Part 2: Language in the Culture War—Reconciliation

Bull Horn

Here is the Intro to this series on Language in the Culture War.

Reconciliation:

The word ‘reconciliation’ has become one of those ugly, politically charged words that bring on a new (and incorrect) cultural understanding of the word’s original intent in definition and usage.

The culture war definition of Reconciliation: People (specifically conservative Christians) have to fully agree with gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people (and GLBT Christians) who are sexually active in a committed, monogamous relationship.

Within this new definition of reconciliation, it means that GLBT people reconcile their faith and sexuality with the understanding that people are born with a same-sex attraction, acting out on those attractions is not a sin, and living in a same-sex committed monogamous relationship is a happy, healthy, God-ordained way of life. Thus, whoever does not agree with any of these statements in homophobic or out of touch with reality.

That is not reconciliation! In fact, I think that definition is the exact opposite of reconciliation because if the gospel is all about reconciliation (which I believe it to be)—it’s purpose is to draw people closer to God and closer to each other. The culture war definition actually separates people from each other, and therefore can only separate people (and warring communities) from God as well. In no way, shape or form does the culture war definition represent any biblical (I am not talking about theology) form of reconciliation.

My bridge building definition of Reconciliation: Torn apart and ruined relationships through the Fall and through one another’s actions with each other, are all now redeemed in Christ; together, bonded in relationship with each other and God through Christ’s death on a cross.

“The only purpose of the gospel is to reconcile people to God and to each other. A gospel that doesn’t reconcile is not a Christian gospel at all. But in America it seems as if we don’t believe that. We don’t really believe that the proof of our discipleship is that we love one another (John 13:35)…

To be reconciled to each other, then, we must bear the burdens created by each other’s pasts. And to be reconcilers in the world, to bring others together, we must bear the burdens of both the parties we seek to reconcile…

We must be reconciled to both God and man. The gospel’s first work is to reconcile us to God (2 Cor. 5:18), then, if our relationship with God is right, it will show up in our relationships with each other (1 John 4:20). For my worship to be acceptable to God, I must be reconciled to my brother (Matthew 5:23-24). To be reconciled to my brother I must first be reconciled to God; to remain reconciled to God I must be reconciled to my brother. I cannot have one without the other…

If the purpose of the gospel is to reconcile us to God and to our fellowman, if your mission is to be God’s ambassadors of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:20), how do we fulfill that mission?

We must model the kind of relationships into which we want to invite others. Our love for each other gives credibility and power to our witness. We must begin by being. Being, though, is not complete until it results in doing. As James says, “Faith, if it has no works, it’s dead”. A faith that doesn’t express itself in works is not a true faith. Now that’s good, but it’s not enough. It’s not enough to just be a reconciled fellowship, though that is where we have to start. We must be a reconciled fellowship on a mission. And our mission is to bring others into fellowship with God and with us.

And many of the people in the Christian community movement seem to lack this vision. They love each other, yet they lack the drive [to live it out].” Excerpts from racial reconciliation leader Dr. John Perkins in his book With Justice for All.

I have said many times that by in-large the Christian community has the God to human portion of reconciliation down. It’s the human to human piece many are missing. And on our last Live Chat I was corrected with an eye-opening revelation by someone named Blaser85:

“Andrew, you talk about the God to us part as we have it all figured out; that we’re just lacking the ‘us to us’ part. But I wonder if we really do understand and “get” the ‘God to us’ reconciliation part? My thought is that if we really did understand the ‘God to us’ part, then the ‘us to us’ part wouldn’t be hard at all! I don’t think we really understand how much God truly loves us and wants a relationship with us, giving us the freedom to choose Him and the relationship with each other. I think reconciliation with others would be much easier once we finally and correctly understand the ‘God to us’ reconciliation relationship.”

I am truly taken back by Blaser85’s insight—who couldn’t be more right! Well, I guess it’s time we all start reworking our understanding and subsequent reactions of what it means to have a reconciled relationship with God, because we obviously don’t have that figured out yet. If we did have it figured out, we wouldn’t be in this situation. So how are we then able to start learning how to reconcile each other to God and other people and communities? It’s a work in progress with God and each other.

