06: Disrupting the Church Narrative About Sexuality and Spirituality (Robert Van Repta Caro)
I was introduced to Robert Van Repta Caro's work through a dear gf and I appreciated what he was putting forth, an in-depth look, from his lived experience, about sexuality and spirituality. When 92% of LGBT youth say they hear negative messages about being LGBT (which is who they are) from their schools, the internet, and their peers, it is no wonder these youth are more likely to die by suicide. These statistics should wake us up, especially so-called "pro-life" folks in the damn church.
Robert von Repta Caro is a Christ follower who happens to be gay. Born of immigrant parents, Robert grew up in the sub-culture of conservative Romanian Pentecostalism. Raised a "good Christian boy", he was heavily involved at his homophobic Romanian mega church, which happened to be the largest in the United States. At that church, he was part of the audio/visual/lighting department, was the resident graphic designer, attended church camps, had a short stint preaching, and even got his theology degree from a Romanian theological institute.
Robert has always struggled with his sexuality since he was a little boy. When his best friend at the time ogled the women's lingerie section of the JC Penny catalog, Robert was more interested in the nearly naked men donning tight white briefs. But growing up conservative was tough. Constant sermons about damnation for the "sodomites" and the evil they're spreading across the nation sent him into a deep spiral of depression, prayer, living a double life, revivals, conversion therapy, destructive behaviors and contemplation of suicide. Whispers and alienation in his church only made it worse.
Once he accepted himself for who God make him to be, Robert began re-discovering his faith in God in a beautiful new way.
Bro Bear Blog is one man's voice that is missing in the Romanian-American culture today. A progressive voice that believes in God's unconditional love for all people regardless of gender and sexuality, because everyone is "fearfully and wonderfully made." Bro Bear Blog helps bridge the gap between God and gay culture in the Romanian community today.
Some may call him a backslider, a “faggot”*, or somebody deceived by the devil. Robert calls himself a brother, a bear, a warrior of Love, and a Christ-loving human being.
* Podcast host's note: This is the bio I received from Robert; I do not say this word or condone the word being said. To that end, I am not a member of the LGBTQ community and while I won't say it and I would encourage others who are also not part of that community in terms of their own layered identities/intersections, I will not censor someone within the community as it relates to that word.
To connect with Robert:
Humans of NY story and subject unknown.
Additional resources + statistics: