chapter  9
18 Pages

Implications and Possibilities

As the sexuality struggle has developed across mainline Protestant denominations, the “Protestant middle,” defi ned as those neither actively seeking inclusion nor actively working against it, has often gone unheard. At the same time, the middle is frequently described in negative terms, both among those on “the ends” and among researchers studying the struggles. For example, the Protestant middle has been characterized as ambivalent, messy, muddled, mushy, puzzled, and unengaged.2 Most of these disparaging terms seem to be based on the fact that the Protestant middle holds a “paradoxical” position on homosexuality. Observers do not understand why the middle can’t take a single stand and hold a consistent position on homosexuality, whether inclusionist or not.