My Mind Made Public -

I held off as long as I could ...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Gay Marriage

With the election coming up, and the vote in California for Prop 8 - otherwise known as the gay marriage bill - I have been receiving a lot of emails wondering my take on the whole issue. My bridge building goal is to elevate the conversation between the GLBT community and the Church, and so here it is:

Recently I was being interviewed on a national radio show and the host retold a story about speaking at a political rally outside of a courthouse. The rally was geared toward the fight to protect the institution of traditional biblical marriage. As he was walking toward the park where the rally was being held he noticed a not so subtle pack of GLBT protesters roped off across the street screaming at anyone seemed to be going in the rally’s general direction. The protesters held up cleaver signs in support of gay marriage and called the passer-bys names; dubbing them “religious right bigots.” The host went on to talk about “the gay agenda” in broad, non-specific generalizations; an “evil agenda” that has such a strong controlling influence that it poisons the minds of the GLBT community. His conclusion was that “rank and file” gays and lesbians blindly perpetuate political and religious upheaval around the country. “They [gays and lesbians] don’t even know what they’re doing. They just do it because every other gay and lesbian is doing it.”

I don’t know if I heard him right or not, but it sure sounded like he was blaming an agenda for brainwashing individual people’s actions. And I swear that is the exact same accusation the gay agenda folks blame the religious right for doing to Christians. During this particular interview and the next six interviews I gave, each host told me that the gay agenda was the single driving force of hatred towards evangelical Christians.

I’ve caught on to the pattern and this whole thing is ridiculous. All this talk of agendas is now officially wasting everybody’s time.

One of the main fighting points is over the legalization of gay marriage. Christian parents all over the country are already forced to have difficult conversations with their children about why their kid’s friends have two moms or two dads—regardless if the two moms or two dads are legally married or not.

In research done by The Williams Institute and the Urban Institute, more than 65,000 adopted children are living with gay or lesbian parents in the United States. The same research also showed that over 14,000 foster children (3% of all foster children) are living with gay or lesbian foster parents.

Preventing legalized same sex marriage, or legalizing it, is not going to change the conversation for any Christian family.

As Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw acknowledge in their book Jesus for President, we find ourselves in a fallen world that dominates government and culture in ways that are not of our Father. It is not the Christian community’s responsibility to govern a world that we do not belong to; fight in wars that are in direct opposition to Jesus’ peaceful, non-violent approach; or reign over a government we are not a part of.

"For Jesus and his followers, the central question was, How do we live faithfully to God? It [the central question] was not How do we run the world as Christians … how do I run this profit-driven corporation as a Christian … how can we make culture more Christian … how would a responsible Christian run this war. But Jesus taught that his followers—or even the Son of God!—should not attempt to “run the world” (p. 167).

Let the politically active have what the politically active think belongs to them. Christians should think in God’s terms, not in human terms.

"Caesar could brand with his image coins, crowns, and robes, which moths would eat and rust would destroy. But life and creation have God’s stamp on them. Caesar could have his coins, but life is God’s. Caesar had no right to take what is God’s. We are also reminded that just as Caesar stamped his image on coins, God’s image is stamped on human beings." (p. 117)

The political world means too much to Christianity, and people mean too little. Love is a tangible and measurable expression of one’s unconditional behaviors towards another; it’s not a legalized rule written into governmental documents.

And whether or not gay marriage is politically accepted or denied, it still should not change how we as Christians live in relation to and relationship with, anyone who is gay or lesbian.

Much love.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Prayer for the Faithful

Thank you Lord for this opportunity to Be;
For this opportunity to be Yours.

Our prayers, wants, hopes and desires –

We pray them knowing what we pray and the end result we yearn to see,
but can never know or understand the Kingdom ramifications of how You are going to get those simple, yet passionate and heartfelt eternal prayers accomplished.

Because what is in our head never seems to play itself out how we ourselves think it so.

Our direct points from A to B, might end up A to B looped through C to Z, backtracked to M and on to O; followed by P and back to E ending in where our original B prayer landed us.

And you do it because you respect us,
and deem our prayer worthy to the best that only You know how to accomplish it –

fully; and thoroughly lived out as only You can grant Your follower their Kingdom passions.

