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Space at the Table

Part compelling travelogue by a father and son journeying towards reconciliation, part practical road map, Space at the Table: Conversations Between an Evangelical Theologian and His Gay Son is a book for families and friends split across the Christian/gay divide, and anyone who believes that this conversation is long overdue.

Speaking from experience to parents and children, Christians and gays, individuals and communities, Brad and Drew offer hope for loving relationships in the midst of opposing convictions. Space at the Table calls for a tectonic shift in the interactions between the Christian Church, the gay community, and those caught in the crossfire. It is an invitation to join the authors at a place where love is stronger than the beliefs that divide us.

Since 1999, Brad Harper has been a professor of theology at Multnomah University and Biblical Seminary in Portland, Oregon. From 1986 to 1999, he served as a pastor and church planter in two evangelical churches in St. Louis, Missouri. Because his son is a member of the gay community, Brad has spent years building bridges and friendships there. He has also listened to the coming out stories of many evangelical college students behind the closed door of his office. Over the last several years, Brad has spoken to churches, conferences, pastors’ groups, ministry leaders, and hundreds of college and seminary students on the topic of Christianity and homosexuality. Brad is the father of three adult children and lives in Vancouver, Washington, with his wife, Robin. He holds a BA in biblical studies from Biola University, an MDiv from Talbot Seminary, and a PhD in theology from St. Louis University.

Drew Stafford Harper was born in Missouri and raised in St. Louis and Vancouver, Washington. He was educated at New York University and Evergreen State College. Drew is a journalist and an actor, splitting his time (and his wardrobe and furniture) between Manhattan, Los Angeles, Portland, and Cairo. Although he has played a bestselling author on stage, this is his first book in real life.

space at the table: conversations between an
evangelical theologian and his gay son

"They invite us into their conversation as father and son, evangelical and gay, and show us that love and dialogue are not only possible, but necessary and beautiful." —Kevin Palau, President of the Luis Palau Association

Love does not begin with condemnation.

Can an evangelical theologian and his gay son overcome the differences in belief that threaten to destroy their relationship? For Brad and Drew Harper, that question wasn’t theoretical—and neither was the resounding yes they found after years of struggle. Writing to each other with compassion, grit, and humor, Brad and Drew take us on their journey as parent and child from the churches of middle America to the penthouses of New York’s party scenes, through a pastor’s-kid childhood and painful conversion therapy to the hard-won victories of their adult relationship.

But Space at the Table is more than just a memoir. It is a guide, showing us a way through the roadblocks that threaten to devastate both families and the broader evangelical and LBGTQ communities. Speaking from their own experience, Brad and Drew offer an invitation to join them in a place where love is stronger than the beliefs that divide us.

PURCHASE SPACE AT THE TABLE

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Watch the Space at the Table Video

thank you!

Our Kickstarter campaign to support the publication of Space at the Table raised $31,250 over the course of 35 days. We couldn't have done that without the help and support of hundreds of people who backed the project and shared it with their friends. If you were one of those people, THANK YOU. And if you missed out on the Kickstarter campaign, fear not! The book is now available for purchase.


ABOUT THE AUTHORS

BradHarper.jpg

Brad Harper: The Evangelical Theologian

Since 1999, Brad Harper has been a professor of theology at Multnomah University and Biblical Seminary in Portland, Oregon. From 1986 to 1999, he served as a pastor and church planter in two evangelical churches in St. Louis, Missouri. Because his son is a member of the gay community, Brad has spent years building bridges and friendships there. He has also listened to the coming out stories of many evangelical college students behind the closed door of his office. Over the last several years, Brad has spoken to churches, conferences, pastors’ groups, ministry leaders, and hundreds of college and seminary students on the topic of Christianity and homosexuality. Brad is the father of three adult children and lives in Vancouver, Washington, with his wife, Robin. He holds a BA in biblical studies from Biola University, an MDiv from Talbot Seminary, and a PhD in theology from St. Louis University.

