from My Recommended Reading List (Part 10 of 12)
“One cannot work within the GLBT community without facing the tough questions that are on the top of everyone’s mind – is homosexuality right or wrong; nature or nurture; sin or non-sin; “out and proud” or ex-gay? The purpose of elevating the conversation is not to answer those questions for you, but rather to give you the framework for gays and lesbians to answer those questions with you by their side. To elevate the conversation is to change the conversation – moving from the starting point of the conversation to the starting point of the conversation partner.” – Andrew Marin (page 83)
One of my goals for this blog in 2013 is to spotlight my “Recommended Reading List”. “Love Is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community” by Andrew Marin is the selection for October. To view the complete list of my favorite books on the subject of same-sex attractions, click this link: My List of Recommended Books
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I don’t agree with every single idea, concept or thesis discussed in every book on my list. But each selection contributes insight and understanding to the subject.
Like the other books I chose for this list, it would be very difficult for me to adequately describe my experience with this book in a single blog post (or even in a series of blog entries). My feeble synopsis here does not do it justice. Literally every page is filled with experiences and insights that Christians need to hear and act upon. Even the most conventional and familiar messages outlined by Marin are worthy for us to revisit. It is a provocative volume that will remain relevant for years to come.
The first time I read “Love Is an Orientation” (in 2010) I cried (several times). The fourth time I read the book (earlier this year) I felt burdened down with sadness and aggravation. Why does it seem like so many Christians and churches keep making the same mistakes (make the same poor decisions, react with the same antagonism and ignorance, etc.) regarding the LGBTQ community?
3 Notable Passages
“Will we make a willful, knowledgeable and cognizant decision to live life differently regarding the gay and lesbian community, or will we just stay the same? . . .
Throughout the entirety of Scripture the Father is calling his sheep to realize this radical way of life [1 Peter 4:1 – 11; Matthew 7:13, 14]. But still few are able to find it – to leave the judging to God, to leave the convicting to the Holy Spirit and to embrace the orientation of love. To worship with, go to church with, explore difficult questions with, be real with and be intentionally committed to live life with people who are honestly open to the call of God on their life. To hang out with people when they need someone, to offer patience when people need time and freedom to discover who they are in God. Above all, to praise the Lord for such wonderfully unique opportunities to love.
These choices are not about gays and lesbians, they’re about us.” – pages 148, 149
“Christians look at a gay or lesbian person and see a potential behavioral change instead of a person longing to know the same Christ we seek. If we could only release control of what might happen down the road in a GLBT person’s life when Jesus enters, I promise that God loves his children enough to always tell each of them what he feels is best for their life.
So then why not start peacefully pointing gays and lesbians in the direction of learning how to have an intimate, real, conversational relationship with the Father and Judge instead of trying to to put all of them in 12-step programs? Like all other groups, including straight believers, GLBT people are nothing more than sheep looking for their shepherd.” – page 85
“Even if Christians don’t agree with the GLBT community or what they stand for, believers in Christ are supposed to know how to find real empathy for those who are going through things we can never understand. When we get our first glimpse of that genuine empathy; let it soak in until it becomes a real expression of our appreciation of what GLBT people face twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
The GLBT community shouldn’t have to demand that from Christians. We should demand it of ourselves as faithful stewards of the responsibility that they have given us by letting a straight, conservative Christian into their world. Let us then learn and listen and validate the reality of their stories as to what did actually happened in their life. Validation is different from affirmation, and it is an essential starting point to take gay people at their word. The more skeptical we are, the more we doubt the validity of a gay’s or lesbian’s life, the more shallow and ineffective our relationships become” – pages 34, 35
Outline By Chapter
- We Don’t Need Your God!
- We Are Not Your Project: Sexual Behavior Is Gay Identity
- Stigma, Shame and Politics: The GLBT Experience in the Broader Culture
- Gay versus Christian and Gay Christians
- Who Are We Looking to for Validation? The GLBT Quest for Good News from God
- Reclaiming the Word Love: Measurable Unconditional Behaviors
- The Big 5: Principles for a More Constructive Conversation
- Laying the Foundation: Commitment, Boldness and the Big 5
- Building a Bridge: Asking the Right Questions
- Crossing a Bridge: The World Reads Christians, Not the Bible
The Big 5
“The Big 5” refers to the five battleground (or “clobber”) passages of the Bible that directly speaks to the topic of homosexuality. It also refers to the five principles the author culled from a holistic interpretation of these same passages (detailed in Chapter 7). Marin argues the point that Christians must take the lead to intentionally move away from the squabbling (and often detrimental) debates and arguments. Political and social issues (though important) have become an obsession for too many Christians while a passion and compassion for individuals and relationships are sorely lacking.
Find common ground; find a common purpose. Pursue relational, open, authentic, honest and humble communications framed around the following principles. Jesus modeled an approach that provided and encouraged space for in-depth understanding and insight. His spirit, conduct and conversations were intentional, graceful and countercultural – not abusive, divisive or legalistic.
(1) Mind-Frame-Shift Principle (Genesis 19)
Shift each person’s mind frame away from the things that bind our yearning for anything else but God
(2) Crossroads Principle (Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13)
Bring each person to their own crossroads of belief where they make a choice to live distinctly for God or not
(3) Oneness Principle (Romans 1:26, 27)
Recognize from that choice what positively or negatively affects an individual’s oneness with the Lord
(4) The Great Christian Debate (1 Corinthians 6:9 – 11)
Know when to release control of someone else’s life
(5) Think-Big-Picture Principle (1 Timothy 1:9 – 11)
Keep open a path for God to accomplish his will for a person’s life, even until their last breath (page 138)
“Bridge building is not evangelism. Bridge building is a sustainable friendship, a relationship, a bond, camaraderie, closeness and strong confidence. Truly knowing a gay or lesbian person is learning to discover their social and spiritual selves through mutual respect and trust.” – page 170
Links and Resources
(1) The link to author’s blog:
(2) Here’s the link to the author’s foundation. You will find this book, the accompanying curriculum, resources for parents and youth, a media library and information about continuing education classes, volunteer/internship opportunities plus national/international events.
(3) Here’s the link to this book’s Amazon.com page:
(4) Marin briefly talks about his book and foundation:
© Darrell Martin and SameSexAttractions.wordpress.com, 2013.
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