My Mind Made Public -

I held off as long as I could ...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

[Addendum on June 16, 2009: Do you ever find yourself being labled into a socially constructed group because someone on the outside doesn't understand you? I tackle this question in my own life after the last two conservative evangelical radio interviews have called me Emergent for no other reason than I live within, and loves me some GLBT folks.]

Am I Emergent? I tackle this question in 4 minutes and 33 seconds after I have been called Emergent by two of the last three conservative evangelical radio hosts I have been on with. This clip is not me speaking against Emergent, but rather about the indictment of evangelicalism surrounding homosexuality and the life I live.

What are your thoughts on Emergent? Conservativism? None of the above? Love to hear you thoughts on this whole thing.

Much love.


Michael Spencer said...

They have to pigeon hole all of us. Esp those of us who don't fall into easy labels.

Ken said...

More than anythign, it probably gives insight into the talk show host's limited understanding of what emergent is. It's not an "emergent church" issue.

How are you responding to this during the interview? I think your point is strong. How awesome would it be for you to correct them during the interview and then go off on them!? eh eh eh

It's probably not what you are going for but it'd be fun to watch!

Dan Bryan said...

"How you are labeled doesn't matter, it's how you are living"

Man, bring it. Couldn't agree more. Language is powerful. There was a time when labels were actually descriptive or attributive to action - now we choose labels for ourselves and for others based on desire and perception (often completely divorced from action).

Keep being you brother. Thanks for the encouragement and the reminder that I can also keep being me.

Peace man.


David Roberts said...

I am still not quite sure what it means to be "emergent" but I do know that it is something evangelicals often use to negatively classify others. I suspect they don't know what to do with you, Andy, and that's probably a good sign.

Anonymous said...

Preach the Word, Bro'!!
I am seeing how afraid the evangelical mainstream was & is afraid of the LGBT community. Too bad, as there are more serious issues to tackle like crime, abortion, etc.
Keep on keepin' on!! You are supported!!!!

Peter said...

Jesus wanted to know, from His disciples, what was His label from all of those who were following along with them. 'Who do they say I am?" Some say this, some say that. Then, Jesus said, "But, who do you say I am?" As always, Jesus used the backdrop of their societal concensus in which to bring it home, making it real for His disciples. Hey, that's just like Andrew, too!

Andrew Marin said...

The thing that really sparked this video was because I was being labled as emergent as an insult. I'm tired of backwards insults because I live in the gay community and I work to build a bridge. And I couldn't agree with each one of you more! Truly, I have garnered a great piece of insight from each comment.

Ken - Whenever this happens I reiterate to the host (who obviously hasn't done their homework on my theological beliefs) that "I align with a traditional evangelical belief system, I just live it out differently - and that scares people." Usually their response is something like, "rrrriiiiiggggghhhhhtttt" and they move on. I'm to the point now where the next time this happens I'm going to plant myself in this discussion and not let them easily move on b/c I think these lables are a big negative issue in the church that have become "easy excuse code language" to get an insult/negative point across. Regardless if it's me or someone else, I'm not going to let it continue on my watch.

And Peter, thanks for the reminder of this in me something to point to next time. We all know how much me, and my evangelical peeps love to point to Scripture for rationale. Looking forward to it.

Kansas Bob said...

Great thoughts Andrew.. had never thought of two streams of Evangelicalism (behavioral and theological).. something to ponder further for sure..

Jonathan Paul said...


I agree with what you're saying here 100%. I'm not familiar though with exactly what you're doing that's getting you these labels. Now I'm curious; gonna have to do some more reading on your blog to see what you've been up to that's stirring things up. :o)

Keep lovin'!

Jonathan Paul said...

Oh, just noticed your comment that says you "live in the gay community and work to build a bridge." Not sure what that means... gay roommates? I know you started the Marin Foundation, so that accounts for the building a bridge part.

Maybe I should just buy and read your book, that would probably answer a few questions for me! :o)

Debbie Thurman said...

Well spoken, Andrew. I would like to see you really press the point in future interviews.

I want to thank you for your book and for your faithfulness in articulating and living this counter-cultural message. It has taken root in my life. God used your ministry/book to open my eyes.

I have a similar heart for bridging the divide between the Church and the gay community, but the label that is my liability is being "ex-gay." So, I am often tarred with the hated "truth-in-love" brush. My status as a "former" implies a holier-than-thou stance, when that is not true.

I have labored at truly listening to some of my gay brothers and sisters, as you have. It is a humbling and rewarding experience.

We must get beyond our fear of the gay agenda (there are some legitimate concerns there, of course) to being the ministers of reconciliation, as Paul preached to the early churches.

God bless you!

Jonathan Paul said...

I just posted some thoughts and questions on the topic of how Christians ought to relate to other cultures... including those in a GLBT lifestyle.

I'd really love to hear Andrew's (though I know he's hardly been sleeping these days and doesn't have any time) or anybody else's thoughts on the topic -

David said...

Andrew, I'd be interested in hearing why you think it is that people need to so quickly apply these socially-constructed labels to people who live outside of what they consider a traditional norm of ministry? And where the need to separate and divide into all these categories comes from? I've always been fascinated by this.

Andrew Marin said...

David - here are some quick thoughts to your questions:

Q: Why?
A: Because it's easy. And if it's against what is considered normal then stepping out to quickly lable someone is not risky because the majority culture would generally be in agreement. Those, what I call "socially constructed labels", only give validity to my thoughts on two types of mainstream - secular and religious - both going in the wrong direction.