DrewHarper.jpg

Drew Harper: The Gay Son

Drew Stafford Harper was born in Missouri and raised in St. Louis and Vancouver, Washington. He was educated at New York University and Evergreen State College. Drew is a journalist and an actor, splitting his time (and his wardrobe and furniture) between Manhattan, Los Angeles, Portland, and Cairo. Although he has played a bestselling author on stage, this is his first book in real life.


Praise for Space at the Table

 

“Brad and Drew have written an incredibly relevant book with the potential to influence a culture that is skeptical of evangelical Christian and LGBTQ reconciliation. They invite us into their conversation as father and son, evangelical and gay, and show us that love and dialogue are not only possible, but necessary and beautiful.  The Harpers demonstrate what it looks like to come to the table with honesty and humility, while acknowledging the fullness of who they are and what they believe. I want ALL of my friends, no matter who they are, to read this book."
–Kevin Palau, President of the Luis Palau Association, and author of Unlikely: Setting Aside our Differences to Live Out the Gospel

 

"Brad and Drew Harper's Space at the Table fills a cavernous void in the evangelical conversation around homosexuality. At once theologically orthodox and lovingly relational, this book will be enormously helpful to individuals and families caught in the painful space between evangelical belief and the real-life presence of a gay loved one. People should make a space at their table for these authors and their remarkably irenic book."
—Tom Krattenmaker, USA Today Board of Contributors, Author of The Evangelicals You Don't Know

 

"This book is brave, vital, and future-altering. From the first page to the last, Drew and Brad Harper share the full complexity and compassion of their familial love. This book can save lives."
—Stephen Winter, award winning director of Chocolate Babies and Jason and Shirley

 

"Brad and Drew Harper are modeling what we desperately need in the world: having a compassionate and listening conversation about a subject that too often divides and polarizes. They have done so with bold craft, helpful and honest clarity, and an obvious, committed love each for each other. Well done!"
—Wm. Paul Young, bestselling author of The Shack

 

“There's something sacred about being invited to someone else's table. It’s all the rage right now. Tables, that is. Still, I’ve found that more often than not, we have a sense of community, not community itself. This book isn’t a sense of community. It is community. Real tables are scary, threatening, and often dangerous. But they are at least real. Space at the Table is such a table. The table set before you is dangerous. But it's a table every follower of Jesus needs to recline at. This book will disrupt everyone who reads it. No one is safe.”
—A.J. Swoboda, PhD, writer, professor, and pastor of Theophilus Church in urban Portland, Oregon

 

"Space At The Table is a powerful, engaging love story of how an evangelical father and gay son maintained their love relationship in the midst of enormous challenges due to such conflicting personal values.  As I read the book, I wept, rejoiced, argued with the authors at times and felt the deep pain that Brad and Drew both experienced.  The book also provides guidance for how all Christians might relate more effectively with neighbors, co workers and friends who are members of the LBGT community. It took enormous courage for Brad and Drew to tell their story with such detailed authenticity.  Revisiting the pain and then writing the details so we could see and feel that pain with them had to have been extremely difficult.  I know many families are experiencing this pain, too.  My prayer is that this story will provide healing and hope for all the families walking similar journeys.  Thanks Brad and Drew for telling your story for the sake of others."
—G. Craig Williford, Ph.D., President of Multnomah University

 

“In a world so often enslaved to political and religious ideologies, Space at the Table opens us up to the liberating power of honest and grace-filled relationships. Brad and Drew Harper welcome us into their conversations that humanize rather than demonize ‘the other’ in the complex discourse on sexuality in contemporary society. Whoever is committed to cultivating intimacy with their children, parents, friends, and neighbors in the present cultural milieu without sacrificing their convictions will find timely and enduring wisdom here.”
—Paul Louis Metzger, Ph.D., Author of Evangelical Zen: A Christian’s Spiritual Travels with a Buddhist Friend, Director of The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins, professor at Multnomah Biblical Seminary/Multnomah University