Welcome to My Life

Until Friday the 9th I will be speaking in Wisconsin at Lifest 2010. The third talk I’m giving is:

What Jesus Actually Meant When He Said Love Your Enemies.

Fitting, no? I’ll have plenty to say because I’ve had to humbly struggle through this exact thing the last week. It has been a very difficult rollercoaster for me the last few days emotionally, spiritually and mentally as I take everything too personally and it hits my core. But hope is a shield that provides space to faithfully continue walking forward. And walk on (well, at this moment it’s more like crawl) I will, even though everything inside of me just wants to disappear.

Oh, one other ironic sidenote. I got an email from the organizers of Lifest and they said they had received about a dozen emails from very conservative Christian folks emailing their sponsors urging them to drop their sponsorship because both Jim Wallis and I are speaking. These emailers called me a “heretical emergent pastor who loves gay people.” Ugh. Welcome to my everyday life. Just a part of being the bridge though – you make yourself vulnerable to both sides. I know many people who tell me that all of this stuff is like a badge of honor that you must be doing something right. But I take no pride in being accused and attacked from either direction; it just hurts my heart. So I pick up the pieces and try my best to keep going down the path I know I need to journey.

I read a tweet today from Zappos that read:

“Great opportunities lie in doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing.”

I retweeted it with the addition:

“It takes no guts to retweet this, but it takes a world of them to live it out.”

Let that continually be my challenge as it’s what I’m trying to do everyday. Thanks for caring enough to be on this journey with me (yes, even for those who don’t so much care for me).

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://chrishydeonline.wordpress.com Chris Hyde

    Much respect, love, and props to you!!!

  • Joy

    Poor soul who accused you of loving gay people. He or she will be shocked when entering heaven and finds out that Jesus does too.

  • http://gayhomophobe.wordpress.com/ Sans

    I want you to know I’m praying for you. They attack because they recognize in your efforts the possibility that the walls behind which they’ve become far too comfortable could be crumbled! On that day, they will have to face their ‘enemy’ head-on rather than lobbing suspicious accusations and malicious insults over the ramparts of fear they’ve constructed.

    Press on, Andrew!

  • Eugene

    “I got an email from the organizers of Lifest and they said they had received about a dozen emails from very conservative Christian folks emailing their sponsors urging them to drop their sponsorship because both Jim Wallis and I are speaking. These emailers called me a “heretical emergent pastor who loves gay people.”

    Hey, at least they don’t try to crucify you… yet. :)

  • Jimmy C.

    So, I mean, are Christians supposed to hate gay people? Or, I mean…wait, what? People boggle my mind.

    You are loved, Andrew. Find your joy in Christ.

    • Eugene

      “So, I mean, are Christians supposed to hate gay people?”

      To the extent that they hate the gay “sin”, they hate gay people. I’m pretty sure that many Conservative Christians aren’t stupid, and they know where this is going, so they’re understandably outraged. And their outrage is Biblically sound (1 Corinthians 5).

      • High Hopes

        But Eugene..? It is biblically sound for a lot of things that we would not accept. Slavery. Stoning. ……….etc.

        Also, 1 Cor 5 is talking about a guy sleeping with his stepmother which is adultery and harmful to the whole parent-child relationship (no matter which way this is cut). 1 Cor 5 is talking about promiscuity.

        • Eugene

          Stoning isn’t very biblical. Jesus surely desired “mercy, not sacrifice”. Slavery… Well, yes, it’s problematic. But if you can’t accept what the Bible says, you shouldn’t be a Christian in the first place.

          The passages clearly say that not only promiscuity is bad enough to expel the believer. If you believe that homosexuality is a sin, it surely qualifies as “sexual immorality”, and you should “Expel the wicked man from among you.”

          That’s why I don’t really understand what Andrew is trying to achieve. You can’t expect a Christian to accept a sin. You can only try to convince them that homosexuality is not a sin.

          • Kevin Harris

            Eugene – As for understanding what Andrew and The Marin Foundation are trying to do, it has probably already been mentioned, but his book “Love is an Orientation” would be a good place to start. I’ve noticed that you’ve posted on this blog numerous times in the last few days, so a little background info wouldn’t hurt.

          • Eugene

            Is it any wonder that so many people are skeptical? You see, “buy the book” is not a good answer – especially when people are already skeptical. If Jesus could sum up all “the Law and the Prophets” in two commandments, why can’t Andrew sum up the goals of his foundation in two or three pages?

          • Jon Trouten

            Check out your library. There are other options besides purchasing the book.

            As far as the goals? http://themarinfoundation.org/about.htm

          • Kevin Harris

            Eugene – You stated that you did not understand what he was trying to do, so I simply stated the most comprehensive resource that I could think of. It was merely a suggestion. Take it or leave it, but a hostile comment is not needed. I’m guessing there is also a correlation between why you are having a hard time getting the answers from Andrew that you are asking and the way that you have been responding to comments as your approach comes off as combative, whether that is your intention or not.

            As Jon mentioned, you can also visit The Marin Foundation’s website along with going through old posts on this blog. My intent was just to save you time and frustration since the way that you have been demanding answers has not been productive.

          • Eugene

            “As far as the goals? http://themarinfoundation.org/about.htm

            Hey, I have already read this. And I’ve read the FAQ’s. I mostly see ambiguity and evasiveness – with a few “red flags” here and there. I surely wouldn’t want to read 200 more pages of the same thing.

            Yes, Andrew is trying to build bridges. I get it. But there are a few problems:

            1) The gay community doesn’t need any “bridges” when our “fortress” is under attack.
            2) A bridge is only useful when it isn’t a bridge to nowhere. But Andrew doesn’t seem to say where this bridge is leading.
            3) He says virtually nothing positive about civil equality and gay relationships, but keeps pushing Christianity. As a result, it looks like the only purpose of “bridge building” is to turn gay people into Christians.

          • Tobias

            Hey Eugene. I believe you’re missing the point (as are a lot of Christians sadly). Well, this is only my belief, but I think that the Christian faith has a lot to do with understanding things like faith, grace and freedom. Sadly we made it legalistic again instead. If that is all it’s about, Jesus really didn’t bring anything new.

            If you want to understand what I’m talking about, listen to those talks by James Alison, a gay priest and theologian:

            http://www.jamesalison.co.uk/audio/navigating_uncharted_waters.mp3
            http://www.greenbelt.org.uk/shop/talks/details/GB07-42

            The second you have to pay for but it is much better in talking about what I mean.

          • Sans

            Ughh…you are a tiring person…

            “Hey, I have already read this. And I’ve read the FAQ’s. I mostly see ambiguity and evasiveness – with a few “red flags” here and there. I surely wouldn’t want to read 200 more pages of the same thing.”

            You see what you want to see, Eugene. You are being contentious just to be contentious at this point. We get it. You don’t like TMF or Andrew or what he’s doing or what he says or the fact that there are people (even gay people) who do! You’ve made your point. Move on and pick a fight somewhere else…where there are REAL fights to be fought!

          • Jon Trouten

            There are the stated goals:
            “1) Foster spiritual, religious, and theological growth within the GLBT community
            2) Provide tools and curriculum to assist the religious community to productively and uniquely learn how to build bridges within the GLBT community
            3) Disseminate scientific and academic research to the religious community, the GLBT community, and the mainstream population through academic journals, periodicals, and news media
            4) Continue to promote healthy dialogue in leveling the current disconnect between the religious and GLBT communities through strategic partnerships within both communities”

            Yes, attaining civil equality is not one of the stated goals. Then again, attaining civil equality isn’t one of the stated goals of my lesbian/gay parenting group. The Foundation is a Christian group that seeks to minister to GLBT folks. It does some other things too, but it’s primarily focused on relationship-building between GLBT people and Christian people.

