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Alabaster Jars and 7 Priceless Offerings.

Thesis: Navigating Faith, Sexuality, and Wholeness in Aotearoa New Zealand: Seven LGB-Christian Narratives.

Stories witness to the inside and outside of scripture; the messy and complicated narratives of people learning what it means to be in relationship with God, and, recognising God’s presence in others. Outside a position of marginalisation, it may be difficult to empathise, or be motivated to pay attention to alienation. Narrative inquiry allows for the processing, understanding, and meaning-making of people’s particular contextual expressions or experiences and the way these conform (or do not conform) to the truth to which they point. Human experience plays a significant role in applied theology, shaping orthodoxy.

Authentic wholeness and spirituality shape conceptions of identity and belonging; what it means to be human and made in the image of God. Making sense of identity and belonging motivates this research: Navigating Faith, Sexuality, and Wholeness in Aotearoa New Zealand: Seven LGB Christian Narratives.

Following narrative inquiry protocols, seven LGB Christians were invited to share faith stories with the researcher. The resulting narratives were analysed and engaged along five chronological themes: Beginnings of faith, Beginnings of sexuality, Coming-out, Responses, and Faith now. Reflecting on the narratives, several common thresholds can be seen such as; issues of judgement; choice-making; wholeheartedness and authentic spirituality.

This research gives agency to seven LGB Christian voices on faith, sexuality and encounter with God. The participants living in the LGB space experience uniquely, meaningful encounters with God. By paying attention to these narratives, this research aims to encourage the church towards an understanding of the tensions, faithfulness, and a broader appreciation of God’s presence in the LGB Christian community. Equally, this research aims to invite further discussion through observation and dialogue rather than argument.

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