DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

L. G. P. + G. L. B. T. = L. O. V. E.

Written by: on March 23, 2017

Introduction

I am nearly convinced that the Samaritans for conservative Christians today are the GLBT community. I suspect that if honest, conservative Christians would express the same disdain for this community as the Jews of Jesus’ day did for the Samaritans. To move to righteous resolution should we not be challenged by the fact that Jesus spent so much time with “sinners” that He was accused of being one? Dare we (like Andrew Marin) spend so much time in the GLBT community that…?

Some years ago I read a brief article stating that the reason many (most?) Christians rail against homosexuality is that it is the one sin we know we will never commit. If Jesus said that lust in my heart toward a woman is as much sin as the very act of adultery, then might I have the same regard for my own sin as various other types of sexual sin?

How desperately the Church needs Andrew Marin and Love Is An Orientation. Here is a book with authority because he lived what he writes before he began writing.

Exegete the culture

In our cultural studies for Leadership and Global Perspectives we have read about and have been exposed to the concept of Cultural Intelligence. Marin seems to be instructing us that we would be wise to proceed into the GLBT community with a similar mindset. Just as we don’t automatically understand cultural subtleties in Africa or Asia, so also we need to realize that this community of people has its own distinctive culture, language, proprieties. Marin says, “…Dr. John Fuder, teaches the importance of exegeting the culture. We have to go to the culture before we know the culture. For most of us this comes in slowly taken smaller steps toward involvement.” [1]

Part of this exegesis is to learn the socio-political and emotional world of people who have lived with the stigma attached to being gay. He says, “Shame and stigma are difficult to quantify because they are ultimately internal feelings.” [2] Trying to understand this will help us to build important friendships.

Marin wants us truly to reclaim the word “love.” A part of this is to admit as to “…not knowing what to do about the disconnect between the church and the GLBT community… He says “This is as honest of a statement as I’ve heard; admitting that you don’t know what to do is the same as knowing that you can’t relate.” [3]

Building Bridges

Marin writes that far too often conversations between the church community and the GLBT community are filled uncertainty or tension. “When we hear these polarizing debates start to arise, then instead of bracing ourselves for a debate we should take a step back and assess the situation. Always err on the side of meekness in spirit and conduct.” [4] This comment reminds me of a statement once made by Fuller Seminary president David Hubbard. When students commented on his excellent conduct while participating in a panel “discussion” he said, “You never hurt your cause by being a gentleman.”

The ultimate call of Love Is An Orientation is to build bridges into the GLBT community, and the initiative for this must come from the Church. He makes a strong case for, and presents practical steps for evangelical Christians to build bridges into/with the GLBT community. One may support this exhortation with the simple reality that the pure and Holy “Other;” our Creator, built His bridge into our community. We evangelical Christians must remember that no matter what our opinions and feelings may be regarding GLBT persons, the King has more right to be repulsed by us as generic sinners than we could possibly have regarding those of various sexual manifestations.

This does not for a moment ignore or compromise what Scripture says about sexuality and sexual purity. It is just that apart from this one issue each of us carries the same onus of sinfulness, which could make us repulsive to The Holy One.

Just as our Redeemer moved toward us, with compassion, understanding, and mercy, so also must Christians move toward anyone we might first be tempted to label as “different.” “Christians look at a gay or lesbian person and see a potential behavioral change instead of a person longing to know the same Christ we seek.” [5]

A Personal story

Marin asks, “Can someone be married, love Christ, by their own admission struggle with same-sex attraction, and yet still be a person of worth and dignity?” [6] I would like to partially answer that question with a personal story.

After transferring to San Diego State University in 1970 I was building a friendship with Stan. Sometime in the spring of 1971, as we were walking and talking he revealed to me that he struggled with homosexuality. (Today he would have said “same sex attraction.”) I was stunned and didn’t know what to think or do for days. Eventually I regained equilibrium and our friendship continued. The next year we shared an apartment with another music friend, and about the time I was graduating Stan and I formed a Christian band which performed for several years. He is my best friend to this day. When I read Andrew Marin’s account of his friends coming out with him, I felt like I was reading my own story.

There were points in Stan’s life when he lived out the idea that “this is who God made me to be,” but eventually he decided that God’s Word was clear in its teaching on sexuality and he determined to live accordingly. He eventually married a wonderful woman (I officiated the wedding) and they have had three children. He still struggles but continues to walk a right path. He is also in full time ministry spreading the Gospel.

My friend struggles but loves and serves Jesus. My goal is to regard all persons in the same way that I think of and relate to Stan.

1. Andrew Marin, Love Is An Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community (Downers Grove, IL: Inter Varsity Press, 2009) 62.
2. Ibid., 64.
3. Ibid., 98.
4. Ibid., 45-46.
5. Ibid., 85.
6. Ibid., 59.

About the Author

mm

Marc Andresen

I have a B. A. in Music from San Diego State University and received an M. Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary in 1977. July 1 2015 I retired after 38 years in pastoral ministry. The passion and calling that developed in the last 20 years is leadership training in cross-cultural contexts, as my wife and I have had many opportunities to teach in Eastern Europe and Africa. I have been married for 38 years and have two adult children, one daughter-in-law and a beautiful granddaughter. My hobbies are photography and British sports cars.

