Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I haven’t yet been able to find a direct website for them so you can listen live this evening, but I’ll keep looking and keep you posted on any new developments I scrape up (or find if it's archived somewhere).
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
On Wed, April 29th at 8am CST I will be interview on the UK's largest Christian radio station. The 20 minute interview will be taped, and then rebroadcasted on the show Premier Drive. It looks as though after it airs, they will put a podcast of it on their website. Please pray that the Lord lifts up this time and the word of our bridge building work spreads across the UK as well.
This is a painting that I commissioned Scott Erickson, an artist friend of mine, to paint. Scott has painted in some huge venues to some really big time people, so this is a big honor for me. This painting is a deconstructed cross with the following words overlaid:
This paining is so very special to me because of how profoundly personal it is to what the Lord has given me. It's now proudly displayed in my office for all to see. Scott's a great guy, a special talent, and a wonderful person. If you're interested in Scott and his work (especially if you'd like to commission him to paint a one-of-a-kind piece for you too), hit him up on Facebook, Twitter or his website.
Monday, April 27, 2009
(This is our conference/class space)
(Standing at my personal office door looking in)
(My desk...and if you've read my book you'll understand what the picutre frame on top of the desk is all about...)
The Marin Foundation
5241 N. Ashland Ave. 1st Floor
Chicago, IL 60640
Friday, April 24, 2009
1. It was brought to my attention yesterday that on Jim Wallis’ blog, God’s Politics, Brian McLaren wrote a post mentioning myself and Love is an Orientation (the same post also later showed up on Brian’s blog as well). I am much appreciative, but then in reading the comments section below the post on God’s Politics, I come to realize how much a bridge building ethic is actually needed.
Let’s keep plugging away.
2. Here is a blog post by Danielle Strickland—who is the head of the Salvation Army in Australia. Who knew someone in Australia was reading my book, let alone the head of the Salvation Army on the other side of the world? Praise the Lord.
3. Here is an email The Marin Foundation just received about the book:
“I Have spent the past three days reading the new book: twice! Excellent, thoughtful & thought-provoking, inspiring, frustrating, at times overwhelming, exhilarating, scary, hopeful. And I need a third reading to take notes before I can digest it more! For now, thank you for all the possibilities that you are bringing to this subject. I saw myself throughout the pages of the book: 54 years old, Christian believer, gay, graduated from a Christian college, attended groups for many years in many different places, and I still feel caught in some kind of limbo land between worlds. I have read all the other books on this subject. Your book is a bridge, yes.
Thank you Sincerely!”
This is such a humbling experience. Thanks for sharing it with me through my blog!
If you have any thoughts or know of people reviewing or talking about Love is an Orientation, please feel free to let me know!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
1. A year and a half ago a guy wrote a really nasty blog post about me—he didn’t know me, he never talked to me and never came to anything I’ve ever done. And then yesterday I saw these words posted by him on the Neue Podcast comment section:
Andrew Marin has a very non-judgmental spirit and I appreciate what he is doing to reach out to what the church often wrongly considers “untouchables”.
I wrote a blog post a couple years ago on Marin’s ministry and had negative things to say. He commented on it, and after prayer and research, I apologize for slandering his ministry. God Bless.
2. I recently received a Facebook message from a person who is a Campus Pastor in Philadelphia that said:
Just thought I would let you know...some of our students from the Christian fellowship on campus are reaching out to the GLBT Pride group this week. It is a first step hang out game night. It is a direct result of them coming to your talk at Jubilee Conference about how to build bridges on college campuses. Thank you.
3. There is a team of pastors from North Carolina who have flown in for three days to learn from what The Marin Foundation is doing in hopes they can better build bridges to their own local community in Raleigh. They came to the Living in the Tension Community Gathering last night, I will meet with them all day today and then they are all going to my speaking event tonight at Willow Creek (which is open to the public and starts at 8pm - at the Barrington campus).
This is the first time anything like this has happened, and it’s such a humbling thing to realize that what you’re doing, other people see important enough to take time to fly out and be a part of it themselves. This is an honor that will stick with me for a long, long time.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Shame in the Closet and its Impact in All Our Lives
Feel free to join us tonight at 5249 N. Ashland Ave, Room 120 at 7pm.
The next thing that came to my mind was,
And who cares anyway?
