I Don’t Trust Christianity Today

Let me make two things very clear before I expound on why I wholeheartedly believe the title to this post is absolute truth:

1. I love Leadership Journal and Out of UR, who are both owned by Christianity Today. It amazes me how the right hand doesn’t know what it’s doing from the left hand, as Leadership Journal and Out of UR have given The Marin Foundation, Love is an Orientation and our work balanced reviews, here and here.

2. I can take criticism. In fact, I think it’s healthy and I actually learn a lot from people who don’t agree with me [see the many conversations on this blog that have strongly influenced, even changed, my thoughts; which I publicly admit]

However, Christianity Today has taken themselves to a new level of distrust in anything they write—not just with what they have falsely written about me in the last six months, but now also about my close friend, Soong-Chan Rah. I will start with Soong-Chan’s situation:

You can see the Soong-Chan Rah debacle here. And this article was written by Christianity Today’s managing editor, Mark Galli! Wow. In essence, they quoted lengthy portions from his recent book, gave him no credit (except to refer to him as an “Asian”), and then tore his life, thoughts and experiences apart, completely out of context. Why this has me so mad is because they have done the same thing to me, twice.

The first time they did this to me was in a review of my book in their Books & Culture section, written by Wesley Hill. Mr. Hill took a few random, unconnected quotes out of my book and formulated an opinion on those singular words. He gave no context, no background, or no supplemental information that would all prove his stance completely wrong. It’s almost as if he didn’t read the book and just picked out a couple sentences to fit his presupposition of who I am, what I’m all about and what my message is. Over the past year I have done over 50 interviews (radio, TV, newspaper, magazine, secular and Christian), and I have found one clear difference between legitimate reporters/media people and folks who are out to pick a fight or make a point:

True reporters pick out larger themes imbedded throughout the work and focus on those. People out to pick a fight or espouse their own opinions narrowly focus on random words or sentences and formulate their own theme around what they choose as important.

Did Mr. Hill try to contact me or anyone else with a divergent opinion from himself? No. Did he care to? I’m guessing not, otherwise he would have sought out a balanced approach—the structure that good reporters/reviews take to their work (whether at the end of the day if he agreed or disagreed with my stance is not the point). All I got from Mr. Hill was a quick email after the article was published saying that “although my review is somewhat critical … I consider myself on the same team.” That means nothing to me after what he published. Even as I write this I’m still thinking to myself, “Andrew, don’t be ungrateful, and be grateful that Mr. Hill even sent an email to you in the first place. He could have not contacted you at all.” Just being honest though, I don’t feel I’m being ungrateful and I don’t take lightly, any amount of backhanded compliments after-the-fact.

The second time was an article Christianity Today published in July 2009, written by Bobby Ross Jr. Please read the article and then please read the very first comment made in the Comments Section by Mark Oestreicher, the main subject of the article! Why this article bothers me so much is that not only did they once again not talk to me, but they used me as the sole example of what is dividing the Church, and not uniting it. Give me a break. Christianity Today is so out of touch with what divides/unites the church it amazes me. Here are two interesting behind the scenes facts:

1. I got a phone call from Youth Specialties after the interview for this article was complete and the person told me that Mr. Ross talked to Mark Oestreicher for a lengthy amount of time, trying to get him to say that it was my fault for the shift in the conference model. And Christianity Today calls that subjective reporting?

2. In early 2009 Youth Specialties did a survey of conference participants and youth pastors involved with their organization and asked them what are the top issues that need to be covered? Do you want to know what the #1 answer was: Homosexuality.

Once again, who is in the right about the scope and trends surfacing throughout our faith—not Christianity Today. Not with the topic of homosexuality nor about the state of evangelicalism through their words about Soong-Chan. This all makes me sick to my stomach.