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

            Eugene – Please see my comment to you below. Thank you.

  • Lori

    While I’m sure there isn’t much I could say to offer hope (I know dark times just pass when it’s time for them to go no matter how much we try to hurry them), I would like to share with you that your mission has been an inspiration to my husband and I since we heard about you a few months ago.

    We have found ourselves in our own dark time after leaving “traditional” ministry, and I suppose just wanted you to know that you have given us hope to continue exploring ways to make a difference that are not common. There will always be plenty of people to do the easy thing, but we feel like God is testing us to see if we will do the stuff no one else wants to do. You, my friend, are doing what no one else has been willing to do, and you are an inspiration.

    “Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” – Galatians 6:9

    God bless you, and you are in my prayers.

  • Bryan

    Andrew, you are truly an inspiration and mentor to me. The battle for love that you are fighting, rages deep within my soul as my Bible thumping homophobe past struggles to accept and love the sexuality that I contained in denial until realizing my belief system was lying to me. Keep up the good fight so that those of us who are gay and love Christ do not have to reject who we are in order to be acceptable to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

    Rock on!!
    Bryan

  • http://leavingda99@blogspot.com Leneita

    The other day I was driving along talking to God and I honestly told him that I was tired of loving my neighbor as myself. Now this may cause all sort of outrage, however, it was out of pure exhaustion in trying to treat other people with the love and respect that they deserve. Why? Because I was being selfish and because somedays I would just rather be a little more lukewarm than I am. It is easy to be in a lukewarm stupor about life. That is the way most of the world, Christian and otherwise live. When you step out and take a stand- it makes everyone in your wake uncomfortable. Yet, what does God tell us to do? “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Rev. 3: 15 and 16. We are meant to be on one side or the other. Obviously, what God really wants is an undeniable passion for him. But, how we work that out gets complicated because our opinion just always seems to get in the way. I know you are exhausted. We are praying on this end.

    “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.”- Psalm 18:30

    Hold up that shield man- it is the shield of faith!!!

    • http://www.jennyrain.com Jenny

      Leneita – your comment just completely ministered to me – I came here to encourage Andrew and let him know I was praying for him in light of some of the battles he was fighting last week, and then I read your comment. thanks, so much… seriously…

      Andrew – I am praying for you and your team… I know you got beat up last week… You said: “I take everything too personally and it hits my core” – I commend you for not numbing out – for letting things impact you… we can only truly love if we are truly engaged.

      • http://leavingda99.blogspot.com Leneita

        Jenny,

        I am so glad!! Thanks :) Hope that I can anytime!

  • http://www.mosaicinitiative.org Brad

    Hey Andrew – just keep at it, and try to stay in your heart. If your faith is that love really is an orientation, then just keep loving – not with a desire to manipulate or to convince, but to be even more loving. I’m really starting to see that it is really a challenge to stay true to the faith without expectations of outcome, but that is really what we have to do. Keep the faith!

  • Tobias

    Andrew, just want to let you know that at least nothing I wrote the last couple of days was meant to attack you personally. If it did, I’m truly sorry. I know I’m often too fast to post on the internet. Yes, I, as many others are wary of some of your teaching. I am much less wary of what you’re doing since from the comments from people who know you personally it seems you are really loving people. And most important of all I’m praying for you and your ministry.

  • Eugene

    “Yes, attaining civil equality is not one of the stated goals.”

    It’s not just civil equality, Jon. It’s the entire thing. I mean, I almost understand why “a Christian group” – even though it isn’t a church – doesn’t want to get involved in politics. But the foundation’s website doesn’t affirm homosexuality in any way!

    The website says, “The Marin Foundation believes that the Bible is the inerrant word of God…”, even though many GLBT people disagree. Why doesn’t it also say, “TMF believes that homosexuality is a healthy, morally neutral variation of human sexuality” – even despite the fact that many Christians disagree?

    This kind of bridge building looks a little one-sided. And, as Andrew can see now, “very conservative Christian folks” don’t seem to appreciate it, anyway. :)

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

      Eugene – I let you press, rant and argue with everyone for 220-ish comments on the last post. This blog is a place for peaceful and productive dialogue. You are now hindering this. As you can see, I let you post whatever you want…I don’t moderate comments. But in the past I have only had to block 1 person because their goal was to try and convince everyone they were right and I/others who disagree with them, are wrong. If there is one thing that this blog is for, no matter what you might think of it, is that no one is here to convince anyone they are right and the ‘other’ is wrong. This is your first warning. I give 3 public warnings and then block a person. Please read these:

      http://www.loveisanorientation.com/2009/i-blocked-someone-today/

      http://www.loveisanorientation.com/2010/learn-what-it-means-to-dialogue/

      Eugene, there are a lot of people who read this blog who have a lot to learn from you, your words/thoughts/experiences. I honestly believe that. But it’s time to start being constructive and not pointing fingers anymore. Everyone here clearly understands you don’t agree with/like myself or my org. Thank you. Much love.

      • Eugene

        The thing is, I am asking questions, Andrew. Open-ended questions. How exactly am I hindering dialogue? What I see is that people who don’t even know me can say, “You are a tiring person”, and I’m the one who’s getting a warning. I want to know more about you and your organization. But you seem to believe that it means that I simply “don’t agree” with you and your organization.

        The thing is, dialogue always seems more “peaceful” when no one disagrees. But this kind of dialogue will never be productive when you’re trying to build a bridge between communities who disagree with each other.

        • Tobias

          Man, Eugene, Andrew, get on Skype or the phone and start talking. I *really* think this would be good for both of you!

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

          Eugene – I’m not trying to squash you or anything…if that were the case I would have deleted most of your comments already. But honestly, I’ve read every single one of them you’ve ever written on my blog, and in this post in particular, can you please point out to me where you have asked any open ended questions? I can’t find one.

          • Tobias

            Hey Andrew, let’s see if I understood what you mean by open-ended questions. :)

            My question is: What is your hope, vision and perspective for gay and lesbian people who are in a same-sex relationship that they believe is good, healthy and a blessing in their life and who also believe in Jesus and want to follow him?

            I believe this is the question, that is interesting to a lot of us. And I believe, it is not closed-ended. If you think it is, please elaborate on your definition of open-ended vs. closed-ended.

            Thanks!

          • Eugene

            Andrew, I have replied to you below.

            Also, Signorile told me that he’s going on vacation, but he will be happy to have you on his show when he’s back.

  • Sam

    Better to love gay people than to be a religious bigot who has yet to understand what it means to love one’s neighbor, and indeed who is included in the term neighbor. Perhaps a brief study on who a Samaritan was, and how Jewish people felt about them at the time Jesus gave His command to love our neighbor as ourselves would be very enlightening.

  • Dora

    Eugene, I think that the truth is, conservative straight christians are never really going to accept gay people. That’s pretty much a given. What will happen is they will gradually change on a case by case basis. Back in the day, mothers would show up at MCC, because they were rejected by their right wing church the minute a son got AIDS. Then they’d be outcasts too.
    I can’t think of the last time a gay person ever said to my face: “I believe the bible is the inerrant word of god.” Never. We know better by our very lives. Our love defies anything that straight people could say about us, and I truly believe what is revolutionary is for gayspirit to be… for us to discover ourselves as a unique and new people of god. We are here on earth for a very different purpose. I think part of it is to serve, to not have children because the world has way too many of them already. We are the true bridges I think because almost all of us grew up in straight homes, so we know the straight “lifestyle” and we didn’t want it, for a variety of reasons.

