Conversations on Generous Spaciousness

Part of my doctoral journey is to invite a small group of folks from diverse backgrounds to gather with me on a regular basis to engage with me on my research topic. At this point, I am planning on looking at the impact and effectiveness of the concept of generous spaciousness on a church’s experience navigating the conversation about faithful discipleship for LGBT people. My hope, of course, is that by introducing the concept and then facilitating dialogue from the posture of generous spaciousness, that a congregation will experience honest, open conversation without coercion, debate, power struggles, shame, fear or paralyzing anxiety. My hope is that generous spaciousness might generate a sense of meaning-making for this conversation – that rather than the discussion being polarizing and threatening fracture, the conversation would enlarge in members of the congregation the capacity to be patient, humble and gracious with each other despite any differences in perspectives that emerge. If this hypothesis is demonstrated, then not only will engaging this conversation be healthy for a congregation, it will be a safe and spacious place for any individuals who find themselves not neatly fitting into the majority heterosexual experience. Lots of churches talk about being welcoming. But if the conversation about how an LGBT person ought to faithfully navigate their life as a follower of Jesus is ignored or the source of argumentation and fracture, it is a hollow welcome.