Love Is an Orientation, Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community by Andrew Marin is a contemporary approach to the intersection of same-sex attraction and the Church. Marin skillfully lays out the opposition and the tension that lie on both sides of this issue. He does not shrink back from ultimately answering bottom line questions concerning the sin, fate, and Christian response to a same-sex lifestyle (chapter 10). However, before coming to his conclusions he takes the reader on a journey from his personal experiences as a straight evangelical heterosexual male being confronting by best friends confessions of same-sex attraction. These experiences led him to a complete exploration of the issue and the people affected. Ultimately, leading to a ministry and a personal residence in the Chicago Boystown neighborhood.
The essence of Marin’s ministry and message is to begin by seeking to understand and not to be understood, this comprises the first three chapters of the book. He suggests that one does this best by engaging the culture without engaging in debate. Marin suggests: conversations, entering into openly gay businesses and environments, and interacting with gay clergy. The end is not to resolve or find simple answers to complex questions. Rather the end is to understand.
Next is to investigate scripture and science, for that matter, personally and from the perspective of same-sex perspective, chapters four through seven. Exegete the Bible again for yourself by looking at the scholarship, original meanings and contexts, as well as using a cultural exegesis of today’s world. Ultimately Marin does not succinctly fall into the “for or against” category, but as he would explain in chapter seven we need to “elevate the experience” which is to say that ultimately this is a question of judgement that only God can answer our response is too love.
This desire to elevate and love is what drives the remainder of the book. Marin explains how a bridge from the Church to LGBTQ community needs to be built. It should be initiated by the Church, because this is our calling in Jesus and we as a whole have done much to hurt instead of help on this issue and divide. Ultimately we Christians should also cross the bridge to bring healing.
I would like to begin by saying that I like that we are reading and responding to this subject matter of same-sex attraction. The LGBTQ community is not going away and we the Church are going to have to respond and not react if we are going to stay in the conversation. I believe the subject matter is more than a right or wrong sin issue, it has a name. The name could be that of a son, a daughter, a brother, a sister, or even one’s self. It is personal, today more than ever. That in mind, I think we who are called to rightly divide the Word of Truth must be careful that although our conversation might begin with “I have a friend who is gay…” our theology must not begin there. Our theology must apply to humanity, but I must not change based on humanity. Far too many times we see a cultural shift that leads to a theological one. We must prove out our objective theology and morality outside of subjective experience. If the author never had a friend who was gay, would he be having this conversation or opinion on the subject?
The second observation, is one of absolute truth. The issue of a homosexual action is a sin,I do not know how else to slice it. It is not more terrible or unforgivable than heterosexual
immorality. But both are wrong, both are sin, both will send men or women to hell. I did not write the book, but that is what the Bible says. The question is not if the issue is right or wrong, but what will we do with it as ministers of the Gospel. We will offend someone? Yes, anytime you proclaim the truth this occurs. The question is who will you offend? I believe that we are not righteous in ourselves, that we are all in need of grace, and that our job is not to be judge. However, we cannot lie and hide the truth because people do not want to hear it or because we do not want to be the one who delivers the bad news. We must preach in love, serve in love, live in love because according to First John, Jesus is love. But if we love someone we will always communicate truth.
That is my question on this issue or any other where we have to rationalize or rearrange the Bible to fit our culture or need. When did Truth change? Is not it arrogant of us to change Biblically held truths, because they do not culturally fit? God help us if we allow our basic moral position to be changed because I have a friend who…