Name & birthplace: Bryan Edney, Philadelphia, PA
Are you married, single, dating? any children?: Single and dating. No children…but I want to adopt.
Please describe your current or most recent project. Include a brief overview, your motivation for the project, and any notable challenges you encountered.
My most recent work is also my first published piece. It’s “Filling In the Empty Spaces – My Story of Faith and Spiritual Self-Discovery” As a part of my healing process I have written this work, which began as personal memoirs. They serve as written accounts of what one can achieve, through faith, despite what one faces at the hands of adversity. This is probably the most significant thing I could have done to give back to my community, to honor my ancestors and to inspire others to move forward. Statistics said I shouldn’t be here, but I AM! Written in journal form, Filling in the Empty Spaces is a literary, inspirational treasure to cherish and/or share with anyone who needs a boost to their spirit.
I heard that you are a minister, why did I start a church?
It’s not like applying for a conventional job or position. This is a vocation, a calling. It’s something that you’re beckoned to do because of a spiritual nudge at your heart. It is from that that you begin doing the work to make a difference in people’s lives. This is actually a Ministry…a spiritual collective where you come together to affirm the truth that God lives within each of us.
What denomination are you?
We are a “New Thought” Ministry, a Spiritual Collective. We embrace every path and understand that there is not just one path to The Creator. Jesus, the Christ, was Jewish. Yet there are some religious people who condemn Jewish people because the tenets of Judaism don’t fit into their theology.
Religion means “a way of life” and, unfortunately, we’ve allowed our theologies to separate us.
Also, for too long, we’ve been led to believe that we, as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans-gender Believers, were condemned because we didn’t fit into someone else’s concept of whose worthy of God’s love. Now we know that we can be Empowered through a Truth that says that, as God is Omnipresent, there can truly be nothing else. Because God’s love is so encompassing the truth is that we are all worthy of God’s love, which is and has always been unconditional.
We teach from the Bible (as an empowerment tool), but we also teach from Inspirational Books like Science of Mind.
What’s your response to people who believe that homosexuality goes against the Bible?
The truth is that Jesus, the Christ, never said anything derogatory against any group of people, anyone underrepresented or any particular protected class. He was about bringing us all together in a sense of spiritual unity and spiritual healing. It’s so hypocritical for others to point the finger. That’s how people loose spiritual focus. Instead of pointing the finger, we need to ask ourselves, “How can I try to understand more about the world’s diversity?”, “How can I make a difference in the lives of others?” or “How can I live a life free of judgment and begin to love people more unconditionally?” My challenge to those zealots who don’t understand is to truly examine within you hearts what they place upon license plates and placards “What Would Jesus Do?”
If God is Love and that Love in Unconditional, If God is Omnipresent…evenly present everywhere then how can there be anything else?
What is your earliest memory of being a writer?
My 11th Grade English teacher, Ms Cathy Caine, read aloud my analysis of the elements of irony presented in the book “The Scarlet Letter” to the class. I was only one of two African-Americans in the class and one of only three students who received an “A” grade.
It was then that I thought to myself “Hmmmm….I may have something here!”
When were you first published? And under what circumstances?
This is my first publication. It came at the advisement of two friends actually. One suggested I write down my thoughts as a form of spiritual therapy. Another (noted writer Stanley Bennett Clay) suggested I create my own work after I complained many years ago about the lack of self-affirmed written works by LGBT People of Color, specifically Black LGBT People.
How do you identify and nurture ideas for new projects?
Ideas flow through me most when I’m alone and I make the conscious decision to “be still” about my next step and in what direction my writing is to go. I consider my work Autobiographic Inspirational so the ideas come from within.
Please describe 1-3 authors/writers/performers that have influenced your artistic style?
Alice Walker—“The Color Purple” used what seemed to me an anthology of letters from Celie to her sister, Nettie, to convey the raw emotions and feelings of Celie…first downtrodden and insecure then confident and self-assured.
Iyanla Vanzant’s “One Day My Soul Just Opened Up” –her work is always affirming and incredibly empowering…it’s been, to me, a fulfilling testament to the possibilities of all lives.
Les Brown’s “Live Your Dreams”—another inspirational powerhouse! He’s always had my support because his work gives the reader insight into tools to overcome ones belief that certain successes are beyond our reach. (He writes of such truth!) Besides, he and I are a part of the same fraternity (Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.)
What 2 books and 2 CDs should everyone own?
The books would be “The Pathway of Roses” by Christian D. Larson and “In the Meantime” by Iyanla Vanzant.
My top picks for CDs would be any music from the Motown era or Donald Lawrence’s “Greatest Hits” CD.
Do you believe LGBT authors have an obligation to the LGBT community? Why or why not?
Absolutely! If not us, then who? I think that we’re lacking serious, true mentoring in our community. I’m a former public school teacher so I understand the importance of being actively involved in a young person’s life. So often we let our fears and anxieties about being “found out” get in the way. So we turn an opportunity for us to “outreach” instead into a stage to judge the younger generation.
I think that we sometimes forget the mistakes and missteps of our own youth. That’s the point of being young. You’re supposed to learn from your experiences. It’s called Growth. What we need to do is share our experiences in an open dialogue with them and share the lessons we’ve learned.
The written word is an incredible vehicle for that. We never know who we’ll reach and whose life we’ll touch.
What is the biggest misconception about you and/or your work?
That the model on the cover of my book is me.
Do you currently attend church? If so, where you afraid of any backlash from your pastor or church when you decided to write the book?
Although I don’t have a church home right now because I just moved to the Atlanta area, I’ve been attending Hillside Chapel and Truth Center (Rev. Barbara Lewis King), Tabernacle Baptist Church (Pastor Dennis Meredith) and the Metropolitan Community Church of Atlanta.
There hasn’t been any backlash because I don’t attend nor do I support homophobic church ministries.
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Never give up. Realize that your writing is a gift from the Creator. Don’t listen to the Nay-sayers…they don’t and won’t have the last word. Your gifts will speak for themselves and make room for you.
Food: Fried Catfish with greens, pizza and /or Thai Food
Gadget: Sony Ericsson Cellphone
Drink: Ker Royale (with a Twist)
Movie: Malcolm X, The Color Purple and Rent
Singer/performer: Vanessa L. Williams, Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Jennifer Hudson & Jesse L. Martin
For more information visit: www.bryanedney.ws or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org