Since I sometimes have no filter from brain to mouth I immediately asked those two things. And I loved their explanations:
Because your book is so different, many people who don’t know you will assume it’s the same old stuff repackaged with a new name and cover. The easiest and most efficient way for people who don’t know you to start understanding your uniqueness is to read other’s words and thoughts who have already read your book.
That makes total sense to me. So if you’ve read my book, please go to Amazon.com and write a review. There are already 3 people who have done so—and the wonderful thing is that I don’t know any of them!!!
Thanks for the help in spreading the word.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Note to self—praise the Lord that I have a job and am doing what I’m doing…stop complaining!
Now that I’ve gotten that out:
For those who don’t know, Twitter is like a Facebook status except it is its own website. I’m not too sure how I feel about it. Maybe it’s just because I’m a loyal Facebook fan, but I don’t necessarily see the point. I thought I’d give it a try anyway. Just so you know, Twitter is in no way, nor will it ever, replace my beloved Facebook.
My Twitter name is:
Yes, you read that right. Broken up it says that I “loves me some you”. Which I actually do…
Friday, April 17, 2009
I think that is the biggest mistake a Christian parent could possibly make.
1. It breeds in our Christian youth the idea that if we don’t agree with something we protest and walk in the other direction. And in my opinion, there is no worse way to represent our Christian faith on such a day.
2. From my perspective, what a better way to bring the GLBT topic to the forefront in our Christian homes then to use this day as a springboard in how to peacefully and productively engage what has always been nothing more than a very divisive topic. And in doing such a thing with middle and high schoolers, it gives us a wonderful opportunity to start our youth down the right path in how to bridge within the GLBT community. It's our chance to do something different in showing our faith rather than just talking about it in regards to homosexuality, which is what most of us tend to do.
I was on a Christian radio program recently and off the air the host told me about how his daughter wanted to go to school that day because she knew all of her other Christian friends were going to protest and not be in school. The host went on to tell me that she was the only Christian kid left in many of her classes, and at the end of the day everyone in one of her classes was being silent. Since she was the only one not being silent, and since she was the only Christian, for 20 minutes the teacher allowed her to talk about her faith and her love, and all of the reasons why she decided to come to school that day in opposition to all of the other Christian who didn’t!
Just think what would happen around the country if our Christian kids did as she did…
I could only imagine.
A colleague of mine, Dr. Warren Throckmorton, has started what he calls the Golden Rule Pledge to be done on the Day of Silence. Take a look, and next year feel free to join in—keeping our kids in school and using this day as the Kingdom opportunity it should be.
What do you think...right or wrong?
Current Weight: 251.0 lbs.
Weight loss since last weigh-in: 1.7 lbs.
Total weight loss thus far: 8.5 lbs.
I’ll be weighing myself in again on Friday May 1.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
What a wonderful challenge…I have not mastered that skill without having the feeling I’m conceding to agree. Do you have any practical ways to get over that?
Here is my response:
As practical as I can get, it’s still somewhat theory by nature—which can only start to change by making a daily cognizant choice to reframe your mindset and understanding during those particularly uncomfortable and disagreeable situations within a relationship. Here's what I mean:
The only way that I have found this validation/affirmation construct to become an effective part of someone's life is with a repeated purposefulness throughout each different context of life. For example, unless I CONSTANTLY remind myself that validation is different than affirmation in whatever situation (ESPECIALLY IN THE SITUATIONS THAT SO EASILY MAKE ME RECOIL AND GET DEFENSIVE),
unless I CONSTANTLY vocalize [that validation is different than affirmation] to myself during each time of reflection on the aforementioned situation, I have found it just doesn't sink in for me and I end up no better then when I started.
The best place to start is with the place that makes you most easily revert back to your baseline feelings/judgments/reactions that at the end of the day might seem right to you, but actually end up causing a further divide between you and the other person/situation. These moments of self-reflection are key, because you have to be able to find those certain "push-button" situations/issues first, before you’re able to start applying this construct into everyday life. And unless you're willing to do some digging within yourself, no matter how well intentioned you are to trying to practically use this validation vs. affirmation understanding, it'll never happen—or if it does, it will only superficially last. And that is not the point.
