My Mind Made Public -

I held off as long as I could ...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Living in the Tension Community Gathering

Hello all. Thanks for hanging in there with me. Last week I got sick—real sick. I was knocked out for 6 days and I’m still feeling some residual effects even today, 8 days after the initial kick in the pants. But enough of my bitterness…on to happier times.

Tonight The Marin Foundation is hosting our first Living in the Tension Community Gathering at 7pm. If you’re in Chicago, feel free to come on by to 5249 N. Ashland Ave! Here is a quick breakdown of what we’re all about, our mission, 2009 schedule and tentative topic list:

Purpose for Living in the Tension Community Gathering:

Christians need to start willfully planting themselves in the middle of some very uncomfortable places—making a conscious commitment to stay in that place with the GLBT community. In 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. was locked up in a jail in Birmingham, Alabama. In a letter to confront his fellow white clergymen, MLK reflected on his life’s work to that point and said: “I must confess that I am not afraid of the world tension. I have earnestly opposed violent tension my whole life, but there is a type of constructive, non-violent tension which is necessary for growth.”

I’m going to be real right now—the Christian community has been running from that constructive, non-violent tension for too long when it comes to gays and lesbians. The productive growth that MLK was talking about only comes retrospectively, after much time has been spent immersed in tension filled areas with what we are most uneasy about. Those tension-filled areas are dirty, disgusting, confusing, overbearing and uneasy. And they’re worth every minute for the kingdom we so boldly claim ourselves to be a part of.

Mission Statement:

For gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, ex-gay, celibate and straight people to all willfully enter into a place of constructive tension, intentionally forming a community that peacefully and productively takes on the most divisive topics within the culture war that is faith and sexuality.


Culture wants to resolve conflict—we want to use our different communities’ filtration systems to elevate the conversation through the tension. Get past the stereotypes. Learn and practice what it means to live in unanswerable questions. Shift the paradigm away from a ‘fix it’ culture to one that turns hearts onto Christ amongst the most uncomfortable places. Stay. Commit. Reconcile. Grow.

Current 2009 Schedule (only through May 21st at this point) and Tentative Topics:

March 3: Elevating the Tension in Faith and Sexuality

March 19: Language, Biases and Stereotypes that Tear us all Down

April 9: Controversial Research—Myth or Fact

April 21: April 17th Day of Silence—Shame in the Closet

May 12: MILK Movie Viewing and Discussion

May 21: I DO EXIST – EX-GAY Viewing and Discussion

Future Dates still to be scheduled:

June 4: Is there such a thing as the 4th Ideal of Sexuality and Faith?

June 28: Attending Chicago Gay Pride Parade and Discussion After

July 16: Discussion with a Gay Secular Person

July 30: Discussion with an Ex-Gay Person

Aug 13: Discussion with a Gay Christian

Aug 27: Discussion with a Celibate Person

Sep 10: Discussion with a Straight Conservative Christian

Sep 22: Reverse Board—God and Gay

Oct 8: Secret Confessions (Oct 11th National Coming Out Day)

Oct 19: Volunteer at Chicago AIDS Hospice

Nov 5: Gay Marriage: Right, Wrong, Political, Religious?

Nov 17: Love is an Orientation

Dec 3: The Actual Argument: You're in the Fire Now

A goal of mine is to help other churches and organizations around the country start their own Living in the Tension Community Gatherings! I’ll fill everyone in on those plans as we’re on our way through this new, and exciting adventure in Chicago.

As my favorite saying goes (and yes, I actually made this one up!):

He was a Jewish carpenter, and therefore I build bridges.

Much love.


Matthew Blake Williams said...

I really like the new carpenter credo. Wish I could attend the 'Tension' forum! Would love to start that here in San Diego, and looking forward to having you back here in May & hopefully connecting.


Chris S. said...

Any chance of you posting a a synopsis of each gathering for those of us that are in other parts of the country?

Andrew Marin said...

Chris - I'll definetly post a synopsis to let you all know how each one goes! I'd love this blog to be an extension of all of those conversations as well...

Jeff S. said...

This is so radical and so wonderful. Thank you for continuing on your mission.

D.J. Free! said...


I notice that following the Ex-gay week, you have a Gay Christian session. Any chance that (those) Gay Christian(s) will be a so-called "Ex-Ex-Gay". I strongly feel the ex-ex-gay voice needs to be heard. Admittedly I'm biased because I am one such person.

Andrew Marin said...

DJ - if all pans out how I have planned it (with the person I have in mind committing to talk that week), then yes, it is a person who considers themselves a gay Christian who is ex-ex-gay.

stephen l said...


I hope to attend the "Tension" forum on April 9th.

Would you be free to speak on the topics covered in your new book at my "living in the city" class the evening of April 15th?

Blessings to you

Stephen Lepse