Desmond Tutu says, “If I diminish you, I diminish myself.” In this powerful statement we are reminded of our interconnectedness and responsibility to humanize and extend mutual respect to one another. We are called to see each person as an image-bearer of God and beloved. This can be difficult when we disagree with one another. This is even more challenging when we perceive another’s beliefs to be oppressive to the other.
Miroslav Volf says, “The harder I pursue justice, the blinder I become to the injustice that I myself perpetuate.” Within our Generous Space communities, we desire to embody and move towards a justice that, as much as possible, cultivates shalom and flourishing for all.
We seek to create and nurture communities where multiple outcomes to the journey of integrating faith, gender, and sexuality are recognized, diversity is respected, and every individual can be encouraged to explore and grow in faith in Jesus Christ. We respect the autonomy of the individual to own their own faith journey even as we all share the call into community with other followers of Christ. This means that in our communities people encounter others who hold different beliefs about gender and sexual identity, who form relationships and build expressions of family that are different, and express their faith and spirituality differently. Such difference is seen not as a problem to fix, but as an incredible opportunity to grow in the fruits of the Spirit as we love, encourage, and support one another in following Jesus.
Topics of gender and sexuality can be incredibly politically charged. The sense of urgency that energizes activism in this arena is compelling. Lives are at stake!
In the midst of the often polarized debates, we believe God has called us to focus on the pastoral care of people impacted by questions of gender and sexual identity. Such pastoral care advocates for justice for those under threat and on the margins – both locally and globally. No one should need to fear exclusion, violence, or oppression in their community because of their gender expression or experience of sexual identity.
People don’t often fit into nice neat boxes. Churches don’t often fit the boxes we try to create for them either. Each person navigating questions of gender or sexuality is unique. Each faith community seeking to engage in conversation on these matters has a unique history, makeup, skill-set, and capacity.
If we are to be respectful of such journeys, we need to take the time to build relationships and hear personal stories. We connect with individuals and communities within their own unique context.
We are focused on encouraging people in their walk with Christ. Our priority is to foster space where faith can be explored and deepened.
Sadly, we continue to encounter people from Christian backgrounds who carry heavy burdens of shame and fear. We encourage the dismantling of such barriers that prevent our flourishing as children of God.
We emphasize in our expressions of community that we are the Beloved of God! In the security of our belovedness we can cultivate non-anxious engagement in spiritual practices of prayer, worship, and service.
New Direction has been around since 1985 and a LOT has changed since then. Like no other time in history, the Christian community is engaging important questions about the inclusion of LGBTQ+ people. Today there are many leading voices in these conversations and different organizations doing good work. We’re convinced that God blesses those who work together.
We particularly value our relationships with: