Author: Wendy VanderWal-Gritter
Responding to Gay Christians in the Church
Committed Christians may respond differently to gay and lesbian Christians. How can we engage those with whom we might disagree and navigate our journey together in a way that nurtures unity, hospitality, humility, and justice?
Through her extensive experience in ministering to gay and lesbian Christians, Wendy VanderWal-Gritter has come to believe we need a new paradigm for how the church engages those in the sexual minority. She encourages generous spaciousness, a hope-filled, relational way forward for those in turmoil regarding a response to gay and lesbian Christians. This book offers a framework for discussing diversity in a gracious way, showing that the church can be a place that welcomes a variety of perspectives on the complex matter of human sexuality. It also offers practical advice for implementing generous spaciousness in churches and organizations.
Introduction: An Unpredictable Adventure
- Re-evaluating Evangelical Ex-gay Ministry
- Of Doubt, Tension, and Anxiety
- The Power of Stories
- A Complex Spectrum: Views of Same-sex Sexuality
- Coming Out and the Church
- The Journey of Discipleship
- Understanding Holistic Sexuality
- Our Image of GOD
- The Role of Scripture
- The Challenge of Interpretation
- A Disputable Matter?
- Engaging the Church
- A Word for Pastors and Leaders
- A Word to Gay Christians
- A Word to Would-be Gay Advocates in the Church
Concluding Thoughts: Living Into Incarnational Postures
“I can’t imagine a more timely book. Modeling the very ‘generous spaciousness’ that she advocates, VanderWal-Gritter’s heart is on every page. The church is at a crucial moment of transition in relation to gay sisters and brothers, and this wonderfully written book will prove to be one of the most helpful guides in the midst of change. Profoundly and deeply biblical, theologically rich, and rooted in years of humble, respectful, and vulnerable listening, VanderWal-Gritter’s wisdom is precisely what we so desperately need.”
Brian Walsh, Christian Reformed Campus Minister, University of Toronto; author of Kicking at the Darkness: Bruce Cockburn and the Christian Imagination
“This book provides a model of how people can be agents of reconciliation within Christian communities that are polarized over how to relate to gays and lesbians.”
Tony Campolo, Eastern University
“‘Loving people changes you,’ says Wendy VanderWal-Gritter in this important new book. The author herself clearly has been changed by loving gay people, in a journey that began when she led a ministry in the ‘ex-gay’ movement. Now Wendy advocates a posture of ‘generous spaciousness’ and offers pastoral and relational insight from her time at the intersection of homosexuality and the church. This book is highly recommended for anyone who wants to minister in the world (and the church) we actually live in today.”
David Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and director, Center for Theology and Public Life, Mercer University
“This is a truly important book for our time. Regardless of your view, Wendy’s articulate, measured, and comprehensive approach to homosexuality will give you both food for thought and a means of moving forward. She evidences and argues for the kind of fearless vulnerability, rooted in deep conviction, that characterized Jesus himself. This is gospel with flesh on it.”
Greg Paul, author of Close Enough to Hear God Breathe and God in the Alley
“Generous Spaciousness is an invitation to dialogue with someone who has courageously navigated and negotiated this issue not in a theoretical bubble but in the midst of real relationships. It will make you uncomfortable, perhaps angry, maybe even hopeful. You will not agree with everything Wendy says no matter where you position yourself in the conversation, but you will be stretched. Wendy has boldly put herself on these pages and you should read what she has to say.”
Gary V. Nelson, president, Tyndale University College & Seminary; author of Borderland Churches
About the Author
Wendy VanderWal-Gritter (MDiv, Tyndale Seminary) has been executive director of New Direction Ministries of Canada in Mississauga, Ontario, for over a decade. She is an internationally recognized contributor to conversations about faith and sexuality and is an active speaker. She is currently completing her doctoral dissertation on the theme of generous spaciousness at Knox College, University of Toronto.