Season 6

6.8: Chosen Family, Queer Culture, and the Church (feat. Bridget Eileen Rivera)

In this episode, you’ll hear Bridget Eileen Rivera talk about how she got into LGBTQ advocacy work, what Christians misunderstand about pride, what queer culture can teach the church about community and chosen family, and queer platonic partnership. Just as a heads up, there is a brief mention of homophobia and suicidal thoughts in this episode. Please listen with care.

Bridget Eileen writes and speaks on faith, sexuality, and justice. Her website, Meditations of a Traveling Nun, is a leading resource on gay celibacy, attracting thousands of unique visitors every month. She has worked with a number of faith-based organizations, including Revoice, Christians for Social Action, and Preston Sprinkle’s Center for Faith, Sexuality, and Gender, where she contributed to the Digital Leaders Forum. Rivera is currently pursuing her PhD in sociology from the City University of New York Graduate Center.

You can find Bridget on social media @travelingnun or on her website, bridgeteileenrivera.com. Pre-order her upcoming book, Heavy Burdens: Seven Ways LGBTQ Christians Experience Harm in the Church wherever you get your books.

Use code Unsuitable10 for 10% off your order at riseofthegingers.com

6.7: Forgiving Our Deepest Hurts (feat. Annamarie Reed)

In this episode, you’ll hear Annamarie Reed talk about her involvement in Deep Healing Prayer, how she was able to forgive and heal from past hurts, the three components of forgiveness, and why we need to release the wrongs that have been done to us.

Annamarie is a native of Portland, Oregon, but has lived in Atlanta for the past 15 years. She is the author of Through the Cleanness of Our Hands: A Foundation for Intercession. She has been active in deep wound healing and deliverance prayer ministry for the past five years. Annamarie’s passion is seeing people set free by the Holy Spirit.

You can learn more about deep healing ministries at deephealingatlanta.org

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6.6: What Makes Relationships Safe? (feat. Pieter Valk)

In today’s epsiode, you’ll hear Pieter Valk talk about building community as a gay Christian called to lifelong, vocational singleness, the necessity of commitment in relationships, the Nashville Family of Brothers’ modern twist on mosastic life, and mutually beneficial relationships between singles, married folks, and the church.

Pieter is a licensed professional counselor, the director of EQUIP, and cofounder of the Nashville Family of Brothers, an ecumenically Christian brotherhood for men called to vocational singleness. He helps churches love gay people and celibate Christians find family.

You can find Pieter on social media @pieterlvalk. Learn more about Equip at equipyourcommunity.org and the Nashville Family of Brothers at familyofbrothers.org

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6.5: Are Your Relationships Life-Giving? (feat. Chinbo Chong, Ph.D.)

In today’s episode, you’ll hear Chinbo Chong talk about the benefits of mentor and mentee relationships, The challenges of making friends when you have to move around a lot, how self-reflection can improve your relationships, and how to cultivate relationships sustainably.

Chinbo is a postdoctoral fellow and a visiting assistant professor of Political Science at Indiana University. She holds a Ph.D. in American Politics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and a B.A. in Political Science at UC Berkeley. Her name means true (Chin) treasure (bo) or progressive, and is passionate about living out her name/calling as an academic in the study of politics. When she is not reading/writing/teaching, she enjoys being physically active, and having deep & meaningful conversations with people.

You can follow Chinbo’s work at www.chinbochong.com. She’s also on Twitter @chinboPhD and Instagram @chinbo86

Use code Unsuitable10 for 10% off your order at riseofthegingers.com

6.4: The Secret Power of Self-Forgiveness in Relational Health (feat. Sara-Mae Dafoe)

In this episode, you’ll hear Sara-Mae Dafoe talk about her new EP, Letters to Ben, healing through different types of loss, learning to forgive ourselves, and finding security in friendship. Just as a heads up, there is a brief mention of abuse. Nothing explicit, but please listen with care.

Sara-Mae is an independent Singer/Songwriter from Calgary, Alberta. A life-long love of creative writing led to a deep appreciation of well-crafted, heartfelt lyrics as can be heard on her first album “Flourish” (2017) and second album “Unexpected Hallelujah” (2018). The single “Emmanuel (God With Us)” is regularly included in Christmas playlists on Christian radio stations all over the world. She recently released an EP called Letters to Ben, which is available on all streaming platforms.

You can find Sara-Mae on Instagram @saramaedafoe music and @letters_to_ben, and at saramaedafoe.com and letterstoben.com. Listen to Letters To Ben wherever you steam music.

Use code Unsuitable10 for 10% off your order at riseofthegingers.com

Shout Outs: Where Do We Go From Here Podcast, Episode 40: Christians Break Up Too

6.3: Building Friendship Across Difference (feat. DeVon Wade)

DeVon Wade talks about his journey back to the church, how he found community in a new city, how to build friendship across differences, and the unexpected benefit of being an outsider.

DeVon cares a lot about Christians actually doing what Jesus commanded and believes that siblings in Christ should act as such, regardless of relationship status. He works in Refugee Resettlement and is a big fan of all things Waffle House-related.

