Beyond the Rainbow Flag: Walking the Walk of Radical Inclusion

October 15, 2022 @ 4 PM

So… your website says you're a welcoming community, a rainbow flag flies out front, you use gender-inclusive language, and you make sure you greet strangers who walk through your doors. But is all of that really enough?  

Join author, activist, and public theologian Rev. Brandan Robertson (a.k.a. “The TikTok Preacher”) and Maine’s own Marpheen Chann (author of Moon in Full: A Modern Day Coming of Age Story) on Saturday, October 15, as they discuss Robertson’s vision of “True Inclusion,” that invites communities to move from mere welcome to radical embrace, to become places where people of every race, gender identity, sexual orientation, political affiliation, disability, ability, and socioeconomic status are included, seen, heard, and valued as worthy.

As a leader within the Christian tradition, Robertson calls everyone who claims to follow in the way of Jesus to do just that: to recognize who we are, identify our privilege, and then willingly give up that privilege for the good of the silenced, marginalized and oppressed.  This way of true inclusion, he believes, is the fundamental direction of the universe—echoing Rev. Dr. King’s belief that the long moral arc of the universe bends toward justice. 

In this upcoming October 15 public conversation with Marpheen Chann in Portland, Robertson will describe action steps we all can take to reform our lives to be increasingly inclusive by embracing the full breadth of diversity represented in every single person.

Rev. Brandan Robertson

Rev. Brandan Robertson is a noted author, activist, and public theologian working at the intersections of spirituality, sexuality, and social renewal. He currently serves as the Pastor of Metanoia Church, a digital progressive faith community and is the host of The Big Questions Podcast.

A prolific writer, he is the author of seven books on spirituality, justice, and theology, including the INDIES Book of the Year Award Finalist True Inclusion: Creating Communities of Radical Embrace. Robertson has bylines in publications such as TIME Magazine, San Diego Union Tribune, The Huffington Post, NBC, and The Washington Post, and is a regular columnist for Bishop John Shelby Spong’s Progressing Spirit newsletter as well as Baptist News Global. As a trusted voice on progressive faith and politics, Robertson is regularly interviewed in national and global media outlets including CNN, National Public Radio, MSNBC, Hot Press Ireland, The Independent UK, and The New York Times. In 2021, Rolling Stone Magazine included Robertson in its annual Hot List of top artists, creatives, and influencers who "are giving us reason to be excited about the future."

Each year, Robertson speaks on a variety of topics across the globe and has been an honored speaker at renowned institutions such as The White House, Oxford University, and The Parliament of World Religions. He’s taught seminars for San Francisco Theological Seminary and Disciples Seminary Foundation and currently serves on the faculty of The Lakelands Institute. He has served on advisory committees and working groups for the Democratic National Convention, the U.S. Department of State, the Department of Health and Human Services, The Humane Society, and in 2020 was named a Fellow of the prestigious Salzburg Global Seminar.

Named by the Human Rights Campaign as one of the top faith-leaders leading the fight for LGBTQ+ equality, Robertson has worked with political leaders and activists around the world to end conversion therapy and promote the human rights of sexual and gender minorities. He works as a national organizer of people of faith on a wide array of social and political issues, and is a founding member of The Union of Affirming Christians, The Global Interfaith Commission on LGBTQ+ Lives, and The Ozanne Foundation US.

Robertson received his Bachelor of Arts in Pastoral Ministry and Theology from Moody Bible Institute, his Master of Theological Studies from Iliff School of Theology, and his Master of Arts in Political Science and Public Administration from Eastern Illinois University. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Religion from Drew University. He currently resides in New York City.

Marpheen Chann

As a gay, first-generation Asian American born in California to a Cambodian refugee family and later adopted by an evangelical, white working-class family in Maine, Marpheen uses a mix of humor and storytelling to help people view topics such as racism, xenophobia, and homophobia through an intersectional lens.

Marpheen is the author of a memoir titled “Moon in Full” coming out June 2022 from Islandport Press.

Marpheen Chann has a strong commitment to public service and serves as:

  • At-Large Charter Commissioner, City of Portland, Maine (Elected)

  • President, Cambodian Community Association of Maine

  • Member, Maine Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights

  • Member, Planning Board for the City of Portland, Maine

  • Board Member, Equality Community Center in Portland, Maine

Marpheen Chann lives in Portland, Maine. He works in the nonprofit and advocacy sector and holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Southern Maine and a law degree from the University of Maine School of Law.