9 responses to “L. G. P. + G. L. B. T. = L. O. V. E.”

  1. Thanks for the personal story Marc. Wow. Plus….You were in a band?! Wait, what?!
    If Stan ended up interpreting scripture a different way and marrying a man would you still call him your friend?
    If GLBT persons are the new Samaritans, what would it look like for us to bandage their wounds and pay for them?

    • mm Marc Andresen says:

      Aaron,

      Great questions.

      Would Stan still be my friend? I know I can answer yes – he would be my friend no matter what. Our friendship is based on the Lord, mutual respect, having many things in common, loving music, shared experiences… At times I have held him as he cried in the pain of his struggle. At other times I’ve kicked him in his metaphorical back side and told him to (pardon the vernacular) “suck it up and deal with it.” He is one friend with whom we have total honesty. He’ll calm me down when I get to agitated, etc. When I began to get very serious about my wife I called him because I knew that if I was unbalanced in my feelings he’d tell me…

      Bandaging wounds? It could literally be doing that if really sick. It could be asking forgiveness for how poorly the church has treated them. It would be to offer friendship with the promise that they could tell us anything without comment or judgement. Perhaps starting a band with Stan helped bandage a few of his wounds.

  2. Pablo Morales says:

    Marc,
    Reading the books these past two weeks has reminded me that regardless of one’s theological stand on homosexuality, our social landscape is a different one from the previous generations. Marin’s book was helpful in giving us an insider look into this section of the population. I appreciate your blog; thanks for sharing your story. Pablo

    • mm Marc Andresen says:

      Pablo,

      The landscape is very different. Around 1971 the book Future Shock by Alvin Toffler addressed that not only were things changing, but at an accelerating pace. I have to agree with this idea as I look back over the last forty years.

      Therefore how much more important is Leadership and Global Perspectives? I am sure we all view and process the world differently now than we did in September 2015. We certainly are learning the value of ongoing exegesis of the culture.

  3. Marc,
    You were in a band? Musician or singer? Spandex was from your era wasn’t it? or Parachute pants?

    Thanks for your honesty and for sharing your story. How many others have you been able to help because of your friendship? With your students work does this help your in being cross cultural as well as inter cultural?

    God bless you adventures in DC.

    Kevin

    • mm Marc Andresen says:

      Kevin,

      You and Aaron P both seemed surprised that I was in a band. Interesting. I played flute, bass, and saxophone. The joke was that I didn’t get to have a microphone unless I had my flute in hand (aka I was not a vocalist). Spandex, no. Bell bottoms, yes. It was 1972.

      I am not sure I can name others I have helped. But like Marin I did go through a period when several friends shared their struggles with me. For a while I wondered if I had “I can help you” tattooed on my forehead. Perhaps the general answer to your question is that if we genuinely love people they sense they can come to us for help and support. That sound like I’m bragging: I’m not. It is the presence of Jesus in us that is sensed, I am convinced.

      I do think that continuing to enter into cross-cultural settings and contexts does help the work with international students. Our experiences must make us more aware, sensitive, and knowledgeable as to the kinds of conversations to have. And of course I’m aiming to learn more and more about how to communicate leadership principles in culturally appropriate ways.

  4. mm Phil Goldsberry says:

    Marc:
    Interesting post, in light of the last two weeks. Marin asked a couple of questions, one of which was…..”Is homosexuality a sin or not? Will you go to hell over it?” I’m not asking you to answer these.

    I would say that we would agree that sin is sin, whether is is heterosexual adultery or if gay/lesbian, but where do we balance truth and judgementalism?

    The church needs to watch our actions and conversations with the gay/lesbian community and make sure that we are being light/salt, not judges and jury. Do you sense the tide is changing or not?

    Phil

    • mm Marc Andresen says:

      Phil,

      One of the best answers I’ve heard came from Tim Keller. An interviewer asked him if he thought homosexuality sent you to hell. His answer was that being heterosexual doesn’t send you to heaven. It was a brilliant dodge to a trap. But there is principle contained here. What is the cause of us going to heaven or hell. I think we need to be constantly reminded that it is my submission to or rejection of the Lordship of Jesus that determines our path, not one particular sin.

      Yes, I think Scripture is clear that homosexual living is a sin. So also is the lust in my heart that I committed even this morning. I am also processing the idea that having same-sex attraction might be different from justifying acting that out. If a person struggles with same-sex attraction but seeks to live a godly life isn’t that the same as we heterosexual men who lust after women but remain true to covenant vows?

      Where we balance truth and judgementalism is THE tricky balance, isn’t it? We know the verses: speak the truth in love… But it is pretty easy to say, “I tell you this in love…” while really being judgmental and unkind all the while we are speaking. I can only guess that the balance is in each person’s heart, and what God has to do in us to be able to arrive at that balance.

      How we as leaders relate to GLBT persons is crucial. The tide is turning among twenty-thirty something emerging leaders. But my fear with that is that the balance will tip the other way and being non-judgmental will cause a loss of loyalty to Truth.

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