Sexuality and Welcoming the Gentiles

by Andrew Stephens-Rennie

One of the more interesting things for us here at Empire Remixed is the way in which people stumble upon this blog. Sometimes people are actually looking for us. Sometimes it has to do with events we’re running, or links from blogs far more popular than ours. It seems, however, that one of the things that keeps people coming back are questions about healthy Christian sexuality like the use of sex toys such as vibrators for g-spot, in case of sharing with a partner.

Perhaps it’s not surprising. Far more often than we’d like to admit, those of us in the church do a lousy job of wrestling through such questions. Sometimes we act as if there are no questions to be asked on the matter at all.

Earlier this week, however, we were reminded by Kevin and the good folks at Eucharist Church in Hamilton, Ontario why we need to continue exploring questions of sexuality on our blog. On January 16th, Wendy Gritter of New Direction ministries had come to address this young, dynamic community, and left the congregation with some questions to wrestle through:

How do we befriend our gay neighbours? How do we love our friends who are dealing with issues outside of the heterosexual mainstream?

It was in response to such questions, and a post on Eucharist’s facebook wall that we sent an email and an article to Kevin, along with an invitation to further conversation.

We sent Dr. Sylvia Keesmaat’s 2004 article “Welcoming in the Gentiles: A Biblical Model for Decision Making,” as a means of encouraging this community in its hard work of discernment. Sylvia’s article notes:

Such discernment is truly hard work for these communities because not all narratives are accepted. The hard work of discernment will involve substantial disagreement, as we saw in Acts 15:2, where it says (dryly) that “there was no small dissension and debate. But what would such discernment look like? What kind of criteria would assist a community in determining whether a narrative is truly the work of the Spirit?

Answers don’t always come easily. There are multiple perspectives to be wrestled through, and multiple experiences that come to bear on our discernment. Through all of this, we’ve found Sylvia’s article to be one of the most helpful and challenging tools for churches seeking a way to discern the movement of the spirit in matters related specifically to the inclusion of LGBT folks in the church.

Where can you find this article, you ask? Download it Here

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Andrew Stephens-Rennie
Andrew is a writer, dreamer and organizer with a keen interest in developing leaders in faith, compassion and justice.

He currently serves as the Director of Missional Renewal for the Anglican Diocese of Kootenay on the unceded territories of the Sinixt, Syilx, and Ktunaxa nations. He previously served as the Director of Ministry Innovation at Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver, BC.

Andrew is cofounder and contributing editor at, and co-editor of "A Sort of Homecoming: Essays Honoring the Academic and Community Work of Brian Walsh" with Marcia Boniferro and Amanda Jagt.

One Response to “Sexuality and Welcoming the Gentiles”

  1. Brooks

    A writer for a blog I write for, City of God, has responded to this article. Hopefully someone from this blog (or Keesmaat herself!) can respond.


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