My Baptist News Global article this month discusses shame and how what we’ve been taught to believe about our bodies affects the way we view both ourselves and God. I think it’s time we dismantle some of these harmful beliefs, don’t you?

Click below to read the full article.

“Who told you that you were naked?” God asked Adam and Eve in the Garden. It’s one of the first questions recorded in the Bible. From the very beginning, Evil has taught us that our bodies are bad. We’ve been told that we should not trust our bodies, our feelings, our emotions — that we should deny our very selves for the sake of God, of purity, of others…(read more).

Hey Friends,

If you’ve been on the fence about the book club, our 6-month line-up is confirmed and below are the books we will be reading first! Most of the authors have been confirmed as special guests during our meetings as well, so we are definitely in for a treat!

Registration ends this Saturday, August 15th! So if you or someone you know wants to join, don’t miss out! LGBTQ people and allies alike are encouraged to join. The registration window won’t open again until March 2021.

SCHEDULE FOR SEPT. 2020 – FEB. 2021:

September’s Book: “After Evangelicalism,” by David Gushee
Meeting Date: Monday, Sept. 28th, 6pm-8pm MST (This meeting will include an author interview with Rev. Dr. David Gushee!)

October’s Book: “Beyond Shame,” by Matthias Roberts
Meeting Date: Monday, October 26th, 6pm-8pm MST (This meeting will include an author interview with Matthias Roberts!)

November’s Book: “Unashamed,” by Amber Cantorna
Meeting Date: Monday, November 30th, 6pm-8pm MST (I look forward to discussing this with you!)

December’s Book: “Outside the Lines,” by Mihee Kim Kort
Meeting Date: December 28th, 6pm-8pm MST (Author appearance TBD)

January’s Book: “Transforming,” by Austen Hartke
Meeting Date: January 25th, 6pm-8pm MST (This meeting will include an author interview with Austen Hartke!)

February’s Book: “Undivided,” by Vicky Beeching
Meeting Date: February 22nd, 6pm-8pm MST (Author appearance TBD)

Time is running out, so if you want to join, don’t wait!

I can’t wait to have this adventure with you!!!
Amber Cantorna

Register Now!

Dear Friends,

Today, I have some hard news to share with you. After years of seeing doctors and chasing symptoms, I have finally found the answer to my continual health decline. It is not the answer that I wanted. I have tested positive and been diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease, along with TBRF (a co-infection of Lyme), EBV, and mold toxicity. These are the root causes of my symptoms, but the list of other ailments that have stemmed from them is long and often overwhelming.

Some of you have followed my health journey in recent years as I’ve battled chronic pain and fatigue, some of you have heard me talk about invisible disabilities from the stage, but most of what I’ve been battling, I’ve kept hidden from the public eye, not because I wanted to hide it, but because talking about something for which you don’t have a name is both difficult to describe and challenging for others to understand. So lately I’ve largely stayed silent as we continued to search for answers. And now we have them. And I am grateful that the searching is over. And yet, receiving this diagnosis comes with a mountain of difficult things to both process and learn.

“Most of what I’ve been battling, I’ve kept hidden from the public eye, not because I wanted to hide it, but because talking about something for which you don’t have a name is both difficult to describe and challenging for others to understand.”

Because life has taught me to be strong, I’ve been good at hiding the severity of my symptoms, often even from those closest to me:  the low-grade fevers, the swollen glands and rib soreness, the amount of energy it takes to stay engaged in conversation, the extreme fatigue that no amount of sleep can cure, the pain, the muscle aches, the crash days, the ways even the smallest of tasks can feel completely overwhelming…the list goes on and on. This has become my daily reality. This is my life with Chronic Lyme Disease.

“This has become my daily reality. This is my life with Chronic Lyme Disease.”

We have a long road ahead of us. There is no known cure for Chronic Lyme Disease. Only when you catch Lyme in the first few weeks of exposure is a full cure with antibiotics really possible. In my case, it has been living in my body for years…possibly my whole life. Lyme is a lot like cancer in that you treat it the best you can, hoping for it to go into remission…but you’re never really “cured.” My goal is to find the best treatments I can, from the best doctors I can, that will provide the most healing possible, and the best quality of life moving forward. But it will be long and slow.