Therefore Father:

Let us be who you need us to be.
Let us do what you need us to do.
Let us go where you need us to go.
Let us work how you need us to work.
Let us live how you need us to live.
Let us speak how you need us to speak.
Let us feel what you need us to feel.
Let us follow how you need us to follow.
Let us lead how you need us to lead.
Let us learn what you need us to learn.

Whatever those words mean to you, and whatever that will look like for me and my life –

take me; take us.

Take all of us – however You see it to the optimal expression of our Spirit’s prayers.
And take all of us to truly, tangibly and as real as we possibly can:

Live out Your will on earth as it is in Heaven.

Thank you and Praise you Holy Father.
In Jesus precious name;

Much love.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My Top 10 Favorite Movies

In alphabetical order:

A Christmas Vacation
Austin Powers 2: The Spy who Shagged Me
Christmas Story
Happy Gilmore
Jurassic Park 1
Passion of the Christ
So I Married an Axe Murderer (This is actually my FAVORITE movie of ALL TIME!!!)
Star Wars Trilogy – the old school versions (I know that’s three movies but I’m just going to count them as one)
The Last Samurai

So what do you think of my choices? Any I left out, or, any of those I love that you absolutely hate (don’t worry; I’ll try not to take it personally and then hate you because you don’t agree with me).


Much love.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Speaking at Youth Specialties Sacramento - Part 2

And the conclusion to YS Sacramento ...

During the general session (GS) I started talking about my story, my unique experiences and how the broader Christian community has intentionally run away from any type of constructive tension that pushes us to cause growth when it comes to building bridges with the gay and lesbian community. I don’t want to give my GS all away … I don’t want to give away my quotes, my stories and the whole talk because then why would anyone want to come to the next two? So you’ll just have to live with that summary for right now!

As I was standing on a 7x7 stage, that was surrounded by thousands of people in a circular fashion on all sides, talking about homosexuality and the Church you could sense the crowd’s tension easing a little bit a few minutes into everything, not necessarily because I was saying what they wanted to hear, but because they found themselves strangely and uniquely gravitating to being able to in some small way relate to me as a straight evangelical man who was a former Bible-banging homophobe who was thrown in the middle of a crazy life because the Lord deemed it so. In fact, I actually got a few claps – the crowd still dumbfounded, but a few none the less. :)

My time flew by and I had no idea what just happened or the impact (or lack their-of) until my talk-back session after the GS. The talk-back session is what follows all GS’s where the GS speaker goes into a separate room and answers questions for an hour (and my talk back session was held in conjunction with 2 other GS speakers as well).

About 300 people showed up! And as soon as I said I didn’t have an agenda for what to talk about other than to answer questions 100 hands shot up. Sweet! I love questions. (I came to find out afterward from one of the YS staff that what happened during my talk back session had never happened before at any other event). Not only did a ballroom full of people show up, but it’s not like I had anywhere else to go so I told everyone I’d just stay until all the questions were answered.

And then we all got kicked out at 1am by a security guard! That was the theme for all of my experiences throughout the weekend.

My first workshop was at 8am that morning (thanks YS for the great scheduling on that one!). I thought I was screwed because I just spent 3 hours answering everyone’s questions, and, Question: who in their right mind (besides me because I was contractually obligated to do so) would wake up at the butt-crack of dawn to go to an 8am workshop on homosexuality after I just spend 3 extra hours with everyone? Answer: about 200 more people who tried to pack into a room fit for 67. People sat on the floor around me and beside me, people sat out in the hallway, wherever they could. I WAS SHOCKED! In going with the theme, another 70 or so hands shot up for questions, and once again, since I had nothing else to do I just stayed and answered all of them – for 3 ½ more hours!

Oh, and it didn’t stop there. My next workshop was on Sunday afternoon, and after the convention buzz about the GS, the talk back and the first workshop, YS moved me to a large ballroom (picture to the right). Another 300 or so people showed up to that one as well. And just the same, I stayed almost 2 hours after to keep answering questions.

My main point to all of this has nothing to do with the numbers. I would have done the same for 5 people. The main point though, is truly about the sheer numbers of people who:

1) Stayed hours after each session trying to process all of this new paradigm bridge building theology in real time, not knowing where they’re going to end up, but realizing that it needs to happen!!!