I have sat on writing about my thoughts regarding Christianity Today for months because I didn’t want to sound like I was complaining or giving a knee-jerk reaction, but I can’t help but to call them out at this time. Christianity Today continues to print things they falsify as truth, using their leverage and power to wrongly influence thousands of people who wrongly have put their trust in them. I don’t care that Billy Graham founded the magazine decades ago. And I’m sure if he knew what was going on that he wouldn’t be pleased in the least bit. I’m just amazed that Christianity Today, their leadership who allows this shotty reporting to happen, as well as some of the people who do the “writing” and “reporting” for them, continually get a pass because of their name. It all needs a complete overhaul. Who knows how many more articles have recently been published that we’ll never know were totally false because no one has spoken up—because it’s really scary to fight against “the man”, especially when “the man” is waaaay bigger than you and a really well known media outlet!

At least they responded to Soong-Chan’s email questioning the article they wrote about him, as all of my phone calls and emails to Christianity Today seeking an explanation to what was written about me have never been responded to. I can’t think of a more shady practice. If you’re going to write about me, give me the dignity to speak to me person to person before something is published; especially since I live about 40 minutes from their offices. Am I not “famous” enough for them to respond to me? Or are they just blatantly using me as a pawn regarding the topic of homosexuality? Who knows, but either way it’s ridiculous.

Writing this post will probably solidify a strained relationship between myself and Christianity Today, and that really hurts my heart (personally and professionally) but it’s something I have to put out there for you all to decide what to do with. I can’t just sit back and let this continue to happen.

Much love.

www.themarinfoundation.org

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://earlychurchstudies.com John Contabile

    Hey Andrew,

    I think you are handling this well…I'd be SUPER ticked!

    For what its worth, I read [no more like intensely studied] your book…and it truly opened my heart and mind to be more compassionate to others. On the other hand, I have only read a few CT articles in my whole life and not one of them impacted me in the slightest.

    Love you bro, and all that you are doing!

    John

  • guidoc

    It is frustrating when folks don't do the thing we want them to do. Understand that.

    Andrew, this is not the way to handle the situation. This is a minutae issue that a majority of the people who you minister with and to don't get. Don't let this drive you from your main focus. A resentment like this could hurt your ministry and that does none of us any good.

    Timothy Keller talks about forgiveness. To forgive is agony. To forgive is to put oneself through suffering. To do your ministry, you may have to suffer. This is one instance.

    Will pray for you, because I don't want to be alone in this venue of ministry you are inhabiting.

  • http://ochuk.wordpress.com Adam Omelianchuk

    Andrew,

    I just finished reading your book and I did not know what to think of it I like to review books, but I was not comfortable writing one until I found out more about you and your ministry. I've followed your blog a little bit hoping to find out more and I have to say this post is very disappointing to read. Honestly it is pretty whiny. Does everyone who has a criticism of your published work need to contact you before they publish it? Did you consider doing that before you published this post? Do you understand that there is difference between reviewing a book and reporting news?

    My concern is over your treatment of Mr. Hill's review. Mr. Hill was a book reviewer, not a reporter on the scene. Like it or not people are entitled to their opinion and can publish them without having to check with you first (I cannot imagine a more unreasonable demand in a day of age where publishing can happen at the click of a button). If you think the criticism is unfair then simply respond with your own post showing where you think there is misunderstanding.

    Honestly, I do not see what you find to be so unfair about Mr. Hill's review. The examples he cites are a part of a larger pattern I noticed in your book that allows some form of divine-human communication to go untested by Biblical authority. You seem to suggest that we just have to accept how people think and feel and leave it at that. This highly personalized view of spiritual formation seem to be free from any constraint on our autonomy. Is that really how we should minister to people? Or is that just something we ought to do for GLBT persons? The lack of clarity about this (suspect) approach to spiritual formation is something to be concerned about. Now if you think that is an unfair representation, then take this as an opportunity to be more clear.

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

    John, Jeff, guidoc – Thanks so much. And guidoc, I really appreciate the forgiveness piece. It’s a fundamentally solid reminder, and something that is a total necessity. I take your words to heart very seriously. Much love.

