical sources which has one permission just mentioned to to question permission to be who they are without trying to fit into a box and also information information that they might not receive otherwise And it's honestly it's good that you're doing that as a Christian because that matters to some people you know they they may not receive information they may not receive someone's testimony so to speak in less. They know that that person is also a Christian. So it's really great that you're doing that on on that platform just because clearly. It's a major driver of culture and major conversation. Yeah I really appreciate you saying that I and I agree. It's it's like a safe space and that's how I felt before I found my brothers. There's and sisters in this arena. I felt like okay I can either go watch sex in the city and say screw it all and just embrace sexuality polity and like being deviant in any way I want bubble blah or I stay in this little box under the steeple and and reside in this space. Where you're telling me I HAVE TO BE X Y Z to be a good person and rarely had I ever or maybe I never had heard someone say exactly what you said? You're allowed to be yourself you're allowed to Like Goth Music and rear salve. You're allowed to go on a date with the person person that you're not gonNA marry you're allowed to have an ecstatic experience just because you want to to you know and you're still going to be a Christian at the end of the day but the god God himself is about exploration and and love and charity and just being holistic person I think is the best servitude we could be to others. Because if you are whole within yourself if you're competent and who you are if you're walking in your full being as has God made you. Then you're going to do nothing but like create positive liberty in this world because you're not going to be obsessively trapped in the thinking of like Oh God masturbated today. I'm a terrible person nominee. Think about that for twenty four hours you know and you just let yourself be and masturbate in the shower in the morning. Get it over with and you can move Yvonne to like living real life like being good to your neighbor and hanging house friends and acting a good change in this world so distracting they just just get it over F mastery not up to save the planet. Do you know what I mean. That's why I'm laughing. Because that's something that's all pastor once told me that the major and the minor minor and the majors that is all we are doing like the you know sex sexuality is important but like telling men to obsessively spend their lives trying not to masturbate. Like what are you doing. That is so distracting. You're you're majoring in the most minor thing. I can possibly think US move on. Oh Man oh man well it sounds like you you are doing really really cool staff. I I want to tie up our conversation a little bit just by asking a more general question I and the preamble to the question is like you know twenty nineteen been on yet another hell of a year. There's there's all sorts. There's an impeachment inquiry. There's atrocities happening in Turkey right now in Syria. There's the climate crisis. You know all these things all all these major things and then of course on top of it like evangelicals are in their political ascendancy So that's something to worry about. Yeah I'm curious for you. What what gives you hope? Like what motivates you to to make the content that you do and just encourages you personally. Oy Well this is why I love Youtube too. I have a lot of hope in the next up generation. Like I'm I'm really blown away and not in. Just you know the twitter sphere and people have in their fifteen minutes of fame. Way Like I I really see the younger people being so awake and alive and unabashedly themselves whether it's the way they dress or the way they express their sexuality or their opinions of the world the way they you you know may reject certain concepts that their parents are bringing to them. They're just I see so many little rebels that are like coming from such such a beautiful place and I'm excited to have a child for the same reason like going back to the pendulum idea. I think a lot of kids right now. Even if they're not being raised in this way they're choosing for themselves to stay in the middle of the pendulum and just kind of gently swaying from mm side to side between what someone might traditionally call a good move or an evil move you know but like in that really healthy space of experimentation then but also confidence and trust in themselves and I for one really aim to and hope that I do raise my child in exactly exactly that space bottom of the pendulum not healthy experimentation into Lake cooling it down whatever dot is why. I'm so honored to be the on Youtube and and I believe as a Christian. That's probably why God brought me there because these the messages I'm getting from these fifteen in year old girls that are just blowing my mind with their knowledge of the world the way they're seeing things and just asking or thanking me like you said like giving them permission to believe the way that they do and I am honored that I can do that for any young person and that really does give me hope and also you know I have a lot of weird concept's the world like this just seems like some big ass video game to me like I don't know why were here and it all feels and is so big and heavy and might lead to our doom and destruction for sure but I am a Christian so I do believe that there is some something after this and some reason that we're all here. My basic belief is that we are here as spiritual beings in the flesh bodies and both should be honored spirit and flesh and that we're just supposed to move through this place awesome. See what we can learn what we can gather. What kind of positive effect to you we can change? And if you look at it that way it's like you you know not to be like a nihilist or whatever but I'm like well if the planet explodes like I guess the Video Games over I tell you I'm going to try my best to the fight against that. I'M GONNA pray. That's next generation saves us but like I think we're here for so much more so the more we have these conversations and I thank you so much for having these conversations with people and bringing so many voices into people's awareness that they are just expanding their minds and moving through the world was so much confidence because of what you are imparting to them. I think that's the most we can do for our own. Health is people that will therefore transference of the health of this planet to the next generation etc.. Yeah that's great. I'm also encouraged by a lot of the same things that that definitely resonates. Yeah I have a seven year old and so it's great seeing seeing things through her eyes as always gives me a little bit more. Hope you're you're looking at your like CIBA's yeah no pressure Eh. Well Brenda thank you so much for talking with me and telling me a little bit about your journey in your work Where can people find you on Youtube? Yuban anywhere else. You might be online Yeah it's just Youtube dot com slash got his gray G. R. E. Y. I'm on twitter. Which I'm horrible at but also pretty accessible on because I have so few followers instagram at God is gray and yeah that's also the podcast got his grey to search got his grade? The podcast and Oklahoma awesome. Brenda thank you so much for joining me today. Thank you you've doc.

Coming up next