Part 1: Note to Skeptics

Who knew this whole ‘I’m Sorry from the Church Campaign 2010′ would go viral? Not us, I’ll tell you that much. Anyway, there have been a couple really well known sites that have publicly stated their distaste and skepticism for me, for The Marin Foundation and for our Campaign.

And why should they believe us at our word?

They shouldn’t.

And I don’t expect them to.

We all know the scars the Church has left – the same Church we are a part of.

And I’m perfectly content that these culture makers can’t stand me because how else am I to show them otherwise over the long haul unless we know each other?

Maybe one day we’ll all sit down face to face and I’ll let them fire away at me and I’ll answer everything as open and honest as I always do. That day hasn’t come yet. Until then, I’ll keep apologizing and I’ll keep loving unconditionally.

Yes. Unconditionally…which means whether gay, in a relationship or not, Christian or not, whether people “change” or not. And I’ll still keep pressing the church to do the same thing.

Here are the links:

Friendly Atheist

Towleroad

Slog – They first posted this awesome article, then they posted this not so flattering one.

I have already privately emailed both of them. We’ll see what happens…

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://www.bigmama247.com Alise

    I’m a pretty big fan of Hemant’s blog, and I was so disappointed this morning to see him bagging on the I’m Sorry campaign. I hope that they take you up on your invitation for dialog. I think what you’re doing is right on and it hurts me to see it being misrepresented.

    Be blessed!

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

      Thank you so much for your love and support Alise. I also hope he/they will respond.

  • Thomas Dowd

    I read both blogs and sadly they seem to be stuck on the big question (is being gay a sin?) and can’t get past it. It would seem that until we as Christians renounce the Bible and God’s law we will not be accepted by some of the more vocal people in the Gay / Lesbian community. I refuse to condemn anyone and am taught by Jesus to love and accept everyone for who they are and where they are. My goal in life is to demonstrate what I feel the kingdom of Heaven looks like and announce my faith in Jesus Christ when asked. I am never going to condemn anyone, tell them they are a sinner and are going to hell or be critical of one’s choices on sexual orientation. That is not my place. All I want them to do is know Jesus as I do : )

    • AdamN

      First off I’m a gay atheist visiting from Towleroad…
      But yeah, denouncing the idea of gay people as sinners IS a big deal. I don’t really understand why this is a hard concept to grasp. You can’t expect to have a real dialogue with a group of people when you consider an immutable aspect of their identity sinful. If you were in our position, how would that make you feel? Its beyond disrespectful and just plain hateful and self-righteous. Not taking a stance on this isn’t bridge building, its cowardly.
      Why is this very selective reading of the Bible held on to so strongly? What about mixed threads and shellfish? How come they get a pass and we don’t. You do know that not too long ago people in the South were using the Bible to support their belief in slavery. That looks pretty disgusting now and I can promise you the very same thing is going to happen with the current stance towards gay people. Bigotry is bigotry, you can address it up however you like and put a smiley lovey dovey vaguely accepting face on it, but it’s still bigotry all the same.

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

        AdamN – Thank you for your questions. I literally address every single on of them in my book. It’s not a theological book, it’s a book of what unconditional love from a straight evangelical looks like through my experiences over the last 10 years. Please read it and lets talk about it. I’ll even send you one for free. I answer in detail all of these questions in Chapter 7. And you are totally correct in how so many wrongly pick and choose scripture. Email me with your mailing address (andrew@themarinfoundation.org) and I’ll drop the book in the mail asap. Hope to talk soon. Much love.

        • AdamN

          Hey Andrew,
          Thanks for responding.
          I don’t really need or want a copy of your book as I am an atheist with no interest whatsoever in being proselytized too. But as a concerned gay man you could help me out by answering a few questions.
          Yesterday I listened to and orientation of yours given to straight Evangelicals and became very concerned. You talked a lot about “getting” to gay kids before they embraced their gay identity and found acceptance in the gay community. You mentioned many times how this was something you were working against and how you instead you wanted kids to come to the Church instead. So what SPECIFICALLY do you want these gay kids to come to in terms of their identity outside of the gay community and inside your church? You talked at one point in the orientation how you believe sex is a sin outside of marriage and, in this orientation at least, you didn’t believe in gay marriage, making celibacy the ultimate goal for gay people. Is this what you want? Is that your pro-gay position?