    Adam – In regards to your questions, here you go:

    1. No, I don’t “whine” about criticism, nor do I expect everyone to contact me before they post/publish anything. My thoughts about CT today were regarding an unnerving pattern that has occurred recently in lack of source citing and balanced approaches/opinions. CT is the largest, and most influential Christian publication. Things like what happened with Soong-Chan and/or myself (with the no responses), I just don’t think should happen with such a high profile publication. Just so you can see it, here is a negative review of my book, one that I have never “whined” about (see 1st link). In fact, we’ve had peaceful and wonderful discussions on the blog which led to the second link.

    http://joemoderate.blogspot.com/2009/08/joe-does-

    http://joemoderate.blogspot.com/2009/08/on-unders

    2. As I said in the post, I have both called and emailed CT multiple times over the last six months to reach out to them. No responses at all. Not one. So yes, I did “consider contacting them before publishing this post” because I actually did contact them.

    3. You might think that reaching out is unrealistic, however, Mr. Hill is writing for CHRISTIANITY TODAY, not a random periodical or a personal blog. Christianity Today has a huge reach and they carry a lot of influence. With great power comes great responsibility; something that they should always remember. This is not to say that every single review they do should include an interview – or any review for that matter. I'm more so talking about balanced perspectives. One great example of what I see as a balanced persepctive is from the Englewood Book Review. You can just tell they did their homework due to the breathe and large scope of what they included (from a variety of topical persepctives woven throughout) in their review:

    http://englewoodreview.org/?p=350

    4. As for your questions regarding my thoughts on spiritual formation and how that ties into Biblical authority, I’ll save that for a stand alone post for everyone to read instead of placing it here in the comment section. I have just put that post idea on my timeline list for upcoming posts. Thank you for the suggestion.

    Ted – Thank you so much for commenting. I look forward to finally talking to someone from CT in person.

    General Thought: As I said, I am not opposed to critiques. I am not opposed to people disagreeing with me, nor do I expect everyone to get in touch with me. Magazines, media outlets and individual people, just as you and I, are completely entitled to their/our opinions. I just would expect hugely influential outlets/blogs/etc to take extra care in the responsibility they have been entrusted. I know one thing for certain, before I critique anyone or anything (which I rarely do), I always, always will at the very least send an email before it is published to get their comments, if any, so that I am always completely above water and transparent. Who knows, maybe I’m asking too much from the largest Christian publication out there … maybe I'm not? I just know my heart, values and my standard operating procedure on the issue of being responsible within various mediums of communication.

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

    Wesley Hill is an openly gay but 'orthodox' Christian – so he wants “moral and theological clarity on the issues involved”.

    It’s a perspective I can relate to – so I thought his review was OK.

  • Br. Michael

    Andrew, be joyful that you are not bi, gay, or transgenger… Because your lose of trust with “mankind drama of christianity” can not begin to compare to a lose "we" feel from birth. “Christian, shady, and lose of trust….” It never ends…. As a bi transgender monk, I am grateful God is before, during, and after all the mankind drama. Amen to that!

  • http://www.profrah.com Soong-Chan Rah

    I think both Andrew and I are frustrated at the way that CT does not consider their position in writing some of the stuff that they do. CT has an important place among Christian periodicals and to resort to what seems like unfair journalistic practices leaves a bad taste in one's mouth. My particular scenario and the story that Andrew tells about CT feels less journalistic and more commentary/opinion driven.

    I think both Andrew and I feel that CT unfairly represented us without giving any recourse to us or to the readers of the magazine. I think quoting someone without giving proper attribution is just shoddy and irresponsible journalism. Ted, as a journalist, I wonder what you thought about how Mark Galli failed to cite my name or work while quoting me (out of context in my opinion). Is this typical of CT's journalistic practice? I know as an academic, not properly citing someone's work is an egregious offense. Does not the same standard apply to journalism? Andrew has a right to be upset when the standards of journalism are not being met by those in a position of great authority.

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    I agree whole-heartedly with Brother Michael's sentiments about issues of trust. Which is what I feel like much of this bridge-building experience is about. GLBTs not trusting Christians. Christians not trusting TBLGs. At least Andrew's owning his mistrust.

    And, if he hadn't been able to get a response before now, it looks like this different approach has gotten one.