Here is my understanding of the movements to reclaiming biblical reconciliation:

1. Legitimately enter into this journey with someone exactly opposite (theologically and socially) than yourself

2. Center God in the middle—not the culture war, sexuality, religion, work, hobbies, commonalities, clear differing points, etc.

3. Be committed for the long haul no matter what happens (the weak and those with excuses just give up); no matter who turns their back on who (go and relentlessly pursue them); who says whatever about the other (only face to face meetings to directly talk about it); who gets annoyed, angry, bored, frustrated, etc with the other (persistence in commitment is the only way growth happens).

4. Keep a consistent place (email, journal, blog) for individual and dual reflections of meetings, discussions and life experiences.

5. After a significant amount of time watch the bitterness fade away, the person flow forward and God light it all up. And if that doesn’t happen, keep repeating until Jesus returns.

Peace. God-centered. Biblical reconciliation. Out to the world.

Much love.

www.themarinfoundation.org

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About Andrew Marin

Andrew Marin is President and Founder of The Marin Foundation (www.themarinfoundation.org). He is author of the award winning book Love Is an Orientation (2009), its interactive DVD curriculum (2011), and recently an academic ebook titled Our Last Option: How a New Approach to Civility can Save the Public Square (2013). Andrew is a regular contributor to a variety of media outlets and frequently lectures at universities around the world. Since 2010 Andrew has been asked by the United Nations to advise their various agencies on issues of bridging opposing worldviews, civic engagement, and theological aspects of reconciliation. For twelve years he lived in the LGBT Boystown neighborhood of Chicago, and is currently based St. Andrews, Scotland, where he is teaching and researching at the University of St. Andrews earning his PhD in Constructive Theology with a focus on the Theology of Culture. Andrew's research centers on the cultural, political, and religious dynamics of reconciliation. Andrew is married to Brenda, and you can find him elsewhere on Twitter (@Andrew_Marin), Facebook (AndrewMarin01), and Instagram (@andrewmarin1).

  • http://carleton1958.xanga.com/ Jeff S.

    This is the journey I've embarked on several months ago, or at least recommitted to and been reenergized by Andrew's book. Learning to converse civilly and in love with those whom we might disagree with, even deeply, is one of life's and Christianity's major challenges. And I believe learning to do so helps build us into greater representations of God on earth. I have had some of the most profound conversations with people that I disagree with on theological issues over the past few months, and in most cases theology hasn't even been a main focus of the conversation. It has actually been a side issue as we learned to appreciate each other in spite of our different beliefs and life choices, and discovered that we can still enjoy each other and learn from each other in spite of our different beliefs. I feel the much richer for it, and hopefully I've been able to help make the world a little better place by sharing myself with others whom I might previously not have pursued in dialogue or relationship. Reconciliation as Andrew and Blaser85 have defined it is a wonderful thing.

  • http://dwhwar.wordpress.com/ Joe_S

    This is very much a weaker/stronger brother issue. Just because something is good for us to do, doesn't mean it's wise for every Christian.

    There are cultural norms in the gay community that could cause those who are "weaker" spiritually to stumble. For example, there are no cultural traditions or peer pressure mechanisms within the various (secular and Christian) gay communities that promote monogamy. Individual gay men and women may put a high value on monogamy but they would have to make it clear that this was only a personal preference – or face being condemned as “judgemental”. The abstinence pledges and sermons on chastity that are treated as normal within evangelical communities have absolutely no parallel in the gay world.

    Gay men also do not “disapprove” of pornography. They might not care for it themselves but they are very unlikely to consider someone else’s recreational use of pornography to be much a problem.

    Nobody would be turned gay (or straight) by the reconciliation steps you suggest but a spiritually “weaker” Christian could easily be tempted to be less “uptight” about his/her sexuality or “judgemental” about somebody else’s – which is to say – capitulate to the gay world-view.

  • Audrey

    P.S. To whomever said that no gay people are against porn. Lesbian feminists have always been against it, and we developed a whole movement to combat porn. We sure lost that battle didn't we!

  • Audrey

    Reconciliation can only come about if people have some understanding of the context of it. Sometimes the culture war just seems like something on TV. In daily life, I meet a lot of nice people, have good conversations, and amazing spiritual connections. Even among conservatives, I’m not all that upset with who they actually are in real life. They might not have the courage to say things to my face, and I give them a break with civility and kindness. I’m not all that in your face in daily life, but I do stand my ground should someone say something offensive to me.

