Not Your Usual Sunday School Lesson
Noted Rev. Jim Dant Presents ‘Stories I Can’t Tell In Church’ at Fringe Fest
The Rev. Jim Dant -- Senior Minister of First Baptist Greenville, author, speaker, thought leader, and poker player (among many other things) -- will present his insightful comedy performance Stories I Can’t Tell in Church at Spartanburg Fringe Arts Festival Tuesday, June 11, 7 and 9 p.m., at West Main Artists Co-op in Spartanburg.
“Right now Rev. Dant is a hot ticket around the country, and we are lucky to have booked him for the Festival,” Festival Director Sandy Staggs said. “In recent months, his books and speaking engagements have been in high demand. Everyone wants to hear what he has to say on many different topics that impact our modern lives. He’s one of those guys who is able to make sense out of some troubling issues and do it in way that is entertaining and acceptable by people with open minds -- and even some whose minds aren’t so open. From a Christian perspective, he has a way of opening minds that lead to acceptance and faith.”
Stories I Can’t Tell in Church is for mature audiences only and has been presented several times across the nation, including in Atlanta; Columbia, SC; and at the Peace Center in Greenville. Its subtitle is My Life as a Straight White Male Baptist Minister Ally of the LGBTQ Community. Tickets to the show are $20 each and can be purchased through the Festival’s website: SpartanburgFringeFestival.com.
“I’m looking forward to being a part of Spartanburg’s Fringe Festival,” Dant said. “This is the sort of event that gives a public microphone to many voices that are going unheard. It is my hope that I can add to the conversations in Spartanburg, give new perspectives, and demonstrate that change is possible. I am living proof that the South, South Carolina, and the Upstate are now accepting beliefs and lifestyles that were shunned in our recent past. At the end of the day, I’m all about spreading the Gospel to everyone, and I do it in a way that almost anyone can appreciate -- with humor, insight, and with a personal experience.”
On June 9, Greenville’s Peace Center will screen the documentary film Gay Chorus Deep South, which chronicles the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir when they toured the Deep South. It will highlight Dant and his church as an example of what can happen when the dividing lines of faith, politics, and sexual identity are erased through the power of music, humanity, and drag. The film’s world premiere was at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.
His most recent book -- This I Know: A Simple Biblical Defense for LGBTQ Christians -- has been a runaway hit and caused him to be complimented, cursed, blessed, blessed out, nearly deified, and damned for being an LGBTQ ally. In April of this year, he hosted a review and discussion of the book at Wofford College. After his shows at the Fringe Festival, Dant will be available to sell and sign copies of his books.
Dant was born Jewish, christened Roman Catholic, baptized Baptist, and received his doctorate from a Presbyterian Seminary -- all of which makes him very ecumenical (non denominational, nonsectarian, and all-inclusive). He survived a tumultuous childhood, riddled with divorces and adoption: He had two mothers, seven fathers, and a host of step, half, and adopted siblings. He is now the proud father of three daughters and one granddaughter.
Dant is a graduate of Georgia State University, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Columbia Theological Seminary. He has post-graduate studies at Princeton Theological Seminary, Hebrew College, and Macon State College; and received certifications in group spiritual direction and Ignatian retreat direction at the Mercy Center in Burlingame, California. His current church, First Baptist Greenville was recently named one of the 100 Most Awesome Churches in America.
Dant has written eight books, several series of curriculum, and numerous articles and essays. For fun, he rides motorcycles on the weekends, is an avid (rock and classical) concert attendee, competes as an ironman triathlete, is a student of the classical guitar, plays bass guitar in a local R&B funk band, and is a semi-professional Texas Hold’em Poker player.
“I am blessed to have gained some notoriety through my ministry, and I consider it a privilege to be on the agenda for Spartanburg’s Fringe Festival,” Dant said. “God has created a big diverse world, and it’s part of my job to help make it a place of understanding and acceptance for everyone.”
Spartanburg Fringe Arts Festival will be a month-long event with about 30 different performances on different days and evenings. Among the performances will be readings, theatre, cinema, dance, live music, guest speakers, a fashion show, and an art exhibit. Some of the events are free; others have an admission fee. For more information, please visit online: SpartanburgFringeFestival.com.
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