You can follow DeVon on Twitter at devon__notdevin and on Instagram at itsdevon_notdevin.

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Shout Outs: Joy Vetterlein, Writer and Pastor to Christian Misfits- joyvetterlein.com

6.2: The Privilege of Community that Gets You (feat. Jenna DeWitt)

Jenna DeWitt (she/her) is an aromantic asexual Methodist. She lives in sunny Southern California and spends her time advocating for queer belonging in the church.

In this episode, Jenna and I talk about the value of both intergenerational and digital relationships, the challenges of not having a community of people like you, why the idolatry of romance and marriage is harmful for everyone, what church family could look like, and values-based boundary-setting.

You can find Jenna on Twitter @Jenna_DeWitt and at her blog, Invisible Cake Society: https://invisiblecakesociety.com/

Use code Unsuitable10 for 10% off your order at riseofthegingers.com

Shoutouts: Holly Stallcup, Rise- nowsherises.org; Matt Nightingale, The Journey Center- mattnightingale.com; Brene Brown, Braving the Wilderness (book)

6.1: Learning to Trust After Trauma (feat. Sarah Gardner)

Sarah is an actress, singer, voice-over artist, humanitarian, and lover of adventure. Having moved from spending years in the non-profit world, working in the Middle East, to hustling as a film actor on both the east and west coast, her life has been anything but linear. She is also the creative director at Empower Women Media.

On today’s episode, you’ll hear Sarah and I talk about how she learned to cultivate deep relationships, the life-changing event that drove her to seek authenticity in relationships, and how she has learned to be truly honest in her relationship with God. Just as a heads up, there is a mention of sexual abuse in our conversation, and one baby swear word. Please listen at your own discretion.

You can follow Sarah on Instagram @ sarahgardnerartist.

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Season 6 Trailer

Each episode this season, we’re going to explore what it looks like to form deep relationships as people who aren’t married. Here’s a sneak peek of what you’ll hear.

Season 5

BONUS: What Do I Do with My Sexual Desire as a Single Person? (feat. Kat Harris)

In today’s jam-packed BONUS EPISODE, Kat Harris talks about her book, Sexless in the City, what led her to question the sexual script she’d learned in purity culture, how she learned to move from shame and fear into freedom, the difference between the desire for sex and sexual desire, and what to do with our sexual desire as people who are single.

Kat Harris is the host of The Refined Collective Podcast, and Co-Founder of the online publication The Refined Woman. Her first book Sexless in the City will hit bookstores April 2021. She has also been a full-time photographer for the last decade with her work featured in: Vanity Fair, GQ, Forbes, People, Who What Wear, US Weekly, Glamour UK, and more.

Sexless in the City officially releases April 20 and is available for pre-order pretty much anywhere you can buy books. Visit sexlessinthecitybook.com to learn more. You can follow Kat on Instagram @therefinedwoman and @therefinedcollective. The podcast episodes on Masturbation that Kat mentions are on her podcast, The Refined Collective, which is available wherever you get your podcasts.

5.9: False Narratives, Communication, and Being Single in the Church

On today’s episode, I tie all the season’s interviews together with a story and some insights. You’ll hear about how communication and community go hand in hand, the importance of challenging our assumptions, and how the idolatry of marriage affects long-term singles in the church.

If you’re a single Christian, odds are you’ve experienced any number of derpy, aka awkward and dumb, situations in the church. Like a stranger making comments about your biological clock, or being expected to volunteer for everything under the sun because of how much free time you must have. Did you know that you have an instinctive plan of action when put in these situations? On February 11th, I’m releasing The Single Christian Derptitude Test. This free quiz reveals your social superpower in derpy situations. It’s like an aptitude test… for dealing with the weird things people say to singles in church. To get first dibs, head to marybsafrit.com/subscribe to get on my weekly email newsletter.

5.8: Desire, Celibacy, And The Sacredness of The LGBTQ+ Community (feat. Grant Hartley)

Today you get to hear from Grant Hartley. Grant is a gay celibate seminarian, an infamous workshop presenter, and a cohost for the Life on Side B podcast. He spent several years involved in teaching and discipleship through a college campus ministry, and infrequently speaks at Christian conferences on topics at the intersection of faith, sexuality, and culture. When he is not scrambling to catch up on his classes, he is reading a good book, thrift shopping, drinking coffee, or figuring out ways to be cancelled on social media. He is deeply interested in the myriad ways God has been, and continues to be, active in the lives of Queer people.

Y’all this episode is, as Hamilton would say, non-stop. You’ll hear Grant talk about the intersection of LGBT+ culture and Christianity, what the closet metaphor has in common with the gospel, how celibacy can be fruitful and life-giving, building community as a single Christian, and what he wishes the church understood about him. Just as a heads up, this episode explores non-affirming theology, so please listen at your own discretion.