Q: Where is the need to separate and divide?
A: Here's my quick version: since old Eurpoean heiarchal tradition set forth a cultural system of smaller boxed-in variable groups that combine to make one larger society, when the European's founded America they brought that system with them, setting up what we have here today - just a modernized version of keeping those in power to sustainably keep that power. And that looks no different in the secular world than it does in the religious world...a sad realization.

It's not just the European thing though - you see it strongly in African and Asain cultures as well. Maybe just an imputed nature of fallen man?! For more indepth look at this, read Soong-Chan Rah's new book called The Next Evangelicalism.

Hope my quick answers helped some.

D.J. Free! said...

Andy, I'm really confused here. You spend quite a bit of time in the first half of your video decrying religious labels, and then spend the next half trying to prove that you ARE, in fact, an Evangelical. It's almost kind of sad . . . like you're pandering to the Evangelical system, afraid that all your friends are going to leave you or something.

Could you address that inconsistency? If you don't care about labels, why are you so insistent on maintaining your Evangelical label?? And even more emphatic about distancing yourself from the Emergent label?? What would be so wrong about being Emergent? What's your understanding about that particular label? It's almost as if you think the two are incompatible and mutually exclusive. The fact of the matter is, there are TONS of Evangelical Emergents, and Catholic Emergents, and Mainline Emergents, etc. But again, even if you would argue this point . . . what does it matter if you don't care about labels?

Andrew Marin said...

DJ - you bring up some great points, and the last thing I want to do is contradict myself (I believe that is the biggest way anyone can insult themselves, their beliefs and others). All that to say I take your comment very seriously.

Here is something that I hope helps clear it all up for you:

I believe you are listening to the video through your own eyes and filtration, instead of mine. From my perspective and the reason I recorded it, the video's intent is to bring to light the accusations that the past two evangelical radio hosts calling me Emergent as an insult. I wanted to explore why people find it ok to back-handed insult you by calling you something that they (in this case the hosts) don’t agree in or believe (in this case Emergent). And why did they do that—for no other reason than I'm involved w/the gay community.

Evangelicals don't directly involve themselves with such issues, they just keep the GLBT community at an arm’s length by intellectualizing it. This is why I said in my explanation in the words on the blog: "this is not me speaking against Emergent, but rather an indictment of evangelicalism surrounding homosexuality.”

And the reason I spent so much time at the end “labeling” myself as evangelical—it was a wake up call for other evangelicals that it doesn’t matter what people call you or try to box you in with just because they don’t agree, because it’s about how we live instead! In the evangelical world (and now I’m going to paint with a broad brush for a second) there are a lot of people who are scared of a variety of different things/issues; homosexuality usually being one of them. And when people get scared or confused, as Michael Spencer in the first comment said, people “pigeon hole all of us, especially those who don’t fall into easy (traditional) labels”. Right or wrong, building bridges does not fall into easy labels. This video was for all those out there (GLBT and straight) who do build bridges and live it out, and still get “insulted” by being called Emergent, or fundamentalist, or evangelical or liberal or whatever. The video in its core is about the root of the insult inside the label.

D.J. Free! said...

Thanks for the follow-up, Andy. And thank you for taking the questions seriously. I hope I didn't come off sounding harsh there. My boyfriend chided me a bit for perhaps not properly understanding you, and jumping to conclusions. I certainly hope I didn't come off like that. I was - in fact - trying to understand you better.

For the most part, your response here answers most of my questions, so again, I appreciate your time. And I see now how the larger point wasn't the goodness or badness of any given label. But it does make me wonder if perhaps part of bridge building might require us to do something innovative with all these fancy labels we come up with for ourselves and others . . .

Andrew Marin said...

No problem. The way I see it, if I want people to take my life and comments seriously then I better also take everyone else’s lives and comments seriously as well—especially when it comes to potential ‘hypocritical’ type stuff. Besides, your comments are always so well thought out whenever you post, you’ve earned the right to be taken extremely serious! So thank you. And it’s always good for those check’s and balances (your boyfriend and my wife) to keep us humble in all things.

As for your last question, I do think we need to do something about labels. If we’re really going to keep this movement at the forefront of culture, and the culture war, this is a big part. But the problem is, I don’t know what to do or how to tackle such a thing. I know at a base level it’s truly just a lack of imagination, but like with most all other parts of culture, certain things (in this case labels) have become more than ingrained, they have become an inherent part of life. I’m so open to suggestions on this. Maybe it’s just that I haven’t really tried to focus on such a task? So we should do this thing together on the blog. Maybe I’ll do a post about it coming up soon. Let’s start rolling out some thoughts …

Debbie Thurman said...

Andrew, you said: "Evangelicals don't directly involve themselves with such issues, they just keep the GLBT community at an arm’s length by intellectualizing it."

Many do. But you're not one of them, and neither am I.

Part of the problem for the non-engagers is they don't know how to distinguish between the strugglers and those who have acquiesced to gay as their core identity and see no point in struggling further.

At some point, all believers, even the wounded ones, have to deal with what it means to be made in the image of God. For those SSA strugglers who cannot find peace, we need to create a safe place in our churches where we will walk with them toward wholeness.

For those who are content being gay but still want to have fellowship with other believers, we need to go back over the transom with them until we are standing at eye-level. That's where the conversation can begin. You have shown us that. It's harder to intellectualize or demonize when you looking someone in the eye.

Andrew Marin said...

Great points Debbie!

Dave said...

For me, Emergent covers a lot of ground. Some I don't agree with. Much, if not most, I do agree with. I think Velvet Elvis, Blue Like Jazz, and "The Shack" are some of the most important books written by modern (or postmodern) man. I new book of great importance has been added to my list. It's a little book called "Love Is An Oreintation."