S4 Ep3 Derek White, The Geek Preacher

Episode Transcription by Fayelle Ewuakye. Find her on Twitter at @FayelleEwuakye.

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Amanda – Welcome to the Fat and Faithful podcast with J. Nicole Morgan, and Amanda Martinez Beck. 

(music)

You gave us these bodies

Amanda – We’re so glad you’ve joined us.

You gave us these bodies

And You called them good.

You gave us these bodies 

And You called them good.

May we love them as You do.

Amanda – Welcome to this episode of Fat and Faithful. I’m Amanda Martinez Beck and I’m here today with Derek White, also known as The Geek Preacher. Derek, thank you so much for coming to the show!

Derek – Thank you for having me, Amanda.

Amanda – Now Derek, you and I got connected, I believe through a group called Christ and Pop Culture is that right?

Derek – That’s right! Yes. 

Amanda – How long have you been a member over there?

Derek – Oh my goodness, oh geeze, probably maybe a year or two after they started. So I know, yeah, when I first found out about them, I connected with Christ and Pop Culture. I was also living in west Tennessee and one of the people who was very active with them at the time, Tyler Glodjo, strangely enough, was working at Union University, which is in Jackson, Tennessee. And we connected both personally and through, not through the podcast, through the forum online. And through many other articles. And so yeah, I’ve been a part of Christ and Pop Culture for some time now.

Amanda – That’s so exciting. I joined 2015 I think? And started writing articles for them. But I had gone to grad school with Alan Noble who’s now, who’s a cofounder and also he’s now the editor in chief. And I have met so many people that are now dear, dear friends through that group of people. And I love the internet.

Derek – Oh yeah, it’s been great, it’s been great. I’ve enjoyed it a lot.

Amanda – Now I have never, I don’t think that I can remember that I’ve ever actually heard your voice. Because we’ve just been internet friends. But I am so glad to have a southerner on the show. Where are you from?

Derek – Well originally I’m from Louisiana, I lived there til I was in y early 20s. and then I moved around some. I have lived in Tennessee now, since 2001. And lived in west Tennessee for a long time. But for the last few years I’ve been living right outside of Nashville and now live in an area that’s considered part of Nashville. So yes, kind of right in the buckle of the bible belt.

Amanda – The bible belt is very large.

Derek – Yeah.

Amanda – I also live in the bible belt down here in east Texas, almost to the Louisiana border.

Derek – Okay.

Amanda – So I’m in Longview.

Derek – Yeah, I know where Longview is, I went to school in Waxahachie for a little while. Actually I’m from Monroe, west Monroe area.

Amanda – Yeah, you’re right down the street.

Derek – Been to East Texas a number of a times. When I was a kid my dad was a pipeliner, I lived in west Texas for a little while too. So yeah, very familiar with that. My aunt before she passed away lived in Plano, so very familiar with east Texas. I’ve been all over much of the south. Probably the only southern state I haven’t lived in that I can think of off the top of my head is Alabama maybe. I’ve lived in Mississippi, Louisiana, close enough to southern Arkansas, lived in Texas, lived in Tennessee, spent a little time in Oklahoma when I was a little kid.

Amanda – You’ve been all over. You know, I’m Cuban and Florida to me was always Cuban. Because that was my context, right? And southern Florida is absolutely Cuban. But my husband is from Florida and it is solidly southern in the panhandle and reaching down there. He’s from central Florida near the Space Coast, but it’s so funny how meeting from different parts of, even your own culture, can just change your perceptions about things.

Amanda – Most definitely, most definitely. So tell me how you got into being a pastor, that’s right, you’re a pastor?

Derek – Yes, yes, I am an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. I have been in ministry in some way, shape or form, except for a hiatus I took, which is a story in and of itself. But I started doing some sort of ministry when I was 21. So on and off for about 28 years now. I did not grow up in a church going family. We were culturally Christian. We only probably went to church maybe around Easter time, didn’t even go around Christmas because what’s Christmas got to do with Christianity, you know? That’s all about Santa Claus, right? so that’s the way I grew up and then I came to faith in my early 20s at about 21, and started being invited to take part in various ministries. You know, when you’re 21, and you’re new and excited about your faith, immediately people wanna give you a job as a youth pastor. Only job I’ve ever been fired from in my life was as a youth pastor because I had no idea what in the world I was doing. And after that I ended up going back to college, well I got married first, went back to college, still did some youth pastoring and some various other ministries during that time. I was ministering primarily with the assemblies of God which is a Pentecostal denomination for most of my 20s. And then I burned out at the grand old age of 29 and said I don’t wanna do this anymore and my wife and I, she grew up in a Presbyterian church and so we ended up finding ourselves in the United Methodist Church. It was really great for us. Became a really good home for us and before I knew it, my pastor was asking me to help out with pulpit supply, and the next thing I knew I was getting calls from our district superintendent asking me to help other churches with pulpit supply. And then they called me up in the fall of 2007 and said hey, we have three churches. Because the United Methodist Church, you can often find yourself pastoring multiple churches at a time. And so we have three churches that don’t have a pastor. It’s August, we need someone to fill in right now. Would you be willing to do that? And so I was finishing up college in my mid-30s, I’d gone back to college in my mid-30s. I was finishing that up and I was working, I said sure, I’ll do that. And then the next thing I knew they were saying hey, we want you to serve a church full time. And we want you to go to seminary. So graduated college in spring of 2008 with a degree in organizational management and marketing. And then immediately went to seminary. While pastoring three, they moved me to another place so I was pastoring three churches. Pastoring three churches full time.

Amanda – Oh my goodness. And you have children. Did you have children at the time?

Derek – Yes, actually, we had our first child was let’s see, 2007, she would have been 8 years old. So our 1st child was 8 and while I was pastoring and in seminary, we had our second child, that was in 2009. And so he was born in May of 2009 and he’s 10, so our oldest now is in college, majoring in social work. And our youngest, our 2nd child is 10 years old and he’s in school, my wife’s a teacher. So that works out great as well. And so I’ve been ministering with the United Methodist church now for 12 years.

Amanda – Well I love how, that when we get connected on the internet, doesn’t mean it’s shallow, right? because the time that I’ve know you in a couple of groups, we met in a Christ and Pop Culture member forum and then you’re also a member of our All Bodies are Good Bodies group on Facebook. And I’ve learned that you are a person of deep passion for caring for God’s children and standing up for justice. So thank you for doing that where you’re at, I know that’s really valuable to the people that you’re around. I was curious about when you became a pastor, you know this podcast is Fat & Faithful, we talk about how faith and fatness relate and then all other sorts of things that relate to living in a larger body. Have you seen things in the church, whether in your growing up experiences or since becoming a pastor, where bodies that are larger, fat bodies have had a harder time belonging or an easier time? What has your experience been or your observation?

Derek – You know I’ve had two very different experiences on both extremes. And so this is actually a really great question to ask. When I was in my 20s and I was ministering mainly in evangelical circles, what would be considered really conservative evangelical circles, you looked around, you did not see a thin pastor. You know, Pentecostal preachers especially, we were not thin. We ate up a storm. I did not, so we didn’t see a whole lot of problems with that, nobody really said anything, nobody made comments about it, everybody just seemed to be huge. And that was just the way it was. I think a part of that’s the south, we have a culture of eating in the south that is unsurpassed by anyone in the world except for our German brothers and sisters who really know how to eat. You know, but so we like to eat. And we just have big folks. Then when I came into the United Methodist Church, a much more mainline, moderate denomination and I was going through the ordination process, there was a huge focus on health. Now for those who don’t know, the ordination process in the United Methodist Church is not quick. I mean, we require you to go to seminary and then after seminary, you could be a provisional minister at least three years before you’re ordained. As I’m going through that process, we’re hearing pastoral health, pastoral health, pastoral health. That’s fine, we’re taking care of our health, I agree with that, self-care is essential to the life of a minister. Sadly, it mostly focused on weight.

Amanda – Oh my.

