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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. That subtitle is what is needed next, and I think it’s the Third Way.
Some are wearied by this discussion.
Some are worked into passionate pronouncements.
Few are willing to sort out the issues, both biblical and relational, and then move into genuine Christian engagement. Andrew Marin does the latter.
Relationships can be life-altering in this discussion: What have relationships with those who “come out” done to your perception of the issues?
There are three views: Some are for, some are against, and some are with. That is, some think once they have said “Homosexual sexual relations are acceptable for those committed to the Christian faith” or “Homosexual sexual relations are unacceptable for those committed to the Christian faith” they are done. They’ve rendered judgment. Very few in the latter camp carry on to be pastorally with those with whom they disagree. Andrew does the latter.
As I said above, relationships often shift this conversation to the next level. Unfortunately, many who are against (and done) do not know any gays or lesbians.
Andrew’s story begins with relationships and his desire to sort out the issues by being faithful to his evangelical Christian faith. “Sitting across from me,” he writes on p. 15, “is a forty-six-year-old Orthodox Jewish man with AIDS on a unique life-ending quest: to figure out who Yeshua is and discover what God’s original plan was for his life before it got derailed with this horrible disease.” Andrew meets with this man every Tuesday night to “seek our Father’s face as we journey to discover why this man’s fate is life and not an early death.”
Andrew’s story is typical: he’s evangelical, white, heterosexual (married), Bible-believing and he wanted “absolutely nothing to do with the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community” (16). And he puts it typically: “Homosexuality just grossed me out.” And for his first 19 years he was “the biggest Bible-banging homophobic person” he knew.
Then he had some friends come out to him. Three best friends, three consecutive months. His response was to tell them it was sin. They told him their stories.
Andrew’s response, and it is one I am grateful for, was to immerse himself in the GLBT community and his goal was to become the “most involved, gayest straight dude on the face of the earth” (19). Then it happened for him: he realized, as a result of listening constantly that there was something going on the GLBT community about God, faith and religion.
He started with Bible studies. With gays and lesbians and bi-sexuals and transgenders. It started with six straight baseball players and became over 100 GLBT folks. The straight people left. Except Andrew.
Andrew tells the story of with.