2) Those who pulled me to the side while I was walking in the hotel or the convention center needing to ask more questions because they had continued to wrestle with, think and about and challenge themselves while processing this new info well after the sessions and the Q&As were over.

And there is absolutely nothing more then I could ever asked for from anyone.

Throughout the weekend I was so tremendously humbled by everything. I was so tremendously shocked for how I (and the topic) were received. I was so tremendously encouraged by the number of church leaders from all over the country who gathered to purposefully enter into a difficult conversation without knowing where it would go. And I was so tremendously blessed to be a part of the greatest conference experience I have ever been a part of – not because YS treats both their speakers and attendees totally first class (which they do), but because of the mass amounts of hungry youth workers who face the gay-religious-mainstream disconnect every day of their life without any help, knowing the church can’t move forward until this topic is handled in the right way. What a great God we have, and what great followers He has produced.

I can’t wait for Pittsburgh at the end of the month.

Much love.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Youth Specialites Weekly Devotional featuring Andrew Marin

This podcast, #1386029, (go to Episode #10) is the Youth Specialties Weekly Devotional that was just released:

"This week Adam McLane shoots on location in Chicago. First, Jason Raitz from Willow Creek gives some training tips for those who oversee small group leaders. Next, Andrew Marin shares a devotional about the prayers of those called to lead."

My new family Adam McLane and Cathy Nerenberg came to Chicago to film it (the dull noise in the background of the video is my building getting tuck-pointed), and while they were here we went to the world famous Ann Sather's for breakfast, and got in some great hang time at my condo and on my roof. Speaking of the roof, you can see the view from it to the left; and poor Cathy is scared to death of heights! Adam, Cathy and I totally hit it off while in Sacramento - and now we're quite the trio to mess with!!! Watch out world!!!

Much love.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Refelction of Writing a Book - Part 3

I get this question a lot: Where did you write your book?

The first 2 weeks were spent writing at my home during the day. But the problem was that I was so nervous to write even one word because I ultimately knew other people were going to read them. And because of that I paralyzed myself. In order then, to take my mind off of everything I would turn the TV on, I would check my email, I would call people … anything I could do to distract myself from the pressure I felt to have to write a ‘generation changing’ book in 7 weeks. Then one night it was really late I was wide awake and decided to start writing.

I wrote and wrote and wrote from about 10pm-6am and it was just flowing out of me (this also coincided with the condensing of my outlines). I wrote 23 pages that first night and I was ecstatic! I realized that in the middle of the night no one is awake so I can’t call anyone, can’t email anyone, can’t watch any Cubs games on TV; I could just write with no distractions.

That was the most freeing realization I ever had! From that moment on I totally flipped my sleep/writing schedule upside down. I would write until about 6am or so each night, wake up about 4pm, wait for my wife Brenda to come home from work at about 5pm, we would have dinner and then I would kiss her goodbye and go to Chicago’s only 24-hour Starbucks underneath the world famous Chicago's Second City Theater at North Ave. and Wells St. Then from about 6pm until whenever I felt like stopping, I would write in one of those big and comfortable leather chairs that Starbucks has. Peaceful. Productive. Wonderful. My middle-of-the-night Starbucks writing time was just what I needed to escape and get away from everyone and everything for those 5 remaining weeks so I could concentrate without distractions. I thank God for that 24 hour Starbucks. It was quite, no one was ever really there from 1am-5am, everyone kept to themselves and like catching lightning in a bottle, I wrote my entire book in 5 weeks in the middle of the night at a Starbucks.

Knowing what I know now I still believe I had to flip my life schedule in order to get this book done. Not optimal, but essential. But, and this is the gracious big but, I’m looking forward to learning from this experience for book #2. I realized throughout my writing that I need silence, I need to be left alone and I need big chunks of time to write as I am not one of those people who can write a paragraph here and there. But I also know for next time though, I don’t have to flip my life schedule because of everything I learned from this first book. I feel confident enough now, that I can tackle another daunting project like this first one during the day instead of at night. I would like a life and be able to write a book; not just write a book.

Lesson #3: Learn what works best for you in regards to your writing environment and style and stick with it. It might not happen at first, but the more consistent you are the easier it becomes.