          • Bart Wang

            AdamN,
            You want answers but you do not want to engage in dialogue. You appear to want quick, packaged responses based on brief observations you made. However, when offered the opportunity to read a lengthy answer (it’s in a whole book, suggesting there is more than can be stated in a blog comment thread) and then engage in real conversation (i.e., not here), you indicate you’re not interested in dialogue and make derogatory references (you assume Andrew will be ‘prosyletizing’ in said book). Do you want discussion, interaction, questions and answers or do you want an Internet life, quickly hearing enough words (whether or not you understand the context) to discount someone else as a fool and patting yourself on the back as brilliant? Break the cycle! This Internet thing has many benefits but meaningful dialogue is not one of them. If you read more about Andrew’s life, you’ll learn that you may have misheard information. For example, that he has attended multiple same-sex marriage ceremonies! Does that sound like someone who does not “believe in gay marriage”?

          • Eugene

            “For example, that he has attended multiple same-sex marriage ceremonies! Does that sound like someone who does not “believe in gay marriage”?”

            Andrew specifically said that he “can validate someone else’s experiences” (e.g. attend gay weddings) even when he does NOT “believe in all the same stuff theologically/scientifically/socially.”
            (http://www.loveisanorientation.com/2010/im-going-to-gay-wedding-today/#comment-2364)

          • AdamN

            For some reason the site is not letting me reply to Bart’s comment so I will reply up here….
            I shouldn’t need to read a book to determine if Andrew is an ally or not. I’m not actually asking complex questions but pretty direct ones. I have no need to be introduced to his philosophy or theology, I only have an interest in Andrew on the behalf of the welfare of my community. I don’t accept that the questions I am bringing up are “so complex” that they can’t be answered here, that’s total bs and just an attempt to avoid answering them. (Also as I have picked up from other comments, he doesn’t address the specific audio orientation views in his book which is the primary thing I am asking questions about)
            Vague half affirmations are not enough and I’m afraid Andrew’s silence is complicity.

  • http://katieochicago.com katie o

    I read what the Friendly Athiest had to say, I couldn’t NOT respond. Thought you should know what I had to say…

    “I am not a member of the gay community, but I believe that everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect. My beliefs are simple and uncomplicated – I choose to be around people based on their character, nothing else.

    I was directed to this site through The Marin Foundation website. I don’t know what it’s like to be persecuted because of my sexuality. I also don’t understand “The Church’s” stance on the gay community; love is love as far as I’m concerned. But I do know Andy Marin. I have known him since before The Marin Foundation existed and I implore you to continue this conversation with him – directly.

    He is not just wearing a t-shirt and standing in a crowd. He has become a part of the gay community of Chicago and across the country. He reaches out to those kids in Boystown who have been kicked out of their homes because of their sexuality and cares deeply about each and every person he encounters. He is an awesome person. I think you’ll be impressed by the conversation if you choose to engage him.

    For the record, I am impressed with everything I have read on this site. For all my beliefs about equality and acceptance, I am doing nothing to spread the word about those beliefs other than teaching my daughter that everyone is created equal and deserves her respect. I admire every single one of you who is making a difference in the world.”

    I am inspired by you every day my friend.

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

      Wow. Thanks for writing that Katie…I didn’t expect you to do that. It was beautiful. The overall response we have gotten from everyone has been unreal and such a blessing. Love you dearly.

      • http://katieochicago.com katie o

        after i read the towleroad post and comments i really started to got riled up by people’s reactions. i would have sent this to you personally instead of having it where everyone can see it but hey, if its posted on towleroad, might as well put it here too! i think you are doing awesome work Andrew Marin. You are getting up and doing the work no one else will and you will come through the muck of all the haters and when you do you will have paved a road for people to be able to celebrate their relationship with God. I respect you.

