England, Please Help Me!

This post is for all of my homies in England. As you know I will be speaking in your beautiful country from April 3rd-26th (see Speaking Schedule above). With all of the new laws going on and a variety of reactions, I would LOVE to hear from you all about your thoughts about bridge building in the UK so I can be well equipped so I’m not ‘that guy’ from America trying to speak to a UK context.

I have some great friends in the UK who have already helped me out, but it would be much appreciated for your help as well…the more the merrier!

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://www.twitter.com/krustifer Kru

    I know you’re going England but Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland could do with you too!

  • Matt
  • http://www.livingitout.com Rachel

    Hi Andrew

    I saw your message and felt a bit jaded to start with – twice you’ve said you’d love me to email info through to you, which I’ve done, and heard nothing back at all. All that’s needed to engender warm fuzzy feelings about you being a good guy is an email with one word ‘thanks’!

    Anyway, here are a couple of thoughts and I look forward to others from the UK adding in!

    1. In your book, you seem to frame working with the LGB community a bit like cross-cultural work. I don’t think it translates exactly to a UK culture, as we don’t conceptualise ‘communities’ in the same way as you guys in the US. When I’ve visited the US, people I met were keen to identify themselves with a community in addition to their US one (eg people would say they’re Italian because they have an Italian ancestor). Here, identity is far more individualised, less associated with communities, and so LGB people I know wouldn’t place themselves within a ‘gay community’ in the way that US gay people seem to.

    2. The laws – wierdly, lots of churches have had things in their newsletters asking their congregations to pray against the new laws. These are churches that see themselves as socially active, and yet I’ve never seen anything in their newsletters asking for prayer about any other UK laws at all! Only the pro-LGB ones. Which I think gives a message they don’t realise about which issues they feel are priorities for Christians.

  • Don Fulton

    Hey Bro, I just received your book from my best friend who struggles with homosexual thoughts. He said you and I have a lot in common and suggested I read your book before really starting out in my ministry to the GLBT community here and in Paris and London.

    I feel God’s calling, in this area of ministry, for Ireland (I live north of Dublin) and would love to hook up to talk or have you here to stay with my family while your on this side of the world. Please give it some prayer. I am available to fly down to meet if you like and have some connections for you in the uk if you need it.

    Look forward to talking,

    Blessings,

    Don

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

    Kru – Thanks for sending the love…I’d love to be there with you all. If you want, we can try to set something up. Feel free to email Andrew@themarinfoundation.org

    Matt – Thanks for the heads up. I will read all of those links!

    Rachel – Please let me apologize to you publicly for not responding with a thank you. So…

    Thank you!

    I haven’t read your email attachments yet. I scheduled time devoted solely to reading your emails/attachments on Wed, and I was going to send you a thank you on Wed after I read everything so I could actually be thankful because I then would know what you sent. But please forgive me. Next time I will send you a thank you right away. Sorry for my mistake. I do, really, really appreciate all of your help, love, and advice!

    Don – Thank you so much for your comment. I would be more than excited to talk to you about everything! My current schedule on this trip is quite full (see Speaking Schedule), but maybe we can either potentially squeeze some time in or set up another date(s) in the upcoming months, hooked up with Kru and some other folks I know in Ireland as well? Please feel free to email. Much love!

  • http://www.livingitout.com Rachel

    Thanks, warm fuzzy feelings re-instated!

    Also more thoughts I had after sending the last email:

    We led a session on Friday about our book for a group from an evangelical church. Two things really struck me, that may be helpful:
    1. The attendees had never heard the phrase ‘LGBT’ or ‘LGB’ before. They really struggled to understand why ‘T’ fitted with ‘LGB’.
    2. The attendees had no idea that there are pro-gay theologies. They had heard the (for want of a better phrase) ‘anti-gay’ ones many times, but were totally unaware that others read scripute in other ways.

  • Matt

    I was just reading some of the wikipedia link myself and I thought this comment about the soap Eastenders says a lot about how the UK has travelled in the last twenty years. Complaint’s are still being made and maybe fifteen years ago they would have been taken more seriously. Also, the depiction of gay kissing would have been far more controversial, and more likely after the 9pm watershed. Perhaps I haven’t been paying attention, but the clear statement about equality of status of gay/straight relationships does strike me as new. I’m not sure you would have had the BBC taking a moral position on this equality ten years ago.

    Quote:
    In 2007, a lesbian kiss between bisexual Sonia and lesbian Naomi prompted 211 complaints to the BBC,[12] and in 2008, a kiss between gay characters Christian and Lee prompted 145 complaints from viewers who were “appalled by the display of homosexual kissing before the watershed [...] whilst young children are watching”. The BBC released a statement saying: “We approach our portrayal of homosexual relationships in the same way as we do heterosexual relationships. In this instance, Christian is enjoying the first flush of romance and we’ve shown him being affectionate with his new boyfriend in the same way any couple would.”[13]

  • gems

    Hey Andrew,

    Yey culture is a fair bit different over here! But I for one am looking forward to it :)

    I echo the comments on the lack of awareness of community in the same ways you guys in the states have, so how you use that word might need some explaination, I went to the Developmental Assets conference in the states last yr and had a lot of mental translation to do for myself! we tend to live in one place, work in another, have kids in schools in another and then go to church in a whole other area. So some will even struggle to identify who and where their community are.

    The other thing to consider is the main audience of the particular conference, on the whole its a white middle class, middle aged audience that are uncomfortable talking about personal things such as tithing or worship styles never mind sexuality and as a rule we are incredible worried about saying the wrong thing in public which often leads to nothing being said openly and people carrying away with them questions and comments. I know SH are getting people to submit discussion points and questions via the web so this may help.

    Last yr when Danielle Strickland spoke (she told me to read your book btw!) she spoke about you and your work, paving the way I hope for the audience being prepared to engage in a decent discussion and to actually be open to thinking outside of their comfort zones.

    Its gonna be interesting to read your reflections afterwards, for sure!

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

    Rachel – I will make sure to bring those specific topics up! That is just invaluable stuff.

    Gems – I heard that Danielle did say something, so I as well, am praying she paved the way for this message. I’ll also be blogging while I’m out there to hopfully keep all the reflections fresh.

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

    I envy you, Andrew. Sure you don’t need an extra assistant while in the UK?

    I’ve been reading a book called “Britannia in Brief: The Scoop on All Things British” by Banker and Mullins. It’s a neat little book for Americans aimed at bridging that culture gap between Americans and the British. Among other things, it gives pointers for not pissing off your British hosts. Like don’t start off conversations asking about people’s professions, don’t ask if the people know the Queen, and don’t mimic their accents. And don’t call anyone a chav. :)

    Were there any particular problems that you ran into during your last trip that you’re trying to avoid this time around?

  • http://www.livingitout.com Rachel

    gems – can you let me have the link for Spring Harvest getting comments online? I can’t find it on the website, and it hasn’t been in any of the blurb they’ve sent out.

    Many thanks!

  • http://www.livingitout.com Rachel

    Thought I’d pop this on an ‘England’ thread. Sarah & I ha’ve been booked to speak at Greenbelt Christian Arts Festival this year (www.greenbelt.org.uk) and the bookshop will stock our book plus another one relevant to our session. We’re going to ask for ‘Love is an Orientation’ to go alongside ‘Living It Out’. I’ll assume this is OK with you!


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