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

    Andrew, I am a very long-time reader of Christianity Today, so the title of your post initially disturbed me. But I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt by trusting your judgment on this. Your work amazes me and has revolutionized my own faith and approach to people in the LGBT community, and I think magazines like CT should more greatly support what you are doing. The evangelical church needs big push on this issue. Don’t let them get you down, brother. Keep doing what the Lord calls you to do. That is what counts. Love ya, man!

  • Robert

    Andrew,
    Just a quick note to say that I, for one, was glad to see you speak at YS.
    –Robert

  • http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/ Ted Olsen

    Hi, Andy. This is the first I’ve heard that you’ve tried to contact Christianity Today. Sorry you’ve been disappointed. I’d love to talk about some of these concerns. E-mail me or give me a call 630-260-6200 x4317.

    I will note a few things for the benefit of your readers:
    a) Books & Culture, like Leadership Journal, is a separate publication from Christianity Today.

    b) We don’t usually contact people for book reviews. (Neither do most outlets.) Book reviews are generally just reviews of a book, not reports on a ministry. We publish news reports, essays, editorials, opinion pieces, and reviews. Each of those formats is slightly different from the others.

    c) I’d be very, very surprised if our reporter tried to get to MarkO to say that it was your fault for YS’s shift in the conference model. My guess (though I will verify this) is that he was following up to a query I made. More than one source had cited your appearance at the conference as one of the “controversial” ones that YS seemed to be moving away from. I was rather surprised that your talk would have been seen as controversial in that setting. So I wanted our reporter to doublecheck his sources on whether your talk was among the “controversial” ones. The reporting came back that it had, so we ran with it as one example (though we could have also cited Francis Collins’s talk, as a different example). Glad to see that MarkO clarified in the comments. Wish we’d had that in our original.

    Anyway, eager to talk (probably best offline).

    Ted Olsen
    Managing Editor, News & Online Journalism
    Christianity Today

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

    Sorry about the row with CT, Andrew.

    I must say, as a journalist and occasional book reviewer myself, it is sometimes important and helpful to interview the author. I have done it both ways. I think for a book such as yours, which breaks new ground, most reviewers would be well-served in seeking an interview.

    Also, FWIW, I had a bad experience with CT 11-12 years ago when a different managing editor was there. I tried to just put it behind me and forgive. It was a different kind of situation from yours as very few people could have known anything had happened. But it embarrassed me in front of some key people at a very large and influential organization I had worked hard to cultivate a good relationship with. Suffice it to say I was treated in a very unChrist-like manner by CT. But I moved on.

    This stuff happens, in the Christian world and elsewhere.

  • http://thesimplepastor.blogspot.com/ Phil Whittall

    Hi Andrew,
    I’m a book reviewer and a former magazine editor that commissioned book reviews. I’ve done hundreds and commissioned hundreds more. I have to say I’ve never contacted the author of a book about a review, nor has any other reviewer I’m aware of. Nor has it been in any guidelines I’ve been given by other magazines I’ve reviewed for. The job of the reviewer is to do his/her best to understand, evaluate and report on the written word. An interview shouldn’t be needed to do that, because the book should be able to stand up to scrutiny. Sometimes reviewers don’t ‘get’ a book, it’s almost always evident if a book hasn’t been properly read. I doubt that here.

    I’ve also never emailed any of the authors about it afterwards. Who knows maybe I should? I think as a self-described gay Christian Mr Hill was trying to show his support for your foundation. That’s good isn’t it?

    I guess while you may think Wesley Hill hasn’t been balanced in his review, but as another commenter said, that provides the opportunity for further clarification.

    Keep walking the way of grace

  • http://www.thediscipleproject@me.com Paul Turner

    I think all of this is a cause for celebration, in the sense of dialogue. We have lots of voices trying to resolve a complicated matter which is leading to deeper discussion. If it takes a less than complimentary book review to get the ball rolling and clarification and peace keeping soon follows, then I say Praise the Lord. Let’s do all things in love.

  • http://ochuk.wordpress.com Adam Omelianchuk

    Andrew,

    Fair enough. Though, I still am not following the expectation that the size of a publishing outlet demands that it go through a process of contacting and interviewing an author before it reviews their book.

    And I am sorry if I came across a bit critical of you. I want to say I was very encouraged by much of your book and ministry, but still have a lot of questions. I look forward to your post about your views on spiritual formation.

