Responding to Gay Christians in the Church...

At its worst, theology can be a field of ice that hardens as it cools. It becomes rigid and lifeless. Wendy has the ministry of an icebreaker. She slowly presses into the dogma knowing that a passage must be opened. To get from here to there requires an open sea. 

I do not think anyone can read this book without the temptation to retreat. It is easier to stay with your own convictions, theology and prejudices than to look for a more generous way. 

If you are LGBT or heterosexual, Wendy Vander Wal-Gritter will not leave anyone alone in examining what it means to be a faithful disciple of Jesus. She calls for a way through the difficult discussion of what reconciliation looks like within the Christian community. Though she herself is straight, she has developed deep empathy and understanding of those who do not self-identify in that way.

Asked in an interview to define what she means by generous spaciousness, Wendy said:

I’ve developed the concept of generous spaciousness from the belief that the Holy Spirit can be trusted to work in people’s lives and to lead them where they need to be.  That means that we, as human beings, can offer the gift of space to those who are wrestling with deep questions, uncertainty, and doubt.  On the question of how the Christian faith is worked out in the life of a gay person, this space is essential.  When people are expected to conform to a standard of orthodoxy without having the freedom to really question, wrestle with, and own their beliefs and convictions, the typical result is a shallow, works-based faith that cannot sustain the storms of life.  So many gay people who do have an open heart to Jesus have walked away from the Christian faith because there was no room for them to really wrestle with God, Scripture, and the tradition of the church.  Additionally, many Christians with gay friends are also struggling to clarify what they believe and why—and they need a safe place to continue to process and work through these questions.  Generous spaciousness challenges the church to offer that kind of room, with the conviction that God is pleased with a fully engaged mind and heart, that God will lead and guide people.  We don’t need to try to control what people believe, because when spiritual exploration and discernment are encouraged a much more robust and owned faith emerges. )

I believe that Wendy's ministry with New Direction of Canada is essentially pastoral to sexual minorities. That pastoral heart is reflected in her writing and capable handling of theological perspectives.

Recommended reading if you're willing to listen.


"Book has been provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications and Brazos Press in exchange for an honest review."


Anonymous said…
I think this is wonderful!