    All people have a right to choose who their most intimate partners will be. We might be born gay, or we might choose to marry a same sex person because we hate what heterosexuality does to some of us. I know a lot of women who simply don’t want to live with or associate with men anymore, they were raped and prostituted and abused, and they want out. If they are lesbians, I’ll welcome them. Many straight women I know really wish they could change and become lesbians. But they feel straight. It can happen both ways.
    This website is an attempt to talk to all parties. But it is not about civil rights for gay people, not even close. It is about younger people who think you can have it both ways. Most gay people I know see through the fakeness of this position. A gay or lesbian person is not going to go along with this right wing christianity. Feminists and feminist christians don’t go along with it.

    An “inerrant’ bible is not even the norm in most seminaries— Harvard, Princeton, nor is most of the scholarship mainstream either.

    Most straight people out there are homophobes. They might “tolerate” you, but they don’t know, respect or accept you. How many times do straight people you know ask you detailed questions about your life and really want to know anything at all about you.” They sit in shocked silence as I show a wedding photo, or they would faint at a photo of a gay wedding cake in 1971.

    Liberal churches will be better. Liberals won’t go to the mat for you, but you won’t be made to feel “suspicious” of some hidden agenda to “chang” you.

    Fundamentalism of all kinds makes for a really rotten world. We can see the damage it does internationally and in communities. Marin is simply trying to talk to conservative christians, but I don’t believe he can minister to the true gay community, because he’s out of it on some really basic issues. The language gives the game away. I personally think it’s good that he’s talking to these right wing straight people. But the gay community can best minister to itself, and create a christianity that is fully gay and lesbian affirming and loving, NOT tolerating, but passionately celebratory, and there’s a big difference. “Tolerance” is just another word for back of the bus.

    • Mallory H

      Wow! Sounds like you’ve met a lot of irritating and unloving people. That sucks! To feel that “most straight people are homophobes” says to me that you’ve gone through/met some very confused straight people. While it isn’t difficult for me to find straight people that are “homophobes,” most straight people I know don’t seem to be scared of gay or lesbians… and I live in Texas, one of the most conservative areas of the nation! I suppose I see more hope than it seems you do.

      Maybe I see things differently than you do, but it seems that this blog and the Marin Foundation’s mission is not only about opening dialogue again between the church and the LGBT community, but attempting to gain a relationship between the two… no strings attached. I don’t think it is “fake” to have a relationship instead of an “us and them” mentality. I suppose I don’t understand your statement, “It is about younger people who think you can have it both ways.”

      In recent years, I am having a hard time with conservative and liberal labels… My beliefs, thoughts and opinions many would categorize differently. Conservatives might call me liberal and liberals call me conservative. Basically, I believe what I believe and live the way I think is the best way to live. I don’t like going by what is socially accepted as “conservative Christian.” I don’t know what that means any more. Everyone is different.

      I really understand and agree with many things you have said. I believe the Bible has errors, too. The Bible today is copies of copies of copies… of accounts that were written 30 years or so after the event (in regards to the gospels.) I DO believe that the CONTENT of what God says is inerrant… but the Bible is not necessarily an accurate recording of what God said or intended to say. So for people to say that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God is a bit naive. What God says or does is not in error, human’s recordings of it are though.

      I also think that gay and lesbians are the true bridges. Most of the GLBT community was raised by straight parent(s). This allows this select group of people to understand as best as possible both perspectives. I can’t imagine what that must be like. But I’d really like to try to understand. I just can’t accept that a person/group of people attempting to open dialogue between two groups of people (in this case GLBT community and the Church) is ever going to be a bad thing. I wouldn’t even call it “treading water.” It has to be an advancement… not because Christians want to “save the sinners”… I don’t think that is the case here. It seem the open dialogue is simply to RESTORE a broken relationship.

      Andrew: Hope I didn’t misspeak about what the Marin Foundation is all about. If I have please please correct me. I don’t intend to speak on behalf of it, but simply explain my understanding of your mission.

    • IT

      Dora, you must hang out with the wrong straight people. I disagree with your contention that “most gay people are homophobes”, and that you only accept women who are lesbians, and that “the gay community can best minister to itself”. You seem to be an advocate for a self-imposed gay apartheid, which I reject completely. I don’t want to live in a gay ghetto surrounded by gay people and free of diversity. I find identity politics tiresome and counterproductive. I am regularly amazed by our straight allies, often Of Faith, who “don’t have a dog in the fight” yet are out there with us.

      Maybe you just meet the wrong straight people.

      You did say one thing I agree with: “Fundamentalism of all kinds makes for a really rotten world. ” It does indeed.

  • Shelley Evert

    Hey Andrew,
    Just wanted you to know that you have been a big encouragement to me and my husband. We are both conservative straight christians who even 6 months ago couldn’t/ wouldn’t accept or understand the truth re: gays. Because of TMF and others like you, we have been turned around 180- We celebrate the gays in our lives and vote for equal rights for all gays. We have been transformed. Keep up the good work you are getting through to some of us blockheads

  • Eugene

    Andrew Marin: “Eugene – I’m not trying to squash you or anything…if that were the case I would have deleted most of your comments already. But honestly, I’ve read every single one of them you’ve ever written on my blog, and in this post in particular, can you please point out to me where you have asked any open ended questions? I can’t find one.”

    Well, you have actually answered a few of them. :)

    1. Why should a gay person support your foundation when he/she can support organizations (and churches) that fight for gay rights, not “peacefulness”?
    (http://www.loveisanorientation.com/2010/part-2-note-to-skeptics/comment-page-1/#comment-3602)
    2. If you believe that “church and State are independent entities”, why are you so unwilling to support civil marriage equality?

    And if you believe that “love is a tangible word”, why can’t you see that a vote in support of marriage equality is much more tangible than all the “elevation” you’re talking about?
    (http://www.loveisanorientation.com/2010/part-2-note-to-skeptics/comment-page-1/#comment-3590)

    And here are a few questions you haven’t answered:

    1. So here’s the question: what do you want/expect from the reconciliation? In 50 years, what will be the most prevalent way to express same-sex attraction in a religious context?

    (this one is open-ended as it could be, isn’t it?)

    2. But if you’re so committed to this idea of elevation, why don’t you elevate this conversation above Christianity? Why is the Marin Foundation using the Bible “as a productive tool”? Why can’t you view both sides of the conflict from an obviously more neutral secular/humanist perspective?
    (http://www.loveisanorientation.com/2010/part-2-note-to-skeptics/comment-page-1/#comment-3599)
    (This question is important to me because you say, “What The Marin Foundation is trying to do is provide space where everyone belongs”, but some of the things on TMF website sound hurtful and alienating to an atheist like me.)

    And then I noticed that you weren’t answering questions, so I stopped asking them. :)

    Also, I asked this question:

    3. The website says, “The Marin Foundation believes that the Bible is the inerrant word of God…”, even though many GLBT people disagree. Why doesn’t it also say, “TMF believes that homosexuality is a healthy, morally neutral variation of human sexuality” – even despite the fact that many Christians disagree?

    It is an open-ended question, isn’t it? And it is an important question.