What about writing and speaking? Honestly, there’s a lot I still don’t know. With the impact of COVID-19 and my immune system being so severely compromised, I am currently unable to leave my house for anything other than essentials. I am accepting virtual speaking engagements to stay as engaged as possible and financially afloat. For me, speaking and connecting with others is the highlight of what I do. I am writing a monthly column for Baptist News Global. Beyond that, I don’t know what things will look like yet. So much is so uncertain for all of us right now. As I begin treatment, I will know more in time.

What about the book club? The book club will continue as planned. I actually received this diagnosis before the book club was launched. It’s just taken me a few weeks (okay, two months) to get my head and heart wrapped around it enough to be able to share this with you. However, the book club and all the plans behind it remain intact and it is a project I’m truly excited about. This is the last week for registration, and I hope you will join me.

How Can I Help? Your support and encouragement mean the world to me. I love snail mail. I appreciate your notes, gifts, and check-ins. Currently, I try to respond to every message that I get, but moving forward, please know that I read every one of them, even if I am unable to respond. The obvious burden besides the physical/emotional/mental toll this all takes, is the financial toll. Treatment is expensive and often not covered by insurance, traveling to speak right now is impossible (which is typically my biggest income generator), and concentrating on work is challenging. Things like joining Patreon and registering for the book club help keep me afloat. Hiring me or recommending me to speak is also very much appreciated. And of course, hearing from you and knowing how my work has made an impact in your life always lifts my spirits, even on my hardest days.

Today I began treatment, the first step in a long journey. I may not feel strong, but I know that I have you behind me. And because of that, I will continue to be brave.

Know that I love and cherish each of you.

Keep Being Brave and Living Wildly Unashamed,
Amber Cantorna

Good Morning Friends!

Today is the day! Registration for the LGBTQ Faith Book Club is NOW OPEN! Remember, space is limited, so if you (and a friend!) are wanting to join, don’t wait! You can visit the link below to get all the details or to register.

Learn More and Register Now Here!

I hope to see many of your beautiful faces in this group! This will be a great opportunity to read, learn, and build community together with other like-minded people. It’s going to be a great adventure!

So excited to do this with you,
Amber

Hey Friends,

Just a quick reminder that registration for our upcoming LGBTQ Faith Book Club launches this Thursday at 10am MST! Be watching for an email to arrive in your inbox on Thursday morning with the link. I would LOVE to have you join us!

You can view all the information about it HERE! 

Remember, space is limited, so if you (and a friend!) are wanting to join, don’t wait!

I hope to see many of your beautiful faces in this group! This will be a great opportunity to read, learn, and build community together with other like-minded people. I can’t wait to have this adventure with you!

Amber Cantorna

IT’S A GO! After putting some feelers out this week, it looks like we have enough interest to launch our very first LGBTQ Faith Book Club! Here’s how this will go down:

*People who showed initial interest will have the chance to register first! (If you have not yet expressed interest but want to be added, please reply to this email or comment on the book club social media post. Names will be added in the order I receive them.)

*Sign-ups will happen beginning July 23rd (with a min. of 20 people required to launch). Once registration is complete, the book club members will be added to a private Facebook group and provided a list of potential books to read. They will have the opportunity to vote for their favorites and that is how the book list will be formed. The book club will then officially launch in September.

*This book club is open to all people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and faiths. Allies, parents, pastors, family members, etc. of the LGBTQ+ community are also welcome to join. All you need is a desire to learn and grow.

*Each month, weekly discussion questions will be provided in the within the private Facebook group for members to engage. At the end of each month we will host a virtual gathering (via Zoom or some other platform) and dialogue about the book…ideally with the author! (Note: While the author’s presence is the hope of each book chosen, it is not guaranteed as authors will not be approached until membership has reached its 20 person min. and book list has been selected).

*There will be a $25/month membership fee with a 6 or 12 month commitment. (Those wanting to pay month to month will have a higher fee.) Patreon members will receive a 10% discount.

*Maximum group size will be limited to 50 to allow for deep dialogue and engagement.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED, MARK YOUR CALENDARS! Registration will begin July 23rd and will only be open to the first 50 people who sign-up!

I can’t wait to have this adventure with you!!!

