Generous space is a posture intended to be lived out in real relationship and in the formation of authentic faith community. Full inclusion of LGBTQ+ people, eagerly welcoming their participation and contribution of their spiritual gifts, is one of the catalysts for intentionally growing in generous space. The vision of such community is one of healthy diversity, mature discipleship, vibrant worship, justice-oriented service, and a deep experience of incarnational ministry. This vision is light years away from the taut exegetical debates regarding same-sex sexual behavior. And I would submit, that before you expend your energy and passion in debate, that you be energized and revitalized by not just the vision, but the experience of such community.
A woman married to a woman emailed me today. She had listened to a seminary professor’s presentation and said, “This past weekend we eagerly attended [the professor’s] talk expecting an intelligent interactive meeting of dialogue with other church members. We were appalled at the statements [the professor] was making as he described that there was not a single statement in the bible supporting same sex loving relationships. Needless to say we left the meeting deflated and angered that such a man is teaching pastors to be…. He spreads justification for hatred among church abiding individuals and has lost touch with the love of God.” This professor, in other writings, acknowledges that the scriptures don’t address the question of same-sex loving relationships – but actually only speak to sexual behavior. What this woman heard, however, was a blanket condemnation of her relationship. This disconnect, between the personhood and relationships of LGBTQ+ people and exegetical convictions regarding sex acts, has huge ramifications in the church.
Questions of faithful LGBTQ+ discipleship must consider more than just sexual activity.