    I understand that many of my comments don’t seem “peaceful and productive” – especially in comparison to your friends’ posts. But is it because I’m intentionally uncooperative? Or do I simply have more reasons to be skeptical?

    The thing is, your views probably differ as much from mine as they do from the views of the “very conservative Christian folks” you’re talking about. And yet I’m trying to participate in the conversation – while they are calling you a heretic. :)

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

      Eugene, finally, this is what I’m talking about! Maybe I didn’t see these questions hidden in your other 100 comments just ranting about me… Either way, I am excited to answer each of these! What I am going to do is starting next week, I will do a full post on responding to each of your questions.

      Just as a heads up, as you have quoted our website a ton (which you rightly should): that website is oooolllldddd, and since the beginning of the summer we have been working on re-doing it and updating it. Guess we (I) should have finished everything a lot sooner before Pride and this thing went viral :)

      • Eugene

        I’m glad to hear it! :) I guess some of these questions actually were “hidden” in the comments themselves because I tried to provide some context (what bothers me, why it bothers me, etc.), so it might have looked like an endless rant. But I’m glad you’re going to clarify your goals and intentions.

        I even think that the “very conservative Christian folks” who called you a “heretical emergent pastor” probably aren’t stupid and/or evil. :) You just need to communicate your intentions even more clearly. Ambiguity isn’t your friend when you’re dealing with two groups of people who still dislike each other.

        While you’re at it, I’d like you to clarify your statement about The Advocate article that you said was retracted (http://www.loveisanorientation.com/2010/part-2-note-to-skeptics/). The thing is, there are no articles from that time on The Advocate’s website – they took all of them off the website, and your statement about the article in question damages your credibility in a bad way.

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

          As for The Advocate article, of course it hurts my credibility in a bad way. That’s what Signorile does – not just to me but he also had written similiar articles to mine, about Rachel Maddow (that she doesn’t actually care about gay rights and therefore is a traitor – even though every LGBT person I know loves her) and the founder of the AIDS Ride (accusing him that he’s in it for the money as well – even though the AIDS Ride has raised more money for HIV/AIDS research than almost any other org). With that, I’m in good company.

          Also, I am trying to track down an actual hard copy of the magazine where the apology was issued. I haven’t been able to find it yet as it is 4 years old. As for it being taken down from the website: yes, there are no articles up there from 2006. However it was taken down years ago when all the facts became public, before any of the 2006 articles were taken down and archived.

          And I also have emails from people quoted in the article who have publicly stated that they did not say one word about me of what was actually written about in the article. I can email you, or anyone else, those emails as proof of what I’m saying, as well as proof that dispells his acusations of my time at The Drake Hotel, etc.

          • Eugene

            “As for The Advocate article, of course it hurts my credibility in a bad way.”

            No, the point is that your statement about the article hurts your credibility – regardless of the article’s content (I haven’t read it yet).

            You have said, “..the Advocate took the article off their website years ago because the people quoted in that article made public statements saying they never said any of what was quoted… (this is why the only place you can find that article is on freelibrary.com and not on the actual Advocate site)”.

            The bolded part is simply untrue, and it damages your credibility.

            As for the article itself, Signorile told me that your “former friends” stand by everything in the article that they told him. Now, am I supposed to be the arbitrator in this? :)

            Your examples of Signorile’s harshness aren’t very convincing without the articles themselves – it’s perfectly possible that every LGBT person you know loves Maddow despite her stance on gay rights or that they don’t care about gay rights to the extent that Signorile does, etc.

            I guess we have three options:

            1. You can forward me the emails, and I’ll be the arbitrator.

            2. You can wait until you get invited on the Signorile show and talk to him about it.

            3. You can email Signorile right now and sort it all out. His address is mike@signorile.com (it’s spam-protected).

            The choice is yours. :)

  • Dora

    Seems to me a simple matter. I’m sure Signorelle has tapes of interviews he did on the original Marin story. Did the three gay friends really come out three months in a row as was reported? That seems really fishy to me; a little too neat, and I am well acquainted with how “pastor types” just embellish stories. Investigative journalism and evangelical christianity just don’t mix.

    I think Signorelle should put Marin back on his show again, and then we can all hear for ourselves. Signorelle is an in your face gay activist who takes no prisoners, which is why I really like his style. Our movement would not be as far as it is without those in your face people. You don’t place nice against real enemies like conservative right wing types, you take to the streets, the courts etc. We are in a hard ball war against highly funded conservative forces who are attacking all liberals and radicals. The radical right wing want a theocracy, and it’s agents are dangerous to democracy. Gay marriage is on its way to the Surpreme Court, the law is creating two classes of people in California. Gay rights are fragile and can easily be derailed, just as feminist theology is always being suppressed at major seminaries like Claremont College.

    Right wing forced in the White House did nothing while 50,000 gay men died of AIDS. Their obscene policies dog us to this day. Marin may be playing at activism, but gay people have lived with brutal oppression that I don’t think straight people can even begin to imagine. We aren’t going to be very trusting or very nice.

    Just about all gay people of a certain age came out within leftist politics, the civil rights movement, anti-Vietnam war movement and feminist movement. We have considerable background in multi- struggles, and are conversant in street tactics. A newer generation has no such experience, and it shows. The conservatives have put a damper on a lot of powerful progressive forces in the land, stacked the courts with right wing judges, corrupted the three branches of government. Gays are just one group that the right wing uses as a pawn, because anti-feminism and anti-abortion is boring the troops. Just as they used to use anti-communism scares to get people up in arms. The tactics are the same, the targets change with time.

    Any gay person out there should be very suspicious of straight people out there taking on the role of mediators for gay causes and civil rights battles, especially evangelical types. I trust most gay leaders because they really risked all for the cause. Just as I respect all the lesbians who busted their butts to create feminist christianity and ordination for women. Sites that don’t address those lesbian issues or have lesbian pastors commenting aren’t going to have that much credibility with me either. We have plenty of feminist theologians out there doing great work, who are being sensored by many seminaries. We need to be very tough and have documented evidense of claims made.

    It is suspicious to claim the Advocate took down just one article from its website in 2006, when all the articles from that year were taken down. That fact alone is enough to put me on high suspicion alert.

    Thanks Eugene for your persistence. There’s a little too much cheerleading going on here, and not enough facts for my taste. Marin Foundation needs strong gay people to fact check and to challenge it. I don’t take their word for anything. Let the oppressed people speak for themselves, we don’t need straight spokespeople. That’s always been my attitude.

  • Sans

    Andrew,

    I beg you not to fall for this…see this for what it is and let it go. It’s your choice how to run your web site, but this is clearly nothing more than an attempt to draw you into a conversation meant to embarrass you. This has gone on ad nauseum for a week and, in my humble opinion, has exhausted its usefulness (if it ever had any to begin with). These people will never engage in real dialog with you, they have no intention of it. They want to trap you into making statements that can be taken out of context and used at a later time to fan the flames of hatred because it benefits their cause.

    This isn’t the old west…you don’t have to respond to silly ultimatums!

    …just my opinion…

  • Dora

    Real dialogue is about real facts. It’s tough, it’s not meant for the weak willed.
    Radical right wing christianity is on the constant attack now. It’s front page news today. The stakes are considerably higher, as gays get close to having real civil rights ON THE BOOKS. It is unfortunate that there is a war going on between conservative evangelical straight people, and gay liberal christians. But it is a war, and I personally know hundreds of former closeted gay clergy who were outed and fired by conservative christian denomintions. Read Troy Perry’s books, and you’ll see what they did and continue to do.