You can follow Grant on Twitter @The GrantHartley

5.7: Loss, Rest, and Asking for What You Need (feat. Carla Hayden)

Today’s episode features Carla Hayden. Carla is passionate about mentoring and discipling young people – whether young in age or young in their faith – to live from their core identity. Affectionately known as “Mama Hayden” or “Clarity Carla”, she hosts virtual “Mentoring with Mama” and “Coffee with Carla” sessions where she uses her gifts of teaching, communication, coaching, and hospitality to help individuals and small groups lay solid biblical foundations in their lives through the practical application of the Word.

In this episode, you’ll hear about how Carla learned to trust God through loss and uncertainty, how to ask for what she needs, how to take a quarterly personal retreat, and how to care for people going through divorce.

You can follow Carla on Instagram @ _just_passing_through.

Registration for hope*writers is open January 21st through the 29th. It has by far been the best resource for taking my writing career to the next level. To learn more about hope*writers, head to marybsafrit.com/hope.

5.6: Food, Worship, and Embodied Faith (feat. Kendall Vanderslice)

Today you get to hear from Kendall Vanderslice. Kendall is a baker and writer living in Durham, North Carolina. A graduate of Duke Divinity School, she is the author of We Will Feast: Rethinking Dinner, Worship, and the Community of God. I cannot wait for y’all to hear from Kendall. You’ll hear about dinner churches, baking and eating as an act of worship, how eating together can foster real, messy unity, and so much more.

You can find her on Instagram at @kvslice and sign up for her newsletter, Edible Theology, at www.KendallVanderslice.com.

If you’d like to support the show, please take a minute to rate and review on Apple! To stay in the loop and get a weekly message from me, head to marybsafrit.com and subscribe to my newsletter.

5.5: Community, Liturgy, and Singleness in Leadership (feat. Terry Stokes)

Today you’re going to hear from Terry Stokes. Terry is a youth pastor serving a church in central New Jersey. He is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and Yale University, an avid spikeball player, and a songwriter. He is also the arts & culture editor for Earth & Altar magazine. His book of prayers, Collects for our Cultural Moment, will be published by Penguin Random House next fall. In our conversation, you’re going to hear about finding a spiritual home, working within big, slow institutions, how churches can support single leaders, and how to make a community rule of life.

You can follow Terry on Instagram @prayersfromterry and on Twitter @terryjallday.

If you’d like to support the show, please take a minute to rate and review on Apple!

5.4: People-Pleasing, Bluntness, and Finding the Middle Ground (feat. Naili Woelper)

This week, you’ll hear from model, event planner, and friendship enthusiast, Naili Woelper. Naili is based in Pheonix, and is currently learning what authenticity with God and self looks like. In today’s episode, you’ll hear about what helped Naili move from people-pleasing to considering what she wants, what happens when you’re randomly blunt in close relationships, and how she learned to trust God more deeply after a loss.

You can find Naili online at nailiwoelper.com and on social media @nailiw.

If you’d like to support the show, please take a minute to rate and review on Apple!

5.3: Intuition, Uncertainty, and Finding Your Voice (feat. Abi Benke)

Abi Benke is an opera singer, actress, poet, and storyteller who finds herself very much in the middle of her artistic journey. She’s performed with the New York Gilbert & Sullivan players, and was building momentum as a working artist in NYC until 2020 when the environment shutdown both publicly and for her personally. You’ll hear more about that in our conversation, as well as what happens when your dreams get put on hold, the vulnerability of using your voice, and how to know when you need to rest.

You can follow Abi on Instagram @abigailbenke and check out more of her work at abigailbenke.com.

If you are interested in supporting the show, please take a moment to subscribe, rate and review on Apple. For resources designed to help single Christians like you thrive, head to my website marybsafrit.com.

5.2: Mental Health, Laughter, and Being Still (feat. Jonathan Flores)

Jonathan is a New York City-based actor who lives to bring joy and light into people’s lives that will free them from anxiety and depression. In this episode, you’ll hear to be still with God, how comedy can help with mental health, and the value of long-term friendship.

You can follow Jonathan on social media @jonathanmflores.

If you’d like to support the show, head over to Apple Podcasts to rate and review. For resources designed to help single Christians like you thrive, head to my website: marybsafrit.com.

5.1: Language, Empathy, and Overcoming Fear (feat. Alysia Nicole Harris, Ph.D.)

This week, you’re going to hear from scholar and all-around creative boss Dr. Alysia Nicole Harris. She is an award-winning poet and spoken-word artist, an educator, and a linguist. In today’s episode, Alysia and I talk about how writing builds empathy, what it means to embody our faith, and the power of being honest with yourself.

You can check out more of Alysia’s work on her website, alysiaharris.com, on social media @poppyinthewheat, on YouTube, and at scalawagmagazine.org.

For resources designed to help single Christians like you thrive, head to my website marybsafrit.com.

Season 4

Episode 4.10: Wrap-Up

In this wrap-up episode, I’m tying together key take-aways from the nine interviews of the season with a story, some insights, and what it all means for you as a single, Christian creative.

One of the most prevalent themes of this season was creative identity-how do you know when to call yourself a creative, a writer, a singer, etc? You’re going to hear about the time I completely whiffed it in front of a renowned German vocal coach and 30 of my peers and teachers and the one things she said that sent me into a creative identity crisis.

