The chasm between Christianity and the LGBT community has been wide, and often made wider through painful means on both sides. Andrew, in his own words, "elevated the conversation" after experiencing 3 of his best friends coming out to him, knowing their lifestyle lived in direct opposition to his beliefs, but not wanting to lose the relationships he already had. Thus... he began to ask tough questions of Christians (both gay and straight), Scripture (various interpretations), and non-believers (both gay and straight). Moving to Boystown in Chicago, he immersed himself in the gay culture in order to address many of the misconceptions Christians had about LGBT persons. After a few years, The Marin Foundation was born, assisting LGBT people and their quest for faith, and the church and its mandate to "love everyone... but gay people".
After meeting Andrew in grad school, I've deeply appreciated his sincerity, his authenticity, his love for Jesus Christ, and his desire to engage people of different orientations on an honest level. Is he taking "sides"? Hardly. This isn't a book about taking sides, unless you consider loving Jesus at all costs taking a side. Andrew's pursuit of the truth extends far beyond the book, which helped me take his words all the more seriously.
Marin does not offer pundit answers, or black and white doctrine. So if you're looking for a theological treatise, you'll be disappointed. But if you are one, such as myself, who has been asking hard questions about the Bible, Christianity, and how it relates to the LGBT community, and why so much violence has been perpetrated against gay persons in the name of Jesus, then have a look. You will often experience "I've had those experiences!Read more ›
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79 of 84 people found the following review helpful
Love Is An Orientation - Andrew MarinNov. 13 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
It's become one of the main issues of our time. It's a spiritual question, a relational question, and, in past decades, a highly politicized one. You'll find extremely strong opinions on both sides, and these polarized opinions can lead to confrontation, heated argument, broken relationships, even violence.
The issue: homosexuality.
The complexity of the issue is sometimes hidden beneath the same old rhetoric from both sides. One side tends to boil it down to a simple injunction to stop, often in very insensitive ways. The other side, defensive and angry, has its own tendencies to resort to inflammatory language and hate of its own. How can a bridge be built between these two communities?
Enter Andrew Marin and his book, Love is an Orientation.
Let me be clear about something up front. As a conservative (both theologically and politically), bible-believing Christian, I found a decent amount in this book that I disagreed with. I even found myself answering some of Marin's statements out loud. For the most part, however, I found myself challenged to take on a quality that the Christian community claims to value: empathy.
That's really the strength of this book. You might not agree with all that Marin says (I certainly didn't), but his ability to put you in the shoes of members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered (GLBT) community is powerful. This is a quality missing from much of the discussion Christians have regarding the issue of homosexuality. It's easy to look at the passages in the bible that condemn homosexuality and think things are clear-cut; don't do it. The issue isn't really that simple, however, for GLBT people who desire to walk with God, but struggle to reconcile their sexual desires with God's revelations in scripture. Others who don't want anything to do with God simply hear a condemnation of their identity from Christians, which only confirms they want nothing to do with the God of those people.
Andrew Marin has learned empathy by immersing himself in Boystown, the GLBT neighborhood in Chicago, and forming The Marin Foundation, which works to build bridges between the GLBT community and the Christian community. Marin draws from this experience throughout the book, sharing stories of GLBT people he's encountered, detailing their stories and struggles. Some are powerful. Some give hope. Some of downright depressing. The same can be said of people from any group. Marin successfully and powerfully puts a human face on the issue, which is sorely needed for many to see.
There are a few problems with the book, though. For one, Marin never really articulates accurately what the gospel is and how it applies to the GLBT community. He talks about them having an "authentic relationship with God," but there's no discussion of specifically how Jesus' death on the cross saves people from God's wrath against their sin, enabling that relationship to happen. I'm certain Marin understands this, but I would have loved to hear a discussion of this in the context of the GLBT community. He's just a little too vague on the gospel for me.
He also refuses to really answer the question of whether or not homosexuality is a sin. I understand why he does this for the purposes of the book, but it just left me thinking that it eventually has to be answered for GLBT people at some point. He seems content leaving that decision up to the individuals and letting the Holy Spirit speak to them on the validity of their sexuality. I agree the Holy Spirit is the one who convicts of sin, but we're also called to help each other identify sin in our lives.
These issues aside, I think this is an important book for furthering (and elevating, as Marin puts it) the discussion. There are still many questions that beg for answers, and I believe those answers are there, but the discussion needs to be re-framed. I believe that happens when Christians really put themselves in the shoes of GLBT people, really love them regardless of whether or not they ever change their lifestyle. We don't have to water-down the truth, but love for the people that truth is affecting needs a more prominent place. That's the main thrust of the book, and it's an important message.
71 of 82 people found the following review helpful
Gay LoveApril 24 2009
Jeremy Myers - Writing at RedeemingGod
- Published on Amazon.com
In a world that increasingly welcomes and accepts those of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transsexual (GLBT) orientation, Christians must open their eyes and ears to what GLBT people are saying about God, the Scriptures, the church, and human sexuality. This is especially true if we want to minister among them.
Furthermore, the GLBT issue is increasingly being brought up on television and in politics. Numerous states are passing laws legalizing same-sex marriage. Therefore, it is vitally important for Christians to know how to respond to these situations, not only in truth, but also in love.
