Andrew Marin Pt 2- Elevating the Conversation Between the Church and the Gay Community
Andrew Marin wants to change the conversation between straight and gay-between conservative evangelical churches, liberal churches, and the gay and lesbian community. Does the conversation have to be, “I’m right and you’re wrong?” asks Spencer Burke, host of ThinkFwd on TheOOZE.TV. Andrew believes both communities are talking past each other instead of loving each other. Progressive Christians and the gay community are focused on finding scientific, academic proof of a gay gene so they can say to conservatives, “Now you have to agree, being gay is a God-given thing and I can be a happy, healthy person of faith.”
On the flip side, the conservative Christians could be shown 20 “gay genes” and it wouldn’t matter, they’d still believe, “Each person, gay or straight, has the ability to choose and to change wrong behavior.” They’ll hold up ex-gays or celibates as proof that the traditional interpretation of scripture holds true. And so, each side is fighting for something they hold to be true and regardless of “proof” one way or another, they are not going to simply change their long-held, ingrained beliefs.
Burke and Marin talk about sin. It’s a politically divisive word, and might seem to give us permission to discount or disconnect with people who we call sinners. But Marin says, Jesus never said, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” What Jesus says is, “Love the sinner, and hate your own sin.” (But isn’t it always easier to fix someone else’s speck that work on our own log!)
Let’s approach it a different way, says Andrew. You don’t have to change what you believe, just live it out differently. Yes, he says, we are justified by our faith, but faith is nothing if we don’t do anything with it. We’ve been given the opportunity to do something with our faith-to love (with our actions) a group of people who some might consider our “enemies.”
Andrew suggests a few ideas for engaging the communities in our own back yard, and encouraging discussion around faith, sexuality and culture. Help your church partner with a secular gay and lesbian group, cleaning up the community or building or cleaning up old homes. Have your youth group partner with the gay-straight alliance at their high school. Andrew believes future generations will judge us on the way we (the Church) work with the gay and lesbian communities. He is seeing churches around the country changing their structure and systems to encourage dialogue and love between their communities. This, he says, is great reason to hope.
- Are there groups that I have been talking “past” instead of “with?” Have I been using labels to discount or dis-engage my “enemy” instead of engaging?
- Have I missed the opportunity to have a conversation with a gay or lesbian friend, family member or co-worker? Or, have I needed to know how the conversation will turn out before I begin it (who “wins” or “loses”)?
Small Group or Staff Questions:
- How can we elevate the conversation starting with the “A-B-C’s” -beginning the conversation, instead of jumping to the end (X-Y-Zs)? How does that include both faith words and works?
- What would happen if a GLBT (gay, lesbian, bi, transgender) came to your church?
- How can we as an organization apply the principal of “log and speck” in our conversation with the gay community?