Generous Spaciousness by Wendy Gritter (Review)

New Direction CanadaI’ve provided a few quotes already from Wendy Gritter’s Generous Spaciousness. See the posts: Judgement in LGBT Debates, Internalizing Hate Messages, and Homosexuality: A Disputable Matter. Now for a more general review.

There are a few great books about same-sex marriage, one of the biggest issues in the church right now. The priority of most are to establish either that it is condemned by God (traditionalists/non-affirming) or blessed by God like any other marriage (affirming). Those books definitely have their place, especially for those who have to personally decide for themselves. This book, however, offers something that is more important, especially for the majority of us in the church who do not experience substantial same-sex attraction.
The focus of the book is on our posture rather than our position, which seems to me like a very Jesus-like approach to take. The concern over and over again throughout the book is a posture of love no matter which side of the debate you fall on. She also does a great job of making it clear that it applies in both directions – non-affirming and affirming Christians can both be equally judgemental of the other, forsaking love in the name of being right. This is a good check against those of us who are affirming and often talk about those who are non-affirming as hateful bigots when usually they just concluded something differently than us. To back this up from my personal encounters with Wendy and others from New Direction Canada, I have to say that they were the most grace-filled people I have ever met.

In pushing for a better posture, the book is remarkably practical. That shouldn’t have surprised me since Wendy has been doing practical ministry in this area for a long time, but it still did surprise me simply because I’ve never read anything like it. It comes from a place of actually knowing a large number of LGBTQ people, hearing their stories, learning what is helpful to them and what is not. From things like responding to your child coming out to responding to a gay couple who wants to know if they would be welcome at your church, she does a fantastic job of offering practical advice.

For those reasons, I highly recommend this book. I might be tempted to say I recommend it particularly for church leaders, and that is definitely a primary target audience, but there are a lot of others who need this message, too, like parents and friends. In short, I am inclined to say that every Christian in our culture-war context could benefit from this book.

On January 22nd at 8pm EST, MennoNerds will have the opportunity to interview Wendy and others from New Direction. Sign up to watch and be able to submit questions through the Google+ event.

Ryan Robinson

It is easiest to identify Ryan as both theologian and tech guy. By day, Ryan is a Technical Consultant work with PeaceWorks Technology Solutions. There, he works on websites, CRMs, and SharePoint implementations. Along with blogging here, Ryan is a founding member of the MennoNerds blogging network and a contributor to the book A Living Alternative.