    So TV, the Internet and ad campaigns that reach millions of people can really magnify issues, in ways that will prevent true reconciliation. And a lot of it is simply “activist rhetoric” “playing to the base” or whatever. It’s not real, it’s not how people actually connect with god, it seems a little off to me.

    We have to give people E’s for effort, but then keep putting out the message that god is there for everyone. We have to figure out what this authentic communion could be about, or have this chance to talk to other believers about it. Authentic believers wil reach out, and at least listen. I don’t find a big difference between conservatives and liberals in this department. I remember many years ago, I was warned that I would “hate” this “conservative” MCC church. People would go on and on about it. So one time, my partner and I ended up there. She might have been preaching there that Sunday, and we both felt, “Wow, this is the friendliestlittle old church in MCC.” We couldn’t really even figure out what people meant by conservative there!

    You can’t just go along with any “movement” hook, line and sinker. For example, I love conservative christian men when they talk to each other about the sin of pornography, and how it is “Everyman’s Battle.” You won’t hear this message ever in the gay male world, and only among committed feminists in the lesbian world. As I comically often have to describe myself among the young and wild lesbian set these days, “Hey I’m a political lesbian NOT a sex lesbian.” This usually gets a laugh or two, but I find most sexual talk offensive actually, along with the F-word etc. Conservative christian men will be very polite in conversation with women sometimes, and this puts me at ease.

    Then there is the whole monogamy thing. I read a lot, so when I read gay male stuff I’m always amazed at how it’s vor of all the sex out there, but nowhere is monogamy mentioned as a possible “path” as well. It means gay male sexual writers don’t even give it its due. That would be like me saying women should never cook! Or never enjoy keeping a nice clean house, for example. What’s wrong with monogamy?

    Ironically, the gay marriage movement, is about a lot of gay men saying, hey, we are serious, we love each other, we want to be committed monogamous couples. Then bam, the very same people who yelled at gay men for being libertine sinners, now go off at the mouth about gay marriage. You really can’t have this both ways, and conservatives like Frank Pastori and Focus on the Family and some others actually say this all the time. Either they have no sense of irony, or they really don’t get it at all, or they simply object to the existence of gay people who make love to each other, and that this is bad. Well of course they think it’s bad because they get to be married to women. Tell straight men that they should abstain from sex with women, and you’d have a revolution out there.

    So conservative christians have good standards. They understand casting out of demons, something that we as lesbians encounter all the time and have to deal with. So conservatives have good ideas, and they could also learn that we as lesbians and gays have good ideas too.
    You can be reconciled to good ideas, or creative about this reconciliation.

    Maybe gays a thing or two about suffering, having buried many young friends. Maybe we know a thing or two about the stations of the cross. Maybe we know a thing or two about having faith even when most churches rejected us, and believe me, in 1983, I never saw one lesbian affirming church outside of MCC. So it was really really bad back then.

    But if you only hear strange culture war type stuff, it really doesn’t get at who people are, or what they might care about, or just how they connect with god or other people in deeply meaningful ways.

    This type of communication does have a mysterious component. And you need community to help you along in life. I get bored with the sexual wildness that is so everywhere in gay life. I actually find it vapid, tiresome and kind of a screen saver with gay men…. they can’t shut up with pornographic commentary, and it makes them seem sad at times.

    So christian values are very very good. They just aren’t very good at dealing with who people really are. And they don’t know much about human sexuality, that part isbased on a time when there was no research on human sexuality at all, and it was only from a male viewpoint. Why would men know about the sexuality or bodies of women? But they sure like to tell us what to do about our lives all the time. The bible is the word of men as well as god, and by MEN I do mean MEN.

    Reconciliation…. what would it look like? It’s not really a mass level thing, it is an individual revelation, or an opportunity that could come to you at any time.

  • pm

    in (5) I read: "… watch the bitterness fade away" that to me might be used as a means of showing progress. It might be other stuff not specifically bitterness that is shed since anything could conceivably hold us back from pursuing our God-created right to fellowship with Him. Perhaps I might substitute the word with 'baggage' as we all have active as well as passive obstacles that limit us from fellowshipping in His Spirit with our opposites in society. There are my ways, then there is His Highway designed to elevate us up into His love.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    Andrew, your emphasis on reconciliation is certainly the right focus, but I can't help believing from what I've read in your post here that you are placing more emphasis on the power of human relationship than is merited, against the power of our relationship with God, which always comes first. That is dangerously close to a worldly viewpoint. Too close for many to distinguish the subtle danger, even with the obligatory Scripture references you have thrown out.