    You can’t cover up the history, it’s just the history and the political present.
    I didn’t start the culture war, I was interested in my full civil rights on many fronts. I have supported the civil rights struggles of all Americans, and see this as a very large issue now. Marin is best when he addressing the straight conservative pastors directly, because most of these folks probably don’t personally know gay people, or they think they might not know any.

    This can have comic results sometimes, and IRL I try to be gentle with ignorant comments by evangelical straight people made to my face because they think I’m straight. That’s what’s weird about being gay, no matter how hard you try, people still assume you are straight and you get to hear private conversations not meant for your ears. E.g. “Nice” white people don’t use the “N” word in front of black people.

    Anyway, one day— 2004 election I think, I asked some colleagues who they were voting for and why. One woman I really liked said boldly, “I’m supporting president Bush.” Fair statement, and I asked her why. I’m genuinely interested in why people support this or that candidate or cause.
    I was surprised at the answer, however. She said, “Because he is for god and opposed the gay agenda.” Direct quote. Obviously, she didn’t see me as gay at all, because I am a christian, I am very nice to everyone in the office, and I don’t fit a “personality stereotype” I guess. People can never guess what opinions I have unless I tell them.

    So I looked at her, and I kindly said, “well, I’m a christian and believe in god, my female partner is a christian minister so I don’t think all gay people hate god.” It was a simple statement kindly said. She about died of embarrassment, and I actually really felt sorry for her, because I genuinely liked the woman. My colleagues who knew I was a lesbian, were horrified at her words, but I felt that I could be merciful, and just said: “Hey it’s ok, let’s have some coffee and talk sometime… there are things you don’t know about us.” Amazingly enough, the very next day, I got to work early, and she invited me upstairs for coffee and apologized again. That’s why it’s important for all gay people to come out, and why being out is so powerful. It makes YOU in control of a conversation of this nature. Straight people are accustomed to terrorizing us, and making us fearful. It’s very hard on gay teenage kids. I feel for them if they were born into fundamentalist homes, because they hear the hatred from their own families.

    Anyway, what was my point? Individually, progress of a kind is possible.
    Straight people can talk to other straight people– or people who have a fundamentalist education can talk to conservative youth pastors or straight churches. That will work. But bringing right wing and radical gay people together, well… The damage right wing christians have done to gay people has been well documented. And hey, I never grew up in those churches, my childhood church life was benign and tranquil… hey the biggest controversies we faced were the mass being said in English, and the invasion of guitars into church services…. ah… nostalgia moment there :-) My Mom would freak out more at rock and roll christian music in churches with big screen T.V.s than me being a lesbian :-)

    We are sadly in a very different world. Kids are getting toxic preaching.
    To listen to right wing christian radio and what they say about gay men and women is sickening and horrifying. I want to hear what the enemy is saying, and believe me, the lies are so incredible, it has a perverse fascination to me. Even I, a “humble” :-) lesbian living in a cute little neighborhood with a tree out front, can’t believe the stuff they say sometimes. It is unreal to be viliffied by straight men all the time, it is unreal the condescention and treakily nature of that abuse of Jesus’ words to the world.

    We’ll be working a long time to undo all this damage believe me. Straight people are right to attempt to clean up the toxic waste of anti-gay vicious oppression. They should talk to the straight churches, they should try to say “I’m sorry” and atone for this. Marin didn’t start all this, he was just a basic sexist jock type guy I always couldn’t stand in high school who has reformed. That said, he’ll make a go of a difficult job and I wish him well in this. I’ll never trust straight white men. I see them every day in my office, they aren’t fun to be around, but they can talk to other men. Men in those fundie churches don’t really listen to women, but they listen to each other.
    I’m just being blunt here. Oil and vinegar is what describes a lot of this stuff, but we can make a salad dressing every now and then :-)

    If his words help save some gay kids from those evil right wing clutches, or maybe provide an escape hatch for gays who are trapped with their fundamentalist pasts, all the better. However, I can say, that I allow no men to speak for me, and I have my own ideas of church, liberation and sanity. Fundamentalism holds no fascination for me, and I don’t believe in that version of god. BUT, someone should try to clean up the mess, and say sorry. That’s a good start, and you can’t fault someone for doing that.
    Selling T-shirts… a bit tacky :-)

    The thing is Sans, you can’t cover up or sugar coat. There will be geninue conflict here. Gays often HATE anything christian, and even liberal straight people say: “Oh I wouldn’t go to those homophobic nut case churches”– straight people saying this now? Who’d have thunk it :-)

  • http://gayhomophobe.wordpress.com/ Sans

    You know, Dora I said the other day that I respect you and your experiences and the wisdom you have to offer. That still stands, but now I must respond with the truth I’ve experienced as a gay man in America. You guys don’t get a monopoly on the truth and the “facts”….gay people are not monolithic, thank God (yes THAT God)! So, here are the facts I’ve experienced.

    I’m gay. I believe gay couples should have equal protection under the law (call it marriage, civil unions, whatever). I believe that people who physically harm or, God (yes THAT God) forbid, kill a person because they’re gay should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. I believe I should be able to walk anywhere I want and hold the hand of my partner without fear of recrimination.

    Other than that — well, let’s see….
    I believe in God – yes, THAT God!
    I believe that the United States is the greatest nation on earth.
    I believe that abortion is wrong except to save the mother’s life.
    I believe that Roe v. Wade is bad law.
    I believe in unabridged Second Amendment rights to all citizens.
    I believe that people who come to this country illegally should be punished.
    I believe that people should work for a living.
    I believe that the government is too big and too intrusive.
    I believe in a strong military.
    I believe in our right as a nation to defend ourselves, preemptively if necessary.
    ……..you get the point……..

    So, now let me tell you about my experience as a gay man and maybe, JUST MAYBE if you listen you’ll get why I’m defending Andrew and TMF….

    I get screwed by both sides. I was an ordained minister. When I came out, my orders were rescended. I was asked to leave the church where I’d ministered for the past four years. I was devastated! These people who knew me, who I ministered with and to, who I loved and cared for dismissed me because of new information. I was no different, but for this one truth.

    I moved away and started attending a “Gay” church. I quickly realized that the theology espoused by this church was not in any way, shape, form or fashion similar to my beliefs about God, Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit. I went to the pastor of the church and expressed my concerns to her. After a long conversation I was told that, “perhaps I should find another congregation to worship with” because “[they] cannot accept people who have beliefs that are exclusive.”

    In less than one year I was run out of two churches, one because I was too gay and one because (in essence) I wasn’t “gay enough.” At this point I decided that perhaps corporate worship was not something I would ever be able to enjoy again. Never once did I question my faith in God! My faith in people was severely damaged. I wasn’t surprised when I was run out of the first church, but when I was run out of the “gay” church I was astounded. What happened to inclusivity? I suppose they’re inclusive only if you agree with them…..sound familiar to you? It should – it’s PRECISELY what traditional churches have done!!!

    Outisde the realm of faith, I also found that many gay people I ran into, who DEMAND acceptance and tolerance were completely intolerant of my political beliefs. I was told my political beliefs were incompatible with an organization I was a member of and, though they didn’t kick me out, I was assured I would never be able to hold an office nor represent the group in anyway — I left of my own accord.

    Where do I go, then, Dora? If straight people don’t want me because I’m too gay and gay people don’t want me because I’m not gay enough, where do I go? In all of your militant, revolutionary passions, do you have a place for someone like me? No, I thought not!! I am anathema to you and those who agree with you…I’m not wanted because I don’t fit the mold — ANYBODY’S mold!

