Tomorrow afternoon, I’ll be headed to a Christian retreat center in Canada. There, I will spend the weekend hanging out with other people at the Generous Spaciousness Conference Retreat. Here’s a brief description of the retreat:
A safe place to be
authentic, to share, to worship, to learn and to grow! All are welcome
to enter this experience of Christian community with generous hearts, a
listening and humble posture, to experience God’s outrageous love and
The retreat is being organized by New Direction Ministries of Canada. I’m looking forward to it for a number of reasons, including the fact that attending means I finally get to meet Wendy Gritter, with whom I have conversed online for two (three? four? I’ve lost track!) years now. Wendy is one of the driving forces behind the concept of Generous Spaciousness and has done a great deal of blogging about it. Her thoughts on the topic are great. I’m not sure if this particular description was written by her, but I think it accurately reflects her vision of Generous Spaciousness:
What is Generous Spaciousness? GS is a relational posture
that acknowledges the reality of diverse perspectives on the question
of faithful discipleship for same-sex oriented people. These differences
have polarized the church, hindered our public witness as the Body of
Christ, and alienated LGBT people from the church.
This posture prioritizes nurturing a safe and encouraging environment for gender and sexual minorities to explore and grow in faith in Jesus Christ,
entrusting each individual to the leading of the Holy Spirit while
encouraging them to be a part of a Christ-centered community.
Generous Spaciousness seeks to build bridges, to find unity in our diversity, and to pursue peace.
I’ll admit that earlier this week, I was very skeptical about the concept of Generous Spaciousness, or at least whether it could ever be successfully applied. To be honest, between reading material that called me and other LGBT people to tell our stories and educate Christians in spite of the fact that many Christians are poor listeners at best and actually hostile to the listening process at best and being faced with some Christians who are unwilling to let go of their overpowering need to “answer the morality question,” I found myself disillusioned.
But then I remembered that people like Wendy have demonstrated both an eagerness to listen and engage with LGBT people and have even been willing to set aside the “morality question” or at least accept it as a disputable matter which Christians can disagree on in good faith, allowing them to focus on hospitality and fellowship. As I considered these things the past couple days, my hopes for finding Generous Spaciousness and the retreat to be something worthwhile have returned.
I’ll blog about how it went and my thoughts sometime after I get back.