    How do we reconcile others to Christ, you ask. Good question. It is God who does the pursuing, and we do the responding. You want us to "center God" in a relationship with someone who might be diametrically opposed to us, and to pursue such relationships? I am not quite getting what you mean there. Are you speaking of relationships or encounters? What do we have to risk compromising to get to the point of connection? When do we realize the point of letting go?

    In my ministry work, I have occasion to feel great compassion for strugglers. It will never be the divine compassion God has for them, of course. And if my compassion is genuine and I am, indeed, seeking to disciple them or lead them into reconciliation with Christ, I must allow the hard stuff to sink in. I cannot interfere with the searing pain of God's searching light, which is a typical and understandable response from a human standpoint. All suffering is not meant to be ameliorated. Some relationships are pain killers that snuff out what God means us to experience.

    So, human relationship done wrong can interfere with God relationship. We must be able to distinguish between the Holy Spirit's convicting and Satan's condemning when we look at a brother or sister who is suffering or struggling. The former is absolutely necessary for growth and reconciliation.

    How many in the gay community are running from the searchlight and how many who long to be bridgers are running after them in attempts to rescue them instead of allowing them to come face to face with the living God? It happens in every "community," of course.

    God wants us to seek Him and know Him. If folks are reaching for the God who loves them enough to pursue them, do you think the two will fail to find each other? Not if we are to believe Jesus' words in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 7:7).

    Yes, seek to make human connections. Who knows what God can do through them? Just don't invest everything in them. This needs to be crystal clear, and I am not sure it is.

  • Audrey

    Reconciliation with god is huge for lesbians and gays. I think of this as seeing god as about us, and for a lot of people, they grow up in childhood churches where gayness is not seen as holiness. So the anti-gay message of some ignorant straight preacher gets mistaken for the word of god. It's not the word of god. God sent messengers to the gay people, we've had lots of them, and these messages and messengers are becoming more and more powerful.

    People think god hates them, but it is really about incompentant pastoral leaders.

    It is helpful to create gay centered churches to overcome the sheer weight of the homophobes elsewhere. I hate to be blunt here, but the bottom line is, if you think I am a sinner because I love my partner, then you aren't qualified to be my spiritual guide in any way. If you don't honor goodness in gays and lesbians, and say that our relationships are as valid if not more so as a small but vital human minority that has a special purpose, then this is homophobia, and has nothing to do with god.

    I've talked to lesbian and gay christians all over the world, from South Africa to England to Japan to France to the Philippines and more. The stories are the same, people believe that god condemned and hated them.

    They were unfortunate to have been born into the wrong church tradition or got stuck with a yo yo homophobe for a pastor. Like a bad math teacher in high school, this can screw up your life later on.

    So to get reconciled with god first, means that you have to tune out the homophobic gatekeepers of a lot of churches out there. Not all churches, not all christian leaders, but many of them.

    God speaks directly to any people that come to consciousness of this message. Each group has its own messengers, and we can also be messengers to others. God is always there, but humans block connection to god when they fight racial integration, when they call the sacredness of committed lesbian relationships sins, or insult our intelligence more by thinking men who marry women are somehow superior to women who marry each other. Now really. It bores me at times.

    God loves lesbians and gays, god reaches out to us all the time. God has to fight to get heard because of spiritual malpractice that would be a criminal offense if doctors did the same damage to gay people that homophobic pastors did.

    I see many straight people changing, and understanding our world, but we had to first come out of darkness into light. We had to come out of the closet, have the courage to risk of life our fortunes and our sacred honor and be true to ourselves. We had to have the confidence that coming out of the closet might get us fired, but ultimately that it would lead to great spiritual power, great social confidence, and social justice.

    If straight people terrorize lesbians and gays with really dreadful theology; I believe one feminist christian book had the title "Texts of Terror"–Phyllis Tribble I think wrote it. In it she talks about the womanhating passages of the bible, the gay hating, the texts used out of context, the texts that were there before science or pyschology or DNA testing was invented.