Hope*Writers Free Quiz: https://www.hopewriters.com/a/33837/dyGngQxT

Hope*Writers Enrollment Info: https://www.hopewriters.com/a/33729/dyGngQxT

Episode 4.9: Anna Broadway

Anna Broadway is a writer and editor currently based in Alaska and working on a book about singleness around the world. She spent 2018-2019 on fieldwork for the book, interviewing more than 300 Christians in almost 40 countries. She is the author of a memoir called Sexless in the City (2008), she has written for the Washington Post, TheAtlantic.com, Books and Culture, OnFaith, Paste, The Journal of the History of Sexuality, Christianity Today and other publications. She is a contributor to the books Venus and Virtue (2018), Disquiet Time (2014), Talking Taboo (2013) and Faith at the Edge (2008) and holds an M.A. in religious studies from Arizona State University.

I can’t wait for y’all to hear from Anna. She is the absolute real deal. We cover a lot of ground in our conversation, like her creative journey, what led her to spend over a year researching singleness in the global church, and a couple things she noticed on that trip.

You can find Anna at annabroadway.com where you can read her work, find links to her social media accounts, and contact her.

Episode 4.8: Sylvia Jun

Sylvia is a user experience designer who specializes in creating digital strategies, products, and services across multiple platforms. She is currently at Publicis Sapient, specifically working on Marcel. Sylvia is a native New Yorker who spends a lot of time hanging with her reluctant cat and thinking about the next cozy sweater she’ll buy.

Sylvia’s story is so relatable to those who left college and found themselves questioning everything. If you’re like me, you’ll learn a lot from her perspective on work, relationships, and faith.

You can find Sylvia on social media @sylviajun.ai and on her website, sylviahjun.com.

Episode 4.7: Stephen Simmons

Stephen Simmons has been telling stories onstage, in front of a camera, and over a microphone for most of his life. He grew up in the church and always knew he wanted to use my skill set for the kingdom of God, but how exactly that would happen has transformed over the years. He currently lives in Columbia, SC, but is on a team preparing to plant a church in Charlotte, NC.

Stephen and I talk about about his creative work, and how his faith informs his understanding of ambition.

You can find Stephen’s YouTube channel at tinyurl.com/WatchSeven, and on social media @stephenjsimmons7. The Heavenly Spectrum is available on Apple, Spotify, and more.

If you’re a single Christian creative looking for resources to help you thrive, head to marybsafrit.com.

Episode 4.6: Kat Harris

Kat Harris is a Brooklyn-based online educator, digital content creator, and female empowerment advocate. She loves God, a good Beyoncé dance party, and has an affinity for Ranch dressing.

She has a B.S. in Biblical Studies from Dallas Baptist University and is Co-Founder of the online publication The Refined Woman and host of The Refined Collective Podcast. She has also been a full-time photographer for the last decade with her work being featured in: Vanity Fair, GQ, Forbes, People, Who What Wear, US Weekly, and Glamour UK.

The vehicles for her message are: her podcast, online courses, written articles, hosted leadership development workshops, speaking at conferences, and more.

In this episode, Kat and I talk about her incredible creative journey, and you’ll get a super practical, step by step process from her on how to overcome limiting narratives and choose freedom over fear.

You can find Kat on social media @therefinedwoman. Her website is therefinedwoman.com, and her podcast, The Refined Collective, is available on Apple, Spotify, and more. And that link she mentioned with the free download is bit.ly/trwdatingtips.

Enrollment for The Creative Refresh is open! It’s a six week group coaching program in which I help single Christians move from overwhelmed to empowered in their creative calling. For more information, and to sign up, head to marybsafrit.com/group.

Episode 4.5: Obi Okolo

Obiekwe “or-Obi” Okolo is a Nigerian American Creative Director, Photographer, home chef, and plant dad. After a degree in Architecture, and a couple of years in the industry, Obi left the built environment to pursue a broader creative practice. Including design, branding and brand strategy, photography, writing, art direction, and hospitality.

Get a pen and some paper because Obi drops serious knowledge about creative work, rest, learning to see, and identity.

You can check out Obi’s work at stagcreative.co and on social media @obi.stg. If you want to check out Obi’s t-shirt company, that link was thehypeyeast.com.

If you’re a single Christian creative who feels overwhelmed by and alone in your creative calling, NEXT WEEK, August 11, registration opens for The Creative Refresh. Check out marybsafrit.com/group for more info.

Episode 4.4: Norma Hopcraft

Norma Hopcraft is a published author who recently took a creative writing sabbatical year in Paris, where she wrote The Paris Writers Circle. Then she lived in Barcelona. She now lives and writes in Brooklyn. She was a newspaper and corporate journalist, then a magna cum laude graduate of New York University’s undergrad creative writing and literature program. She’s been published by the literary magazine South Dakota Review and won first prize from Deadly Ink for a mystery short story.

In this episode, Norma talks about finding her why for writing and defining success and prosperity. Get excited, because Norma has a wealth of experience and insight on the creative life, particularly for those of you who are side-hustling.