Derek – And both a friend of mine, very close friend of mine, who was going through the process with me and I, got ticked a lot, because of our weight. In fact I had seen other clergy be deferred for ordination because of their weight and because of their size. They said no, you have to lose weight before you become a clergy person. And so I felt that pressure heavily on me, and forced myself to lose about 6 inches in my waist. It was good in some ways and I was glad I did lose some of that weight. However, you know, if you force yourself to lose wait too quickly, when it comes back, it comes back like gangbusters. It was just not healthy in some ways.

Amanda – The science actually is showing that people are actually healthier if they stay in the weight of their today body most of the time. Because losing weight, when we do that by restriction of what we eat or over exercising, that actually changes the metabolism in our bodies and our brains also say, oh I’m in famine, I need to consume more. And so it’s not helpful and it actually damages your health.

Derek – Right, yeah. I’ve found that what has worked best for me, and this does not work best for everyone. But what’s worked best for me was not changing my patterns of how I eat, it’s been limiting some of the things I do eat. For example, you know, I didn’t do this for diet to lose weight reasons, I recently been diagnosed as diabetic and so I had to cut out a lot of carbs. And in cutting those out, I still didn’t change how I eat, I just changed a few things that I eat and that was just to help maintain my blood sugar.

Amanda – Right, and that goes along with what we ascribe to here on the Fat & Faithful podcast which is called Health At Every Size which is looking at indicators of health besides weight. Because weight alone is not a helpful indicator of health. And so things like, blood sugar, blood pressure, resting heart rate, things like that to point towards, okay what foods make my body feel good and respond well? And that is when you’ve been diagnosed as diabetic, that’s obviously what you need to do is figure out how your body responds to different foods.

Derek – Exactly. And that’s been my experience because there are some foods that are considered healthy that my body doesn’t respond well too, I mean, I just do not respond well to lettuce. I mean, lettuce is supposed to be healthy. My body doesn’t respond well to lettuce, so it took some experimentation. I respond great to spinach strangely enough.

Amanda – Interesting.

Derek – So spinach, which is very healthy food, has been something that we’ve incorporated into our diets. And so at home if I’m making a wrap or something like that, I put spinach on it instead of lettuce.

Amanda – I love that we have a natural intuition in our body that God has given us to figure out what is the best way to care for our bodies.

Derek – Yeah.

Amanda – And I’m just so, I’m so excited when I hear people of faith but especially pastors talking about it. Because so many times the conversation is around gluttony.

Derek – Yeah, and that makes me so mad. When the conversation’s around gluttony. Because I have seen one. People get on to pastors for being gluttons. And then get mad at a pastor when they have a meal at a church and the pastor says, I can’t eat that. Because that’s going to either mess up my diet, that’s got too much sugar in it, I’m diabetic. You know, and so you’re caught in a catch 22 you know, because people are telling you you’re eating too much. You’re obviously eating too much because you’re overweight. No, that’s not it. Everybody’s different. One of the things that gets me, and I looked into the medical science on this, one of the biggest problems doctors have in doctor’s offices, are their weight charts. Because their weight charts are based on having a small build. And your build plays a huge role in that. I have a large build. And someone with a large build versus someone with a small build, that does not necessarily mean height, that means shape bone structure, all of those things.

Amanda – Exactly. And that’s determined by genetics, not intake. And so when we can turn the conversation especially in the church away from seeing body size and body diversity as a result of something under our control, like food intake, it changes the conversation. But there’s something that comes into the equation when we think weight is determined by behavior, that makes it a moral judgement. So you have a ministry called Geek Preacher, or that’s your title, can you tell us a little bit about that?

