Last Night’s Living in the Tension Gathering

Going into last night I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know who was going to show up, how many people or where they were coming from socially and/or theologically. But that is the exciting (and ridiculously scary) part! About 15 people showed up—and they were gay, straight, male, female, progressive and conservative. I couldn’t have asked for any better of a mix.

As I suspected, at the beginning they were all quite shy; trying to get the lay of the land and what was going to be happening. In the Intro I went through the post I did yesterday and then started in on what it means to willfully enter into a place of uncomfortable tension—free to be you and express where you’re coming from as each person knows that the others are all totally committed to staying, reconciling and growing—no matter what.

I began talking about my understanding of what it means to have, be, and live out a Bridge Building Theology in culture (a little intro to Chapters 7 and 8) , and the next thing you know people started to open up and share about their experiences and stories with their family, friends and the different churches they attend, and have attended. Faith, culture and sexuality became alive that hour and fifteen minutes as we connected from different points to all understand that the only way we’ll actually understand, is if we admit we don’t understand. Doing life together in a context of ‘things that make our skin stand on its own’ is the only way to go…

At the end of the night there was a lot of really good feedback, as many of the people in attendance said,

“A little uncomfortable. But I’ve never even heard of anything like this, let alone it actually happening. Thank you and see you next time.”

I did think there was one really poignant message by a gay man while we were talking about what it’s like for the GLBT people to show up and put themselves out there:

“I’ve spent too much of my life being the ‘token gay person’ trying to figure out who I am and what the church thinks about me. I’ll never put myself in that place again. I just won’t do it. But here I am tonight and this gives me hope for a new way of being able to figure stuff out.”

As scary as it was for all of us in that room last night (and yes, even I was scared out of my mind with the unknown), it was such a blessed initial time together and I just feel that this thing is going to have a great impact—not only individually for those who attend, but in turn structurally, as those who attend go out and influence their circles of influence in a new way.

Don’t quench the fire!

Much love.

About Andrew Marin

Andrew Marin is President and Founder of The Marin Foundation ( He is the award winning author of two books and a DVD curriculum, and his new book Us Versus Us: The Untold Story of Religion & the LGBT Community, will release June 2016. Since 2010 Andrew has been asked by the United Nations to advise their various agencies on issues of bridging opposing worldviews, civic engagement, and Christian involvement in reconciliation. He is currently based St. Andrews, Scotland where he is researching and teaching at the University of St. Andrews, earning his PhD in Divinity. His research focuses on the theology and praxis of social reconciliation between victims and their perpetrators. Andrew is married to Brenda, and you can find him elsewhere on Twitter (@Andrew_Marin), Facebook (AndrewMarin01), and Instagram (@andrewmarin1).

  • Jeff S.

    I look forward to reading more about these gatherings. I've been engaging in communication with several gay people in recent months, and it is a stretching experience both ways, and something that is growing from following efforts like your own. What' sremarkable to me is that I feel like my faith is being put to some of the best use that it ever has been.

  • Andrew Marin

    Amen brother Jeff! There is nothing quite like doing something for the Kingdom that doesn't fit in to a mainstream understanding (whether a secular or Christian) of what Christian is, and how it should be lived out. You bless my heart so very much for how you're listening to God's call and putting yourself out there….I just want to be here for you through this new journey. Much love!

  • Daniel

    Like Jeff (hey bro) I'm excited about what just took place. I think you're on to something. It's like AA, but not. The acceptance, structure, vision. I think there's a whole NGO/movement in this idea/concept. What's your idea to take this forward? Was it a 1-off? Or are you thinking of making this regular and building up a model through this "experiment"?

  • Andrew Marin

    Daniel….my goal is to continue these Living in the Tension events every other Thursday for the rest of the year. I have come up with a list of controversial (tension-filled) topics, movies, people, speakers to come and participate, etc. that the group will be entering within through 2009. My hope is to no doubt be able to take this model and the things I will learn to other locations around the country to get this unique community conversation going in all different areas!