A Christian Girl Stood Up To Anti-Gay Churchgoers With A Sharp Comment On Facebook
Last month, I wrote a post about aphotography project by Braden Summers. Braden photographed LGBT couples inromantic settings around the world to show a different depiction of romantic love — one that we do not see very often. This is what it looked like:

The project got a lot of, well, love. It was shared far and wide (thanks for that!). And I received lots of messages on my Facebook page about it.


But one message stood out, from a girl named Esther:

I asked if I could speak with her sister because she sounded awesome.

Esther put me in touch with Serena. Serena and I had a short email chat and then hopped onto Skype, where wediscussed her faith, her beliefs, and how she dealt with the wide range ofresponses she received when she shared my post on Facebook.

She told me that she got a barrage of critical responses from a small minority of fellow Christians. People were emailingher and sending Facebook messages to her asking why she supported gay rights and whether she is gay herself. She even got phone calls at work abouther "controversial views" from people trying to convince her to change her stance.

Serena was concerned:Was she going to be kicked out of her church? Howshould she respond?

She told me she responded to each message sent to her (she showed me the emails — she did so with tolerance and kindness).

But the best part of it all was when Serena reposted my link with a definitive statement to end the chaos.

Just read how ace her reply is:

Serena told me the head pastor of her church told her that discussion is a good thing because homosexuality isn't talked about much in her community and kept very "hush-hush" in her church. She explained that she wasn't angry about the reaction she got — in fact, she felt it "opened up dialogue ... it required people to express their opinion, but also to really listen to other opinions, too."

Serena helped shape the conversation about LGBT rights in a positive way and encouraged a dialogue even when she faced a backlash. Simply sharing a post (like mine) may not seemlike a big thing to do, but Serena has proved that it can bring an importantissue to the table that otherwise would have been ignored or misunderstood.

When I asked Serena if she'd share another Upworthy post that mirrored her views or supported LGBT rights, she replied, "absolutely."

True

Davina Agudelo was born in Miami, Florida, but she grew up in Medellín, Colombia.

"I am so grateful for my upbringing in Colombia, surrounded by mountains and mango trees, and for my Colombian family," Agudelo says. "Colombia is the place where I learned what's truly essential in life." It's also where she found her passion for the arts.

While she was growing up, Colombia was going through a violent drug war, and Agudelo turned to literature, theater, singing, and creative writing as a refuge. "Journaling became a sacred practice, where I could leave on the page my dreams & longings as well as my joy and sadness," she says. "During those years, poetry came to me naturally. My grandfather was a poet and though I never met him, maybe there is a little bit of his love for poetry within me."

In 1998, when she left her home and everyone she loved and moved to California, the arts continued to be her solace and comfort. She got her bachelor's degree in theater arts before getting certified in journalism at UCLA. It was there she realized the need to create a media platform that highlighted the positive contributions of LatinX in the US.

"I know the power that storytelling and writing our own stories have and how creative writing can aid us in our own transformation."

In 2012, she started Alegría Magazine and it was a great success. Later, she refurbished a van into a mobile bookstore to celebrate Latin American and LatinX indie authors and poets, while also encouraging children's reading and writing in low-income communities across Southern California.

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via Pixabay

As people get older, social isolation and loneliness become serious problems. Many find themselves living alone for the first time after the death of a spouse. It's also difficult for older people to maintain friendships when people they've known for years become ill or pass away.

Census Bureau figures say that almost a quarter of men and nearly 46% of women over the age of 75 live alone.

But loneliness doesn't just affect those who reside by themselves. People can feel lonely when there is a discrepancy between their desired and actual relationships. To put it simply, when it comes to having a healthy social life, quality is just as important as quantity.

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