FreedHearts

FreedHearts

Changing the human conversation of love and inclusion. Susan Cottrell is the Mom of two LGBTQ children; the founder of FreedHearts; an international speaker with a viral TEDx talk; a pastor and theologian; an acclaimed author; and a fierce advocate and ally. In her unique tender, relatable style, Susan is a prominent voice of unconditional love and lavish inclusion. Powerful, authentic, and relevant in today’s society, Susan has a lot to say. The Advocate calls her their “Favorite Affirming Matriarch.” OutSmart magazine calls her "The Mother of all MamaBears!" Reverend Ashley Harness from Auburn Seminary says, “Susan has this fierce, loving, don’t mess with me, Mom vibe.” If you have been excluded, or if someone close to you has been excluded because of who they are or who they love - or maybe you have been the one doing the excluding - the FreedHearts podcast is for you. Join Susan, along with her husband Rob, on the journey. You are not alone. Welcome home!

Episodes

May 11, 2021 32 min

Continuing our conversation about broken family relationships, today we talk about what it is costing our LGBTQ kids. 

What is the cost when parents have broken with them? 

What does it cost your child when you withhold love or limit the relationship, simply because you are not okay, for whatever reason, with them being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender? 

Mom, Dad… they are paying a price much greater than we can ever imagine. Tod...

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This is a very special episode for parents wanting to improve your relationship with your LGBTQ child. If you are not a parent, this would be a great episode to send TO your parents. :-) 

Mom & Dad, maybe you are struggling to understand your child. They may have told you they’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or other words that may not make sense to you.  

Your faith community is telling you to reject them, to not accept ...

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We are very fortunate to have a unique relationship, and we think we have a lot to offer about on how to have a great relationship. 

But, we had to work to get here. We went through some hardships that threatened everything, but we were always committed to wholeness. We always sought love and healing, even when it was hard.

Many of you have great relationships too. Many of you don’t. Today we want to share some of our keys and hope t...

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Okay, let’s talk about sex! 

Did you know that term “unnatural sex” that we read about in the Bible is any sex that's not procreative?! 

One theme emerged that shifted our view of the nonaffirming church and drove our deconstruction. That theme is the motivation to protect the institution even as it diminishes and even destroys the people within. 

So today, we’ll look at patriarchy and misogyny, and how harmful and endemic they ar...

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Abuse is basically someone in power using, misusing those without power. Whether it’s emotional, spiritual, physical, or sexual. It’s someone with more power abusing someone with less power.

Is your church spiritually abusive? Today, we give you ways to know for sure.

To discover this can be troubling, depressing. But it is so beautifully freeing. 

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What Does it Really Mean to Deconstruct My Faith?

When you leave your previous understanding of your faith, it may feel as if you lost your entire identity because of how tightly you held those beliefs.

In this episode, we talk about what it really means to deconstruct your faith.

What affirms our deconstruction is realizing that God is in all the places we were told not to go. 

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Do you wish you could get away from that internalized voice of disapproval and shame? 

This is one of the hardest issues to face for LGBTQ+ people on their path to acceptance, and for families and loved ones — especially those with a faith background. 

Today, we talk about the enemy within: internalized queerphobia. 

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March 23, 2021 28 min

What a time it is! I’ve had to pull myself back from living in a constant state of fight or flight. How about you? 

Fight or flight is meant to be a temporary state, a brilliant way to protect us from that proverbial tiger. But that should be a very small portion of our lives. 

If we find ourselves stuck in fight or flight - what’s the alternative? What is the ideal state look like?

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This episode is for parents of LGBTQ children; or LGBTQ people with parents; or those allies and friends who know parents. In other words, this is for you!

In our work with tens of thousands of parents of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer children, there are 5 questions that almost always come up. Things they are concerned about; things they wonder and worry about.

In this episode, we answer those questions! We help set ...

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It’s common in today’s non-affirming church teaching to talk about the Bible as “the inerrant, unchanged word of God,” meaning, if you even question what you’ve been taught about the Bible or what it says, you are labeled a heretic!

But, as we have discovered on our own deconstruction journey, there are a lot of problems with that!

In this episode, we talk about what to do with the Bible in the midst of a deconstructing faith.

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I went to seminary as an evangelical. I had no idea it was going to hold so many surprises. Here are the top 7 shockers that change the entire game of Christianity. 

Knowing these will help us continue to unravel the hurtful, destructive teachings that, in truth, really have nothing to do with Jesus, God or the Bible. 

It was the beginning of the deconstruction of my faith, and the beginning of a much deeper, more beautiful, more sat...

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The teaching of contempt, the teach of “us vs them,” has seeped into our culture and thinking. 

There’s no magic answer to fix it, and it has taken root in our lives, in society. So, what can we do? 

In this powerful episode, we discover how to recognize and deal with contempt in our lives - that we are receiving and that we are giving. This episode is about beginning to truly see ourselves and each other. 

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February 17, 2021 31 min

If you could write a love letter to your past self - to little Susie Q or little Bobby - what would you say?  And if you could write a love letter to your future self - in 10, 20, 30 years - what would you say?

In this episode, we talk about the thread of love running through your life, what may be hindering that, and how we can free our hearts to love and be loved - as we deserve. 

The most important love you will give or receive is...

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February 10, 2021 31 min

How often do you find yourself responding to the same old questions and hurtful comments from non-affirming people?

In this episode, we discuss why you should never waste your time, never waste your heart debating with, or explaining yourself to someone who is committed to misunderstanding you. It can be toxic!

You don't deserve it, and we'll talk about how we can respond instead. 

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By the time Susan turned 24, both her parents and three brothers had died! She had been relentlessly bullied; and was married and divorced.

This personal, intimate episode is for those of us who have experienced pain and heart-breaking loss, and how to turn that into heart-freeing love.

Susan opens up and shares her heart and her incredible story in this special episode.  

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So much pain has been inflicted in the name of God. We have been deeply hurt, we get triggered and we want nothing to do with Jesus. But what has been used to hurt us has been absolute lies and is not really about God or Jesus!

One of the worst things that ever happened to Jesus was the religion of Christianity, and non-affirming Christianity has largely gotten him wrong. Jesus is still one of the best-kept secrets because his truth...

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In this beautiful, intimate episode, Susan talks openly about her decision to have her breasts and ovaries removed as part of her battle with cancer, and how it impacted her femininity.

"I learned the power of loving my body. I learned how much I took my body for granted and how much more I wanted to love it. We have tied our femininity so much to our body -- our shape, our size, our sexiness -- a lot about how others see us. A...

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December 23, 2020 27 min

In a beautiful, very special holiday episode, we share three stories - one from Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple; one from Sandra Cisneros; and a unique retelling of the Biblical story for us outliers, the rest of us. 

I hope these unwrap the way we see and celebrate this Christmas holiday season.  

It is about reconstructing Christmas in the midst of a deconstructing faith. 

Celebrating for the rest of us. 

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December 16, 2020 33 min

Why do parents struggle with loving their LGBTQ children?  The false teachings and faulty arguments that lead parents to reject their LGBTQ children. 

Why do LGBTQ struggle with internalized homophobia, with loving themselves? The false teachings and faulty arguments that lead LGBTQ people to reject themselves. 

Important information; and a tender, powerful message on how to respond to those who use these false teachings to hurt us. 

...

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December 9, 2020 37 min

Our first visit to the FreedHearts Podcast Inbox! 

In this special episode we answer questions we have received from our listeners. I am pretty sure you have heard them, or even asked them yourself!

Questions about supporting an LGBTQ person who is in the middle of a very non-affirming environment; talking to anti-gay pastors and church leaders; the difference between a welcoming and a truly affirming church; microaggressions; when i...

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