        “I have been following this story on numerous sites and have read countless comments, replies and incensed reactions. I am not a member of the gay community and though I call myself a christian, I don’t know that many other Christians would label me as such because I don’t believe the exact things they do. I believe that love is love and that everyone deserves equality and respect. If we are judged at all it is through the goodness in our actions and our intentions toward others. Simple as that.

        Having said that, it makes me incredibly sad reading through so many hate filled messages in response to Andy Marin’s “I’m Sorry” movement. From what I have seen in response to his efforts, the road of hatred and intolerance is VERY much a two way street – there are as many people in the gay community casting a blanket of distaste and mistrust over the entire Christian community as “The Church” casts a blanket of misunderstanding and phobia on the GLBT community. Is the angry response from those who have been persecuted justified? I have never been judged by my sexuality and would be furious if anyone made me feel “LESS THAN” as so many others have. But one, or even many, Christians do not equal ALL Christianity. Hating Christians is no better than hating homosexuality. SHOULDN’T there be a bridge built between the two? SHOULDN’T there be someone out there who wants to cut through all the pain and misunderstanding and create a path to the Church for those who really WANT it?

        Again, I am not in a position to judge anyone’s level of anger. But I do know Andy Marin as my dear friend…from before The Marin Foundation ever existed. I KNOW who he is and he is not the enemy. If you don’t trust what his website says then talk to HIM personally, he’ll respond and answer your questions. I may not be a member of the GLBT community but HE has become one, walking the streets of Chicago’s Boys Town and showing those he comes across that he genuinely cares about them AS PEOPLE – not as statistics or dollar signs or someone to change. He is kind and loving and wants to change the way things are between the church and those who have been injured by the wrong path the Church has taken.

        I don’t agree with a lot of things about organized religion. I don’t even go to CHURCH…but I do know that there are some of us out here who believe in God and equality and equal rights and that love is love no matter where it comes from. I may believe in universal respect but I do NOTHING to spread the word other than pass on my beliefs of equality to my daughter. I have all the respect in the world for those of you, and people like Andy Marin, who get up off the couch and at least TRY to make a difference.

        Put the mistrust aside. Stop judging when you know how much it hurts to be judged. Be angry but at least be open to hearing what Andy has to say…not the people who have interviewed him, not the people who have written about him – just HIM. He’ll stop, he’ll listen and he’ll be honest with you about his beliefs and his desire to make things better for those who desire to be a part of the church. Just give him a chance.”

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

          Unreal. Unreal. Thank you so much.

  • wackywilliams

    I read both blogs & found the frindly athest to be more open yet understandbly sceptic to what you guys weretrying to do but what really I found to be the most touching is all the people responding & supporting you guys!! I saw at least three that said they had been at that blog for awile & had just looked at yours but telling him he was being way too harsh! now thats what really incourged me as they were willing to be open to what was being convayed, personaly I look much more @ comments then the writer of a blog to test the winds of reseption becuse I know from a lot of personel exspernce many times the blog ather is the equlivent of someone on there soap box & can be naterly more defenceve & brisly then Joe blow becuse they feel that they are obligated to defend there posion ( what ever that might be) so Andrew I would say , take heart , themessige is catching on in a big way!! & I really do hope both contact you & are open to a honest dielog with out any preconceved notions or false brevado one on anyones part.

  • Seth

    I read both posts, and except for the ad hominem argument, i.e., questioning your integrity, which I think is wrong, it seems to me that you have started an overdue dialogue. I didn’t read all the comments, but on the whole it seemed that both bloggers were being called out by their commenters to take a larger view. I think the commenters have a better grasp of your approach than the bloggers do!

    Wherever we go with this message we find an almost reflexive grasp for an answer to the gay-sin question. I understand that. Our critics hope for an answer they can use to discount us one way or another. Without it, they seem anxious. And it can make us anxious, too.

