Conflict over homosexuality in Christian churches is only intensifying. We can do better. We have to do better. The stakes are too high to do otherwise. Conflicts are difficult and ugly, but the good news reaches even here. It is possible to have healthy conflict, to disagree and struggle together in ways that make us better and that make the church stronger. By looking deeply into the nature of religious conflict, we can cultivate practices and values that will mature our abilities as peacemakers, and strengthen our faith and our churches. ""Paris is a realist: seeing this conflict is not going to end anytime soon. She is a nonviolent peacemaker: knowing we cannot win through the use of force because we are the conflict; we are waging war against ourselves. She is wise: rejecting simplistic solutions and naive notions. She is a person of faith: believing that as we put away our idols (of moral high ground, institutional preservation, certainty) and instead cultivate faith and reconciling practices we will find paths forward for our conflicted communities and for the Gospel. This is indeed good news."" --Megan K. DeFranza, Educator, Bridge-Builder, author of Sex Difference in Christian Theology: Male, Female, and Intersex in the Image of God, and coauthor of Two Views on Homosexuality, the Bible, and the Church ""With clarity, creativity, and compassion, Jenell Paris plumbs the conflict over sexual and gender diversity for the treasures it contains for the body of Christ: deeper community, spiritual maturity, psychosexual wholeness for all. I am grateful for the wide lens and bold questions she proposes in her commitment to loving Christ and his church. Paris combines anthropological expertise with personal vulnerability and spiritual humility in this deeply encouraging book."" --Kristyn Komarnicki, Director of Oriented to Love, Evangelicals for Social Action ""Both sides in the debate over LGBT sexuality are mesmerized by and locked into the standard, simplistic arguments. Jenell Paris wakes us up to both the complexity and the opportunity of the conflict. While the truths she presents don't make the conflict easier, they do make it better. Better because she more truthfully describes the difficulty we are in and therefore helps us make progress toward reconciliation while growing as Christians in the process."" --Tim Otto, Author of Oriented to Faith: Transforming the Conflict Over Gay Relationships; Pastor, Church of the Sojourners, San Francisco ""Jenell Paris is a leader--one I follow. Her humble wisdom and the tension she so comfortably lives in compels me to listen and act. Jenell's first book, The End of Sexual Identity, was an early impetus for me to step into the grey space, messiness, and tension where I found Jesus waiting with arms wide open . . . Once again, I find myself deeply moved, challenged, and grateful for Jenell's leadership, voice, life, and friendship. I trust her and I wholeheartedly recommend and endorse her work "" --Alan Manning Chambers, Author of My Exodus: From Fear to Grace ""The Good News about Conflict transforms our entrenched debates regarding sexuality in the church into hope for Christian discipleship and unity. Paris shows us a tangible way forward that doesn't rely on agreement or conclusions, but instead reframes our posture to lead well in the midst of conflict. This book is truly good news for the church."" --Samantha Curley, Executive Director, Level Ground Jenell Paris is Professor of Anthropology at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania. She is author of The End of Sexual Identity (2011).
Jenell Paris (PhD, American University) is professor of anthropology at Messiah College, where she regularly teaches introductory anthropology courses. She has written numerous books, including Teach from the Heart: Pedagogy as Spiritual Practice, The Good News about Conflict, and The End of Sexual Identity.