DMINLGP

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

Building a Bridge to Brokenness

Written by: on March 23, 2017

Introduction

The “lens” that we look at life through, are “prescribed” by a myriad of practitioners:  family dynamics, socio-economics, religious involvement/affiliation, and a host of other catalytic influences.  We embrace the fact that we cannot control to whom and where we are born.  We express our DNA through skin, hair and eye color, detached/attached ear lobes, and certain physical attributes.  The “lens” that I was “prescribed” said that the sex you were born was your sex for life, and in time you would marry someone of the opposite sex in a covenant relationship called marriage.

My how things have changed regarding lenses, practitioners, and normality; especially regarding sexuality.  We live in a broken world that needs a Savior – Jesus.  Interesting enough we become the bridge to broken people.  We become light, salt, and a voice for Jesus.

Andrew Marin, in his book, Love is an Orientation:  Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community, encourages bridge building with the GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender) community.  Marin chooses not to do his “bridge building” from the comfortable confines of a university or suburban heterosexual church.  Marin said that he, “…began this immersion during my sophomore year in college.  I would go to Boystown with my best friends upwards of four nights a week.”[1]  Eventually Marin gets married, he and his wife move in to Boystown as bridge builders.

 

Summary

Brian McLaren writes the Foreword for the book using the analogy of heroes.  McLaren says, “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread, the old saying goes.  But the same is true for heroes.”[2]  McLaren says that Marin is a hero who runs into the fray of dealing with GLBT individuals.  After reading Marin’s story, he was not afraid to go where many would “fear to tread”.

The crux and challenge of the book boils down to one statement that Marin makes.  “Christians tend to perceive themselves as morally superior to GLBT people, based on the belief that the Bible allows only three options for connecting faith and sexuality:  be heterosexual, be celibate, or live in sin.”[3]  Even after reading the book and paying attention to Marin’s exegesis of his “Big 5” (Chapter 7), I still lean to the three options.

What Marin did do, is to help with the conversations and communications that need to transpire in bridge building between the GLBT and church communities.  “Over the years I have had many gay people tell me that is someone were to take away their sexual behavior, they would be taking away all they are as people.  Same-sex sexual behavior is the source of the inherent disconnect between conservative Christianity and gays and lesbians.”[4]

Marin shares stories that are truly heart wrenching.  Marin states that, “…research suggests that on average 7 to 15 percent of the GLBT community was sexually abused in their youth.”[5]  This percentage was staggering and the stories were moving.  Couple that with some of the absurdities that Marin heard or encountered with the church community and you have bridges being “bombed” not “built”.

 

 Analysis

There is a need for the church to begin bridge building early.  Marin states that, “Research now reports that the average age of someone who first realizes a same-sex attraction is thirteen years old.  It also shows that the average age of someone who declares their sexual orientation as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender is fifteen years old!”[6]

Sexual abnormalities have become mainstream and the fodder for television sitcoms and movies.  The open expression and strong emphasis on GLBT lifestyles acceptance is unprecedented.  Marin states that, “Current data depending on the source, estimate that gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders account for somewhere between 1 and 7 percent of the American population.  An overwhelmingly larger percentage of the population – around 36 percent – identify themselves as traditionally conservative, Bible-believing Christians.”[7]

Some of the data and claims on the GLBT community seem to be excessive or exploited.  Is there a need for bridge building?  Definitely!   Can the church learn how to communicate and truly love our GLBT neighbors?  A resounding yes.

 

[1] Andrew Marin, Love is an Orientation:  Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community, (Downers Grove, IL:  IVP Books, 2009), 19.

[2] Ibid., 9.

[3] Ibid., 36.

[4] Ibid., 36.

[5] Ibid., 42.

[6] Ibid., 23.

[7] Ibid., 50.

About the Author

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Phil Goldsberry