You can buy Norma’s books on Amazon by searching for Norma Hopcraft, and you can find her at https://njaegerhopcraft.blogspot.com/.

For more information on The Creative Refresh, a six-week group coaching program for single Christian creatives, head to marybsafrit.com/group.

Episode 4.3: Matt Lau

Matt Lau is a graphic designer, video editor, and photographer from central New Jersey. He currently works as an e-commerce graphic designer, and volunteers as a Sunday School teacher for 11th graders. He also has a podcast called The Woes Podcast where he interviews high-school and college-aged students about their current lives and struggles. 5 things that help define his recreational life: pickup basketball, online shopping, video games, Star Wars, and the Miami Dolphins.

In this episode, you’ll hear about finding work after college, changing fields, setting boundaries and appreciation and compensation. If you’ve ever been expected to work for free, you’ll want to hear what Matt and I have to say about it, particularly when the ask comes from your church.

You can check out Matt’s work at matthewlauphotography.com and The Woes Podcast is available on Apple.

Visit marybsafrit.com/group to learn more about The Creative Refresh, a six-week group coaching program for single Christian creatives.

Episode 4.2: Ashley Hong

Ashley Hong is an editor and producer based in New York. She’s an assistant editor at Random House, where she edits and acquires nonfiction in the faith space. In her spare time, she enjoys reading (duh), running, and producing audio storytelling.

In this episode, you’ll hear Ashley’s practices for overcoming self-doubt, how to ask for feedback, and how to wrestle with creative identity at all stages of the journey.
You can find Ashley at ashleysunghae.com and on all the socials @ashleysunghae.

You can find more info on The Creative Refresh, my six-week croup coaching program for single Christian creatives, at marybsafrit.com/group

Episode 4.1: Caroline Mayer

Caroline Mayer is a NYC-based interior designer focused in the hospitality industry. She recently received a degree in interior design after making a career switch a few years ago. Previously, she worked for a public relations agency in Boston.

In this episode, Caroline shares about her creative journey and how she overcomes perfectionism, comparison, and burn out. You can follow Caroline on Instagram @carolinermayer.

Season 4 Trailer

Season 4 premieres July 7, and I want you to be ready and rearin to learn from these amazing single Christian creatives. This trailer tells you a bit about this podcast, and what you can expect in Season 4.

Can’t wait until next week? Check out previous episodes, or head over to marybsafrit.com to see the latest and greatest blogs for single Christian creatives.

Season 3

Episode 3.14: Work Wrap-Up

Welcome to the series wrap-up. The last four dynamite interviews from Ian, Amber, Nina, and Petra focused on work, but there were themes of story, communication, and connection running through all of them. They shared a ton of wisdom on how their faith informs their work, so go back and listen if you haven’t yet.

I’m going to shake things up a bit for this wrap-up, so I’d love your thoughts and comments on what style you like better… or if you like the variety. Today, I’m going to posit and explore a question that ran through all four episodes of this series. At the end, I’ll tie in how all of this helps you in your everyday life, but for the first part, I’d love to take the opportunity to dig in together.

The question: What is the role of story-telling in the age of information?

References for this episode in order of appearance: Tell it Slant by Eugene Peterson; The Two Towers film; “Jesus Is a Jew” by David Brooks; “On Fairy Stories” by J.R.R. Tolkien, “Stir the Imagination, One Sermon at a Time” by Abraham Cho; The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman

Episode 3.13: Petra E. Lewis

Welcome to your oh-so-special surprise interview, and the final interview of Season 3. Petra E. Lewis is a ghostwriter, ghostblogger, publishing specialist, author, and “Midwife to Visionaries” who works with CEOs, thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and influencers.

Petra spent nearly two decades as a corporate communications writer and executive, primarily in financial services. After leaving Wall Street, Petra founded BookStar Business Ghostwriting + Development, a boutique consultancy that offers her clients a full suite of ghostwriting and (self-)publishing solutions. She has also continued her corporate communications work, as founder and principal of Stone Communications. To learn more, visit: www.petraelewis.com

Petra and I talk about her writing journey, the joys and struggles of being an entrepreneur, and hope. Petra has a lot of wisdom and I can’t wait for y’all to hear our conversation.

Episode 3.12: Nina Irizarry

Today you’re going to hear from Nina Irizarry. Nina is a researcher, entrepreneur, and ethnographer in the marketing, art and design space with over 10 years of experience. Her extensive portfolio includes collaborations with both established and emerging artists, as well as fashion designers. She is also creative director and founder at Du Coeur magazine. Sign up for updates at ducoeurmagazine.com or follow on Instagram @ducoeurmag

Nina and I talk about Du Coeur, Nina’s journey as an entrepreneur, and how her faith factors into her work. I love how Nina’s mind works and her desire to take highly conceptual ideas and make them accessible for everyone.

Episode 3.11: Amber Churn

Today you’ll hear from Amber Churn. Amber is from Atlanta; she’s a Yankees fan, a doula and a pregnancy options counselor, a women’s empowerment advocate, and the future wife of Trevor Noah. Amber shares her story of moving to New York to work in pregnancy care, and we talk about how to have conversations about sensitive topics with people of an opposing viewpoint.