    (PS: is there a chapter of your ministry in Minneapolis?)

  • http://adammclane.com adam mclane

    I guess what I find interesting is that any periodical would think of their relationship as so one-way! I'm almost offended by that. They write/publish whatever they want (having the full right to do so) and never interact with the author (if needed for clarification) nor respond to criticism from said author until that person cries out publicly.

    Interestingly, they are responding to criticism in a method not available to Mr. Marin or Mr. Rah. They are "peer reviewing" a critique of their work via a google alert or a link sent to them by an associate. But they don't have a built-in mechanism for peer review of the work they do. It seems all these gentlemen are looking for is a conversation about the tone of these articles. What recourse did they have but to make their gripe public if CT wouldn't respond to private requests for conversation?

    Times have changed. All forms of media now require more full relationships between the content provider and consumer. Hopefully, CT will learn from this and make necessary changes/apologies.

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

    Phil – Thank you for your insight as a former magazine editor! It’s actually very helpful. The standard operating procedures I am referring to are my own, personal rules, just to make sure I don’t ever put anything in public that I don’t feel is balanced or given a fair shot at response. I assumed book reviewers didn’t have a similar S.O.P.

    I guess the main issue I have with book reviews (whether the reviews end up being good or bad; my book or other books) is that many of them are so personally tied that they often don’t give a balanced overview of the book (once again, whether that review ends up being good or bad), but rather give a singular and personal commentary—which unfortunately, and too often, get generalized to the broader audience’s perceptions as if they were balanced. For a really well done, balanced book review, see my previous comment above with the link to the Englewood Book Review—which does actually point out Mr. Hill’s review, as well as referencing other works in conjunction to their main points. My thought is that when it comes to larger publications such as a CT or the like, or a site solely dedicated to reviews such as Englewood, I feel the reviews should be less commentary and more structural overviews. A great example of that would be:

    http://www.fulcrum-anglican.org.uk/page.cfm?ID=456

    I think Joe_S’s comment above is an excellent explanation and example (with no intention as such) as to why many reviews are so singular and personal—which I think belong on personal blogs/websites, not on sites like CT or Englewood.

    Also, the broader point to this post is more than the narrow scope of the structure of Mr. Hill’s review of my book—it’s also the way in which the Soong-Chan article and the Youth Specialties article were handled; an unnerving trend that has appeared recently.

    Adam – The Marin Foundation has never done any work in Minneapolis, however I will be doing some work there in 2010.

  • Br. Michael

    Andrew, be joyful that you are not bi, gay, or transgenger… Because you lose of trust with “mankind drama of christianity” can not begin to compare to a lose we feel from birth. “Christian, shady, and lose of trust….” It never ends. As a bi transgender monk, I am grateful God is before, during, and after all the mankind drama. Amen to that!

  • http://www.annastudenny.com Anna Studenny

    Andrew,

    When I first read the title of your blog, I thought to myself, “I don’t either.” But then I read your blog and realized you weren’t saying, “I don’t trust Christianity…today.”

    Anyhow, I would heap coals on their heads with kindness, blessings, and grace. I know that’s difficult to do – I can tell you numerous examples when I haven’t done that. Yet, when I do, I discover something about Jesus’ character that I didn’t know before.

    Peace to you,

    Anna

  • Edward

    I was sent to see your link regarding the homosexual community. If liberals and conservatives have their "TALKING POINTS"….WHY can't we believe that homosexual groups (inclusive and closed up in their world) have their talking points. Things they heard in a bar 4 years ago and have spouted ever since?

    I've been part of churches in the Chicago area and others where we have never turned away someone because of looks or lisp. All people are invited to the meal….we just ask you not bring a sack lunch. Our meal served to you.

  • http://www.friends4thejourney.com Josenmiami

    hey Andrew,

    I LOVE your book and I am a HUGE fan of your message. Having said that, I agree with the comments above that this post does not advance your vision of being a peacemaker and a bridge builder. You sound very angry. I went to the links and read both articles … in my humble opinion, you are WAY over-reacting.

