Welcome to our new program!
By Request is designed to give you more ways (and times) to learn and discuss a variety of topics or questions for yourself, with your family, your friends, or the community around you. Instead of having a preset date and time for a class or event, By Request has you pick a time, with the presenter, and invite people to join you for the discussion.
Our presenters/facilitators can be available by Zoom in time zones that include Europe, Africa, North and South America, Australia, and parts of Asia.
Depending on who you choose, at the present time, we can offer discussions in English, Dutch, and French. As you will notice, the topics cover Biblical and social issues.
It works like this.
- You look at the menus and speakers on this site.
- You pick out something you would like to discuss, as an individual or a group, and then contact us with the button, below.
- We will put you in contact with the speaker you would like to invite and you can negotiate a Zoom time that works for both of you.
If you have questions about the program, you can also contact us at the above address.
We are looking forward to meeting you!
Tom de Bruin
Tom de Bruin
Tom has been an Adventist pastor, conference administrator, well-reviewed college lecturer, European Kinship Meeting speaker, and is a Bible scholar. He is a longtime, much-appreciated, ally. Tom’s associations include: Sheffield Institute for Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies, British New Testament Society (treasurer), Journal of European Interdisciplinary Biblical Studies (Editor), European Adventist Society of Theology and Religious Studies (Editor/Webmaster).
Conversations about the clobber texts:
Though there are many books, articles, and videos about these verses in the Bible, I believe that learning is often a process that works best with personal interaction and guidance. For this, I offer a monthly Zoom meeting for new (or less recent) members who have questions about the Bible and the LGBTQIA+ community.
One Hour Discussions for Zoom Groups of 1-15
Interpreting the Bible: Why Plain Reading Doesn’t Work
During this conversation, we will look at a text often used to condemn the LGBTQIA+ community and a text often considered pro-slavery. We will discuss reasons we cannot take the translations of the Bible at face value—and hopefully acknowledge we only do this when it suits us.
Marriage in the Bible
The Seventh-day Adventist Church consistently talks about the Biblical ideal of marriage. That said, what do we actually know about marriages in the Bible? In this discussion, we look at some famous examples of wedded Biblical couples and at the Biblical concept of adultery.
Abominations and Fornication
Using Old Testament texts, we will study and discuss views on the words and contextual use of the words abomination and fornication. We will note how these concepts are connected to idolatry.
In the beginning, God created man and woman…
This meeting is a discussion of gender binary as instituted in/at Creation.
Sex and Sperm (Leviticus 18/20)
This study is a discussion of the passages and context of Leviticus 18/20, the holiness code, and the role of sperm in Ancient Near Eastern society.
Cursed to Fornicate (Romans 1)
Our time together will be an in-depth discussion of the mention of same-sex relationships in Romans 1. We will look at how this passage works and how Paul talks about same-sex relations in his other letters.
Sodom, Strange Flesh, and Sodomy
We’ll look at Sodom and Gomorrah using Genesis 19 and the book of Jude. We’ll discuss the afterlives of these doomed cities, in the Bible and Christianity, including how Sodom’s sin became sodomy and later sodomy become anal sex.
Gender in the Time of the Bible
The biblical authors did not know about X and Y chromosomes, nor did they share our biological worldview. In this discussion, we discover how biological sex was theorized in the time of the New Testament.
“We will be like the angels”
Beginning with Jesus’ famous words in Matthew 22:30 and Mark 12:25, we will look at the gender and sex of angels and what sex they are imagined having.
Zoom series or longer sessions
Given the research on human brains and our ability to focus, we recommend that any session over 60 minutes includes a break.
Administrative Adventist Statements and Kinship’s Ideals
We can look at some of what are called Adventist Fundamental Beliefs, Official Statements, and Guidelines, vs. Kinship’s ideals of marriage, reproductive rights, and inclusiveness.
What does the Bible Really Say about LGBTQIA+ People
This four-session series includes:
- An introduction to basic Biblical study principles and collecting your focus questions
Gender and Sex in the Bible
Depending on what you like, our Zoom sessions could include:
- Genesis 1 and 2
- The gender of angels
- Sex in ancient times
- Same-sex relationships in the Bible
Ableism and Disability
Disability and sin are closely related in the Bible and in theology. I have taught a 13-week class on disability and ableism, which examines contemporary and historical views on disability. This opens our eyes to the “ablest” way able-bodied people often read the Bible, and how we can be more inclusive in our reading. Discussions could include disability theory and theology, physical disability, neurodivergence, and any text about disability in the Bible.
There is a lot of talk going around the church about Satan and demons. Through considerable study, I have become an expert on Satan in the Bible and history and can share many presentations on this topic. This could include:
- Why bad things happen to good people
- Why we give Satan too much credit
- Why Satan is hardly mentioned in the Old Testament, yet everywhere in the New
- Is Satan really a rebel
- What are demons, what is demon possession
Bible in Films
For this, you have enjoyable homework! I will choose a film that interacts with the Bible significantly. Before you come to our discussion, you watch the film. I could give a brief lecture on an important topic presented in the film, and we discuss this. I’ve taught the Bible in Popular Culture many times. This is entertaining and enlightening for people who like to watch films and think about them.
I can give talks on any passage in the New Testament if there is an interest. It is also possible to plan a series where we read through a biblical book together, I explain some complicated issues, and we learn from each other.
Jeroen has been in pastoral ministry with the Seventh-day Adventist Church for twenty-one years. For ten years he was youth director for the Netherlands Union. These last eight years he has been a pastor and administrator for the church in Belgium. His congregation is the only Dutch-speaking group in Brussels. For his whole career, Jeroen has fought for the equality and acceptance of people who don’t fit the traditionally accepted SDA molds. He believes it is important to address topics that are often silenced.