Just a heads up, Amber works in pregnancy care, so there will be some mention of abortion. If you are listening to this and you are post abortive, please take care and reach out to a trusted counselor or hotline if you need to talk.

Episode 3.10: Ian Quinlan

Welcome to the final series of the season. I have three dynamite conversations for y’all that focus on the theme of work. First up is Ian Quinlan. Ian is a New York based actor who has been acting from a young age. Recently, he has worked on a couple of exciting film and TV projects including The Long Road Home, Orange is the New Black, Gotham, and Sneaky Pete, acting opposite Bryan Cranston. He’s currently shooting with Netflix on the upcoming show, Jupiter’s Legacy. Ian has also worked as an actor, director, and writer for the ABC Discovers Talent Showcase for three years.

His notable Directing credits include: Assistant Director to Philip Seymour Hoffman in the workshop of Family for All Occasions at the Labyrinth Theater.
As a child actor he was in the Lion King on Broadway as well as the film Music of the Heart, acting opposite Meryl Streep.

Ian and I talk about the uncertainties that come with being a working actor and the role Ian’s faith plays in how he approaches his work. I think you’ll really relate to what he shares, so let’s get to it.

Follow Ian on Instagram @allidoisquin

Episode 3.9: Dating Wrap-Up

Welcome to the wrap-up episode for the series on dating. Dating came up in many of the episodes, but these three felt most suited to a series specific to dating. Definitely give them a listen if you haven’t already!

So, what are you in for today? You’ll hear a relatable story about a swing and a miss moment I had with a crush, insights from the three interviews, and how all of this helps you in your dating life. You’ll get a couple of protips from me, a person who has lived through and learned from unbearably awkward moments. And you’ll get some tips on how to take the pressure off and have grace for yourself in the wild west that is dating. Be sure to listen until the end for info on how to get your hands on “The Overthinker’s Guide to Dating,” a reflection guide designed to help you discern what you’re looking for and what might be holding you back.

Episode 3.8: Jenny Barker

Jenny is the Children’s Ministry Administrative Coordinator at a church here in the city. She is a pastor’s kid and cat mom to Timmy. In this episode, Jenny shares about her experience in the dating world as a plus sized woman. She is super honest in our conversation, and I’m excited for you to hear from her.

Episode 3.7: Sheila Enright

Today’s conversation features Sheila Enright. Sheila is a Chicago native who works as a writer and editor in New York. When not neglecting to return her library books, she can usually be found in the nearest thrift shop.

Sheila and I talk about her faith, humility, and how those play into how she views dating. I love how well Sheila articulates her perspective on these ideas, and the role of prayer in her life.

Episode 3.6: Mark Engle

Welcome to the first interview of our next series for Season 3… Dating! We haven’t talked about dating all that much thus far, but this season, so many of my guests wanted to talk about dating experiences they’ve had. This series, you’ll hear from three awesome people about challenges they have faced in dating and how they are working through those.

First up, we have Mark Engle. Mark works in venture capital. He is a Seattle native, an opera lover, and an avid runner who lives on the Upper West Side. In this conversation, you’ll hear us talk about Mark’s path to New York, a challenging dating relationship he had a couple of years ago, and where he finds hope.

Episode 3.5 Self-Awareness Wrap-Up

Welcome to the wrap up episode for the first series of Season 3. Throughout the past four interviews, we heard each of the guests tell stories of self-awareness and growth. They each come at it from different angles, so definitely give the interviews a listen if you haven’t already. This wrap-up episode includes an unsuitable tale, insights connecting the four interviews and a story from the Bible, and how all of that is relevant to your life.

More unsuitable stories and thoughts are at marybsafrit.com

Episode 3.4 Katie Hodge

Welcome to Episode 4. This is the final interview of the self-awareness and growth themed episodes, and I can’t think of a better person to round things out for us. Katie Hodge is a graphic designer at The Public Theater. She is a fellow North Carolina native and a graduate of App State University. She loves hiking, art, and cheez-its.

On this episode, Katie and I talk North Carolina, she shares a story of feeling unsuitable as a Christian woman and we talk about accepting and growing into who we were created to be. I always love talking to Katie because she is very intuitive and an incredibly deep thinker. I know you’re going to enjoy hearing from her, too.

Episode 3.3 Jacquelynn Marie Gistarb

Today you’ll hear from Jaquelynn Marie Gistarb. Jacq loves gallivanting and exploring, as well as ministering to girls of all ages, crafting, working out, baking, missions, serving, shopping, traveling and adding pink, bows or glitter to anything she comes into contact with. Jacquelynn embarked on a journey of faith a little over five years ago that has taken her from the West coast all the way to Manhattan to be a light in dark places. Jacq currently has three devotional websites to encourage women to shine for Jesus as Matthew 5:16 states. You can follow her many adventures with the Lord by reading her weekly devotional blogs at iSparkleforJesus.webs.com and link to iShine in Ministry and iSparkle Teens from her debut site or book her as your wedding planner, personal stylist or lifestyle concierge through her small business, A Little Fancy (alittlebitfancy.webs.com).