    Then I found The Marin Foundation and Andrew….sanity in the midst of abject NUTTINESS!! I found people who, though they may not totally agree with me, they won’t dismiss me. They will talk to me. They will listen to me. I fit here and people like me fit here. We neither too gay, nor are we not gay enough!

    Before you preach to me about how horrible the straight/conservative/Christian world is, remember that my experience with the gay/liberal/non-Christian world has been just as bad or perhaps worse because they are supposed to be the ones who teach tolerance! There was no tolerance for me because I didn’t fit, I didn’t conform, I didn’t hate the right people and the right things!!

    That’s my experience. That’s why I defend Marin and his organization, because they understand people like me who are misunderstood by everyone else. Dialog doesn’t have to be pleasant, but it does have to be FAIR! It has to be fair in accepting that not all gay people feel the way you do and that you don’t have a monopoly on truth and facts! But, also to accept the fact that there doesn’t have to be an answer to EVERY question! There will never be answers to EVERY question.

    We live in an imperfect world with imperfect people on ALL SIDES OF EVERY ISSUE! That’s just the way it is. There’s not an enemy around every corner and sometimes it’s just time to stop!

    Now is that time for me. I’ve said my peace and I’m done.

    • Eugene

      “I wasn’t surprised when I was run out of the first church, but when I was run out of the “gay” church I was astounded. What happened to inclusivity? I suppose they’re inclusive only if you agree with them…..sound familiar to you?”

      Actually, they told you that “[they] cannot accept people who have beliefs that are exclusive.” Now, I don’t know the specifics, and maybe they were wrong. But the word “inclusivity” – just like the word “tolerance” – isn’t supposed to mean “anything goes”. If your beliefs actually were “exclusive”, they likely thought that you were making their church less inclusive. In a similar way, we logically can’t tolerate intolerance – because the end result is more intolerance, not less.

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

        The end result is that Sans is without a faith community that compliments his faith and without a faith community that compliments his sexuality. I get all of your points. If TMF is helpful for Sans to fill the gap left by these two different church communities, then that’s a positive thing.

        I’m glad that Dora acknowledged that the “gay pastor” should have spent more time discussing these problems with Sans and nurturing what commonalities they do share. My own denomination (United Church of Christ) advertises a particular slogan that goes like this: “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.” Each UCC church is united by certain key essential beliefs (i.e., we’re a Christian denominaton, we believe in salvation through Christ’s sacrifice, etc.), but we also acknowledge that there are other things that local UCC church disagree about (such as accepting gay families or pastors, or the use of inclusive language, or the way we structure our local church’s programming). We make a commitment to each other to be charitable towards each other and tolerate the non-essential differences in order to collectively unite under our essential commonalities. We’re not perfect about this, but it’s something we strive to do better. I’m really curious what kinds of transformations both Sans and that church might have undergone if they had continued to work together.

        • Eugene

          “The end result is that Sans is without a faith community that compliments his faith and without a faith community that compliments his sexuality.”

          Now, maybe it’s not an accident. Maybe the problem is that “his faith” typically forms faith communities that don’t compliment his sexuality. But Sans appears to be unwilling to reexamine “his faith” and the reasons why some people refuse to accept his political beliefs. Instead he merely seems to desire some acceptance for himself, accusing everyone else of “nuttiness”.

          And I don’t really understand how the Marin Foundation can fill the gap – after all, it isn’t a church, and its views are quite ambiguous. Well, yes, I guess it provides a sense of comfort, but it’s not the same thing.

          “My own denomination (United Church of Christ) advertises a particular slogan that goes like this: “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.”
          …we also acknowledge that there are other things that local UCC church disagree about (such as accepting gay families or pastors…).

          Now, isn’t it wonderful? A Christian church believes that acceptance is non-essential, and most believers don’t seem to have a problem with this. You see, this is exactly why many gay people believe that Christians can’t be trusted.

          • http://tetheredsoul.wordpress.com Andrew A

            “Now, maybe it’s not an accident. Maybe the problem is that “his faith” typically forms faith communities that don’t compliment his sexuality. But Sans appears to be unwilling to reexamine “his faith” and the reasons why some people refuse to accept his political beliefs. Instead he merely seems to desire some acceptance for himself, accusing everyone else of “nuttiness”. ”

            Eugene, from all that Sans has told us of his story, it appears he has definitely reexamined his faith. I’m sure as he was treated poorly by Christians with conservative theology because of his sexuality, and later as he was treated poorly by Christians who had a more liberal theology but accepted his sexuality he undoubtedly had long periods of time where he “re-examined his faith”.

            Eugene, you seem resentful that a gay person could ever land on conservative Christianity as being the theology that most rings true to their understanding of God.

            Not all GLBT folks want a church that’s loose all the way around on their theology. They likely desire a church that loves and accepts them, but they may hold firmer to their doctrine than most gay-friendly churches.

            From what I’ve read on this blog, Jon seems to have been in the same situation where he is more theologically conservative, but chooses to go to a gay-friendly church. Sorry, if I am mis-representing you, Jon. This seems to be what I remember of your story from previous comments.

            Not everyone believes the same way you do, Eugene. For some folks, compromising their beliefs is not acceptable just so they feel more comfortable.

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

            No problem with how you’ve characterized me, Andrew A. My doctrinal comfort level is definitely challenged where I worship, but It’s a good place and I do experience Christ’s love there. I guess it goes back to whole “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity”, which is the backbone of this bridge-building effort.

            Eugene: You’re right. TMF isn’t a church. However, one of the big things they do is work with churches and denominational groups of all stripes to figure out how to better minister to GLBT people of faith. Or how to get along better with church communities that do or don’t have problems with GLBT issues, depending on their point of view.

            As far as your second point about the UCC, you’re right. It’s a pain and it’s one of the things that bothers me about my Christian brothers and sisters. But it’s improving and it takes ongoing perseverance, patience, and humbleness (as well as a few band-aids for when you bite your tongue a little too sharply). People aren’t going to alter their long-held beliefs b/c you tell them to. They’re going to slowly change as they get to know you and as they have their long-held beliefs gently, but firmly challenged through relationships with others.

            If church isn’t your thing, and I understand that it’s not the thing for many GLBT people for many, many reasons, that’s cool. But please understand that faith is still important for lots of GLBT folks and not everyone of those folks share the same religious beliefs.

  • Dora

    Sans: One of our great lesbian teachers and christian theologians once commented on “Too christian to be accepted as gay, and too gay to be accepted as christian, tis ever thus.” I think this little witicism sums it up, and I often quote her with a smile.

    If Marin Institute is the place for you, that’s great. If you feel comfortable denying women the right to abortion, good on you. If you feel that the gay movement did you wrong, well take a look at who actually did the work to get this agenda into the mainstream. My truth is I just outgrew all the churches. The gay church was part of my growing up, but at some point, I outgrew it. I wanted to move on to higher level thinking. To heal from vicious homophobia, being in an all gay world is great. After a hard days work around men, hey, I want my lesbian and women’s spaces. I’m tired of the sexism and can’t listen to men after 8 hours in an office with them.
    They are ok, but on my time off, I’ve had enough. You don’t want to do feminism 101 endlessly with men, nor do you want to have mansplaining be the order of the day.

