DMINLGP

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

I Have A Friend…

Written by: on March 23, 2017

Summary:

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.

 

Analysis:

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…

About the Author

Aaron Cole

6 responses to “I Have A Friend…”

  1. Aaron,

    You are such a great writer. This piece is really well thought out and spot on. You posed a question at the end in your conclusion: when did truth change? This year the word “post truth” was introduced by the Oxford dictionary. I believe we are living in a day and time where nones don’t want to be identified by labels. Students don’t want to be labeled by gender and the truth is challenged even from within Christianity. In our day there is a post truth tension between the truth and the “cultural truth” that was explored in this book.
    On page 27 Martin Luther King Jr. was quoted ” I must confess that I am not afraid of the word tension. I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension that is necessary for growth.”

    Did you feel the tension between the Bible and the “liberal interpretation of scripture?” Did you buy any of that interpretation?

    Kevin

  2. Hey AC. I am always fascinated with the interaction between culture and scripture. Your blog reminded me of the history of our country regarding first nation people and slaves from Africa. There was so much biblical doctrine and “sound” theology that supported how American Indians and slaves were treated. Now in 2017 many Christians are rethinking these previously held doctrines. What do you think caused this shift? Could not a slave holding Christian in the 1850s make the same argument that culture shouldn’t change his Biblical doctrine?

  3. Pablo Morales says:

    Aaron, I agree with your assessment in this issue. Even though it is legitimate and healthy to revise our theology based on different experiences, we always go back to the Scriptures to be the ultimate voice. The reading these past two weeks exposed me to the arguments and exegesis to support same sex relationships, and they fail to convince me–not because experience and theology do not shape each other, but because the biblical arguments were rather forced. There is a fine line between heresy and sound doctrine and a fine line between truth and falsehood. May the Lord grant us discernment to distinguish between the two.
    Pablo

  4. mm Rose Anding says:

    Thanks Aaron C,
    A great analysis, I agreed that taking a loving and empathetic approach is especially important for those who make the decision to attend a church – or already attend a church – since many involved in homosexuality have been scared by the church or carry around painful memories of prior experiences associated with Christianity.

    But everyone agreed that at some point, the issue of sin has to be addressed in an appropriate manner, especially if they want to become involved or gain membership or build relationships within the church, because the bridge should be built. Thanks for sharing from this perspective.
    Blessings… enjoy spring break! Rose Maria

  5. mm Phil Goldsberry says:

    Aaron:
    My opinion is that we do not, and for that matter never have, had the ability to change the truth. Mary asked at the end of our Zoom, can you change or shift on what you believe? You can change, but does that it make it right?

    I do believe that the church has had some challenges in the “conversation” and “bridge building”. As a leader in the church, what do you believe are two or three principles, in light of our reading the last two weeks, that we can use to “bridge” the divide between the church and the gay/lesbian community?

    Phil

  6. mm Marc Andresen says:

    Aaron C,

    You wrote, “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,” and “God help us if we allow our basic moral position to be changed because I have a friend who…”

    I couldn’t agree more. My former denomination went off track because the approach to Scripture was that “life interprets Scripture” rather than “Scripture interprets life.” I have long believed that if our theology is flawed, our anthropology will be flawed and collapse.

    I have one point of question/challenge. Regarding heterosexual and homosexual sin you said, “But both are wrong, both are sin, both will send men or women to hell.”

    Do we not end up in heaven or hell based on our relationship with Jesus; whether we submit to or reject the Lordship of Jesus? The difference between “Sin” and “sin” is our position outside Christ as opposed to doing wrong things.

    Thoughts?

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