    But remember that Jesus’ ministry on earth made a lot of people anxious, too, and he refused to be pinned down by the pharisees and their logic. I often think of Peter’s vision in Acts, where God says, “Do not call unclean what I have made clean.”

    In any case, love casts out fear, and that’s what you do best! Thank you, as always, for what you are doing.

  • Mrs T

    It’s sad that some folks don’t understand the simple message of TMF. It is to bridge the gap! Very few people agree exactly with others in any topic. The idea is for each group, especially the church, to stop villifying the other group & act in love. There are other groups that Christians may disagree with more than GLBTs(usually other religions), but they usually treat them with respect. It’s time the church treats LGBTs with respect, too.
    What is so hard to understand about that message?

    Another thing is that some of us don’t have answers for everything. Some of us don’t know what is a sin & what isn’t in certain areas. Some may feel that legally gay marriage is OK, but are not ready to accept it religiously.
    Do we have to keep fighting every little detail? Andrew & company are trying to stop this bickering, pettiness, misunderstanding, & hate! Give him a chance!!
    BTW, how do you critics know which one of the members/fans of TMF are GLBT or hetero? They are not all evangelicals, either. :) :)
    ((HUGS))to you, TMF. I’m one of your biggest fans! Keep on keepin’ on!!

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

    I posted on both blogs about my experience with you. I thought I’d been posted on Friendly Atheist, but my comment now appears to have been deleted. My towleroad comment’s still there, though:

    “Andrew’s a good guy and is definitely on our side. He traveled to Iowa City and attended my wedding with his wife when my husband and I got legally hitched this past January. The Marin Foundation is a Christian organization, but it’s nothing like the 95% of the Christian groups out there. He’s interested in trying to reduce the culture war static. He’s also interested in making the church more friendly for GLBT folks who are seeking a place there. But, really he’s just trying to get the Christian community to reduce their rhetoric and relax on the gay stuff.”

    I didn’t think I posted anything inflamatory on the atheist blog. Oh well…

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant

    Hey all — This is Hemant from Friendly Atheist. I’ll respond to Andrew via email shortly.

    @Jon — I do have to moderate new commenters and I just got around to doing that, so if you don’t see your posting, please let me know. I wouldn’t delete a comment like that!

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

      Hey Hemant! Just got your email. Will respond right now. Thanks!

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

    My message is back on the Friendly Atheist blog. Thanks Hermant!

    I’ve been dialoguing on the towleroad blog, but I think I’m done now over there. :)

  • http://www.hillsideslide.blogspot.com Tina C

    Glad to see Hemant pop up on here!

    I’ve been hoping you two would talk, mano a mano.

    Meanwhile, I’d like to reiterate what someone else said on your fb page- I wouldn’t say these bloggers “can’t stand” you. It’s more likely: Distrust.

    Given Christians’ reputation & history of hurting GLBTs, it’s understandable.

    At the same time, it seems that there is an ignorance in the non-faith community as to the great diversity of understandings, beliefs & actions within the faith (specifically, Christian here) community.

    That’s where the dialoging swoops in to save the day! Ha, well, this is where it really helps- talking TO, not AT.

    Which you are both willing to do. (and have done time & again)

    Bra-vo!