As you can tell from her bio, Jacq is a bundle of energy. She and I talk about her life in Las Vegas and her journey to get to New York and being single in the midst of a culture that values getting married young. Jacq is fast-paced, even by New York standards, but she talks about how she was able to grow in a more laid back, suburban environment.

Episode 3.2 Susan Im

Susan Yoomin Im is a 27-year-old Korean American entrepreneur, artist, and luxury, retail, & consumer goods professional. Susan is an avid reader, learner, arts-goer and Francophile and is passionate about community, mental health, and other various social causes. She has a deep love for God. Susan is Co-founder of Fifteen Degrees, Co. Ltd, a South Korea based beauty-tech R&D startup, Founder & Creative Director of ATEM, a skincare and wellness company, and consults in creative direction, branding and strategy for international and domestic brands. In her free time, she volunteers at the Museum of Modern Art, on the hospitality team at Trinity Grace Church and as a vocalist for the worship team.

Susan and I have a great conversation about mental health, healing, and faith. I appreciate how honest she was about her struggles with living a neurological disorder and the toll that took on her mental health, but how she has learned to accept that part of herself and continue to grow through some extremely difficult experiences. Just a heads up, Susan and I talk quite a bit about depression. There’s also a brief mention of suicidal thoughts and sexual assault. If you are experiencing or have experienced any of these things, please reach out to a trusted counselor or call the National Alliance on Mental Illness hotline. 800-950-NAMI (6264)

Follow Susan and ATEM on instagram @atemlife and @susan.yoomin.im . ATEM’s website is atemnyc.com and Susan blogs at lettersbysoo.com

Episode 3.1 PJ Rasmussen

PJ is a composer, guitarist, and the founder of the Boardwalk Jazz band, New York’s only 21 piece band to feature four singers. PJ has headlined two national TV specials, been featured on the cover of Hot House Jazz magazine, headlined at the Four Seasons restaurant in New York, and landed two albums on the jazz charts. His band has a single coming out Dec. 6 and has a new nationally syndicated TV show (An American Christmas) airing this December, headlined by WCBS in NYC. You can pre-download Boardwalk Jazz Band’s upcoming single HERE, and stay updated on all the show information at http://pjrasmussen.com/.

PJ talks about the challenges of being emotionally driven and male. We talk about how it’s affected his relationships with women, his view of himself, and how he has become aware of the positive aspects of being emotionally driven. He’s got a really interesting perspective, so let’s hear what he has to say.

Season 2

Episode 2.10: Relationship Wrap Up

Welcome to the season 2 finale! Huge thanks for being here for the wrap up episode. Man, I loved these interviews on relationships and community, which were specifically Episodes 2.6-2.9. Every single one of these guests brought their A game, so if you haven’t had a chance to listen yet, go back now and check them out.

For those of you who are all caught up, let me walk you through what you’re about to hear. We’re going to start off with a story of an experience in which I felt unsuitable in community. I’m then going to walk you through some deeper implications of what I experienced while tying in insights from the four interviews in this series. We’re going to talk about this idea of privilege and how it affects our relationships, and a story of how my guy Jesus interacted with a woman who was perceived as all sorts of unsuitable. At the very end, I’ll share how you can get my very free guide, “How to Make Friends without Hating Everything.”

The story from the Bible I reference is John 4:4-42

Episode 2.9: Shawn Oates

Shawn is a Christ follower, founder of Leaf, an app that
helps you make group plans, co-host of a podcast called Two Black Sheep, and
creative director at Allen & Ade. You can follow Shawn on Instagram @soates
or @twoblacksheeplive. Leaf is available on the app store.

Shawn and I had a great conversation about his podcast, his experience growing up in a predominantly white community, the struggle to settle into his identity, and the power of having a consistent group of friends in good times and also in the midst of struggle and grief.

Episode 2.8: Cristina Spataro

Today I’m sitting down with Cristina Spataro. Cristina is a Bronx-native, she is a child psychotherapist, and she loves old movies. You’re going to hear stories from Cristina about growing up in the Bronx, growing up with physical challenges, advocating for yourself and others in relationships, how difference builds empathy, and the value of limitations. I particularly appreciate how honest Cristina is about some really challenging experiences.

Episode 2.7: Rob

Hey everyone, this week my friend Rob and I talk about community within the church. Community is a bit of a buzzword, it sometimes feels like one of those words that has been used so much that we don’t necessarily think about what it means or what we mean when we use it. Maybe you hear the word community and feel all warm and fuzzy. Maybe you hear it and it gives you hives or makes you roll your eyes because you’ve experienced it as just one more thing you are obliged to do. If you’re in a season of feeling discouraged or disillusioned in community, I hope this conversation will resonate with you. Rob and I are going to talk through some good and some less positive experiences in church community, fitting in, and exclusivity. Here’s a little bit about Rob.

Rob was raised in both New England and New York yet somehow pronounces Rs and only argues about sports as much as a normal healthy person. He has lived in NY for several years now and works in financial services but his real passion is eating at the best restaurants in the city…that only have a single dollar sign in their Yelp ratings. He can usually be found complaining about how much he dreads running and running in Central Park.

