Why the “I’m Sorry” Campaign? –Part 3

Today’s post is from our friend Darren Calhoun, who’s continuing our I’m Sorry series.  Darren Calhoun is a professional photographer and Christ-follower who approaches the world with the perspective that life is about stories and relationships. Darren is a native Chicagoan who currently lives in the East Garfield Park neighborhood.
He actively serves within the leadership of arts ministries at his church and volunteers with local community organizations. As owner and photographer of Quick Click Media, Darren has captured special moments for families and organizations for over 10 years and his work recently graced several covers of a local magazine. Darren has been sharing his stories and experiences with The Marin Foundation since 2008.
See ya Sunday

Every year in June, I look forward to the Last Sunday of the month. It’s when I have the pleasure of joining with Christians from a wide variety of backgrounds, experiences, and even sexual orientations to attend the Annual Chicago Gay Pride Parade. While the event itself is a lot of fun, we’re there for a greater purpose: the I’m Sorry Campaign. To put it simply, it’s an amazing opportunity to be a loving and reconciling presence in the LGBTQ community.

While I’ve participated with the campaign several times in the past, last year was my first time being stationed in front of the “God Hates [everybody]” protesters who create a dark spot along the parade’s route. While a few parade-goers choose to ignore the protesters as best they can, the verbal assaults those protesters hurl out prompt many to react in anger.  I would frequently watch people go from a cheerful face to an angry snarl within moments of seeing the protesters. Then when it dawns on people why our group is there in our white “I’m Sorry” tee shirts, their attitudes quickly shift and suddenly there are smiles, hugs, and even thankful tears.  I myself was moved to tears when I realized just how tangible love and forgiveness can be – this isn’t just some philosophical idea.  So many people left floats and marching formations or braved the crowds to cross the street just to thank us for being there.  Even after the event, photos of the campaign go viral on the web as people are shocked to see a group of Christians taking responsibility for the harm that has been done to LGBTQ communities and individuals.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said “hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that,” and I experience this in action each time we show up at the parade.  I think too often, Christians shut down opportunities to be the incarnate body of Christ when we withhold love and reconciliation based on disagreements about the morality of same-gender relationships. I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that we as Christians have a responsibility to show the world a better presentation of what we’re about.  I believe that we (Christians) can someday be known “by our LOVE”.

 I hope that today you’ll participate in your own way with the I’m Sorry Campaign. Maybe it’s taking time to hear someone’s story.  Or perhaps you could do some reading to educate yourself on LGBTQ issues.  You could even show up at a gay pride parade with a “Free Hugs” sign and simply let people know that they are loved.  Whatever you do, don’t choose to do nothing.  The world needs love and I hope that love will come through you!

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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).


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