Derek – I have been a geek all of my life, back when being a geek or nerdy or dorky or whatever you wanna call it, was not popular. Back in the 70s and 80s, if you were geeky and nerdy and dorky, that got you thrown into a trash can, that got you beat up. Especially in the south, when you live among a bunch of country folks, you know, some of the virtues of the geeky world come across as weird and strange. And I started playing dungeons and dragons back in the 80s and enjoyed it. Read lots of fantasy, read Tolkien, Terry Brooks, Roger Zelazny, all kinds of fantasy and science fiction. Frank Herbert, that was my jam. Back in 2007, when I was headed back into ministry, I was invited to take part at the world’s largest gaming convention, Table Top Gaming Convention. Gen Con in Indianapolis. And they were having a panel on faith and gaming, on Christianity and Gaming. And that yea on the panel, one of the cocreators of dungeons and Dragons was going to be on the panel. His name’s Gary Gygax. He helped create Dungeons and Dragons back in the 70s. He was a person of faith, followed Christ, and was on the panel and we had a wonderful, wonderful discussion. I was fortunate before the panel to be able to spend some time with Gary, talk with him. He and I had talked and chatted online before we ever met face to face. So we built a small relationship, a rapport, and then Gary invited me at that convention to come up to a much smaller convention and spend some time with him in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin which is where he lived. That was gonna be in January. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to go because my anniversary is in December and as I’m sure you know, Amanda, December is very busy for clergy for some reason. Especially in a church that celebrates Advent. So it’s a very, very bust time. You don’t take time off in December. So our wedding anniversary was in December, so what we ended up doing was taking a trip together in January while my wife was still in-between semesters at the school she was teaching at. And so we took a weekend off. So I wasn’t able to go. Sadly, Gary passed away in March of 2008. And so after he passed away, I said, you know what, geeks need preachers too. Because I’d been a part of the geek community, I’d been a part of some Christian geek groups since the early 90s. And Christians had not always made a great impression to the geek community. Christians had in the 1980s, we had what was called The Satanic Panic. We’ve seen that in current years, you know, with the attacks on Pokémon, with attacks on Harry Potter. And I said, you know, so I said there needs to be a voice. And that voice, we need laity, regular folks in the church with that voice, but you need a clergy person to stand out and stand up. And I said I’ve got a loud voice, you know, and I’m just going to stand out there and let people know they are loved no matter who they are, whether they’re people of faith or not people of faith. And show them that there are Christians who love these same geeky things they do. And love them without reservation. And so I began doing that back in 2008. Since that time, I have helped lead worship services if not preached at the worship services at a variety of gaming conventions around the country. I’ve been on panels, I’ve led panels, hosted panels on faith and gaming, on Christianity and gaming. I’ve been in interviews for interreligious panels, interfaith panels where we talk about faith, and we talk about literature and comic books and fantasy books and science fiction as well as tabletop role playing games. And board games, and in 2009 Gary Gygax’s children started a gaming convention as a memorial to their father. Because their father was so active in the gaming community. And so in 2009 they started a gaming convention to honor him. And I was invited to attend by a friend of mine who lived close to Lake Geneva. I like to tell people I was the first person to sign up for it. And I went and I’ve been going every year since then. This coming year in 2020, it’ll be the 12th year. I got to be really good friends with some of Gary Gygax’s children who have that conviction. And Luke Gygax, Gary’s second to youngest son, is a captain in the military, I believe he’s a captain in the military. And he and I just got along and talked, I think it was 3 or 4 years ago, he asked me if I would be the Gary Con chaplain. So I am the chaplain for that gaming convention and part of what I do is, I help set up the memorial wall and the memorial table for Gary, we remember those who have passed on, in the gaming community. We remember those people we’ve played with as well as we remember professionals in the gaming community, designers in the gaming community who’ve passed away. So I take care of that. I have a breakfast with the chaplain, I run games, and I also work with a group, a Christian group that volunteers free of charge, they come up and they provide a board gaming library. So if somebody didn’t sign up for a game, they could come in and play games for free in the board gaming library for I believe we’re open 12 hours a day during the convention. So if you just sign up for the convention at Gary Con and you come up there but you couldn’t get into the games you wanted, you could come down there and play some pickup board games with anybody or find an open table and just walk in and play a game. They put signs on the table, In Need of Players, and people sit down. And so I’ve been an active part of that since the convention began back in 2009 but I’ve been an official part of it for either the last 3, 4, or 5 years. It all begins to fade together after a while.

