Thursday, February 09, 2012

[generous spaciousness]

What is generous spaciousness? While some people grasp this easily and others can find it confusing, it is a key term in the conversation about relating with one another in the context of gender or sexual identity differences. It applies equally to the broader context of how people can relate to one another in the context of differences in beliefs, history, experience, tradition, etc.

Generous spaciousness is a descriptive term that is used extensively by Wendy Gritter, executive director of New Direction Ministries whose blog, Bridging the Gap, is subtitled "nurturing generous spaciousness in the church." In a recent post, she addresses the question of what "generous spaciousness" is all about:
And that raises the first point about generous spaciousness: It is intended to describe the environment, climate, ethos within expressions of the Christian community as it pertains to engaging with gender and sexual minority persons. It is not a theological position statement. It is not about doctrinal boundaries. It is not about promoting particular positions.
We believe that such an environment is best nurtured from a series of postures:
  • The posture of hospitality: all are unconditionally welcomed and invited into relationship
  • The posture of humility: we all hold our own convictions deeply with the keen awareness that, “I could be wrong” given the reality that none of us has a perfect pipeline to God and all of us see through a glass dimly
  • The posture of grace: I seek to have eyes to see the good fruit in another person’s life – particularly those with whom I may have particular disagreements; I expect the best, not the worst, of those I am in community with; I recognize that there will be times I am misunderstood and I determine to not get defensive or combative about it; I will do my best to not take offense and respond in the manner of Christ
Read the rest of the post for the second and third points, as well as examples of how this might apply in a Christian family, a church, and a Christian organization.

Bridging the Gap has another fifteen or so posts about generous spaciousness -- click here or click "generous spaciousness" in the labels list on Bridging the Gap.

Note: Wendy Gritter is writing a book on this topic, due out in May of 2014. Catch a glimpse of the cover here.

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