Much love.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Speaking at Youth Specialties Sacramento - Part 1

The name Youth Specialties (YS) carries a lot of weight with it. For good or bad, any big organization constantly gets both hated on and praised for their work and successes. There are some people out there who have nothing better to do then to try and discredit and rip apart people/organizations for no other reason because they have made something out of themselves. YS falls into that category. But as many in the ‘spotlight’ tell me, it comes with the territory. And with that, YS totally understands who they are, what they’re all about and the mass audience they command (YS averages anywhere between 13,000 – 21,000 people throughout their 3 national conventions each year).

So I’d be lying if I said I expected them to ask me to be a General Session (GS) speaker. I’d be lying even more if I said that I also expected them to ask me to be a GS speaker at all 3 of their national conventions! I was shocked. Why … a number of things which include the following:

I am 27 years old

I talk about homosexuality in a very non-traditional way

I am not pro-gay or ex-gay

I don’t have a book (not released, anyway)

I’m not super famous (PS – it’s like the only folks who get to grace a YS main stage session are big … real big, with a big following – and I am not that)

And I am reletively new to the public speaking "circut"

I am not anything that, from what I had previously gathered, YS was ever looking for. Not looking for, that was, until Marko (the President of YS) told me why they asked me to speak 4 times per convention. As he said in his introduction of me during the Friday night GS in Sacramento this past weekend:

“YS has looked for, and thought really hard for many years in how to address the topic of homosexuality. And in each idea we never found the right person or the right method to do such a thing. But I think our [YS] inability to talk about homosexuality has said more, loud and clear, then if we were to have ever talked about it. But we have found the person … “

Talk about setting the tone and the expectation for what I was going to be talking about?!

I wouldn’t have had it any other way because not only did it grip the thousands of people sitting in the audience, but it gave the intentionality this topic deserves in conservative/evangelical/ecumenical/middle of the road/swaying left/Christian/Catholic/general religious circles that it utterly deserves these days!

(even though I needed a big dose of Zanax while I was sitting in my hotel room before-hand totally doing the freak). Just a side note about why I was doing the freak …

Every person (past YS speakers and YS staff as well) I asked about the vibe and environment I was going to be walking into told me the same thing: “I have no idea how they’ll react, good luck and stick it to ‘em!” OH, isn’t that comforting?

When I got up on that stage the tension and uncertainty in that large convention ballroom was so thick it could have been cut with a flimsy feather – I mean we’re not even talking about solidly constructed butter knives!

And thus I started talking.

To be continued ….

Much love.

Friday, October 17, 2008

October 17, 1997

October 17th is quite a day for me. I’m sitting at O’Hare airport right now on my way to Tampa with a gigantic pain in my soul. In fact right now I’m starting to sweat even thinking about it.

October 17, 1997: one of my really close friends, Alli, got killed in a car accident. She and two other friends were driving and a drunk driver ran a red light at 90 mph and hit them square. Everyone, including the passenger in the drunk driver’s car were killed instantly … except the drunk driver himself. We were juniors in high school and it was the day before homecoming. I had the hugest crush on her, I looked up to her brother as a hero of mine and I loved her little sister and her mom and dad.

I call her family every year still on this day. What do you say – hey, how’s today treating you? There’s not much to say other than I love them with all that I am, always have and always will. I still visit Alli’s grave when I get out to the suburbs, and her picture is hanging on the grave. I look at the picture and talk to her, like she’s still here. It’s been so long, yet I remember every moment of how and when I found out as clearly as I am sitting here right now … and then to carry Alli’s casket from the church to the hearse to the grave is one of the most humbling moments of my life.

I’m not going to make this long nor am I going to gush about the time we had together. All I want is for everyone who reads this to do just one thing for me – don’t get behind a wheel of a car after drinking. I’m 27 now, and we were all 16 when Alli was killed. Our friends are all married now, and some are having kids … something that we’ll never see for her. Just think before you ever get behind the wheel, or in the car, with a driver that has drunk alcohol.

Much love.

The Coalition – Southern California Event #2

The second event that The Coalition held was an inclusive pastor’s roundtable that took place in Long Beach. What does inclusive pastor mean? In layman’s terms, it’s a pastor who is gay or lesbian or a pastor of a gay (or gay affirming) church. The broader scope of The Marin Foundation’s bridge building framework for systemic change between the GLBT and conservative religious communities is the following:

Host a conservative pastor’s roundtable to lay out our bridge building work

Host an inclusive pastor’s roundtable to lay out our bridge building work

After both have been given the new paradigm training, introduce them to each other for the start of peaceful and productive dialogue.

