This past weekend, a wonderful group of folks gathered at Russet House Farm for our first Generous Space CampOUT. LGBTQ+ folks, parents, and allies were beautifully hosted by the Keesmaat-Walsh family. Brian Walsh and Sylvia Keesmaat are in the final stages of writing their commentary on the book of Romans – and many of us who…Details
To be in the world, but not of the world, requires subversive alertness. Cultivation of a contemplative mind is crucial. Spiritual practices and disciplines help form the virtues that guide our public engagement. We learn to take a breath before reacting. We recognize that our anger is a reminder of a deeper pain. We choose…Details
Wendy talks with David Peck on Face2Face about shame, guilt, principled pluralism and the walking wounded. She considers how many of us have been socialized to feel disgust for the other and touch on how secrets breed toxicity and ultimately cover up truth and justice.Details
Several members of the New Direction community face daily battles with depression and other forms of mental illness. The rejection, marginalization and isolation they often experience as LGBTQ+ Christians can exacerbate these realities. One of our hopes at New Direction this year is to talk more about mental illness and de-stigmatize it. Together, we can learn how…Details
If I have learned anything from the flurry of Christian responses to Caitlyn Jenner’s “Vanity Fair” cover, it is the need for widespread transgender education in the church. The most fearful and hateful reactions betrayed a total ignorance of transgender experiences. And maybe we shouldn’t blame them. While Christian books on homosexuality abound, pastoral resources…Details
A new reading of Matthew 19:1-12 New Direction works to cultivate community in a number of Generous Space groups. While each group is unique, usually there is a discussion time led by one of the group members. We heard great feedback from a session that Andrew Dykstra facilitated and asked if he would be willing…Details
Lately I’ve been having great conversations with straight cisgender Christians who ask how they can best support the LGBTQ+ Christian community. These are important questions, and I’ve been hearing more and more innovative, contextual ideas. As a catalyst to this ongoing conversation, consider the following suggestions…
There are several members of our LGBTQ+ community who need housing right now. Some have come out in Christian contexts and have been kicked out of their homes or have become unwelcome among their housemates. They have been couch-surfing, using shelters, or shuffling from one short-term rental to another. Many times these experiences contribute to struggles with depression, loneliness and shame.
They’re not simply looking for a room to rent – they’re looking for a home, a place of safety and belonging. They want a place where their faith will be affirmed and supported, where their ongoing journey with their sexuality and/or gender identity will not be judged, but rather given space, and treated with humility and respect.Details
While riding transit, I pass time by reading books about LGBTQ+ theology. My wife Danice is usually happy for me to summarize them for her afterward so she doesn’t have to read them herself, but having witnessed my frequent laughter and eager underlining as I devoured Eve Tushnet’s book, Gay and Catholic, Danice now wants to…Details
Part 2 If there was any doctrine that reinforced fear, for me it was the Atonement. Growing up studying the Heidelberg Catechism in the basement of my Christian Reformed Church, I learned such things as Lord’s Day 15, Question and Answer 37: “Q. What do you understand by the word “suffered”? A. That during his whole life on…Details
Have you noticed the inordinate amount of attention that is given to concerns about sin at the intersection of faith and sexuality? It seems to be a sticking point for so many. “But it’s sin.” With this short phrase dialogue can be cut off, attempts to understand can be closed, relationships strained, alienation experienced, judgement…Details
Recently Wendy had the chance to visit and lecture at Calvin College as part of the Sexuality Series.
Here’s a write up about the evening. (Full link: http://www.calvin.edu/chimes/2015/04/17/lecture-addresses-churches-response-to-lgbtq-community/)
And below is a video of the evening.Details
One of the reasons I have so loved being engaged in the conversations at the intersection of faith and sexuality over the last decade plus is the very reason some people seem to avoid entering the discussion. I have found, over time, that this conversation invites you, eventually compels you, and if you resist –…Details
Middle section, second pew from the front, left side.
That’s where my family sat every Sunday morning. It provided easy access to the stage for my pastor dad, who was always positioned closest to the aisle. It gave me a sense of being under the watchful gaze of the whole congregation: significant, but scrutinized.
Sunday church attendance was non-negotiable, though I don’t remember the four of us kids ever really putting up a fight. Some of us would actually make the church trek twice on Sundays once our evening service started up. When I moved to Vancouver I immediately found two new churches to attend, later paring it down to one. This eventually led to being hired as a pastor (which I was pretending to be, as a child, in the photo above). This obviously only intensified my church involvement.Details
Earlier this month, 75 people attended our annual Generous Spaciousness Retreat. Most were from southern Ontario, but some came from as far as Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, and New Brunswick! We spent three days together at a conference center on a frozen lake, laughing, crying, eating, singing, praying, listening to each other’s stories, and watching God work in us and through us.
One of the retreat participants, Chad, had this to say about the experience…
“Last year’s retreat was life changing, so coming to this year’s retreat I knew the experience wouldn’t be quite the same. This past year has been a whirlwind. My partner and I are involved with two community groups in which we are using Generous Spaciousness as our model. Wehave also been starting conversations with our church leadership about the LGBTQ community. I’ve also had to deal with some difficult conversations with family. This is hard stuff, and even in the week before this retreat, I was really starting to feel down and wanting to give up.Details