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Love Is An Orientation Paperback – Apr 1 2009
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"I have to say I totally recommend this book. The church has not loved the GLBT community well and Andrew is helping to change that. Love Is an Orientation is a great book to read if you're interested in how bridges can be built between these two communities. It's well written and a pretty quick read. It is very informational and applicable but also stretching."--Imago Andei (andrewmeans.typepad.com), April 21, 2009
"In summary, this ultra-conservative, self-proclaimed 'homophobe' felt God draw him into conversation and ministry with Chicago's gay and lesbian community. He's been at it for about six years now, and with great success. His book is a guide for those of us who want to learn from his experience how best to engage the gay community."--Brandon O'Brien, Off the Agenda (blog.buildingchurchleaders.com), March 27, 2009
"Marin forced me to think outside my usual categories in ways that made me uncomfortable at times. But his bottom line offers a whole lot more hope than anything else on the subject I've read recently."--Cynthia Bezek, Discipleship Journal, May/June 2009
"I'm hoping to write a book in the next few months. I have something I want to say and I think it's important. But I want you to hear what I am about to say: If you had two books to choose from, whatever I will write and what Andrew Marin has written in Love Is an Orientation, I would want you to buy Andrew's book. What Andrew Marin has written in this book isn't just interesting. It is absolutely vital that evangelicals hear what Marin is saying about the state of things between Gays and Evangelicals. Love Is an Orientation is a must buy. In fact, buy two or three. Don't just read it; get someone else to read it. Marin's book isn't about exercising an agenda. It's a book that grows out of the Gospel, out of the incarnate God's love for all persons, out of refusal to be torn apart on the usual talking points and out of ministry to people who need Christ. Unhesitatingly recommended in the highest possible terms."--The Internet Monk (internetmonk.com), May 3, 2009
"I highly recommend this book as a must read for every Christian."--Armybarmy REMIX (armybarmyremix.blogspot.com), April 24, 2009
"I believe Marin is doing something truly extraordinary in his work and in this book. I think it's going to be very important in Evangelical and conservative-ish Christian circles. If you are someone who cares about the church and also longs for any sort of progress in a positive direction on the church's obsession with the gays (or--maybe I should say--overwhelming amount of energy focused on the issue) I would put this book at #1 on your priority of books to read."--Young Anabaptist Radicals (young.anabaptistradicals.org), May 17, 2009
"I read this book in 24 hours. I could not put it down and have been recommending it to others ever since. Why? Simply because Andrew's life and ministry is a testimony of what love, God's unconditional love, looks like and should look like in His Church. This kind of love is about freedom: the freedom to love others without worrying about the outcome."--Karrie H., Book Bargains and Previews (bookbargainsandpreviews.com), July 2009
"A courageous step forward in elevating the conversation on gay issues. It sings with a deep love for Christ, for gay people and for the Church. It is not a book that can be read with passive indifference. It offers tangible hope and practical steps forward for those who hear Christ's call to build a bridge toward their gay neighbors."--Wendy Gritter, New Direction Ministries, July 2009
"A simple and clear perspective of how authentic Christian love can help build bridges with an often abused or ignored portion of American culture."--Adam Griffin, YouthWorker Journal, July/August 2009
"Marin's call to 'be bold' is surprising, refreshing and life-giving."--Craig Detweiler, Outreach, March/April 2010
"Clear off all the other books on homosexuality and Christianity and make room for Love Is an Orientation. This is by far the best book I have read on the Christian response to the gay and lesbian community. Who knew it would take a straight, evangelical, white male and former homophobe to write it? Love Is an Orientation takes the conversation to an entirely different level. It is startlingly fresh. Marin's insights come from having done what few other Christians have done--complete immersion in the GLBT community. He is as incarnational in representing Jesus to this population as one can possibly get."--Pursue God (pursuegod.wordpress.com), April 30, 2009
"One of the most important conversations happening in the church. And one of the most divisive. Andrew Marin is a fresh, gracious, innovative voice in the dialogue. For Marin, this is not about a hot-button 'issue'--it is about a face, a friend, a child of God. It is about Jesus, whose love many find hard to grasp because of what they have felt from his followers. Andrew reminds us that, whether conservative or liberal, we can have great ideas and still be mean and self-righteous. And ultimately they will know we are Christians, not by our proof-texting, but by our love."--Shane Claiborne, author, activist, recovering sinner, www.thesimpleway.org
"The evangelical church, with a few exceptions, has been stuck with three options when it comes to our thinking and action concerning the gay community. Some remain silent because they're fearful and aren't sure what they believe. Others engage in loud and acerbic speech-making, convinced that they must first address 'conclusive' biblical truth on this special sin before any possible conversation could even begin. Still others attempt to adopt a 'love the sinner but hate the sin' perspective that sounds good on paper but seems to play out in reality as distancing from those perceived sinners. Andrew Marin, thankfully, breaks through these three options with the 'Why haven't we been doing this all along?' approach of love and dialogue. Reading this book feels like Marin just called a time-out, and asked us all to sit in a circle and talk turkey."--Mark Oestreicher, president, Youth Specialties
"One of my mentors once told me, 'The hard thing about being a bridge is that you get walked on from both ends.' Thank God for those big-hearted people willing to be bridges . . . willing to suffer a lot of abuse and misunderstanding in trying to bring others together. Andrew Marin is one of those bridge-people, and he has laid himself across a huge gap to bring together people who need each other."--Brian McLaren, author, speaker and activist (brianmclaren.net)
"Homosexuality is more than a biblical debate about who's right and who's wrong. Everything converges in the pastoral and the personal context, and Andrew Marin--unlike any writer I've seen--deals with real humans in real human contexts. We desperately need this book; it has the potential to shift the evangelical movement in a more compassionate direction."--Scot McKnight, Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies, North Park University
"Andrew Marin speaks with a loving, clear voice about an issue that is dividing families, churches and our nation."--Michelle Strombeck, Moody Broadcasting Network
"This is a book unlike any other on the debate about homosexuality in the church. Andrew establishes a new starting place for us all--a definite must-read."--David Roberts, editor of Ex-Gay Watch
"I've been searching for a good Christian book that deals with the topic of gays and lesbians, and I believe this one is it. What I liked most about this book was that he brings back the word 'love' to the foreground. Marin emphasizes having true relationships with the GLBT community, not just lip service. He strongly encourages Christians to look past sexual orientation and focus on real friendships. And he reminds the church: it is not up to us to 'fix' gays, or even to make them Christian. All God requires of us is to love them. Can we trust Him to do the rest? This is a book that needs to be read by all Christians, I think, both gay and straight."--The Cafe in the Woods (tbonecafe.wordpress.com), July 12, 2009"
"This book could be used in a study group of folk concerned to reach out more effectively to family and friends who acknowledge homosexual attractions. It is a challenge to our thinking and attitudes. It is a portrait of courage that few of us can emulate."--Rodney Stent, The Lamplighter
"It is a particularly helpful resource for those who want to build bridges with GLB persons in their circle of friends and acquaintances."--Mark A. Yarhouse, Religious Studies Review, March 2010
"Bravely, Andrew Marin is telling the story of his own new approach to Christian ministry with gay and lesbian neighbors. Bravely, IVP is publishing this book. Today, we're applauding the prophetic courage of both Marin and IVP."--Read the Spirit (readthespirit.com), June 3, 2009
"In his book Love Is an Orientation, Andrew Marin takes us along with him on his immersion into the gay neighborhood 'Boystown' in Chicago. Examining the current reality of the relationship (or lack thereof) between the Christian community and the GLBT community, Marin seeks to build bridges between the two camps. Marin teaches from his experiences in the gay community in a way that is both thought-provoking and entertaining. If you're looking for helpful insight into the lives of gay men and women, along [with] practical tools to authentically reflect the love of Christ to those you encounter (even in church--surprise!) this is a great place to start. Be warned: this book will challenge your thinking and force yourself to question how you view people. Do you really love people as God does them? Remember God made them."--A Non-Quotidian Existence (mattandjody.blogspot.com), June 11, 2009
About the Author
Andrew Marin is president and founder of The Marin Foundation, a nonprofit organization that seeks to build bridges between the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (GLBT) and religious communities. He is the author of Love Is an Orientation.
Brian D. McLare is a sought-after speaker and highly respected author focusing on the church and the postmodern cultural shift surrounding it. He s founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church, an innovative, nondenominational church in the Baltimore-Washington region. Brian is the author of A Generous Orthodoxy, Finding Faith, A New Kind of Christian, and More Ready Than You Realize. He s also on the international steering team and board of directors for emergent (www.emergentvillage.org), a growing generative friendship of missional Christian leaders. Brian is married to Grace. They have four children.
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Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.