    Fundamentalism is the hardest faith for gays and lesbians to be raised in because this tradition tells you what to think, but it doesn't teach you how to think. It is straight people slandering gay people in the name of god, and anyone who does this, has no right to do this, anymore than they have any right to call Jews christ killers from a pulpit.

    I found two road blocks to god… the woman is interior message, and the lesbian is a sinner message. The anti-woman message was the most anger producing, and one that will always cause my greatest moral outrage. It is the primary oppression. Since right wing christianity doesn't say "she" very much and thinks gay = male, the attacks on gays seem like attacks on gay men, not lesbians. So it's hard for me to feel anti-lesbian bias in churches, because lesbians are simply made invisible. But as a woman, I want a relationship with a diety I trust, and I trust in the divine feminine, I don't trust how men describe god, or even how straight people describe god. I'm picky :-)

  • Toby

    @Joe_S: I am a gay man and I strongly believe in monogamy and I strongly oppose to porn (though this doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle with it – but I’m sad about it and fight it and I believe it has the power to destroy relationships). And while I wouldn’t condemn someone who thinks porn is good for him I would never believe it actually *is* good for him.

    So please don’t generalize us. :)

  • Audrey

    P.S. It's why I say lesbians will never lay down our arms ever. Men are free to do so, and trust us when we say we will never harm the poor men. That's what men ask women to do all the time, "Hey we're nice guys, trust us." Sorry, I don't trust you.

  • Jack Harris

    Audrey,

    I think you said in this once sentence what I have been struggling to find words for months :” I hate to be blunt here, but the bottom line is, if you think I am a sinner because I love my partner, then you aren’t qualified to be my spiritual guide in any way. ”

    Peace, Jack

  • pm

    I find the 'audrey-message' steeped in disdain, contempt and missing a key element: humility about one's own sinfulness (not even talking about GLBT but our human nature) contained in the phrase, 'contrite spirit.' Your arms are certainly yours to pick-up, lay-down, or even negate/cross-out the compassion shown in this blog towards your relentless pursuit of self-justification.

    True, you're an audacious and prolific writer, filled with analytical moments of crystal-clear vignettes of startling self-realizations. But your journey, as your public testimony indicates, only extends as far are you can take a swing to/for/against others based on your filtration/bias of 'you're right – they're wrong' mentality.

    It's both an attitude you carry and a self-defiance mechanism you've perfected in the corporate dialogue of civil discourse.

  • Audrey

    Jack,

    We’ve all been through this, and I think it is time to be very blunt and very clear with fundamentalists and conservatives of any religion. You gain nothing by bargaining with people who think their way of life is morally superior to our own. I believe we can learn the lessons of native americans, who kept signing those treaties with the white man, only to learn in time that the white man broke every darn treated he signed, every one in the history of the U.S. People who don’t know the history of how oppressors treat minorities should beware.

  • http://www.loveisanorientation.com Andrew Marin

    For the comments from Joe S and Audrey which have led the conversation in a different direction:

    Please re-read the post. What is being commented about has absolutely nothing to do with what I categorized as biblical reconciliation. Nothing. Biblical reconciliation is not a weaker/stronger issue. And this has nothing to do with spiritual guidance in one leading another. Christ deems us all worthy and equal to come together before, and in, God’s glory! Audrey, yes, men have dominated the system too forcefully from a human perspective, but when do you stop seeing humanity’s system and start walking in God’s divine system? And the correct answer is not, “When men change or give up their power.” Nice thought, but it the meantime it’s up to us to start proactively reclaiming biblical reconciliation ourselves, one by one! Please re-read the post.

    Jeff S – Thank you for sharing your experience! It’s truly humbling and a representation of what we must all be doing to reclaim a biblical reconciliation…that is what it’s all about.

    PM – Your two comments are prolific.

  • Audrey

    Hey I tend to think that reconciliation has an awful lot to do with a people reclaiming their special connection to god. Individuals can reconcile with one another, but group reconciliation is another thing entirely, and usually not that successful.