After that, introduce their congregations to one another as well for peaceful and productive dialogue.

After that, set up a framework of serving in the community, churches and being able to make a significant impact for the Kingdom together while still being able to recognize each’s theological differences.

After that, create a self-sustaining bridge building committee in the local community to continue this work.

After that, continue to follow-up and make sure everything is still running as if The Marin Foundation were still present.

Don’t think it can happen? Wrong. It has, and it is! Do you want to bring this to your city … hit us up and we’ll be there in a heart beat!

Anyway, at this last inclusive pastor’s roundtable were 17 of the most prominent gay pastors in Southern California. So many conservatives ask me:

How do you do it? Do they hate you? Do they yell? Do you yell? Does it get ugly quick? How do you handle their tough questions? Etc….

If there is ONE thing that I have learned over the years it is that the GLBT community is dying to be able to enter into safe, peaceful and productive dialogue with conservatives; they just don’t ever think it will go well or be any of those desired things – so they just don’t even try anymore. The crazy part is when there is a “third party” bridge builder providing the framework, environment, experiences and facilitating the conversation, miracles happen as the Lord is able to freely work and maneuver without the restrictions of human pride, hurt and vengefulness taking over.

I would be lying to you if I said these types of events are not without their moments of tension or skepticism. In fact, it's expected! Why should anyone in the gay or lesbian community trust me or the Coalition (even those who are gay and a part of the Coalition) without us ever tangible proving ourselves first and foremost that we are trustable?! Thus, the tension and skepticism is exactly where most everyone starts. And unfortunately I don’t believe many people actually want to ever enter into that place of tension … so technically, that is where everything ends just as quickly then. But willfully and intentionally entering into that scary place to just ‘be’ in real-time with someone else is an experience I always cherish (that is retrospectively cherish by the way – it’s always difficult and uncomfortable in the moment!). But regardless of any of those negative or awkwardness’s, the result is always a unique place of growth that pushes all involved to new places that were always once thought to be off limits. And the ‘elder statesman’ gay pastor who was in attendance spoke up towards the end and said that this was the:

“very first time all of us [the gay pastors in Southern California] have ever gotten together in the same place at the same time! And because of that, I [the elder statesman gay pastor] know this Coalition is doing things that have never been done before. I’m on board and can’t wait to get involved.”

Wow! It’s comments like that, that make me realize we’re changing lives while plowing a new path – one that has never been plowed. As my Dad says, “when the Spirit of the Lord moves, just move with it!” Amen Dad!

One quick example:

One of the gay pastor’s from West Hollywood (the Boystown of So-Cal) who had been quite cynical from the get-go, pulled me over to the side after that day’s roundtable was completed. He looked me in the eyes and said,

“When I told my colleagues that I was coming to this thing they all looked at me and told me I was walking right into a trap and I would regret even thinking of trying to be a part of something like this. And I can tell you right now that I am going to go back to all of them and let them know they were dead wrong. I am so grateful to have come today and be a part of this exciting new experience. Thank you.”

The Spirit is moving, so let’s just move with Him!!!!

Much love.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Reflection of Writing a Book – Part 2

In some of the original meetings with my publisher they asked me: “We want this book published like yesterday, so when, as soon as you can, do you think you can get the manuscript to us?” How was I supposed to answer that question?! I had never written anything like a book before and I had no idea how long it would take. I figured if I stopped absolutely everything I was doing in life and just concentrated on writing, I could finish it pretty quickly. Looking back on it now, that was probably not the best thing to say to an eager publisher! So we set the timeline at 7 weeks and I was at that moment an author – not Andy, not President of The Marin Foundation, not husband, son or friend. I was Mr. Writer.

