As a kid, I used to love dot to dot worksheets. There was always a great sense of satisfaction when I reached the last few dots and I could tell that I’d gotten it all correct because the picture of the dog emerged without any weird shaped ears. There are times in all of our…Details
I have known Alan Chambers a long time. I met him at the very beginning of my tenure with New Direction when he was newly the president of Exodus. I’ve read the two previous books that Alan authored and so when my complimentary copy of My Exodus: from fear to grace arrived in the mail…Details
Regardless of how long you’ve been in youth ministry, you’ve likely had some questions about how to navigate the topics of gender and sexuality with youth from a variety of backgrounds, assumptions, and experiences. For the past decade I have worked in youth ministry in the context of Baptist churches, though since Sept. 2014 I’ve…Details
After we come out of the closet, we often experience strain or breakdown in some of our friendships. Sometimes we’re not even sure exactly why these friendships are fading away. Caitlyn Spence, one of the members of our Vancouver Generous Space group, wrote about one such friendship in the hauntingly beautiful piece below. We’re grateful for her permission to share it here, and we hope…Details
Meet Josh and Reed, an engaged Christian couple who appeared on the popular reality show “Survivor” last year. They attend Hillsong church in New York. Hillsong leaders recently released a public statement clarifying that they welcome LGBTQ+ people but will not allow them to hold positions of leadership. Josh and Reed were asked to step down from their…Details
The terms we use for minority groups are not just about political correctness. I believe they are of spiritual consequence. If we use words that dignify people’s (often painful) journey toward self-understanding and authenticity, we can actually bestow honor on them, affirm them as image-bearers of God, and show them hospitality. When we impose our…Details
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…
1. Open up your homes.
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
On April 18, Wendy joined in on the conversations on The Drew Marshall Show.
You can listen to the audio from the broadcast here. (Full link: http://drewmarshall.ca/listen2015-html#150418)
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