    We all need groups where we can grow or flourish and not feel limited. It is up to us as creative beings to find the places where we are at our best, where our ideas and aspirations are honored. And in my mind, there is no place on earth where I feel more loved than in a roomful of very intelligent and accomplished women–lesbian, straight, bi–

    We all need to look to scholars and mentors who are going to get us, and support us. I look to the lesbian and feminist christian theologians, and radical leaders and visionaries, because they speak to me. A conservative christian straight guy can be nice, but not well educated in my worldview. It’s easy for gay guys to have huge communities, and large organizations. You don’t really care what lesbians do, and in some respects that’s good. The right wing men attack gay men and in the past have rejoiced in the murder of gay men everywhere. I find it horrifying to listen to straight men attack gay men. I’ve had to physically defend a few gay buddies who were almost gay bashed. They were terrified, I was full of rage and bashed a few heads, talk about reversal. I walk gay men to their cars at night now and then. True story.

    Right now, Iranian religious nuts are contemplating stoning a woman to death. Religious fanatics when they get control of governments aren’t going to be nice to women or gay men. That’s how it works.

    I defend your right to an honest assessment of your beliefs Sans. It takes guts to be a gay conservative these days. It is a philosophy that has nothing to offer me as a conscious lesbian thinker, but that’s me. You are you. I like your writing, I like your honesty. You’re a new generation who has problems with gay elders who should have spent more time with you.
    That gay MCC pastor should have spent more time talking to you, and making room for you. That is unfortunate, because I’ve known many ultra conservative men who are kind and compassionate, they care. They don’t get my feminism or lesbian self, but they are caring, and they are godly.
    I learn a lot from all kinds of people, and I know who I am and am very proud of my accomplishments. I’m proud of the movement I helped build, and the organizations I helped found and fundraise for.

    The world is a much better place, and I’ve been very honored to know the BIG ONES like Harry Hay, Troy Perry, Mary Daly, Audre Lorde, and many many more. I loved the gay ghetto and how freeing it was to finally live in a gay village where everyone knew my name :-) I loved it, I healed in it, and I moved out into the larger world. Now my country is the world, to paraphrase Virginia Woolf. I love America, but I certainly love other countries I’ve lived and worked in too. I hope someday to move to a country where women are 50% or more of the government. What would it be like to live in a place women ran? A country? A place free of rape and sexual harassment. A place where men didn’t terrorize women in large or small urban areas,,,, guess I’ll have to get to heaven and find that with god when she let’s me in the front gate:-) Free at last :-) I hope you become free at last too Sans, thanks for being YOU!!! You’re great…!!!

  • Dora

    Opps, I missed your comments IT. Yes, I have met many really really bad straight people. And good ones who are nice, but aren’t going to really go out of their way to defend me. After a hard days work, I’m wiped out.

    My black friends laugh with me on this. “At the end of the day I’ve HAD IT with white people!” and we both laugh our heads off! So true.

  • Sans

    You have become what you loathe, Dora.

    • Sans

      …actually, let me add this and then I’ll be done…to help affirm your belief about men and “white people”….

      Get off the cross. We need the wood.

  • Dora

    What fools these mortal men be.

  • Dora

    Exclusive and inclusive are two very different terms. Very good point Eugene. You can’t have it both ways actually. We had a policy that public prayer, sermons and bible readings used inclusive language in a lot of MCCs. We created inclusive language hymnals. A lot of conservative guys who were just like everyone else (except who they had sex with naturally) just couldn’t stand inclusivity, because they were accustomed to the old ways. Tradition is about male supremacy, that’s the heart and soul of it, and nothing freaks male supremacy out more then men who have sex with other men. Bar none.

    Exclusion of sexist language and god talk was a public policy decision. Inclusion of women and language that connected us directly with diety reflected this. Some men left in a huff. Some conservative women left too.
    Other types of people thought it was cool.

    Early lesbian leaders in MCC had to fight to get even the bi-laws changed to add he/she, and not the generic “he” for everything. MCC was male dominated at first, but now 50% of its ministers are women. That the type of progess would be mind boggling to the straight world I think. We even had a few straight women who became ministers in our church, because they were banned from their childhood churches. So if women are included, does that mean men are excluded? Most men seem to think that equality is about male exclusion because they are unaccustomed to huge numbers of women in positions of power in a lot of churches. Hearing god described as a woman freaked a lot of men out. Naturally, they were accustomed to patriarchal thinking, couldn’t adjust to voices of inclusion, and I’d say most conservative seminaries haven’t changed in this department. Liberal ones do have a clue, and their curriculum often reflects more up to date authors.

    Tolerance and intolerance…. exclusion or inclusion… privilege or non-privilege…. a racist power structure or a society in which this is challenged on every level. Gay freedom comes out of progressive politics, but this did not develop out of gay male conservatives, who hold back the movement and want only their own personal gain it seems.

    The collective rainbow coalition of lesbian and gay life is an ideal, the ideal that women and men are equal in leadership is an ideal. Guys who stood in the way of this in MCC really didn’t belong there to begin with, just as I have no business in straight conservative churches and would never want to bother with them or change them. That’s for enlightened straight people to do if they so choose. Freedom of religion and all that.

    You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Thanks Eugene for all your comments, it’s such a refreshingly sane voice here. I was really beginning to wonder! And I like a good vocabulary discussion too :-)

  • Dora

    I don’t separate gays from christians Eugene/re many gay christians. In the larger gay world, gay christians are of course few and far between.
    UCC has been a good ally to gay people; I think they had that wonderful commericial on TV that showed other churches using the ejector seat to get undesirable people out of churches. It was both funny and good.

    Most people don’t have to think about any of this. They can grow up in a church and not have to question anything. That’s where a lot of straight people have a limited life; the culture is too comfortable for them. Not enough challenge.

    As a lesbian, I have to be very mindful of what is really going on within an organization, and I’ve come up with some rules of thumb that work. If it’s a women’s organization, one of the first things I look for is racial integration.
    If it’s all white women, chances are I won’t be comfortable there. There will be other problems too. Most organizations these days make it clear who is welcome or not. The “laundry list” is very helpful, I call it the welcome mat, and there are no more key words than “we welcome everyone regardless of sexual orientation” another good phrase is “we practice inclusive language”– this tells me that both feminism and gay and lesbian freedom are important in that church, and that a person like me might find friends, and a supportive spiritual environment.

    If the language is bad, there will be other problems, just as a women’s organization that is all white in a very multi-cultural place will not be good.
    I find a particular comfort in the solidarity I feel with black women and their struggles. And black women, to a large extent, are very blunt and you can be brutally honest in discussions, something that white lesbian feminists really value as well. We don’t “build bridges” by ignoring the tough issues.

    I think Eugene and Jon were both onto pieces of the puzzle. Yes, young men who have the luxury of being gay neocons are going to have a hard time of it. Just as log cabin republicans are going to be seen as a bit odd.
    Dig deeper, and you find out that most gay neocons or republicans grew up in those worlds. It was a family tradition to be republican or they had elite social connections that the guys wanted to hang onto. I get that.

    Acceptance is a tricky thing. It’s hard to say what makes you feel at home or how people can help you feel accepted. The truer I am to myself, the more powerful I am from within, the more I can connect with people. One of the things I liked most about living in different countries is that the people saw me as only one thing: American. I fit in more because they weren’t judging me for being a woman or a lesbian. And to this day I really connect with immigrants, I think because they too struggle with being a part of a alien culture. The straight world is alien to me the way American society can feel very alien to say someone from Poland.

