Speaking at Rochester Institute of Technology and at a LGBT Conference

On Thursday and Friday I will be at the Rochester Institute of Technology, as the gay group and Christian group on campus have joined together to bring me in to talk about practical applications to building bridges on campuses. Honestly, who would have ever thought the gay and conservative Christian groups on campus would come together to have someone speak to them as a whole group?! This type of stuff continues to happen at campuses all around the country and each time I’m asked to facilitate these new engagements I’m continually floored and humbled to be a small part of what is going on with this crazy awesome bridge building work. I can’t wait to get there and do this thing!

And then on Saturday I will be speaking on a panel at LGBTChange – a gay equality rights conference held in Chicago. Here is a description of the panel:

We will be looking at the Conservative Christian Movement in America and their role within the struggle to gain Equal Rights for the LGBTQ community.  We will be discussing this topic with Andrew Marin, of The Marin Foundation; Erik Christensen, Pastor at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church of Logan Square; and Caroline Staerk, Director of Field Programs for Equality Illinois. Through question and discussion we will look at the issues dividing these communities and how to engage the far right Christian movement in order to create sustainable change.  Topics of Discussion will include: 

  • A discussion of the bible passages that are used against the LGBT community, and defining their interpretation
  • The damage of religious-based bigotry and a discussion of how to diffuse the hate
  • Creating a mutual language and why this is essential to progress
  • How to engage and work with Christian Communities of Faith that support LGBT rights

This is an honor to be here – the only straight person in the group! I am looking forward to a time of very productive dialogue that I will know have an immediate impact to be felt in our Chicago gay and conservative communities. Although, I’m not naive enough to believe there won’t be any strong disagrements no matter what I say, nor am I naive enough to believe I might be walking into a no-win situation, but I trust the organizers of this event and their heart. Hope this works out… 🙂

Much love.


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  • praying with you Andrew. the Spirit will guide you in bringing forth love and truth.

  • Paul Henry

    God’s Blessings and Peace upon both events Andrew – you are in my prayers and thoughts.

  • Hey Andrew, I was curious about you felt about the latest news story of a prom cancelled because a gay female student who wanted to bring a date in a tux. Is this an opportunity for the church to respond in a positive way if at all? If so, how?

  • Mrs T

    How cool that you get to be at that conference! I expect that you will get it from both sides, positive & negative! Just look to God & pray that we keep praying. It is a wonderful opportunity.
    Paul, when I hear about that prom story, I think not of gay/straight issues, but that everyone demands to get what they want & not ‘do without.’ Much of my life, often due to disfunctional people, I have had to forego normal activites. The other people were wrong. But what could I do?
    Those are the rules at that school. Really, it strengthens the gay side, so the couple should be happy. I didn’t go to the prom in 1965 & somehow survived. We can’t do everything we’d like to do.
    I even want to be more involved in Andrew’s ministry as I live so close to him, but going out at night is not usually ‘allowed,’ so I cannot do what I want. But I can still pray, encourage, & clip articles for him now!! The internet has broken many barriers to communication & service, so I do what I can at this time.
    Sorry to hijack the thread, but had to share. Now back to the regularly scheduled comments!

  • The girl asked to bring her female date to prom. The school district responded by canceling the prom and encouraging private citizens to hold their hetero-only prom so that they could bar the lesbian student from attending prom. Not only does this girl get to miss her prom, she gets to finish her senior year as the person who led to the prom’s cancelation. Pariah X 2. Not cool.

  • Teach

    GLBT students in our school district have been able to attend social events with their dates. I would need to ask why the district cancelled the event? Did they think that there would be a problem with the other students? Did they feel there would be inappropriate behaviors that teachers and chaperones would have to deal with? Did they want to avoid the controversy with vocal parents? This just seems to be another case of misunderstanding, lack of communication and unwillingness to step out of their comfort zones.

  • Teach: Preach. Great thoughts…I don’t actually know the answers to those questions. But I’m almost certain your conclusion plays a big part into why it was cancelled.