Pride

Pride

Rainbow stripes with a heart shaped balloon being thrown in the air by a white person - Pride Yours Faithfully Hannah Kirk

Hi there, 

Not very long ago I would have been called a heretic (and that’s probably the politest name I would have been called). Some might still call me that.

There is a risk that comes with being vocal about topics such as these. I’m willing to take that risk. 

We are almost halfway through Pride month. It’s a time of celebration and protest. 

I like to keep my sexuality to myself, so it’s not something that I choose to shout about. For those who are interested, I’m Bi-sexual but not at the exclusion of any gender identity. That means that I am attracted to all genders. I’m also an ally to the rest of the LGBTQAI+ community. 

I’m also a disciple of Jesus. There’s still a thought within faith circles that one can’t be in the LGBTQAI+ community and be a disciple of Jesus. I used to believe that too (I’m ashamed to say!). This was damaging to myself and my faith. it was also damaging to others. For that, I’m sincerely sorry. 

So, how have I reconciled these things? Well, I’ve studied the Bible for myself. I’ve read books on the subject. I’ve been in conversation with other people (both within the community and allies) about this topic. I now wholeheartedly believe that it is not sinful to be part of the LGBTQIA+ community.

To celebrate that fact I have created the artwork to the right of this text. 

I painted several of the Pride Flags and then I ripped Bible passages out of my Bible and stuck them on top with glue. I’m now going to varnish and list it for sale. It also accompanies the chapter on sexuality and gender identity in my upcoming book. The book, as a whole, is about topics of complexity faced by modern-day disciples and how they fit together to form the puzzle of discipleship. 

There are a lot of things that people might not like about this artwork and that they might not like about me. I’m OK with that. However, although I am happy to speak respectfully with people about topics such as these I will not tolerate anything remotely abusive.  

Sexuality, Gender Identity, Faith, and Pride Painting by Yours Faithfully Hannah Kirk

What I want to say very clearly is that I wholeheartedly believe that everyone is loved and accepted by Jesus. That of course includes the LGBTQAI+ community. I do not believe that Jesus excludes anyone! 

In case you are interested, here are the Bible passages I used:

* “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

* “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope when you were called – one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ appointed it. This is why it says: ‘When he ascended on high he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men'” –  Ephesians 4:1-6

* “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 7: 7-12

* “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” – Psalm 139: 13-14

* “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1

* “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” – John 3:16-18

* “For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” – Ephesians 1: 15-19

* I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise. I will bow down towards your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stout-hearted.” – Psalm 138: 1-3

All of the Bible verses we taken from the New International Version. Although not an inclusive Bible, I hope you will find comfort and hope if you are struggling with this topic, or things in general. You are loved, you are precious, you are worthy, you are accepted, you are needed, you are wanted, you are unique. 

Yours Faithfully, 

Hannah Kirk

 

Choose To Challenge

Choose To Challenge

Hi there,

It would be a bit difficult not to notice that today is International Women’s Day. When the focus is on one group of people it’s very easy to get critical or defensive and say ‘all lives matter’ for example. While it is most certainly true that ‘all lives matter’, that is not the point. The point is that where there is inequality we need to shine the spotlight on it.

Today, the spotlight is on women.

Until very recently women were not allowed to serve as church leaders; they were not allowed to vote; they were not allowed to work in male-dominant roles, such as as pilots or in the army. There is still a rift between genders in the workplace, and indeed other areas of society such as churches.

As hopefully you have already noticed, I’m extremely passionate about inclusion, justice, and equality. That passion, along with my faith in Jesus, forms the foundation of this company.

My mission statement on my website (https://yours-faithfully-hkirk.co.uk) reads, ‘Hannah has a passion for Jesus and a passion for people. The main ways she connects these two passions is through art, photography, and writing. Even though her faith forms a huge part of who she is, and what she does, she is committed to never force her faith on anyone else. Her mission, which shapes this company, is to develop a life of hope, freedom, and recovery through art, photography, and writing. Hannah’s core belief is that every human being should be valued, accepted, and included – that’s why she has tailored her products and services in such a way that everyone should feel welcome here regardless of age, gender identity, sexuality, ethnicity, disability, etc. She has a heart for the marginalised and broken, perhaps because she fits that herself.’

So, for International Women’s Day I #ChooseToChallenge – choose to challenge the stigma that many women face surrounding their bodies and emotions; choose to challenge the inequality that still exists; choose to challenge the ways that women are written about by male authors, etc. These are things that I will continue to challenge going foreword – not just today.

I thought you might also like to know which women most inspire us as a family.
* My youngest daughter says, “I’m inspired by Amy Johnson, because I wouldn’t be able to be a piolet when I grow up if it wasn’t for Amy Johnson”.
* My eldest daughter says, “Emma Watson inspires me because she inspired me to become an actress, she fights for Women’s Rights, and she left books for people to find which is a really kind thing to do.”
* My husband says, “Lari Basilio because she is a very good guitarist. Lori stands out for me because when you often thing of guitarists and rock bands it’s usually men, and she inspires me to play guitar more. She’s also a Christian and recently launched a signature guitar.”
* I am inspired by many women. I think that the modern women that inspire me the most are: Michelle Lloyd, Josephine Owusu, and Menekse Stewart (although I could add more to this list). The women artists that inspire me the most are: Jennifer Mazur, Kristin Rawcliffe, and Lotti Rawle (but there are many more I could mention). I also have so many amazing female friends who inspire me every day. Here are just a few (because the list would run into 100!): Patricia, Karrie, Nikki, Rach, Fi, and Lucy.

Do you also #ChooseToChallenge?

Yours Faithfully,
Hannah Kirk

Christmas Hope?

Christmas Hope?

Hi,

I’m based in Berkshire, England, and we are in Tier 4 which essentially means that all of our plans for Christmas were cancelled on Saturday. I have cried tears, and so have my children. But, this Christmas is not without hope.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV)

This is a very familiar verse to many. In other translations, the words alter slightly and it reads, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (NIV)

From my perspective, which I’m sure is shared widely, we have had one disaster after another this year. What then can we make of this verse that claims that the LORD plans good and not disaster. I’ve asked myself that question a lot over the years. I’m not sure I’ve settled on a answer. But, what I do believe wholeheartedly is that we have both a hope and a future found in Jesus. Jesus is the reason that we have Christmas, isn’t it? His birth, life, death, and resurrection give us a hope and a future.

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies.” John 11:25 (NIV) This is the hope we have in Jesus. This is the future that is available freely to us and that future starts now.

We have the first ‘Christmas star’ in 800 years this evening – when Jupiter and Saturn line up in the sky. I’m hoping that the sky clears sufficiently for us to be able to see it.

However, whether I see the star or not, and during  this Christmastime, along with every other day, I can rejoice and worship Jesus – for the hope and future he has given us – just as the wise people did at the time of His birth:

“When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:10-11 NKJV)

I pray you find some level of peace and comfort over the Christmas period, even if your plans have had to be changed. I also pray for you as you reflect on what has likely been a very challenging and painful year.

Yours Faithfully,

Hannah Kirk