    You have taken on a huge, huge problem in society as well as in the church and I aplaud you for it. But you had better get used to far worse criticism that you received in CT. You are trying to walk the path of the peacemaker … make sure to read Matt. 5 and be prepared to pray for those who spitefully use you … not to mention those that offer some mild criticism. You gotta "man up" dude, and take the high road if you are going to continue on the path you feel God has chosen for you. You are better off ignoring criticism and letting God be your defender.

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    Edward: Many of us gay folks stay far away from the bars. Many more of us lack lisps.

  • Jarrod

    Yes, Andrew, I've read your material and appreciate your ministry greatly. But you're acting petulant here.

    If you're going to enter the public square, you can't carefully manage the way your books are reviewed. This is a test of how big a person you are and how much generosity of spirit you can offer.

    Don't give in to pettiness.

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

    Jarrod – I appricaite your reminders, and very seriously will take them to heart. I do also want to remind you that this is bigger than a bad book review or petty squabbling. Please see Soong-Chan Rah's and Adam McLane's comments above.

  • JDek

    Ah the heat of public conflict. It feels like Big CT is getting the best of authors that have no say. I haven't written a book but have been publicly misrepresented. It's not nice so I'm with both Andy and Soong Chan on this one. In the name of balanced observation; notice that this blog has alone published more than the CT article. I know that CT has a greater reputation than a blog site but here we have multiple voices and a lively discussion – both of which are more rich than a single voice or two (Hill and Galli). This venue is a powerful form of 'publishing' where Andy's and Soong Chan's words here may be more quoted than the comments in Galli and Hill's articles. Maybe this is dilusional but when people of savvy read things like Galli and Hill, we go to the blogs too. We know we need more voices. Besides, great work on both books! They will last longer than the reviews. Blog on!

  • http://exgaywatch.com David Roberts

    For me, CT lost their way long ago. As for Mr. Hill's review, this paragraph indicates the purpose of the piece:

    Marin's book, which comes with a foreword by Brian McLaren, is written in a folksy, story-laden style, heavy on heartfelt anecdotes. Key points and phrases are repeated relentlessly, suggesting that the translation from PowerPoint to polished manuscript wasn't accomplished as deftly as it might have been.

    Along with the petty grammar shots, this indicates a man whose mission is to be critical, not to critique. I am ashamed to say, I have done the same a time or two in my life. As an openly gay man and a fairly orthodox Christian, I tend to cherish that narrow little niche carved out in my journey. The point of your book (which I think Hill missed) is that a bridge can carry a lot more people than can a dingy.  And in this culture war, scripture is being used to destroy more than to save.

    Rigid views which I am sure you have encountered before and will again, Andrew.  Don't sweat the small stuff.  I hope I didn't stretch that analogy too much, lol.

  • http://www.newsongbangkok.net Patricia

    Andrew,

    I first stumbled across a podcast interview of you at Neue with Josh Loveless, and that grabbed my attention. I then went to Marin Foundation website, asked around to a number of in-the-know friends, and I just finished reading your book. You are on a huge mission and the road you take is very brave. John Ortberg wrote a big message in a small little book called Shadow Mission. Stick with your mission. Our culture will outgrow certain ideas, even from 'respected' establishments, but right now culture and society are desperate for any message that leads to building bridges. The 'respected' establishment tried to misrepresent Jesus' message in his culture, even killing him. Your life speaks loudly. Keep building bridges.

  • James Leonard

    Andrew,

    I guess I am surprised at your response. I have read your book, listened to all of the interviews on your website, and have read your blog for over a month. I loved the heart of your book.

    That is why I am surprised at your post. It is one thing to point out what you feel was unfair. But in your frustration you have not elevated the conversation about this like you call for us to do with the Gay community. I don't say that to scold or rebuke, but to simply point out how hard that is when feelings and the way one is perceived is at stake.

    I read the review and here is my take. In your fervent desire to build a bridge and therefore to dodge answering yes and no type questions, you leave yourself open to misunderstanding. For example, does Romans 1 teach a gay lifestyle is not the way God intended things to be? And does saying that it does teach that, saying it with humility and love but clearly, somehow prevent me from building a bridge to a gay man who is my neighbor? You are completely right in saying someone pursuing God is the most important thing to focus on. I totally agree that we have made individual sins (whatever they might be) the wrong focus. But blurring the fact that they are still sin (which is what your approach at least tends to do) does cause some questions.