1. Self-reflect to find those moments that most easily make you recoil and get defensive
2. Daily remind yourself in preparation of those moments that validation is different than affirmation, and remind yourself of how that difference is not only important, but how it will play itself out within your current context
3. After the situation, replay it in your head and vocalize to yourself how you could have better implemented the legitimization of the other person’s experiences that have led them to their current spot—recognizing that difference and yet being able to productively move forward within that divisive situation/context.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
The first thing we all must understand is that there is a difference between validation and affirmation, as they are two completely independent constructs. Yet surrounding the topic of homosexuality, many in the Church take the stance that if I am to validate a GLBT person’s life and experiences as legitimate to them—their life—their story, that automatically means that I am leaping to affirming a pro-gay theological belief system. And that conclusion is just not right (or appropriate)! How am I to live within Christ’s come-as-you-are-culture if I’m not willing to even put in the time or effort to meet people exactly where they are without invalidating their entire known existence? It is imperative to be engaged with exactly what the GLBT community understands as truth, especially if it does not fully align with your understanding of truth. I believe that you can never see into someone’s heart and soul as much as we all think we can.
The finger pointing and the negative assumptions happen all of the time to both the straight Christian and the GLBT person—and it’s no wonder why GLBT people for the most part want nothing to do with us or our churches. Christians have to stretch themselves as they realize that validation to a gay or lesbian’s experience as it has pertained to their life is indeed as real and valid to them as any of your experiences. My belief is that discrediting those things are the same as losing faith in the understanding that God is in control of any situation or life—no matter where they are coming from. That might be a harsh analogy, but the severity of this invalidation pandemic is plaguing this culture war and perpetuating the very real disconnect that exists in being able to productively build a bridge from both communities. Many GLBT people are not willing to even entertain the idea of Christ from an evangelical perspective because they are too (I would even say rightly so) caught up in the fear of having their lives and experiences quashed by Christians who won’t think twice about it.
Just because someone’s life and experiences are validated does not mean that automatically affirms what others might not believe. I am not asking or expecting either community to believe in something they don’t believe in. But the conversation has always attempted to just force both sides into affirming one belief over the other (which will never systemically happen) rather than start with the base level understanding of validation—which provides space for all of us to start willfully living in this place of constructive tension. Change the conversation to humanly validation as relevant to legitimate life experiences, and all of a sudden you have changed the course of a potential relationship/significant place of growth socially and in Christ as well.
We must start to own a mindset that passes beyond the knee-jerk actions that traditionally cause reactionary offensive attacks towards each other. We have to work on the hang-ups when hearing a variety of traditionally hostile and divisive constructs, in order to fulfill our goal of being a productive bridge builder for the Kingdom.
Once that happens, we are all indeed starting from a level playing field.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Over the course of a few days there were 142 comments going back and forth about things that didn’t even relate to the letter or to my response—such is the life of the majority of posts/comments about the topic of homosexuality (the reason why I LOVE you all so much because you get it, and don’t get into those traditional and stale debates that prove very unproductive). Anyway, Scot was so taken back by the comments that he went back and posted another blog on what it means to have civility in two contexts: the bottom line in civility and civility in the intent in our convictions.
I thought Scot was 100% dead on with his deconstruction of civility at its core and its application, and it’s worth a read. Then something strange happened, within the next day or so there were 142 comments just on that post—and a majority of them weren’t civil at all! I think what happens is when people see the word homosexuality connected with anything, they think it gives them right to not contemplate anything that was said, but rather gives them free reign to resort back to their baseline arguments; wherever those arguments are coming from. That’s crazy! And that is exactly what task the Lord has given me—to systemically help us learn to not do such a thing.
In my observations of all of the 284 comments between the three posts (some of which were my comments as well), I feel the biggest disconnected gap between Scot and my words vs. the majority of the comments were that people are having a very difficult time separating the difference between validation and affirmation; an important part of understanding how to peacefully and productively build a bridge and one that I'll talk about in my next post.
It was Amazon…
Amazon decided to classify certain books as “Adult Content” and then promptly drop them from their bestseller search engines because they felt Adult Content was inappropriate. You can read two short articles about it here and here.
