Learning How to Talk

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Synodical reports from 1973, 2002, and now 2016 all encourage churches to engage in dialogue about LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) matters. But where to begin? What resources should you use? Small groups are often the best place to start. The resources listed below may be helpful for your congregation.

Bridging the Gap: BTG is a downloadable video resource split into four segments for small groups. It both affirms the CRC’s 1973 report and introduces some of the diversity among LGBT Christians.

The Colossian Way: A 10-session curriculum equipping Christians to navigate their disagreements about sexuality in a Christ-like manner. Attending to Scripture and the resources of faith, this resource invites prayerful listening with the expectation of transformation. Leader training is available.

Living in the Tension: The Marin Foundation provides a free gathering guide for those wanting to launch their own Living in the Tension group. Gathering people from different faith backgrounds, different sexual orientations, and different gender identities, this resource may be particularly relevant for churches with good connections in their neighborhood.

Generous Space Groups:  Intended to be ongoing small groups, GSGs are centered around the values of humility, hospitality, mutuality, and justice. Differences aren’t viewed as problems to fix but viewed as spiritually formational as we grow in loving and serving one another in community. A staff member helps launch the group and connects other LGBT Christians in your area to your group. This is a great resource for congregations that work well with other churches in their area.

In addition to these group resources, the following books are current contributions to the broader LGBT church conversation:

A Letter to My Congregation: An Evangelical Pastor’s Path to Embrace People Who are Gay, Lesbian, and Transgendered into the Company of Jesus by Ken Wilson. (Read the Spirit)
Oriented to Faith: Transforming the Conflict Over Gay Relationships by Tim Otto. (Wipf & Stock)

The Virtue of Dialogue: Conversation as a Hopeful Practice of Church Communities by Christopher Smith. (Patheos)

Generous Spaciousness: Responding to Gay Christians in the Church by Wendy VanderWal-Gritter. (Brazos)
For more resources see theStudy Report, p. 56.

About the Author

Wendy Gritter

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Surely added to this list should be the recent copy of the Calvin Seminary Forum. http://www.calvinseminary.edu/wp-content/uploads/Forum-October-2015-Copy.pdf

Quote from P8 of article by John Cooper "sexual ethics, hermeneutics, and confessional orthodoxy are inextricably interrelated. If the approach to the Bible that supports same-sex marriage cannot reliably generate and defend the creeds and confessions, then it is not compatible with our Reformed understanding of Scripture or the Covenant of OfficeBearers. Are we reforming our sex drenched, pleasure-worshiping culture or being transformed by it? The unity and integrity of the CRCNA before God are at stake."

The subject here is, "Learning How to Talk". John Cooper arbitrarily confines his 'hermeneutics' to nothing but sex acts, sex acts, sex acts.  "I address same-sex activity, not sexual orientation, emotional intimacy, friendship, living together, or legal status."  Can you imagine how helpful this rigidly narrow approach would be with the hermeneutics of remarriage after divorce? A woman is divorced and abandoned by an alcoholic husband and left in poverty to raise three children on her own. She falls in love with a man who wants to marry her and adopt her children as his own.  And all John Cooper wants us to talk about are her sex urges and sex acts, sex acts, sex acts.  You think this would be helpful in "Learning How to Talk"?

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