Love as a Hermeneutical Framework for Reading the Bible
How the principle of “love your neighbor” and the “golden rule” can be a solid basis for interpreting the Bible in general and “problem” texts in particular. This we do already with non-problematic texts or texts we certainly do not apply anymore (i.e., the many texts from Leviticus with death penalties).
Comprehensive Bible-reading Understanding
A fresh, but not new, way of reading the Bible as it is. Bible-reading comprehension: really understanding what you read and comprehensively using all your senses and not just your intellect. No knowledge of Greek or Hebrew necessary—we leave that to the experts.
LGBTQ-Positive Texts in the Bible
There are, surprisingly, LGBTQ-positive texts to be found in the Bible. And that is not just the almost homo-erotic relationship between David and Jonathan (which can also be just a positive male friendship—not oversexed by our 21st-century reading). For example, the healing of the slave of the centurion by Jesus. And there are some more.
Sexual Abuse in the Bible
Looking at some stories of sexual abuse in the Bible (rape, incest, etc.) which show obvious patterns of perpetrators and victims, but also, in most cases how not to respond to the abuse. The Bible is not quiet about sexual abuse, but it does not give good examples of how to deal with the situation and the victims.
LGBTQ and Headship Theology
The relationship between headship theology or the patriarchy and its resistance to the LBGTQ community. How (toxic) masculinity became part of evangelical Christian theology and how it devastates the gospel, the acceptance of LGBTQ community, and women.
Some general things I can talk about are more administrative or in relation to youth work.
Stages of Faith Development and How to Relate to Different Generations
Based on Fowler’s stages of faith development. We can look at how we can relate our faith to these various stages and what the various stages ask of faith and religion. This could be helpful for the LGBTQ community to separate LGBTQ issues from “normal” development issues.
A Matter of Trust – Church Administration and Hierarchy
Just a general (or in-depth) look at church hierarchies, our own hierarchy, and how originally the hierarchy and authority were based on trust. Many of the current issues in our church are related to trust issues and control.
A Case Study of Sexual Abuse and Its Fall Out
Looking at a sexual abuse case during one or our camps and the fall out afterwards. Gives a great insight into the processes surrounding sexual abuse. How victims, victims’ families, perpetrators, perpetrators’ families, and bystanders respond. This could be helpful for victims, youth workers, and families.
Catherine Taylor LICSW
Catherine Taylor LICSW is a family therapist who has been addressing grief and trauma with individuals, families, communities, and institutions for decades. She created and facilitated the MOSAIC project for mothers of survivors of sexual abuse. MOSAIC members built support networks, trained community service providers, presented their work at trauma and family therapy conferences in the United States and Europe, spoke at one of Smith College’s summer programs for social workers, and made a film, Not Alone. She developed and took part in day wilderness survival camps for children who had experienced trauma. At camp meetings in New England, she gave workshops on sexual abuse and helped write the safety protocols for the Southern New England Conference. Her work with Seventh-day Adventists and child sexual abuse was published in Sexual Abuse in Nine North American Cultures, ed. Lisa Fontes.
Catherine has also been working with the gender community since 1995 and with Kinship members since 1981. As part of her present-day therapy practice in southeastern Virginia, she works with many pre-teens, teenagers, and young adults who are negotiating their understanding of themselves, as well as the attitudes of their parents, school communities, and ecclesiastical opinions.
Building Safe Places: The Development of Benevolent Contexts
As I worked with and presented on traumatic events and contexts, I realized the need for a better understanding of what makes a family, an organization, or a community benevolent. This two-part discussion focuses on practical skills to build healthy environments. We will look at components of safety, choice, and play. We will study the importance of reciprocity and accountability. We will go into the research about sharing appreciations. We will consider the complicated levels, nature of, and importance of boundary setting. We will look at the benefits of focusing on strengths rather than individual or systemic pathology. We will practice building attainable dreams and visions. In our section on communication skills, we will look at brain differences and expectations, and ways of having conversations with individuals and groups, The Five Pillars, active listening, and a little bit on amygdala control.
Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness. —Chinese Proverb
Cushioning Trauma, Naturally
Trauma: a deeply distressing experience that can be from a single incident or prolonged events.
Complex Trauma: varied and multiple traumatic events that are often invasive and interpersonal in nature. This kind of trauma physically or emotionally threatens a person’s sense of self and safety.
Emotional trauma: the end result of events or experiences. When thinking of trauma, we often picture physical/sexual abuse, auto accidents, and incidents of war or similar events. For the purposes of this discussion, we will include the trauma that comes from being a marginalized person through racism, sexism, and particularly through the denigration of people who are LGBTQIA + and their allies. We will look at the way trauma affects our brain, our immune system, and the way we relate to people and institutions. More importantly, we will look at natural and relational ways to heal from the effects of trauma and how to be people who are part of that process. We can be, and often are, both.
Gender for Geezers
Do you sometimes feel like a linguistic Neanderthal? Are you confused by the terms post-sexual, non-binary, two-spirit, demisexual, and cisgender? Are you old enough that you once thought gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transsexual were four words that covered all the continuum? Would you like to talk about it in a safe place where we will not think we are stupid, be angry with ourselves while we learn, and yet want to know more about the people who form our community? This chat is for you.
Our time will include lists of gender/relational terms (including but not limited to demisexual, intersex, pansexual, non-binary, cisgender, transsexual, transgender, post-sexual, polyamorous, bisexual, and all its permutations). We will touch on the nature of and need for accurate pronouns. We will also address ways we can be gentle with ourselves if we are not up-to-date.