    As you get older, you get clearer. I’m glad Marin Institute is helping Sans, and I think he could learn something. It’s hard to say here because we aren’t IRL. I’m not really expecting most gay people of a certain generation ever to trust christians. Most of my friends are buddhists, atheists, jews, agnostics or very very liberal christians. My partner never grew up christian and was baptised as an adult– her chosen religion of adulthood was christian, my chosen religion of adulthood was feminism. A lot of people I know would find fundamentalism of any kind odd and intellectually suspect. I believe Hannah Arendt said it best: “The best live in legends, the averge in ideology and the worst in conspiracy theories.” It’s comic, but true. Since I live in both legends and ideology– maybe that might give me a C+ to b -

    I’m willing to give a lot of straight people the benefit of the doubt, because they would have no way of accessing the inner worlds of a lesbian community. We’re not easily available, and most lesbians beyond a certain age don’t go to freedom day parades. What the world sees publically is largely gay men. Lesbians are in whole different spaces, and the prime challenge of most lesbians I know is, well to find large groups of lesbians to hang with.

    Marin can be good about educating straight people who might actually care about gay folk. Straight conservative people would have a hard time even knowing what to do in our worlds, so Marin is actually the bridge to straight fundamentalist christianity. Only a straight guy could pull that off. He is not a bridge to the larger lesbian community, nor is he trying to connect with our advanced theological thinkers. He’d learn a thing or two from Nancy Wilson and Mary Hunt, he’d broaden his horizons. But he’s not going there. Most men aren’t going there unless they are very enlightened. There is nowan old gay culture that is more radical than the young people of today. Old gay is not the same as neocon gay.

    A lot of our old guard guys are horrified that gay people are trying to get married and join the military; this is not radical, but conventional and heteroimitative, as they say. This type of contradiction occurs I think as economies and good jobs disappear. The harder it is for gay white men to get work– young, the angrierand more neocon they might turn out to be.

    Or as someone explained to me: there is the pioneering stage, and then after the pioneers stake out a town, settlers come in. The two groups are very different. A settler is a conformist, a pioneer, well… We now have a culture of gay settlers… they want to be like everyone else.

  • Dora

    Just hot off the presses— great news– go and read the July, 2010 edition of “Tikkun” magazine. It’s a progressive journal of politics and spirituality.
    This issue gay spiritual art is the cover story. There are a dozen or so paintings with gay, queer, womanist themes. Tikkun is trying to reach gay and lesbian spiritual people, and this edition covers all aspects of gay christianity, but has great articles on Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist stuff as well. I think they have 32 some pages of articles, and it might be the biggest magazine portrayal of this new art available today.

    I love good art, and this is so visionary and uplifting!!!

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

      That is indeed a good magazine, Dora. Tikkun is a linked resource on my church’s newbie blog (faithucciowacity.blogspot.com/). I’d never heard of it until this past week. I’ve been reading different online articles today and yesterday. Good stuff. :)

  • Dora

    Yeah Jon, Tikkun recently has been doing more to reach out to gay spiritual people. They had a national conference on progressive spirituality, and handed out lots of copies of the articles. The African-Americans who normally were never much interested in the magazine handouts got all excited to see two black christian historical figures on the cover. Caused quite a controversy too. This magazine can be found online, at least some of the cover stories.

    Tikkun, probably is most famous for being the creation of Rabbi Michael Learner — “politics of meaning” fame during Clinton’s 1992 race. Even liberals — leftist political types are a bit late to the gay christian spiritual movement. I’ll check out your UCC blog too.

  • Eugene

    Andrew A: “Eugene, you seem resentful that a gay person could ever land on conservative Christianity as being the theology that most rings true to their understanding of God.”

    I just see that a certain understanding of core tenets (“conservative Christianity”) logically results in anti-gay beliefs. That’s why it looks as if conservative gay Christians are asking the church to make an exception for them. Now, I may be wrong, and I’m not saying this about the beliefs of Sans, but it looks like conservative gay Christians desire “cafeteria variety” Christianity. I would surely like conservative churches to become more gay-affirming. But even I understand that Christianity is not about my desires – it’s about the desires of God.

    If your understanding of God and the Bible is… uhm… “loose”, you can easily justify pro-gay theology. You can even say that Jesus supported gay marriage! But pro-gay theology in a conservative context has a whiff of self-indulgence.

    Jon Trouten: “People aren’t going to alter their long-held beliefs b/c you tell them to.”

    Oh, I surely understand this, and, yes, that’s why TMF is doing a good thing. But what bothers me is that, as a group, Christians are less gay-friendly than atheists. The thing is, the Holy Spirit is supposed to work. And the difference between Christians and atheists probably means one of two things:

    1) Homosexuality actually is a sin, and, hey, maybe even sodomy laws aren’t such a bad idea.

    2) The Holy Spirit doesn’t work – with all the implications.

    There are other factors at work (especially organized religion – in the context of Matthew 23). But, anyway, it’s easy to see why the “very conservative Christian folks” don’t like the “heretical emergent pastor”. This issue can destroy conservative Christianity as we know it.

  • Dona

    Of course core conservative christian beliefs will be anti-gay. White conservative churches have gotten just about every major civil rights issue of the 20th and early 21st century dead wrong. It’s just the way ideas work.

    Gays born into right wing homes have had a tough time of it. I have a great deal of sympathy. And, well men seem more wedded to this doctrine stuff than most lesbians I know. Gay men at MCC would fly off the handle when lesbians took down the American flag… wow, the fur flew on that one.
    Gay men freaked out when lesbians wanted to invite the goddess into worship. God the father didn’t approve, they were more conservative than lesbians. We had more conflicts with those right wing guys than we did with Fred Phelps :-)

    Can people change? Well, the reason right wing people hate change, or diversity, is they fear the exposure to social justice issues that can cause the most hardened racist to change. Remember, George Wallace asked a black congregation for forgiveness and they granted it. George Wallace changed. Too bad he was out of power, but better late than never.

    A lot of guys who died of AIDS changed in the end. One guy apologized to me for being such a “sexist a——” He was dying, lesbians went to bat for him, he became deeply ashamed for all his anti-feminist language, we forgave him. Hey it’s nice when men ask women for forgiveness… now THAT is very radical. Good idea for the next gay parade guys :-)

    Conservative christians have a lot to deal with. The secular world is not kind to them. They’ve made so many enemies now, that things that were once ok in the culture will now be challenged with law suits. I sometimes feel sorry for them, because they always come across looking so clueless.
    They love the little manger scene on the high school lawn… whamoo ACLUS lawsuit. Back in 1969, the little manger scene was loved by all. Sad, but true.

    This institute will do a good job talking to them. I enjoy reading some of the posts from conservative straight christians who are trying to learn. That’s good, I encourage this. It would be quite a culture shock for a conservative christian straight couple to come to a radical lesbian discussion group or meet world renouned feminist theologians who are also lesbian too….whew… that might be a big leap for them. But the Institute, perfect introduction to gay 101, and the gang talks the right language.

    I believe all people can radically change many belief systems. We think we are so wedded to a belief, and then bam, a man falls in love with another man… whamooo… religious belief system goes out of the window, and sex trumps theology every time. I’m being a little cynical here or perhaps court jesterish. Sometimes I think gay guys, who are so connected to patriarchy and so worshipping of that theology are pretty stuck. Most seasoned christian lesbians I know just don’t have all that much attachment to that old time religion to begin with. So we don’t care, and sometimes don’t have much compassion for the struggles of gay conservative men. It’s hard to have compassion. We can try, but it sure isn’t easy.


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