The weekend before I went to Cambodia, I had the opportunity to go down to Denver to speak at the 3rd Symposium on the Evangelical Church & Homosexuality hosted by Highlands Church. Mark Tidd is the pastor there – and some of you may remember that Mark came to Toronto to participate in New Direction’s Pastors Conversation DVD project.
I had a great time in Denver. Although, to be honest, I was nervous to speak in front of this particular crowd. Most of the time I am speaking to predominantly straight audiences with conservative leanings. This was an audience with a high attendance of LGBT folks and many who have clearly landed on an affirming position. Generous spaciousness, as the posture New Direction inhabits, invites engagement in such an environment …. but I have less experience with such a group. At the end of the day, generous spaciousness acknowledges the reality of an affirming position – but it doesn’t promote it. And I think I worried abit that this could create a barrier and a disconnect with an audience that was primarily from an affirming perspective. As I watched the video of this presentation, I could remember my desire to build some rapport with this group … and I now wince a wee bit at some of the ways I worked a bit too hard to include humour or sarcasm. Funny how we can revert so quickly back to that little kid who hopes that people will like them …..
That aside, I was really humbled and touched by the number of folks who contacted me after the conference to get a pdf of the slide presentation. Seems that despite my weaknesses and limitations in letting my nerves get to me a bit, people resonated with the idea of generous spaciousness and the invitation and challenge to live into incarnational postures.
It makes me hopeful every time I encounter a group who is willing to engage the posture of generous spaciousness – because it is a posture in which we intentionally choose to humble ourselves and listen to one another, honour one another, and seek to find common ground with one another despite our differences.
So thanks Denver …. and thanks Highlands …. I really appreciated the opportunity to learn in the context of sharing with you at the Symposium.