This Just In: Generous Spaciousness by Wendy VanderWal-Gritter

Generous Spaciousness: Responding to Gay Christians in the Church

by Wendy VanderWal-Gritter

“VanderWal-Gritter tackles one of the most controversial topics in the church today. She offers a new paradigm for how Christians can engage with gay and lesbian Christians by providing a framework for discussing diversity in a gracious way.”
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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.

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.

Praise for Generous Spaciousness:

“VanderWal-Gritter . . . charts a middle course in the evangelical outreach to gay Christians. . . . Throughout, she is gentle in her urging for Christians to be more hospitable and for gays to be clearer about their expectations from any given congregation. Shying away from major debates about the Bible’s stance, VanderWal-Gritter remains faithful to an open if not fully affirming Christianity. Using the stories of individuals from across the gay/ex-gay spectrum, she articulates the complexity of the issues and leaves final solutions open ended. The work will be of particular interest to those in ministry attempting to navigate interactions with gay Christians.”
Publishers Weekly

“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

“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

“‘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