Andrew Marin has earned the right to be heard about gays and the Church. Why? His book, Love Is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation With the Gay Community
, tells the story of what I am now calling the “power of with.” Andrew invites us to get beyond the “for” vs. “against” debate to the power of learning to love those with whom we may disagree.
Do we know the struggle? How important is it to us to learn about this struggle?
The power of “with” comes from learning about and getting to know the GLBT community. The average age is 13 when a person realizes his or her same-sex attraction. Declaration occurs, on average, at 15. Fear and shame etc dominate the consciousness of these folks. More importantly: many pray hard for God to remove same-sex attraction and the unwanted feelings. They come to one of two conclusions: (1) there is no God because God doesn’t answer that prayer; (2) that God has aleady condemned them to hell and that is why that God doesn’t answer the prayer.
Andrew proposes “constructive, nonviolent tension.” That is, spending time in the tension. That tension has been created, in part, by the “for” vs. “against” debate. It has led many to be against the God of Christians. Andrew has found that many gays and lesbians want to know the God of the Bible. Here is Andrew’s conclusion:
“Over the years I have clearly learned … that at a baseline level all the GLBT community wants from God is (a) to have the same intimate relationship with God that evangelicals have; and (b) to safely enter into a journey toward an inner reconciliation of who they are sexually, spiritually and socially” (30).
Note these words: “In fact from my experience, the GLBT community’s default system is to never take anything Christians say as genuine” (33).