Validation vs. Affirmation:
There are some who are very upset about my understanding of validation and affirmation. Here is a more in-depth explanation. I find these critiques strange because many people in both communities love, and I mean love to talk about being ‘inclusive’ or ‘focused on outreach’. What that actually means these days is that inclusive people or those focused on outreach get to choose who to be inclusive to or who to reach out to while keeping everyone not in their ‘target audience’ ostracized from the ‘in’ pack.
With The Marin Foundation, inclusion and outreach actually equals non-Christian LGBT, LGBT Christians, celibate, ex-gay, liberal and conservative straight Christians and non-Christian straight people, together and active in our stuff. And I can say that because each one of those categories is deeply involved in the everyday work, classes, gatherings and events of The Marin Foundation.
Since that is truth, how can I best describe the overwhelmingly peaceful and productive relationships we see on a daily basis with so many different theological, political, social and scientific ideologies combined in one group – where in the rest of culture those combinations of people just end up fighting? The only way I can think is by validating everyone’s journey/story/experience as legitimate to them—regardless of where they are on the spectrum, while everyone else still is able to hold on to their theological belief system—whichever liberal or conservative one that is. (For more info on my thoughts on the label Affirming, please read this).
If you don’t like my understanding of how I explain how the folks within The Marin Foundation get along so well, then give me a better description and I’ll use that. But here’s the problem, the majority of the people out there just want to critique and talk while The Marin Foundation is actually doing the ‘doing.’ That realization has become a safe-haven for my own soul recently. People love the labels of ‘inclusion’ and ‘outreach’ until the label has to become a reality.
Well, it’s our reality—validation and affirmation fit what we see happening everyday.