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Gifts of gay and lesbian ministry

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We live in a world that, more often than not, questions the spiritual depth, understanding, and value of gay and lesbian people. This article, based on a year-long narrative research study of gay men and lesbian women on a variety of spiritual journeys, raises the assertion that, rather than being spiritually deficient, these individuals can be gifted ministers in a number of ways. Their contributions may include: (a) a marginalized perspective that is able to see truth and hypocrisy in our churches, and the integrity to challenge these institutions; (b) comfort with the intangible, the ambiguous, the shades of gray and the paradoxical; (c) empathy with and compassion for the disenfranchised and the troubled, and a commitment to social justice; (d) an enhanced understanding of God that comes from being a “survivor”; and (e) self-reflectiveness and the valuing of a community that encourages introspection and exploration. The article develops these ideas, based on the stories and reflections of the study participants.

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Correspondence to David Shallenberger.

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Shallenberger, D. Gifts of gay and lesbian ministry. Pastoral Psychol 43, 105–113 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02260013

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  • Study Participant
  • Research Study
  • Social Justice
  • Cross Cultural Psychology
  • Lesbian Woman