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Brandan Robertson

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Brandan Robertson (born June 24, 1992) is a bisexual spiritual writer, activist, and speaker, best known for his writing and commentary on millennials, Christian spirituality, and his work as an LGBTQ activist among evangelicals. Robertson received his Bachelor of Arts in Pastoral Ministry and Theology from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois and is pursuing in Masters of Theological Studies from Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado. Robertson writes regularly for Patheos, The Huffington Post Blog, and Sojourners Magazine. He is the author of "Nomad: A Spirituality For Traveling Light" (Darton,Longman,Todd, 2016) and the editor of "Our Witness: The Unheard Stories of LGBT+ Christians" (Cascade Books, 2017).

Contents

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Background

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Brandan Robertson grew up in Elkridge, Maryland and was born into a non-religious family. In November 2005, Robertson had a transformational conversion experience at Grace Bible Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland, where he first became active in Christian ministry. In early 2006, Robertson began a street-preaching ministry in the heart of Baltimore, Maryland where every week, he and a number of youth from his church would spend hours preaching in open air and sharing "gospel tracts" with those who passed by. Starting in 2008, Robertson began serving as an ministry intern at a Bridgeway Community Church, an influential evangelical megachurch located in Columbia, Maryland, pastored by international author, speaker, and expert on race-relations, Dr. David Anderson. At Bridgeway, Robertson was given the opportunity to preach to the congregation of 6,000+ and became a regular leader in the churches well-known "Tuesday Night Prayer" gatherings.

Robertson created his first podcast, "Prayer Warriors Radio", at the age of 15 and through that medium was able to conduct interview with well-known national evangelical leaders such as James Merritt, the former President of the Southern Baptist Convention. Robertson attended Long Reach High School in Columbia, Maryland, where he frequently led campus bible studies and Christian programs. Robertson continued blogging and podcasting until 2010, when Robertson began attending college at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois. At Moody that Robertson began a popular student radio show called "The Bridge" on Moody Campus Radio, which sought to expose the student body at Moody to leading Christian voices from outside of the evangelical tradition to spark ecumenical conversations throughout the campus. Through this radio show (and later podcast), Robertson began gaining a wide audience beyond Moody as he conducted interviews with internationally renowned Christian leaders such as N.T. Wright, Miroslav Volf, Timothy Keller , and Brian McLaren.

The Revangelical Movement

Brandan Robertson Young Evangelical Leader Loses Book Deal After Coming Out as Queer

In 2011, Moody Bible Institute cancelled Robertson's show on Moody Campus Radio, partially due to Robertson's vocal support of civil marriage equality for LGBTQ individuals and the progressive theological leanings of many of his guests. After being brought into a meeting before the Dean of Students to be questioned about his potentially theological and political views, Robertson began writing "The Revangelical Blog", with the mission of "rethinking, reforming, and renewing the Evangelical faith." Over the next few years, Robertson's blog would grow to be among the top evangelical blogs, creating a platform for Robertson to speak to a national audience about social, theological, and political issues from a progressive, millennial evangelical perspective.

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Robertson's Revangelical Movement continued to cause controversy at Moody Bible Institute, specifically related to Robertson's writing and interviews focused on the topic of homosexuality. In 2013, Robertson began attending a "healing prayer" ministry at Moody Bible Institute, at the recommendation of a number professors, in an effort to "heal" is sexuality. After a year of prayer ministry, Robertson graduated from Moody Bible Institute and moved to Washington, D.C. where he continued to write on the topic of sexuality.

Destiny Image controversy

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In 2013, Robertson received a book deal from Destiny Image Publishers to write "Nomad: Not So Religious Thoughts On Faith, Doubt, and the Journey In Between", a memoir of his journey from fundamentalism to a progressive evangelical faith. After completing the manuscript in February 2015, Robertson made international headlines when Destiny Image Publishers canceled his contract, sighting his support for LGBTQ inclusion as a barrier to being able to effectively sell the book to their evangelical/Pentecostal audience. However, in 2016, Robertson's book was officially signed for release throughout Europe through Darton, Longman, and Todd Publishers.