I find this funny because on Friday I noticed that my book had no ranking anymore, and I couldn’t even find it through any of Amazon’s general search engines. I called them and told them about my book and its missing rankings in Gender and Sexuality and Gay and Lesbian Nonfiction. They transferred me around to five different people and the final person just told me that nobody had bought my book in 2 days—since Amazon’s rankings are updated by the hour, two days of no book sales would severely hurt the ranking.
And then I come to find out it’s not about book sales because people were definitely buying it … it’s rather that Love is an Orientation is considered Adult Content! Ouch. Who knew I was writing Christian gay and lesbian porn? (that last comment was a sarcastic...)
Monday, April 13, 2009
Thursday, April 9, 2009
In the meantime, have a happy Easter and I’ll see you all on Monday with new posts.
Monday, April 6, 2009
I realize that the Amazon rankings don’t define a whole lot in the grand scheme of things as there are many other avenues to buy my book (all of which don’t count towards the Amazon rankings), but for this period in time, the picture above that was captured by the “print screen” function on the computer does indeed mean a whole lot to me.
I pray each day that Love is an Orientation will be able to reach out across boundaries and bridge the divide by peacefully and productively advancing the dialogue to lessen this divisive culture war going on in the GLBT and conservative Christian communities.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
You can click here to read CT’s review of Love Is An Orientation. At the bottom of the review is a one minute, forty-eight second audio clip from the longer thirty minute interview that will by published in Christianity Today International’s Leadership Journal in a few weeks.
As for my thoughts on the review, I thought it was very heartfelt. I especially enjoyed the last paragraph, although it hurts my heart to think that some Christians think my writing is abrasive—I can only think that has as much to due with my topic and my challenges to intentionally pursue tension filled relationships. Either way, I LOVED Brandon’s response.
If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years of my work, it’s that printed words never seem to do the job—the reason I am committed to blanketing the country so as many people can see my face, heart and passion for seeing a bridge built. Hearing me does much more than words could ever do (although don’t get me wrong, I AM SO THANKFUL FOR THE WORDS AS WELL!!!).
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Today Scot McKnight, a good friend, well known theologian and the creater of the #1 rated emergent blog Jesus Creed, posted a response that he asked me to write regarding a letter he recived from a worship leader about a gay student in the worship team.
You can check out the original letter here...
And you can check out my response here...
Please feel free to join the "hot" discussion over at Scot's blog, as there are already over 80 comments between the two posts.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
"I don’t think people quite understand the pressure that the gay-oriented Christian feels in the church. We have a hard enough time not hating ourselves, without having to face the derision and misunderstanding of others. It is precisely this external pressure that often drives us to extreme measures: seeking ineffectual exorcisms, suppressing the very core of our sexual selves, jumping into relationships to prove we’re straight (meanwhile ruining the life and self-esteem of the hetero other in the process), and the like.
When you think that you’re going to cause mommy and daddy (in this case the Church) to split—and worse—when one of them might hate you in the process, you will do just about anything to avoid that eventuality. I’ve frequently found that the motivations behind seeking such ends are dysfunctional. Those who pursue these methods often do so due to stated and unstated pressure to conform, maintain status quo, and keep the family from getting upset. Silence seems to be the least consequential (and least destructive) way to handle these internal questions, whether openly gay, celibate, or ex-gay. This silence takes its toll.
I still struggle with this sense that I am ultimately the cause of enormous strife in the Church. I sometimes wish there simply were no gay-ness at all. I wish I could go back to the days before I became conscious of my sexuality, even as many people in the Church are more than happy to relegate sexuality to this very place. But this is simply not reality. This is not where I am—where we are. With all of my unrealistic wishing, I do hope that my greatest wish has some hope for coming to fruition:
I wish that mommy and daddy would just stop fighting.
Perhaps if more people in the church could recognize that I’m not here to destroy the Church, nor the foundations of our society, some of the dissension would abate. I’m not here to eradicate families, and I have no evil agenda to recruit your children. I love the church, absolutely love it. Why else would I put up with so many of the abuses I have felt from it? My sad testimony is replete with instances where my greatest wounds were inflicted by loving church folks. But I’ve remained. I haven’t left. I wish everyone would stop fighting because they feel so uncomfortable about my decision to stick around. It breaks my heart every time someone leaves my church over a disagreement. It’s like mommy and daddy can’t seem to be mature enough to work out their differences, so they just leave. And ultimately, it feels as if they’re leaving because of me."