    As for reconciliation with the bible, well, it has a lot of things in it that people in democratic countries no longer believe valid or just. It has a lot of traditions that have been out of play for centuries. Even Thomas Jefferson went through an entire bible and x-ed out all the mircacles as blantantly unscientific. Most people don’t read all the languages of the original tracts of the bible, nor are most pastors familiar with the writings, the time periods, the cultural contexts. And most of these guys quite frankly are not qualified to comment on the bible at all in a group setting. It might be a good book discussion topic, but their education is limited.

    The idea that humans have the freedom to choose a faith or a belief system would have gotten people killed in biblical times. So if you didn’t worship Caesar, you were out, and in a Jewish community, atheism wasn’t an option either.

    At this time in history, I think only individual can reconcile with one another, and I’ll just stay away from gay hostile institutions thank you very much.

  • Audrey

    Just a question here: I notice that conservatives like to dispute that lesbians and gay men might have been “born” that way. Or that gayness itself may be a special category of humanness with a special purpose.
    If we are looking at the bible, it was a time obsessed with child bearing—the people of Israel were afraid that they would be exterminated by the Romans, and by Pharaoh as well. That was a time of tribal survival obsessions. Women were considered child bearing machines back then. They were not the rule makers, they were the rule endurers.

    Outside of fringe scary groups like Quiverfull in America, the idea of reproduction in an over populated age is something to question, and it is no accident that the rise of the modern gay movement occured at precisely the same time as the baby boom was in full bloom.

    I like to think of lesbian and gay existence as a gift from god, and that I was lucky to be born a lesbian for a variety of reasons. So reconciliation also speaks to the inner reconciliation with self and the goodness of one’s own person in the face of unbelievable contempt and hostility from the straight world.

    A self-hating gay person is a great danger to himself and the world. I see this extreme suffering in the guys more I think, because they believe they have lost more in life. Patriarchal doctrines promise that each man will have his own wife to boss and rule over, so if you are a poor man or a rich man, you still can be top dog at home. This same strategy was used by rich whites to con poor southern whites into believing they were the “heads” of black people. You could be dirt poor, you could be exploited by the white landowners, but you still could be white. And this little set up was “ordained by god.” I don’t think god ordains inequality ever. I think that is a false teaching of men.

    So the loss of this male straight privilege among gay men is huge, and they will admit to this privately, but not publically as a group. I’m not talking out of school here, it’s just what they say.

    So reconciliation would be huge in a gay and lesbian context, because it would actually heal gay men. And in this process it might heal them of the sin of sexism or racism if they are white.

    It would be a more advanced form of reconciliation.

    Although I’d be considered relatively conservative in terms of my ideas of sexual ethics, I also am a little bit weary that gays might be buying into any conservative ideas about gay life. Can a straight person ever be a moral arbiter of a gay person? We have to think about power, it’s abuse and misuese, and we have to deal with unconscious entitlement to power. It’s the power you have and don’t recognize that can block reconciliation.

    If you want to see power dynamics in action, take a look at the Supreme Court confirmation process itself. You have a panel — the Judiciary committee, 99% white men, questioning a minority woman. How many men face a panel of eminent women Senators, and have to answer to them in order to get a job? So in reconciliation, one has to look at the power dynamics, and who is reconciling to what.

    And a little off topic here, but where are the lesbian friends from Chicago on this blog? What would the three best gay and lesbian friends of Andrew have to say about all of this? Kind of curious as to where lesbians are here, and if they speak for themselves, or just are reported to be friends?
    I have to ask these questions, because I do wonder where lesbian input is here. It seems oddly absent. I don’t think I have read one woman here who self-identifies as a lesbian. So I guess I have to do the talking for lesbians right now, but I’d rather other smart lesbians join in here, because it is lonely with all these guys commenting. Just saying. Male only or male dominant spaces aren’t the safest places on earth, but in this case, my knowlege and experience should open some doors for women who want to comment here.

  • http://dwhwar.wordpress.com/ Joe_S

    @Toby: ” and while I wouldn’t condemn someone who thinks porn is good for him”

    Yeah, that’s the bit missing in gay (secular and Christian) culture. Glad you agree. Gay people accept no-porn & monogamy an an option. Straights make them a rule (which, of course, they fail to keep). The cultures are very different.

    By the way, I’m probably gayer than you.