LGBTQ advocacy

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In September 2014, after Robertson has moved to Washington, D.C., he was named the national spokesperson of "Evangelicals for Marriage Equality", an organization that sought to encourage evangelicals to support civil marriage equality, even if they were unable to support sacramental marriage equality in the church. In August 2014, Robertson also began working full-time as the evangelical program director at Faith In Public Life, a "strategy center for the faith community advancing faith in the public square as a powerful force for justice, compassion and the common good" Through his work at Faith In Public Life and Evangelicals for Marriage Equality, Robertson became a prominent voice in the national conversation surrounding religious freedom, LGBT+ rights, and the de-politicization of evangelicalism in America.

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In November 2014, Robertson helped to convene a historic meeting between Southern Baptist leaders and LGBT+ movement leaders during the Southern Baptist Conventions Ethics and Religious Liberty Commissions National Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. This meeting opened the doors for conversations and collaboration between some of the most influential religious leaders in America and leading LGBT+ activists. In January 2015, Robertson's work was featured in a TIME Magazine article, "Inside the Evangelical Fight Over Gay Marriage",; and was the subject of an MSNBC mini-documentary film about his work to convince Southern Baptist leaders to support marriage equality. Robertson's story and work have since been featured in a number of national outlets including TIME Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, The Washington Post, POLITICO, and Religion News Service, among others. In January 2015, Robertson launched The RISE Network, an organization which seeks to help create productive dialogue among people of faith around issues of LGBTQ acceptance and inclusion in the church, among a number of other major social issues. The RISE Network was a project of Faith In Public Life.

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Leading up to the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of marriage equality in June 2015, Robertson organized a sign-on letter of over 100 evangelical pastors and leaders voicing their support for same-sex marriage both civilly and within the church. This historic statement marked a clear schism among evangelicals on the issue of LGBTQ inclusion and was widely circulated in national media. On June 30, 2015, following the Supreme Court's historic ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states, Robertson delivered a speech entitled "A Witness to Equality" at Washington National Cathedral's service to celebrate equality, alongside well-known transgender activist, Rev. Allyson Dylan Robinson. Following the Supreme Court ruling, Robertson has also organized a number of national responses to Kim Davis, the Kentucky Court Clerk who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses to LGBT+ couples in her county, and partnered with many national organizations to help oppose "Religious Freedom" bills that seek protect public businesses from being sued for discrimination against sexual and gender minorities. In 2015, Robertson participated in the U.S. Peace Corps first ever LGBT+ interfaith event in Washington, D.C. which was streamed to Peace Corps sites around the world.

In January 2016, Robertson started “Nomad Partnerships”, a nonprofit that seeks to equip and empower faith leaders to be fierce advocate of human rights. Through Nomad Partnerships, Robertson continues to be a national voice advocating for human rights of sexual and gender minorities and has begun to work with LGBT+ rights organizations internationally to garner support of faith leaders of the rights of sexual and gender minorities. Robertson continues to speak regularly around the world on the topics of sexuality and spirituality and has worked with a number of organizations to further dialogue around pressing faith-based political issues. In August 2016, Robertson spoke at the White House Federal Summit on Bullying on the impact of faith-based bullying on LGBT+ youth.

Leaving Evangelicalism

In March 2016, Robertson wrote an op-ed for TIME Magazine in which he claimed that he could not "in good conscience, remained aligned with the modern manifestation of the [evangelical] movement." In the summer of 2016, Robertson began identifying as "contemplative" and "inter-spiritual", identifying less with traditional Christianity and more with broader spirituality. Robertson's writing and work now focuses on mindfulness and a "spirituality of wonder", rather than espousing or promoting traditional doctrines or dogmas of any religious denominations.

Other affiliations

Robertson is on the board of directors for Evangelicals for Marriage Equality, The Humane Societies Millennial Advisory Council, The Democractic National Conventions LGBT Advisory Board, The OPEN Network, and serves on the United States State Departments Sub Working Group on Religion and Social Justice.

References

Brandan Robertson Wikipedia


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