Amanda – Yes. Now this is making my heart very happy, because I’m imagining this room of people playing games together and I think, I enjoy board games and my friends also do, we’re just, you know, we have small children. I know that people play with small children, when our kids go to bed we’re like, oh my gosh we just wanna sleep, so we look forward to the day they’re old enough that we can teach them how to play more complicated games. But in my experience, the people who are really into board games in high school and role playing games, they typically didn’t fit the “cool” stereotype, right? They were either scrawnier or pudgier or somewhere not really fitting in.

Derek – Correct.

Amanda – And I wondered if that affects like, the bodies of the people around you. How that affects your work?

Derek – I’m gonna tell you, and I’ve seen the change over the last decade. You know, when I would go to gaming conventions, you looked around and so many of us fit that stereotype of big, heavyset people. Guys, girls, and everybody in between, no matter where they define themselves on the spectrum. We were all pretty big folks. The people who weren’t that cool. But we also started seeing people who fit the cool build too. You know, people who were into sports and people who were into just working out and CrossFit and all that started showing up a few years ago. And I think part of it has been the advent of social media, the advent of the internet, we’re seeing people like Will Wheaton who’s been, he was in Star Trek the Next Generation TV series, he’s been an advocate for geeks for years. But other movie stars are starting to. Joe Manganiello who played in Magic Mike, I’ve never seen Magic Mike, but I know what it is.

Amanda – Same.

Derek – Yeah, but he’s been in that, I believe he’s married to Sofia Vergara, and he’s actually very active in the gaming conventions circuit now. He does a lot of stuff with Dungeons and Dragons. He comes to Gary Con, runs games for people. So now you know, the diversity has come on the other side now. We’ve had to learn to be welcoming to people who fit the coolness. I actually preached a sermon about that one year when I was at Gen Con in Indianapolis. And I talked about, I don’t know how familiar you are with Indianapolis, but Indianapolis has a couple of events there throughout the year. And sometimes they coincide. So one year, we had about 60,000 freaks, geeks, cosplayers, everybody across the board descend upon Indianapolis for the best 4 days in gaming. That’s how Gen Con promotes themselves. And so we descended there. Well the Colts were also having a, I guess, what do they call it, preseason game that year. And they were there the same weekend. So I would watch, I love to watch people, that’s the greatest thing you can do as a preacher is just watch people. So I just sat outside one day at the convention for about 30 minutes, and I watched the Colt fans walking down one side of the street. And I watched the freaks and the geeks and the cosplayers, all my people walking down the other side of the street. And they looked so different but at the same time, they were the same. You know, some of the Colts fans had their faces painted. So when I preached my sermon, I got up and I talked about how we as geeks, and this could be the same for people with body image issues, or people who have bigger bodies, you know, we need to be welcoming to the gamers, to the football players, and the people who are into sports on the other side of the aisle. We needed to be welcoming to them and incorporate them in because they might be interested in the things we do. And after I preached that sermon, I had a man come up to me, he was about 6’ 3” I think, may have been a little bit shorter than that. But he just, one of the most beautiful men you’ve ever seen. Well fit, just cut, ripped, and he said, I really want to thank you for that sermon. And I said, well why is that? He said because I have always wanted to get into things like this and this was my first year to ever come to a gaming convention or anything like this because I’ve always been afraid to come to something like this. And I said, why is that? He said I was afraid I wouldn’t fit in. And it never had occurred to me, until he said that, that you know what, someone who looked as cool as he looked, he looked really cool, but he also told me he was working on his PhD and he was telling me the things he was interested in. And to realize that some one as cool as he looked, felt like he didn’t fit in with our geeky crowd, but he was just as much of a geek as I am. And if not, more. And so that really touched me and moved me at that point. And I realized you know, body acceptance and the acceptance of other lifestyles and other people is a two way street. And while he may not have experienced the pain and the discrimination I felt as a young geeky kid in the south, he had experienced his own pain as well. Because here he was an athletic guy, who really liked geeky stuff but he felt like he had to hide it.

Amanda – Right. That’s the power of hospitality, right?

