Six nationally known scholars and pastors will propose new ways of thinking about ministry with transgendered, bisexual, lesbian and gay people during a public symposium at 7:00 pm Thursday, October 7, at the Robert Carr Chapel on the campus of Texas Christian University 2855 South University Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76109.
Speakers will present summaries of their scholarly work and describe its importance to BLTG people, congregations, and the broader community. Topics include the pastoral approaches to discerning sexual orientation, marriage in the context of lesbian life, intimate partner violence, congregational movements beyond “open and affirming” stances, and LGBT hate crime murder.
There will be time for questions and discussion. The symposium is free and open to the public.
The event is part of a larger project titled Beyond Apologetics: Sexual Identity, Pastoral Theology, and Pastoral Practices, which brings together 13 North American scholars and pastors to begin creating a new generation of thought and practice for ministry with GLBT people.
“We are creating conversations among scholars, ministry professionals, and broader communities who share concerns about the health and well-being of LGBT people,” said Duane Bidwell, a faculty member at Claremont School of Theology, who co-directs the project with Joretta Marshall of Brite Divinity School.
“Congregations can access a lot of resources that offer an ‘apologetics of inclusion’ for involving GLBT persons in the life of the church without condemning them,” he said.
“We want to move beyond arguments for inclusion to arguments for engagement. Pastors and others need theological stances and practices that take the experiences of GLBT persons seriously, so that those experiences shape the life of congregations and denominations.
“Our primary goal is to help spiritual caregivers and others engage in meaningful, informed, and proactive ministry with GLBT people.”
To that end, the project will contribute to pro-active pastoral care texts and models of education for seminaries, local congregations and pastoral care specialists, including mental-health professionals who integrate spirituality into their work.
The project is collaboration between two Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) seminaries—Phillips Theological Seminary in Tulsa and Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth. Financial support is provided by the Carpenter Foundation.
Bidwell said “Beyond Apologetics” will create practical theologies that acknowledge and integrate GLBT experiences, theologies and theories. The spiritual and theological practices and understandings that will be generated—focused on gender, identity, sexuality, and community action—have the potential to benefit people of all sexual orientations, he said.
Numerous local, state and regional LGBT organizations and faith communities have become local partners of the project, lending their names in support of its purpose.
Scholars and pastors presenting their preliminary work on Oct. 7 include:
- Duane R. Bidwell, Claremont School of Theology
- Kathleen Greider, Claremont School of Theology
- Benjamin Reynolds, Chicago Theological Seminary
- Jeanne Hoeft, Saint Paul School of Theology
- David Mellott, Lancaster Theological Seminary
- Stephen V. Sprinkle, Brite Divinity School
Other participants in the “Beyond Apologetics” project include:
- John Blevins, Emory University
- Malcolm Himschoot, United Church of Christ Minister
- Joretta Marshall, Brite Divinity School
- Darnell Moore, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
- Jason Hays, Brite Divinity School
- Cody J. Sanders, Brite Divinity School
- Leanne Tigert, Andover Newton Theological School
What: Beyond Apologetics Project
When: Public Symposium, 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010
For more information: Contact Joretta L. Marshall, 817.257.7209