Wendy VanderWal-Gritter var den ledare inom Exodus international som bröt isen och började ifrågasätta de metoder man arbetade med i sin önskan att bota och hjälpa homosexuella till ett liv i celibat eller äktenskap med en partner av motsatt kön.
Hennes personliga berättelse om livet som ledare i den verksamheten är smärtsam men också viktig. Wendy ger oss också viktiga redskap för ett samtal om vilka värden som bör vara centrala i kyrkans identitet. Generous spaciousness är en beskrivning av ett förhållningssätt till oss själva och till varandra som bör prägla en god kristen gemenskap.
Vad begreppet innebär beskriver hon så här på organisationens hemsida:
Humility – “Might I be wrong?”
Conversations in the faith community about gender and sexuality can be very heated with strong opinions and a propensity for argument and debate. The value of humility reminds us that we all see through a glass dimly. No one has perfect access to absolute truth. We all need to rely on the Holy Spirit to help us discern. We may think that we are right in our convictions and perspectives. In fact, we may have done our homework – studying the biblical texts, reading theologians holding varied positions, listening to people’s stories and attending to our own experiences, researching the contributions of the academy, reflecting on the tradition of the church, and being prayerful and attentive throughout….. but we ought never to assume that we no longer need to be open or willing to listen to others in the Body of Christ. When we ask, “Might I be wrong?” we open the space to be able to sit at the table with someone different than we are with the humility to truly listen well.
Hospitality – “Whose voices are missing?”
It has long been the conviction of our ministry that the church is impoverished if LGBTQ+ Christians are not part of the conversation. Hospitality draws us to be aware of our own levels of privilege and seek out those who lack such privilege. Those with privilege are invited to relinquish platform to those on the margins. Hospitality attunes us to the ways that marginality intersects: gender, sexuality, age, ethnicity, disability, income and education levels etc. We recognize that we can always widen the circle, share the decision making, and reflect more deeply on diverse experiences.
Mutuality – “Is everyone in our community empowered to make a difference?”
Mutuality calls us to lay down any sense of superiority or notion of “helping” others. Ensuring that each person in the community feels like they have the potential to make a difference breaks down barriers between us. Sharing power and the capacity to influence with everyone in the community enlarges the fruits of the Spirit in all of us. We anticipate that our encounters with others, including those very different than we are, will reveal something of God to us.
Justice – “How can I participate with you in dismantling the barriers preventing flourishing?”
Sadly, justice can seem to be a competition between religious liberty and civil rights for LGBTQ+ people at the intersection of faith and sexuality. In generous space communities, we want to ask very different questions about how we can embody justice together. If justice can be envisioned as everyone having what they need and flourishing in their lives, then our energy to pursue justice can be invested in understanding what flourishing might look like for the other, identifying what is preventing such flourishing, and working together to dismantle those barriers.