Derek – Exactly.

Amanda – Making space. Making space for difference which is part of what you do also with Geek Preacher and accessibility. We talked about, or you mentioned talking about accessibility for size and neurodiversity.

Derek – Correct.

Amanda – Would love to hear more about that.

Derek – Well our son, five years ago, was diagnosed with autism. And we’ve been working through that and dealing with that and dealing with the complications of it. Yet our son also loves to play the same type of games that his dad and his mom and his sister play. And so this year, we had some extra time off, which is very, very rare. And I took him to a gaming convention in Ohio. And one of the reasons I went is because they said they had a room for people with autism if they got overwhelmed they could come to this room. And we went to that room the first day. And it was great. It was great. He loved it. As he got overwhelmed we took him into the room, it was wonderful. The problem was the next day when we went back to make use of that room, they told us, unless we’d signed up previously we could not use the room, because it was being used by the hosting organization for a private event. And I said, what? This doesn’t make sense. Well it’s on the website. You actually had to drill down on the website to find that. And that just really frustrated me because the busiest days of the convention, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the room was off limits to people who had not previously signed up. And if you’ve ever dealt with a child on the spectrum, you never know when you’re going to need something like that. You don’t know when your child is going to be overwhelmed. They may do fine for hours on end and then suddenly they’re overwhelmed. Now the convention did not have to provide that space, they’re not required to. But if you’re going to provide a space like that, you need to be aware of it. And so I mentioned this to a close friend of mine who’s in the gaming industry, he also publishes a comic book/gamer magazine called Knights of the Dinner Table. And the issue that I’m referring to I believe is going to be coming out very soon. My friend’s name is Jolly Blackburn and Jolly said Derek, I want you to write an article on this. And so I wrote an article about how gaming conventions need to really think about accessibility. And in the article I put links to places and other gaming conventions that are very aware of these needs. And we need to be accessible to people who are neurodiverse but we also need to be accessible to people of size, the aisles don’t have room for people with just a big build. Whether you’re fat or not’s irrelevant, I’ve seen people who are weight lifters at these conventions now. Like I said, we have diverse crowds come. I’ve seen really seen really big folks have trouble getting through these aisles. But I’ve also seen people who are in wheelchairs, who have been going to these conventions for years, for decades. Some of them have been going to conventions like this longer than I’ve been alive and I’m almost 50 years old. And so they have accessibility issues. And a lot of these conventions are not making things accessible to people of size. They are not making it accessible to people with other disabilities and I think they are cutting out, just on a purely marketing scale, by not doing that, they are relegating a good percentage of their population to never going to these conventions. And so I, while I’ve advocated for it as a chaplain at a gaming convention, and we’ve tried to make things more diverse for the LGBTQ community and we’ve tried to make things more diverse for, you know, female gamers. A long time female gamers and female game designers were shut out. We’ve tried to let those voices in and open doors for those voices. But we need to also think about just these things like people who have autism and other spectrum disorders like that, we need to make it accessible for people with physical disabilities, we need to make it accessible for people of size. And these are things to take into consideration. Now I understand your small conventions where you only have about 3 or 4 people show up, that’s going to be difficult. But the larger conventions that make, that have so many people need to be aware of this, and need to make spaces for this. One of the other problems I’ve found is that, these convention centers, I don’t know how they get by having the things they have with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Some of these convention centers and some of these hotels I’ve seen, the requirements for them to meet standards is so low, it’s ridiculous.

Amanda – And it depends on the age of the building. I worked in an office that, the building had been built in the 20s and there were no handicapped bathrooms. And I require a handicap bathroom. That’s a big deal. I do love what you’re saying. I would probably say that even the smaller conventions need to do it too.

Derek -They would be able to do it, if the places that they held them, were held to the standard of making their sites accessible.

Amanda – Right and so the way that we make a change in that, is by number 1 asking, hey, is there accessibility for people of size and disability and for neurodiversity? And then we all benefit from that. That’s the way that our intersectionality of the ways that we’re marginalized actually help when we come together because we can say no, we all need these accommodations. And we are important, so please do something about it.