From the end of May to the beginning of July I did nothing but write. I didn’t hang out with any friends, I didn’t see my wife, I didn’t talk on the phone, I didn’t check my email, I didn’t go to school nor did I do anything related to The Marin Foundation. I went on sabbatical and entirely canceled my life. Knowing what I know now, that was not the best way to handle this situation and I know for the future how to parcel time out better; not just with the writing but also with the negotiations. I found out after we settled on a manuscript deadline that publishers usually give authors about 9 months to write a book. And then the book still doesn’t get published for another 11-14 months after that because of the editing process, making the whole thing take anywhere from 20-24 months. At that point I realized what just happened – from the date I signed my contract to the date my book will be in the bookstores will be 11 months. Less than ½ the time it normally takes! But I look at this all as such a blessing as the Lord has fast-tracked the publication of Love is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community. He has deemed this the time to do this book for it to make as big as an impact as it can, and so far be it for me to stop or slow any of it down!

Lesson #2:

Make sure you get ample time from your publisher so you are not rushed and are put in the best possible environment to succeed and thrive so you don’t have to quit life. Balance is good. My 7 weeks were not balanced and it wore me out very, very quickly.

Much love.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Prayer and Biblical Leadership

I believe that I can communicate directly with my Heavenly Father. We have conversations. Crazy or not, I know what is true and I know the Lord of the universe loves to be in close relationship with his children who are made in his image. I’m not special … this communication is not just an Andy thing, it’s an all people thing. We’re all God’s children and because of that fact I know with everything I am that God’s intent to be in deep, transparent relationship with us can play itself out clearly through dialoged, direct communication with us through our (the) Holy Spirit. I’ll save the dispensation-and-speaking-in-tongues-post for another time, but why I said what I did was because a few nights ago I had one of those moments of clearly defined communication with God.

I have started to practice a new form of ‘prayer.’ My new form consists of me stopping all of the asking. Sometimes, especially recently, all I felt I did was ask, ask, ask for things, blessings, healings, etc. It got boring. It got repetitive. And I just don’t feel like God wants me to sit and ask. I felt so disconnected from my Creator; I hated it. I hated to pray because prayer shouldn’t be about repetitive askings. So I ditched it.

Instead, I want to be a doer instead of an asker. I want to be a meditater and not a repeater. I want to talk to the Lord of All, Jehovah, face to face; word for word. I want to tell God everything that frightens me, wigs me out or overwhelms me – and then I want to know in comfort that the Creator of everything hears me. I know that sounds like a lot of ‘wants’ but really, they’re less ‘wants’ and more yearnings. My spirit yearns for these things like it has never yearned before.

With all of this newly realized angst in my soul, what I have realized is that I have been trying to fit my prayer life/quite time/whatever you want to call it into a timeline. I’ll read the Bible for a while, pray for a while, and then start my day. And all of that has to fit into an hour timeframe. What kind of ridiculous rational is that? Do I seriously think El Shaddai will work on my timeline for making him talk to me? I did – until I realized the error in my humanly inept logic.

A man that I greatly admire and look up to, and someone I’ve never met, is Dr. David Cho. He is the founding pastor of the world’s largest church (about 800,000 members – it’s in South Korea). I heard him speak live one time, and it was the most powerful message I had EVER heard. It changed my life. I can talk about that later. But why I’m saying this is because Dr. Cho came through for me again. In an article I was reading, Dr. Cho was talking about his prayer life and the article read:

“Yet he [Dr. Cho] sets aside substantial time each day with the Lord for prayer. Once when the president of South Korea called, Cho’s secretary replied, “Mister president, you will have to wait your turn. He is taking with the Lord of the universe. Cho says his secret of success is “I hear and obey.””

Wow. When I read that I got it. Dr. Cho doesn’t put the Lord on his timetable; he puts himself on the Lord’s timetable. Dr. Cho “talks to the Lord of the universe.” I can talk to the Lord of the universe. You can talk to the Lord of the universe. I realized that in order to do that I have to wait on God!

Therefore my new prayer life consists of me waiting on God. I read the Bible until I feel it’s time for me to start communicating with God, and then I’ll stop reading and start talking. I’ll share, talk, have a conversation, pour my heart/insecurities out, pray the Lord’s prayer, repeat and meditate on one verse/passage of Scripture … and then I’ll wait on God.

And I won’t move until I hear from Him and we can have a conversation – or, not a conversation as my Father has mostly just been talking to me lately.

Let me tell you though; he doesn’t start talking right away. I’ve waited still, silently, for many hours before I hear one word. I’ve decided (and isn’t ‘decided’ such a stupid word when talking about this stuff – it’s not mine to decide), but anyway, I’ve decided that I’m not moving until the Creator talks to his created.