  • Mrs T

    Audrey: Thanx for your input. I’m sure the Marin Foundation would love to get more lesbian communication. Just because there is a male majority writing here, should not deter any females from sharing! Keep showing us how you feel.
    Personally, as a Christian woman, I am not threatened by the male predominance in clergy/professional roles. I know that God loves me as much as any male & He is fair with me. He loves us all alike & I have no problem with God using male terminology to describe Himself.
    Your insight & experiences have been very helpful, though. I was not raised with a strong push to conform with traditional female roles, so never had to rid myself of that.
    My sons were not pushed to be macho, but they have picked up the traditional behaviors of men. However, they do respect women, which makes me very proud of them. [God has made you unique & my sharing about my sons does not mean that they would be rejected if they were gay. I think I would be a very supportive, loving mom if they were.]

    The Marin Foundation is here to get us all to be open & get the communication going. You have added much. We often forget that lesbians also had to deal with the male-dominant culture & therefore may have an extra burden.

    Andrew: How can we get more input from lesbians?
    Audrey: If you are in Chicago, have you gone to Andrew’s ‘Living in the Tension’ meetings?

  • http://www.loveisanorientation.com Andrew Marin

    Audrey – I found your deconstruction of reconciliation from a gay and lesbian perspective very interesting and insightful. Thanks for that! Also, one thing you mentioned: “Although I’d be considered relatively conservative in terms of my ideas of sexual ethics, I also am a little bit weary that gays might be buying into any conservative ideas about gay life.”

    In my book, Love is an Orientation, I quote Michael Warner quite a bit. He is a gay man who is a professor at Yale and has some very countercultural thoughts about homosexuality and its acculturation to social and religious norms and cultural expectations – both of which he sees as counterproductive to living a full and unique GLBT life. The best book I’ve read of his is The Trouble with Normal. I think you would really enjoy it.

    Debbie – Just wanted to make a quick clarification. I see where you’re coming from regarding the potential of focusing too closely on the relationship instead of centered in Christ. If that is how some of this post came across, I am truly sorry. My belief is all about centering relationships in Christ, letting that love, grace, mercy [and judgment] roll out of what is common ground between two people. Thank you for bringing that up.

  • Audrey

    Thanks for the book recommendation Andrew. I have a list about a mile long, and will get “The Trouble With Normal” soon. I don’t really desconstruct things, and certainly don’t consider myself a post modernist. However, I do take words and think about them and write about them. I’m am very focused on words, and how they are used, how they exclude or include. Much of lesbian christianity is very much about finding the truth about women, by women and for women.

    Hi Mrs. T! Are you related to Mr. T? Just had to ask :-) Yes, lesbians have two major wars to fight daily. Our solution is always to create as much women’s spaces and groups as possible. The most interesting conversation is between women. I think we forget that most governments and churches were formed by all males. So we want to change the world, and have women be the creative new force in governance and in theology.

    You’ll find this dynamism in all lesbian feminist theology and church commentary. Gay men just want their conservative sexist churches to accept their gayness, lesbians want a revolution. Kind of different train tracks I’d say.

  • Toby

    @Joe_S: Well, but this was my point. I don’t consider it an option. I believe (based on my experience and what I learned about life and possibly God) that porn is not good and can destroy. So if somebody told me that porn is good for him, I would say that I don’t believe so. But I would accept that we disagree on this if he thinks differently.

    Btw, I didn’t know there were different levels of gayness… do you have a black belt or something. ;)

  • Courtney J White

    I agree that there are many aspects of religion that are/have been man-made but relationship with Christ is God-made and soley about relationship;thereby, making the 2 (religion and relationship with Christ) VERY different. Basically, I think what this is first and foremost really all about is our individual reconciliation with God through Christ Jesus. We so desperately need to allow the truth of God's Word to be the guiding and governing light in what reconciliation with Him through His son actually is and likewise in what it is not and I believe, as we truly seek to recieve and live out that truth the "us to us" dynamic will surely begin to improve. I believe this principle is fundamental and true in any dialouge, between any two individuals, who disagree based on any premise.

  • http://theformers.wordpress.com Debbie Thurman

    "We so desperately need to allow the truth of God’s Word to be the guiding and governing light in what reconciliation with Him through His son actually is and likewise in what it is not and I believe, as we truly seek to receive and live out that truth the “us to us” dynamic will surely begin to improve. I believe this principle is fundamental and true in any dialogue, between any two individuals, who disagree based on any premise."

    Amen!


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