Derek – There are a number of organizations out there that are working toward these goals. There are some groups, there are conventions that are making room for people.

Amanda – That’s awesome. And when that article comes out in your friend’s magazine, Knights of the Kitchen Table is that right? Dinner table?

Derek – Dinner Table. And one of the things he’s going to do once the magazine hits the stand, he is going to release a PDF link just to that article. So that people can actually download that article for free. And after the interview, I’ll try and get you some of the links. The name of the article is called Quiet in the Convention Center. For example there’s one group, and I backed this on Kickstarter. It’s actually a role playing game called Critical Core. They’re putting on a roleplaying game, helping kids on the autism spectrum build confidence and social skills. So that’s really awesome. There’s another group, it’s called Game to Grow and they use table top games in weekly therapeutic social skills groups, to help young people become more confident, creative, and socially capable. And so there are a lot of groups out there working for this. And that really makes me excited. Pax is also a large convention center, all of the Pax conventions use a group and they have places for anyone who feels overwhelmed and needs a place to regain their calm. So I wanna say there are groups out there working toward this. And so I do wanna encourage people that it is not a wasteland. That there are people who see the need for this. And to be honest, I’ve talked to many people. Few people who were there in the early days of the 70s and 80s who were industry professionals back then and they told me, Derek, I don’t go to conventions anymore because I have accessibility issues. And I’m tired of getting knocked over and knocked around and running into me. I’m tired of not finding easily accessible bathrooms. I mean, things of that nature. And I understand that. I felt that need as well. I’m an extrovert, but even I need to time to find quiet places. And one of the things we did a few years back, actually about 5 or 6 years ago when I was doing the worship services at Gen Con, I was working with a group called the Christian Gamers Guild and we had at that time, we could get a booth. It’s really, really hard to get a booth in the dealer hall now. And what we did for a couple years in a row, at our booth, is we actually had a local resident on site who would bring us a sofa and we would put up a couple of chairs and we would tell people, you know, no matter who you are, you don’t have to be a Christian, you don’t have to be anything. You wanna just come in, sit down, get off your feet, and just get a little bit of a private space from all of these crowds, you’re welcome to do so. And it was great. And we weren’t even thinking about it in terms of accessibility or neurodiversity at that time. We were just thinking about it as Christian hospitality.

Amanda – Yeah, and people have bodies and bodies get tired. That is a perfect way to close our podcast today because our tagline for Fat & Faithful, we changed it last season. And it’s loving God incarnate, and loving our neighbor’s bodies as our own. So thank you, Derek White, thank you so much for coming on the Fat & Faithful podcast today. We have so much great material, I’m really excited about this episode going out. How can our listeners find you and what you’re doing, do you have social media?

Derek – Yes, the easiest way to find me is I have a Facebook page, it’s called The Geek Preacher.

Amanda – Wonderful. Thank you so much for your time today, God bless you.

Derek – God bless you Amanda, and thank you for having me, I enjoyed it a lot.

(music)

May we love them

Nicole – This podcast is co-hosted by Amanda Martinez Beck and J. Nicole Morgan and made possible through the generous support of our Patreon donors. To become a supporter, visit patreon.com/fatandfaithful. Please subscribe, rate, and review wherever you listen to your Podcasts — this helps others find us and the fat acceptance work we’re doing. You can join in on the discussions in our Facebook group All Bodies Are Good Bodies or follow us on social media. You can find Amanda on Instagram at  your_body_is_good (with an underscore between each word) or on Twitter @AmandaMBeck. Nicole is @jnicolemorgan on both Instagram and Twitter. Fat & Faithful is produced by Amanda Martinez Beck, transcription services are provided by Fayelle Ewuakye, and our theme music is “These Bodies” by The Many. Visit their website at themanyarehere.com and learn more about the “This is My Body” liturgy they created around this song at pluralguild.com/this-is-my-body.  Thank you for joining us as we learn to love God incarnate and our neighbors body as our own.

(music)

Inside outside through and through

Let us love them as You do

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