Amber Cantorna

 

Hi Friends,

I’m currently thinking about launching a book club this fall that focuses on LGBTQ faith related books. I’d love to know if this is something you or someone you know would be interested in. Here are a few of the details to get you started:

-Read one book a month
-$25/month membership fee (with 6 or 12 month commitment, discount available for Patreon members)
-Access to Facebook discussion group
-Virtual meeting at end of month to discuss and dialogue, ideally with the author of the book (Note: Authors will not be approached for this project until I have sufficient interest)
-Open to first 25-30 people who signup
-Launching in September

Some of the books that are being considered are:

-Changing Our Mind, David Gushee
-Modern Kinship, Dave and Tino Kalaf
-Walking the Bridgeless Canyon,Kathy Baldock
-Transforming, Austen Hartke
-A Survival Guide for Heretics, Aaron Van Voorhis
Unashamed, Amber Cantorna
-Beyond Shame, Matthias Roberts
-Practicing, Kathy Escobar
-Unclobber, Colby Martin …and more!!!

Nothing has been finalized yet, right now I am simply gauging interest to see if I have enough people wanting to join. So if you or someone you know might be interested and you would like to see this project launch this fall, please give me your input by replying to this email or commenting on my social media post!

Be safe and stay healthy!

Amber

NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO FIGHT FOR THEIR RIGHT TO BREATHE.

I cannot begin to express the anger, sadness, and outrage I feel over the injustice, racism, discrimination, and violence that Black people continue to face on a daily basis living in America. No one should have to fight for their right to breathe.

We live in a nation that was founded on racism and oppression, yet almost 200 years later we have BARELY moved the needle away from a culture that thrived on the blood, sweat, and tears of Black lives that were forced to work as slaves so that white people could live comfortably. Why has nothing changed? BECAUSE WHITE PEOPLE REFUSE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE FACT THAT SOMETHING IS DEEPLY WRONG. Unaffected, we continue to live comfortably in our white privilege and a social system that works and fights for our rights, while completely ignoring and remaining complacent (and therefore complicit) regarding the injustice around us.

Black people have every right to be outraged. America is NOT a nation that believes “all men are created equal.” When Black people live in daily fear for their lives, we are FAR from a country that believes in equality. From this nation’s founding, Black people have been the subject of racism and violence for no reason other than the color of their skin. IF THIS DOES NOT CAUSE YOU TO BE OUTRAGED, THEN YOU HAVE A LOT OF INTERNAL WORK TO DO. These are PEOPLE, with families, and jobs, and dreams, and goals, and aspirations. BLACK LIVES MATTER.

Change will only come by ALL of us raising our voices and demanding a more just world for people of color. My platform has been built on fighting for equality, but fighting for equality doesn’t mean just fighting for the equality of one marginalized group, it means fighting for the equality of EVERY marginalized group. And today, Black people all over America are angry and afraid. They are waiting for us to stand up, to speak up, to raise up, and to stand with them in this fight.

To my white friends, I ask you to rise up. To stand in the gap. To use your voice to condemn racism, hatred, and bigotry. If you don’t know where to start, join me in educating ourselves on how to be an anti-racist by reading one of these books:

Photo courtesy of Jane Mount

To my Black friends, I want you to know that I see you. I stand with you. I mourn with you. I may not always say or do the right thing, but I promise to be open to learning and doing better. I vow to read and educate myself on how to be more anti-racist, to stand with and for you in this fight, and to use my platform in whatever way I can to raise awareness.

You matter to me. Black lives matter. I will fight for equality ALWAYS, because NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO FIGHT FOR THEIR RIGHT TO BREATHE.

#ICantBreathe
#JusticeforGeorgeFloyd
#JusticeforAmaudArbery
#JusticeforBreonaTaylor
#BlackLivesMatter

This was an emotional project for me, but it is such an honor to share it. I am so grateful for all the Mama Bears who are making this world a better, safer, and more loving place for LGBTQ people to live and thrive. This is my Mother’s Day tribute to you.

If you saw the Facebook campaign that went up on Friday, you saw just a snippet of the letter that I wrote. This video is the letter in its entirety and I’ve poured everything I had into recording and producing this gift for you this week.

Whether you are a Mama Bear, an LGBTQ ally, a surrogate mom, or you know someone who is, I hope you will watch and share this far and wide on this Mother’s Day that is especially hard and challenging for so many people this year.

Happy Mother’s Day Mama Bears! I love each of you!

Amber Cantorna

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