And what a blessing these past few weeks have been. I feel closer to God than ever before, not because I’m a better human being but because I have finally learned to prioritize the Almighty over everything else in my life – including asking for things while “praying.”

Here is the word the Lord told me the other night and it is about how to lead God’s people:

All of the great leaders in the Bible that God used for glorious things surrounding God’s people (Moses, Samson, David, etc.) had one thing in common:

They all knew how to humble themselves before God – sins and all.

None of them were perfect. Each of them sinned great sins by directly going against God and his commands (Moses and the rock, Samson as a Nazarite, David and Bathsheba), and yet all of them are biblically recognized as greatly honored in God’s eyes. Why? How can they all commit such violent sins against God Himself and still be looked upon by our Father as great? The answer … because they all knew how to fully, totally and utterly humble all of their being before God. Only God can know intent and motivation. And although at times we as fallible humans have the wrong intent or motivation, God recognizes his chosen by their spirit, not their mistake. And because of that I can learn from my forefathers Moses, Samson and David – biblical and righteous leadership begins and ends with the humbled heart as a believer, doer and graciously thankful follower of the Way. And that is the only way to lead.

Much love.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Big Fall Season Starts Tuesday

Starting this Tuesday, October 7th, I begin my 2 ½ months of ‘round the country speaking about The Marin Foundation and our bridge building work! Here is my upcoming schedule (thus far), and I ask that you please pray for me – my mind, safety and productivity as I move from one place to the next trying to make a significant impact for the Kingdom within the gay and conservative communities.

Throughout this time of speaking I also have to completely finish editing my book, keep up with my graduate work, celebrate my 1 year wedding anniversary, run The Marin Foundation and love my wife! It’ll be crazy, but more than that, it is what the Lord put me here to do!

So, here we go …

October 7-9 The Coalition will be hosting the 2nd Pastor’s Roundtable, this time for the Progressive Inclusive Christian pastors to be held in Long Beach, CA.

October 10-13 Andrew Marin will be speaking at the Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention in Sacramento, CA. For more information
please visit Times as follows:

October 10 General Session with Shane Claiborne (Jesus for President)
and Jarrett Stevens (The Deity Formerly Known as God)

October 10 Individual Talk Back Session from 10:15-11:15pm

October 11 Building Bridges with Gay and Lesbian Youth (8- 9:30am)

October 12 How to Productively Answer the Tough Questions about Sexual Identity (3:30-5pm)

October 17-19 Andrew Marin will be officiating a Wedding in Tampa

October 22-26 Andrew Marin will be speaking at the Christian Community Development
Association (CCDA) National Conference in Miami, FL. For more
information please visit

Thursday October 23 from 3-4:15pm and Saturday October 25 from 1-

October 31-November 3 Andrew Marin will be speaking at the Youth Specialties National
Youth Workers Convention in Pittsburgh, PA. For more
information please visit Times as follows:

October 31 General Session with Margaret Feinberg (The Sacred Echo
and Organic God) and Soong-Chan Rah (Growing Healthy
Asian-American Churches) 7:30-9:45pm

October 31 Individual Talk Back Session from 10:15-11:15pm

November 1 Building Bridges with Gay and Lesbian Youth (8- 9:30am)

November 2 How to Productively Answer the Tough Questions about Sexual Identity (3:30-5pm)

November 10-12 Andrew Marin will be speaking at Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas,
TX. For more information please visit

November 14-16 The Coalition will be hosting the 3rd event in the Southern California
Series. This is an all-day training open to the public to bring the
Conservative Christians and the GLBT community together. For more
information to participate, please contact John Lewis from Urban Youth
Workers Institute –

November 21-24 Andrew Marin will be speaking at the Youth Specialties National Youth Workers Convention in Nashville, TN. For more
information please visit Times as follows:

November 21 General Session with Shane Claiborne (Jesus for President),
Tony Campolo (Eastern University) and music by the David
Crowder Band 7:30-9:45pm

November 21 Individual Talk Back Session from 10:15-11:15pm

November 22 Building Bridges with Gay and Lesbian Youth (8- 9:30am)

November 23 How to Productively Answer the Tough Questions about Sexual Identity (3:30-5pm)

December 9-11 Andrew Marin will be in Philadelphia, PA attending The Gathering hosted
by Tony and Bart Campolo at the National Christian Conference Center.

