1. a long poem, typically one derived from ancient oral tradition, narrating the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures or the past history of a nation.
That's what you'll find in "epic." Stories. Quests, romances, tragedies, mysteries, dramas, and more. "epic" is a group of side b/y Christian men residing in Europe, who are following Jesus and keeping to the old roads. We are dedicated to supporting and encouraging same-sex attracted Christian men in Europe while also working to equip local churches to better care for LGBTQ+ and same-sex attracted individuals inside and outside of the church. We believe that freedom comes through truth (John 8:31-32), both in looking at our stories in an authentic way, and in making our narrative with Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life, our primary narrative. We know the path the Lord has us on, a path of denying ourselves, picking up our crosses daily and following, and we're taking the next steps together.
Do we know what the next chapter will bring? No. But we know the author and finisher of our faith, and He says if we keep following, the ending is good. We're moving forward, one step at a time, towards Jesus, obeying what he has taught us, no matter the cost. Is it a perilous road? Messy at times? Sorrowful? Lonely? Even hopeless? Alone perhaps, yes. But every good quest merits companions, so here we are -- a band of brothers on a journey home. A journey that we know ends in joy unceasing, and a love that cannot end.
I'm Lost - What is Side B?
It's tricky, especially when discussing following Jesus and one's sexuality, to communicate clearly and concisely what you mean. In our present cultural climate, terms such as "gay" or "lesbian" and "LBGTQ" carry a lot of baggage, on all sides of the spectrum. "Same-sex attracted" is a mouthful, but many have chosen to use this term instead to try to avoid identifying with a certain lifestyle, set of actions, or past experiences. Others find that same-sex attracted (or SSA) feels more like labeling oneself with a rare incurable disease, and heaps on shame and condemnation from less-than-loving church backgrounds, or negative experiences. So what's to be done? While our main story should always be found in Jesus Christ, and our primary identity, it helps to have language to help wrap our own minds and the minds of others around our experiences. Many groups of SSA and LGBTQ+ Christians have opted to use the following terminology to quickly distinguish difference in belief and practice:
Side A: Disagrees with Christian tradition, affirming an LGBTQ+ identity and seeing sexual expression within same-sex marriage as faithful to a Christian ethic.
Side B: Affirms the Christian tradition; sees sexual expression in same-sex marriage as wrong but incorporates an LGBTQ+ identity under the lordship of Christ through celibacy and other forms of chastity, or through a mixed-orientation marriage with the opposite sex.
Side Y: Like side B, but does not identify with LBGTQ+ terminology. Is more likely to use the term same-sex attracted or is reluctant to see sexual orientation as a category of identity or personhood.
Side X: Claims to no longer experience same-sex attraction or to be "ex-gay" and to have been freed by the process of sanctification.
Definitions adapted from: Bennett, David. “A War of Loves: the Unexpected Story of a Gay Activist Discovering Jesus.” Zondervan, 2018.
"epic" is a group specifically for side B and Y Christian men, though Naděje z Popela, z.s. works with Christian and nonChristian LGBTQ+ individuals with many varying beliefs. We also work to educate, mentor, and provide support to churches throughout Europe who want to know how to better love LGBTQ+ individuals inside and outside the family of God.
How We Got Started
In 2019, Keifer and a good friend started the first "epic" group. "Wouldn't it be great," we thought, "if a group could exist of same-sex attracted guys in Europe who could encourage and support each other?" It started as a chat-thread on social media, which birthed a retreat in the Czech Republic in summer 2019. We'd planned on encouraging each other, sharing our stories, and spending some time in reflection and with Jesus. But for many, God showed up in powerful ways. "We should do this again!" we told ourselves. "Perhaps twice a year, once in the summer, and once in the winter." Little did we know that the COVID-19 pandemic was around the corner.
In a lot of ways, the pandemic is the reason "epic" has become what it is now. When countries started closing, the leaders of "epic" wondered, "what would it be like to encourage the same sort of dynamic community we had at the retreat, online? We started meeting twice a month on Zoom, once to just hang out, and the other to spend time intentionally seeking Jesus and praying for each other, in our hardships, isolation, and joys.
In the first few days of 2021, we hosted an online summit to deeply delve into some of the issues that impacted our community. Again, for many God showed up. Right now, our small team continues to meet with and accept new members, even as we continue to pray through how to encourage and support our community better. We want to be a help, and a refuge, in the hard times, and be able to celebrate the good times in our stories with Jesus. We're all works in progress, but, man, is it good to progress together instead of working alone.
While "epic" takes place primarily online, we want it to be a real and vibrant community. In addition to our Facebook group, we meet twice a month for a group video call -- once to hangout, share our lives, and have unstructured time together, and the second for a brief devotional, and to pray for each other, our community, and our world.
We're always thinking up new ways to engage with the group, and love hearing new ideas from our brothers in "epic." If "epic" sounds like a fit for you, fill out the form below, and one of our admins will contact you shortly!
When "epic" began, it centered around a yearly summer retreat where side B/Y brothers could gather together, talk through the high points and low points of their year, share their stories, encourage each other, and seek Jesus for their next steps.
"epic" retreats are a time of rest, fellowship, adventures, and encounters with the Living God. They're times of encouragement, equipping, laughter, and brotherhood. "epic" retreats are only available to members of "epic." Details will be posted in the "epic" Facebook group as they are finalized.
In the first few days of 2021, we held our first online winter summit. The summit works as a time to hear from others on the same journey throughout Europe and beyond, get a fresh perspective, and pick up some tools along the way.
Our goal with the winter summit is to discuss difficult issues and questions as a group, and equip our members to face the next year, following Jesus. While we don't know what shape our next winter summit will take, we're excited to continue in late 2021 or early 2022, for members of "epic."
How to Get Involved?
"epic" cannot continue without the support of time, money, and your prayers. If you'd like to partner with or support "epic" financially, you can visit or check out our "How to Help" page, and use the giving code 3333.
We are always in need of volunteers from the European side B/Y community to help us make "epic" a stronger community, and to help us reach out and train communities & churches.
If you're interested in giving of your time or talent in that way, please email email@example.com.