What is generous spaciousness?
New Direction facilitates conversations in the church to equip leaders and followers of Christ to navigate the reality of a pluralistic cultural context in the interaction between faith and matters of same-sex sexuality. We all have to do the hard work of determining theology and doctrine on these matters, but sorting out those questions doesn't necessarily prepare us to engage from an open, missional posture with those who arrive at different conclusions than we do. We must consider:
- How can we have a life-giving, unity-inspiring, honest and courageous conversation about homosexuality in our church? How can we ensure people feel safe to share their true feelings on the matter?
- How big is our tent? How much diversity in perspective can we welcome into our gatherings?
- What language can we use to open conversation rather than shut it down?
- What is the Biblical basis for unconditional hospitality?
- How can we best welcome, walk with, and disciple LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) people? And how do we do that when diverse perspectives come into play?
- How can our congregation be a non-anxious presence and safe place for those for whom these matters are deeply personal and who live in tension regarding Scripture, tradition, reason, and experience?
In response to these realities, New Direction shares the posture of generous spaciousness. Cultivation of this posture can help equip leaders and their congregations to not only address the complexity of a topic like homosexuality, but to respond to the many experiences of diversity that we encounter as we commit ourselves to live missionally in our local contexts.
Generous spaciousness 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, and alienated LGBT people from the church. Our 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. Generous spaciousness seeks to build bridges, to find unity in our diversity, and to pursue peace.
- Generous spaciousness fosters an environment of hospitality.
- Generous spaciousness nurtures an environment of humility.
- Generous spaciousness encourages an environment of grace.
- Generous spaciousness is unapologetically Christ-centered.
- Generous spaciousness prioritizes fidelity.
- Generous spaciousness seeks to address and prevent harmful ideas and practices that have the potential to hinder or hurt a gender or sexual minority individual in their spiritual journey.
Why It's Needed
- Generous spaciousness is needed because of the tensions and differences in the Body of Christ.
- Generous spaciousness is needed because our witness is being discredited by our enmity and polarity, privatized and individualized lives, consumer church, and insider focus.
- Generous spaciousness is needed because people are alienated from the church or suffering in the church.
- Generous spaciousness is needed to realize God's vision of unity in diversity.
Generous spaciousness acknowledges the reality of diverse perspectives. People who love Jesus and care about the Scriptures disagree on many key questions.
"Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don't see things the way you do. And don't jump all over them every time they do or say something you don't agree with - even when it seems they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently." -Romans 14:1 (The Message)