Andrew Marin is one Christian who is pioneering the way.
In his book, Andrew Marin provides an excellent overview of the absolute necessity for Christians to build bridges to those people who are in the GLBT community. As Christ took the initiative and came to us, we must take the initiative in building bridges of hope and love to others.
Thankfully, Andrew Marin is not writing theoretically, but from yeas of experience from living among the GLBT community as the "gayest straight person in the world."
The book provides excellent insights and guidelines for working alongside and developing relationships with people in the GLBT community. For example, Andrew advises the four of the most important things Christians can do are (1) love, (2) listen, (3) don't judge, and (4) seek friendship and conversation. Also, he recommends we stop saying "Love the sinner; hate the sin" and referring to those in the GLBT community as "homosexuals." Both, he explains, are derogatory.
One helpful feature of the book is the answers to the five main questions that are on the minds of most Christians. The questions are:
1. Do you think that gays and lesbians are born that way? 2. Do you think homosexuality is a sin? 3. Can a GLBT person change? 4. Do you think that someone can be gay and a Christian? 5. Are GLBT people going to hell?
I imagine that as you read this short review, one or two of these questions crossed your mind as well. I believe that Marin provided some excellent answers to these questions in his book. Sadly, I don't have room to reproduce the answers here...so I guess you'll just have to buy and read the book for yourself.
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Very helpful approach to a very divisive issueSept. 2 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
This book is a welcome contribution to the discussion about the rift between Jesus' conservative followers and the mainstream gay culture. I believe it will speak to people all across the spectrum. For instance, I am a Christian. I also happen to be gay. I also have chosen to be celibate. But my choice to do so doesn't mean I think that's the best way for all gay people. I grew up a conservative evangelical, and that's the world I know best and am most comfortable in. But I identify as gay, and I am post-belief that God's intent for me is to change my orientation. So where does someone like me go?
Believe it or not, the self-described "straight, white, Bible-banging, conservative evangelical" former homophobe Andrew Marin has a great deal to offer me. I first heard Andrew speak at the National Pastor's Convention in San Diego 2009. I can't tell you how excited and hopeful it made me to hear a voice from the conservative evangelical community advocating for a new approach from Christians toward LGBT people - he had me in tears that day.
I believe this, one of Andy's fundamental principles established in the book, rings very true: that if there is to be any change, mitigation, or lessening of the verbally (and sometimes physically) violent culture war between gay people and Christians, it is the Christian's responsibility and call to lay down our arms and take a new, humble approach to loving the gay community. Mainstream gay culture has no motivation to do so; Christians, however, have the greatest sort of motivation - the love Jesus has given us to share.
I don't care who you are or where on the spectrum you find yourself - if you care about this issue at all, Andy's story and message will benefit you.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Love is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation With the Gay CommunityApril 21 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
I have been following Andrew Marin since 2006 & met him that year. I read his blog, I have heard snippets from messages he has spoken, & now have an e-mail & facebook relationship with him & seek to help him. I had been waiting months to read the book! I am not quite finished with it, but want to say that it is different than I expected. I expected more about his personal life, more liveliness in the writing style, & equal adressing to the GLBT & religious community. However, what he says needs to be said. He is addressing the evangelical community & teaching us his approach in bridging the gap with GLBTs through somewhat detailed steps/concepts. I already agree with him, but apparently there are many evangelicals who need to hear his message. I think this would make a good textbook for Bible colleges in classes dealing with contemporary issues or sociological/psychological issues. It is reasonably priced & should be part of every evangelical church to make the leaders more aware of the need to bridge these gaps & show more awareness & compassion to this group that has been around for ages, but has been marginalized in Christian thinking for many ages. Let's become more aware. Let's make Love our orientation!
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Long OverdueApril 27 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
I just finished reading Marin's book. Couldn't put it down, in fact. He has beautifully articulated what has been percolating in my heart for some time. I tip my hat to him.
Being responsible for ministering to a group of Christian women with unwanted same-sex attraction, I found myself tearing up in places in the book where Marin relates stories of GLBT men and women sharing their woundedness at the hands of ignorant, fearful and lazy Christians. In my evangelical mega-church, I am well aware that these hurtful attitudes exist. I know that those women have little chance of being loved and accepted as they were meant to be outside the safe confines of our little enclave. And that is a travesty we must corrrect.
As Marin makes clear, embracing the gay community with Christ-like love does not equate to rejecting biblical truth. I defy anyone with an open mind and heart to read his book and come away unmoved and unchanged. In the typical "us-against-them" scenario, there are no winners.
I particularly admire God's servants like Marin, who have not personally struggled with the heart-wrenching pain of walking the gay road, yet are compelled to minister to that community. Those of us who have been there and have made it out, by God's grace, read his book with a different set of eyes. Some of us have tried to "speak the truth in love" inadequately because of the baggage we still carry with us. I now have to work to smooth out those sharp edges in my own testimony. Marin's light is unsullied and authentic in another way.
I pray this book and the Marin Foundation light a fire in Christ's church and open us to what Jesus' restorative words to Peter -- "Feed my sheep" -- are all about.