Much love.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Reflection of Writing a Book - Part 1

Writing a book is nothing like I ever expected. Many people believe it’s a mysterious process, and I was no different. I didn’t know the first thing about the publishing world or how a book goes from a brain to a bookstore. So I asked! Even as I sat with my editor, my publishing team, my PR team and my sales/marketing team from InterVarsity Press and listened to them tell me the ins-and-outs of how a publishing timeline works, I still had no idea what was going on. It’s very difficult, or maybe just very difficult for me, to wrap my head around each step as integral to the bigger picture. I was just so concerned with the writing that I didn’t really have any time to think about anything else. Anything else that is, until after I turned my manuscript in. And now each day is a new day, and ultimately a new experience, that I have no pre-existing knowledge or experience with.

I’m not one of those people who loves change or a lot of closely compacted new experiences. I love my comfort zone and I’m not a big fan of being in ‘limbo.’ And yet ‘limbo’ is exactly what I’m in with this whole book writing process. It was a daunting enough task for me to sit down, never having written anything over a 25 page paper in my life, realizing I had 200 pages starring me in the face. The Lord showed favor and I ended up writing 420 pages, of which was cut down to 211.

And here we now stand.

I just got back my heavily edited version back (which I’m ok with because I knew it had to be ½ the length) on Friday when I was speaking in Los Angeles. As I read it over I started to get really scared because I was reading 90% of what is going to be my final book. Exciting, yes. But this is not a book that is going to make anyone feel good. It’s not going to make anyone feel better about themselves nor is it a self help book to solve all of the world’s issues. It’s a hard look at the life of the Church and the gay community through the eyes of a straight, evangelical man who has been immersed in the gay community for almost a decade. Not quite the traditional Christian book! Because of that I know there will be a firestorm to follow. Not necessarily a bad one, not necessarily a good one; but one the Lord will use to further His message. And as a fervent supporter of my work, Dr. Randy Dattoli, says “the messenger always gets shot.”

In this case, I am that messenger. But none the less I am that messenger who has to deliver a key component about gay relations and the Church, to teach future generations how to productively handle this ever growing topic. I’ll save that topic for another time, but here I want to reflect on my writing experience now that I am almost completely done. I want to reflect on my writing as a ministry, and the things I learned to not only help myself become more self-aware just in case there is another book in the future, but also to help others in my position of walking blindly into writing a book and not knowing what this experience will be like.

Question #1:

How did I write the book:

Wow was writing the book difficult! To put it in student terms that I myself could understand at that time, it was like I had to write 12, 20-page papers all about the same subject, yet on totally different areas about that subject. That is no joke! Now I never took the writing process as a joke, but I sure wasn’t prepared for it to be so grueling. 12, 14, 16 hour days just sitting in front of a computer screen typing, trying to clearly communicate life, experience, calling and unique lessons learned. I didn’t really think it would be that hard. I mean, how hard could it be to know you have nothing else to do all day, every day, besides write. Boy was I ever wrong on that front. I found it to be a very difficult task to clearly, succinctly map out everything I wanted to say not only in each chapter, but also do the same for the entire book. It’s like there are 12 mini sub-plots that have to be interwoven within the broader plot of the book.

When I started to write I put together 4 different outlines, each with the same base-outline used at its core, but each had a different example, story or plot characteristic I wanted to develop. And for the first couple of weeks I would flip back and forth between each of the 4 outlines and my manuscript as I tried to write the book. After muddling around for a couple weeks not being able to write as clearly or concisely as I wanted to, I ditched the 4 outline model and tried to condense all 4 into one Grand Outline. It took me about 2 full days to do that – 2 days that took a lot of time out of my writing schedule because I only had 7 weeks to write the entire book! But none the less those 2 days were worth their weight in gold! Using my one Grand Outline from that point forward I was able to pump out an average of 20 pages per day for 5 full weeks! And I finished on time!

Lesson #1:

Use one outline, and take whatever time is needed to put that Grand Outline together in as much detail as possible. Each time I started a new chapter I praised the Lord for my extremely detailed (52 pages) outline. If it were not for that Grand Outline I never could have written, let alone kept straight, anything I wanted to say!

Much love.