    Bottom line, I think your call for a respectful dialogue from our side of things (those of us who are followers of Christ) is way overdue. We will have to give an account to God for how ungracious we have been in spite of the grace we have been shown. But attacking Christianity Today like you did seems beneath you. But I have done the same in the past when I have been offended or upset, so will just pray for wisdom for you in the future.

    James

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    "For example, does Romans 1 teach a gay lifestyle is not the way God intended things to be?"

    It doesn't say that at all.

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

    I just want to go on the record:

    Since the public post from Mr. Olsen above, Managing Editor of News and Online Media for the publication, I have directly called him twice and directly sent him one email. I have not recieved a return call from my voicemail. However, in response to the email I was told that Mr. Olsen would call me the following day to talk about everything and clear the air.

    It has been four days and still no call.

    I think the points that Soong-Chan and I raise have once again been proven correct. That's all I have to say.

  • http://www.xanga.com/djfree Darren

    And you ARE most likely correct. This sort of thing is precisely why young people are leaving the Church in droves. Pettiness and nit-picking while completely missing the point. Unfortunately, Andy, I'm not sure you're ever going to get them to be more balanced. CT has for years been a a resource that spins information in a certain way (as do most media sources). It just so happens that you find yourself on the wrong side of their spin this time (and perhaps it will happen again in the future). Count yourself lucky to be one of those pesky "heretics" in the image of Martin Luther, John Wesley, and the like :)

  • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

    I don't trust Christianity today either… :(

  • Jeff

    Andrew – I don’t read Christianity Today (and indeed don’t trust it) but want to recommend their publication, Books and Culture, ed John Wilson. Very scholarly and on the side of peace wherever possible. They are also in some financial trouble, sorry to say.

    The current issue has an article you would much enjoy. The supposed topic is “Handel as another Gay Anglican” but it really goes wider than that. Hope you get a chance to check this out.

    Jeff

  • http://dannyjbixby.blogspot.com Danny Bixby

    Andrew – That sucks.

    But I’m not surprised.

    Hope you get some resolution.

  • pm

    Who offended whom? CT offended two authors with
    written promises to have a conversation. CT offended
    again by turning a cold-shoulder when they brush
    off in silence follow-up attempts to communicate. What
    started off as Public became Personal. It is not a trend,
    but a travesty. It’s not peer-review, but a complete sell
    out from CT to value public image over character that
    reveals the fruitfulness of personal as well as professional
    ethics. It’s not an accusation, but an assessment of the
    inner-hearts of CT decision-makers based on their real
    responses. CT justifies themselves as Corporate without
    moral responsibility. They offend repeatedly, betraying
    any Public trust and reject all attempts for reconciliation.

    Matthew 24:10
    “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray
    one another, and shall hate one another.”

    While it might seem to be related to just an article, it is
    a much larger denial of service to the Body of Christ.

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

    Wow – preach that pm. You just so succinctly summed it all up. And just for the record, still no return call or email after the public promises to do so. I even followed-up again since my last comment.

  • http://wordthunder.com SarahM

    The irony is that this is something you talk about a lot in your book, looking at the broad themes of scripture instead of picking and choosing a few verses out of context. Well, it does say a lot about who you were dealing with.

  • http://frontiercafe.blogspot.com Stephen Feltmate

    Yes, Andrew, you are just being used as a pawn. They have an agenda to “keep the church pure” and they are using you as a means to lend credibility to the straw man they feel is necessary to commit their pious sins.

    A conversation can only be elevated when both sides agree to respect the diversity that all parties bring to the table. We can exist in creative tension; there can be no relationship when one party seeks to snuff out the other (which is what is happening here).

    But take heart, my brother. Getting attacked by the big guns only raises your visibility and makes you more credible to the people God has called you to reach out to.

  • Lonnie

    Christianity Today has little to do with Christianity, today.


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