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.” 
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.”  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.” 
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.”  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.” 
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?”  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.