Why Churches Need to Talk about Sexuality : Lessons Learned from Hard Conversations about Sex, Gender, Identity, and the Bible

Why Churches Need to Talk about Sexuality : Lessons Learned from Hard Conversations about Sex, Gender, Identity, and the Bible


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Journalist and pastor Mark Wingfield describes how the congregation he serves undertook a detailed study of how the church should respond to the inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender members. The study was conducted by a nineteen-member blue-ribbon task force that included wide representation of the church's various constituencies. The author served as a staff liaison, recording secretary, and resource to the study group, keeping meticulous notes of the process and the aftermath of the study.

Why Churches Need to Talk about Sexuality is written for clergy and lay leaders in Protestant congregations of all kinds who need a helpful guide to conversations about human sexuality within congregations. The book also has in mind anyone who wants to understand the controversial debates about human sexuality and the Christian church today and who desire to follow a process to discuss the topic and make decisions about how congregations and individuals will respond to matters of ministry and sexuality.

This book not only details the process used at Wilshire but also tells the human story of why the study was undertaken and what happened to the lives and faith of real people inside and outside the church. The author's hope is to provide a resource to other clergy and church leaders to understand why this issue must be addressed, how difficult it is to address, and what to expect along the way. As the title indicates, even though this is a difficult conversation to have, churches must have the conversation anyway.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781506458571
Publisher: Augsburg Fortress, Publishers
Publication date: 12/03/2019
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 174,442
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.00(d)

About the Author

Mark Wingfield is a veteran religious journalist who draws upon his experience as a pastor to write about the intersection of faith and culture, theology and current issues. He is a nationally syndicated columnist and associate pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas.

David P. Gushee is Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and Director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University. He is the author, co-author, editor or co-editor of 22 books and approximately 150 book chapters, journal articles, and reviews, including Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust, Kingdom Ethics, The Sacredness of Human Life, Evangelical Ethics, A Letter to My Anxious Christian Friends, Still Christian, and the forthcoming Moral Leadership for a Divided Age: Fourteen People Who Dared to Change Our World. He has been President of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Christian Ethics. He has also been heavily involved in numerous activist efforts for peace, justice, human dignity, and the integrity of God's creation, most notably in addressing torture, climate change, and the continued harm being inflicted on LGBTQ persons by Christian churches and families.

Table of Contents

1. Our story
2. Process and transparency
3. Getting started
4. The pain of silence
5. Where we've come from
6. Looking for resources
7. "Dear God, I think I might be bi"
8. Study, dialogue and prayer
9. What the Bible says
10. Genetics and sexuality
11. Adolescent sexuality
12. What about the T in LGBT?
13. Laura Beth
14. What about marriage?
15. The study group votes
16. Majority versus minority
17. Reporting to the congregation
18. We Love Wilshire
19. Church conference
20. The vote and the fallout
21. Rebuilding
22. For the joy set before you
23. Appendix A: Common questions and objections
24. Appendix B: Q and A about the study group
25. Appendix C: What does the Bible say about marriage

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