Episode 2.6: Liz Smith

Welcome to Episode 6, the first episode of our Unsuitable in relationship and community series. We’re going to kick things off with Liz Smith.

Liz just finished her Masters in Library Science at Rutgers and is job hunting. She have worked in public relations and editorial positions for non-profit organizations including The New York Public Library and American Bible Society. She was also a member of The Blue Hill Troupe, a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta group, before becoming a Christ follower and church goer. Liz blogs as Missouri St Clair at wordpress.missouristclair.com and she also created a website dedicated to memoirs called memoirsataglance.com. Both those links are in the episode description.

Liz is going to share some serious wisdom about some of her past dating relationships, mental and emotional health in relationship, forgiveness and healing. Liz led a recovery group for women coming out of codependent relationships so she has a lot of great things to say about that as well.

Episode 2.5: Work Wrap-Up

This is a new thing I’m trying over here at Unsuitable with Mary B. Safrit, a little wrap up episode where I’m going to share some of my thoughts on the theme, some key take aways from the episodes you’ve heard so far, and give you some tools to help you engage with the series theme more deeply. If you haven’t listened to the interviews, I would definitely encourage you to do so. You’ll get the most out of this episode if you have the context of the previous episodes.

Episode 2.4: Elise Mas

Elise Mas is a singer-songwriter based out of Brooklyn, New York. Her style has been described as melodic acoustic pop with R&B and folk influences—earnest melodies over contemplative chords as if read from a diary. Elise has a background in classical violin and R&B music production, mentored under Orange Factory Music (Jay Sean, Big Time Rush). She’s also performed as a violinist for Rachel Platten.
In this episode, Elise and I are going to cover a lot of ground. We talk about the ups and downs of her various experiences in the music industry, using her art to process relationships, juggling creative work and marketing, and how she integrates her faith into her work. I like how she reflects on challenges and mistakes so honestly.

Episode 2.3: Debra Ayis

Debra has been a published poet and writer since the year 2005 when her poem ‘My Routine’ was published in an anthology by Anchor Books a ForwardPoetry imprint based in the United Kingdom. She has since been published in at over 100 anthologies in Canada, India, Nigeria, South Africa, U.K, U.S, and other countries. You can find out more about what she’s up to on her website: www.valiantscribe.com;  you can also follow her on Facebook at MsDebraAyis

In this episode, Debra starts off by sharing one of her poems. After that, we talk about her journey as a writer and as a Christian. I love how her faith infuses so much of our conversation and also her perspective on sharing her creative gift.

Episode 2.2: Christian Smeltzer

Christian is a Seattle born, midwest raised entrepreneur residing in Brooklyn. Founder and CEO of Swade incorporated, Christian has an extensive background in financial services and business management which he applies to both work and life alike. A resident of NYC for four years, he enjoys spending his time building his network, developing his hobbies and fellow-shipping with friends. You can follow Swade on Instagram @swadeapp and read more about it at www.swade.com Christian and I talk about Swade, working to prove something vs working out of faith, higher education, and identity.

Episode 2.1: Heidi Clark

Heidi is a copywriter, aspiring jazz singer, dad joke enthusiast, and ice cream fanatic. Heidi and I kick off Season 2 with a conversation on writing and singing, and the frustration of being underemployed in a career/productivity driven culture.

Season 1

Episode 1.8: MaryB. Safrit

In the Season 1 finale, Mary B. is the interviewee. Enter into a conversation and a story about creative journey, unsuitability, faith, and singleness. Follow Mary B. on her blog at marybsafrit.com, and Instagram @maryb.safrit. On her website you can sign up for her newsletter, which will get you exclusive content, direct access to and updates on the blog, the podcast, and the book. You’ll also get a book recommendation, and a music or podcast recommendation.

Episode 1.7: Giselle Perry

Giselle is a Jersey native, an architect, and just the best. In Episode 7, we talk race, sketchy guys, her life as a PK, and unsuitability. She’s a natural story-teller who effortlessly balances humor and sucker punch profound wisdom.

Episode 1.6: Pablo Marino

Pablo is a freelance photographer (Instagram: @pablosawthese) who also works in hospitality and is in business school. In Episode 6, we talk unsuitable moments, growing up as a pastors kid in Argentina and the US, and why some youths end up leaving the church when they have the choice.

Episode 1.3: Jennifer Bangs

Jennifer Bangs is an actor, writer, singer, and all around creative powerhouse. We talk about the show she has written and is performing, divorce, single parenthood, and friendship. Go see her show “She Bangs She Bangs” at Don’t Tell Mama on December 1. Info on her show is at shebangsshebangs.com , more info on Jennifer is at jenniferbangs.com

Episode 1.1: Nana Brew-Hammond

Nana is a Ghanian-American author, editor, and fashion designer. She is also wise and has the best podcast voice. In this episode, we talk about being single, business and family, and Nana’s faith journey. Check out her website http://www.nanabrewhammond.com and her fashion line https://www.exit14apparel.com