    you both rock

  • http://www.facebook.com//GraceD.AmyLynn amy lynn

    Hi. I have a question about your ministry or mission (it’s one of those “no sleep last night = stupid today days!)… the Church is apologizing just to gay people? I read some and immediately wanted to ask. I loved church growing up, then went off to a “Christian” (actually a particular denomination) University to get my degree in Youth Ministry a few million years ago. It was awful, and i found that this girl who grew up in a less rigid – more like Mother Teresa’s “If you are always judging people, how can you have time to love them” – church was suddenly not liking church or the people who went there any more. Skip to a few years later and my folks are suddenly attending a church of this denomination. More judgey rudeness. :( I don’t know if it was that i DARED be one of the only women who wanted a degree in ministry or what the heck was up, but i stopped loving church.
    I did finally learn a lot more about God – about Jesus and His “reckless, raging” (Brennan Manning writes that in “The Ragamuffin Gospel”, which i recommend to everyone!!) love for all of us. I learned about grace.
    I think the church, and i had better include myself since i am far from perfect, needs to stop walking all over its wounded. Start behaving like the body of Christ. So as i rattle on here, i wondered if that were part of what you want to do – to get people to stop looking at us flawed humans who are saved only because God decided to do it and not because, “Hey! Look at me! I don’t wear shorts, I’m a good girl!”. I hope we will all look at *Jesus* for truth…. and be the Church that Jesus wants us to be. :) And to let the Holy Spirit convict us of any sin we have in our lives – it is not my job to be be the Holy Spirit for my fellow believers!! (I hope that made sense, it sounded way better in my head) ~*~ grace and peace

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

      Amy Lynn – You’re dead on. It’s what I call ‘living my Kingdom Job Description’. Bill Graham, attending a rally for Pres Clinton after the sex scandal, once said to a skeptic Chrsitian reporter why he was there: “It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict. God’s job to judge. And it’s my job to love and that’s what I’m here doing.” Wow.

      • Pianomankugie

        Yes! Billy Graham got it right and I believe that you do also! I loved reading Nathan’s blog post and all 416 plus replies. Praise God. Keep this up and sooner or later many from whatever side or sides they are on will get it that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting our sins against us. And He has given to us the ministry of reconciliation!! I don’t currently have the courage to do what you’re doing but I fully support what I perceive your heart to be.

  • http://petegoebel.blogspot.com/ Pete

    The elephant in the room: Christians may not want to be condemning of homosexuals, but the Bible is. As much as one might wish to parse the difference between “being homosexual” and “engaging in homosexual sex”, it all amounts to the same thing. And I think that is the hard truth the church needs to confront.

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

      Actually, the elephant in the room is an uncritical belief that way too many people maintain that the Bible condemns gay people and our relationships. It doesn’t universally condemn us, our relationships, or our families. Things didn’t work out for the gang-rapists of Sodom, but that doesn’t say much about gay people. Opinions weren’t too positive about the Pagan temple prostitutes in the chapter of Romans, but that’s not a condemnation of gay people. Meanwhile, relationships like that shared between David and Jonathan are poo-pooed actually being pretty homoerotic as written in the Bible.

  • http://existentialpunk.com Existential Punk

    Pete, sorry to say but the Bible is NOT condemning of homosexuals. It needs to be seen in its historical and cultural context and not just because of tradition. Slavery was tradition but we see it has been taken out of context!

  • Bart Wang

    Bart concurs with these two comments. The Wang has heard from more friendly sources (and looked briefly online and found some corroborating data) that, at least in the New Testament, there are three references that have been translated in English as some variation of ‘homosexual’ (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Timothy 1:10; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
    Couple points that are likely raised elsewhere on this site and others… First, Jesus does not state anything about sexual orientation. An argument based on silence is, usually, weak or lame. Christians who claim the Bible speaks so loudly about LGBT issues often go back to the Old Testament and ignore Jesus. Tsk tsk, silly Christians. Three verses that obviously require extensive reading and interpretation versus a life of love and compassion lived by Jesus documented in the four Gospels. Bart chooses the latter and thinks the former are interesting points to investigate further. However, he starts from the position that Jesus is loving so any interpretation that suggests otherwise must be seriously questioned.
    Second, it is believed that the references to same sex interactions is NOT the ‘consenting adults with equal power’ relationships we would be talking about now. Instead, it references pederasty, which, you’ll notice, is rooted in pedophilia. VERY different.
    Third… The Wang doesn’t have a third. He’s out.

  • LJKelly

    Actually, Lot offered his daughters to the strangers, and rape was totally cool with those guys. Funny how that little bit gets overlooked in the story.
    Believe me, you would never want to live in those “biblical times”


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