The Culture War

The Culture War May 27, 2009

Part of my job is to be aware of, and keep a close eye on everything that is going on around the country within GLBT circles as well as within conservative circles. Because of this I am signed up to a lot of listservs from very well known, very polarizing organizations on both ends of the spectrum. With that in mind I’ve noticed a specific trend recently in the listserv emails:

Each community is pleading, and strongly urging their people to get involved to win the culture war against the other community.

I started to realize something—this is the difference between a bridge builder and a dime-a-dozen culture warrior who blindly fights because they are told to:

Bridge builders want to end the culture war in peaceful and productive ways through eternal principles that draw us to God, and to each other.

Dime-a-dozen culture warriors want to win the culture war by turning to external, socially constructed tools for validation and legitimization within mainstream circles [mainstream secular and mainstream religious].

Which place do you find yourself in this culture war? And which place do you see yourself needing to be, and why?

Let’s discuss….

Much love.

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  • Anonymous

    Please talk to Sandy R! She needs to hear your message!Her fears may be valid, but she seems to act like this is the one of the worst things in the culture wars.

  • Jeff S.

    Right with you, Andy. You are great at pointing the way. May I be faithful in doing my part.

  • EronC

    I am doing my best to side with those who are seeking to bring a peaceful end to this war. I am taking a handful of key leaders in the youth ministry I am serving with and going through the love is an orientation book and talking how we can practically and intentionally apply the principles in the book in hopes that we can effectivelly build bridges between the two cultures.


    I very much want to be a bridge builder in this regard. However, I still find myself struggling with certain fears that hold me back. Part of what makes this so difficult for me is that I am a conservative evangelical that has personally struggled with homosexual attractions my entire walk with the Lord. It seems like it's more difficult for me to accept gay and lesbian people where they are at (especially gay and lesbian christians) because immediately I have to process what this means about me, my faith, and the choices I have made in my sexuality. After 12 years of walking with the Lord, being honest with Him, myself, and others about my sexual struggles, and getting married and having a child… this isn't really a great time to have the carpet pulled out from under me on everything I've believed about homosexuality and the Christian faith. I really admire the work you do Andrew and I have no doubts that the Lord has had to challenge everything you believe and I'm sure this work has even forced you to examine your own sexuality. But it seems to me that it would be easier for someone who has only ever been heterosexually attracted to engage the gay community the way you do. These aren't great excuses… and I feel like the Lord is leading me more towards "bridge building" ministry instead of "change" ministry… but it's really flippin freaking me out!!:D God's Peace

  • Di5

    Could explain your picture of the man pulling the horse? God doesn't work that way and for what you are saying the picture contradicts itself. I believe in bridge building but for now am praying for my friends that are in that lifestyle. We no longer live in the same city. For those that have come out as a Christ-follower, I want to help them. To let them know that through Christ we can be more than conquerors. We are to live counter-culturally. I would like to be an encourager when they need that. I haven't read the book through yet but do have a question or two formulating.

  • Anonymous

    I would love to end the culture war in a peaceful way, but that means that we have to change peoples hearts, because without a change of heart it will never happen.

  • Anonymous

    In this war, I like your approach. It is used in evangelizing in 'closed countries' all the time.
    Can you imagine befiending a Muslim man or even winning him to the Lord & then saying, "OK Bud, take the burqua off your wife. Women are equal."
    Even tho we know women are equal, we would never be so callous to offend someone of that culture so directly, but we, in this country, want to push a GLBT person to 'change' instead of helping him grow in the Lord or just being a good friend.
    In the GLBT/religious so-called culture wars, we have a long way to go!!
    Mrs "T"

  • Scot McKnight

    Andrew Marin, check out my new post on James … it fits with your post perfectly.

  • Brad Ogilvie/The William Penn House/The Mosaic Initiative

    As a fellow bridge-builder, I think there is also much to be said for putting the work into a time perspective, and it’s about progress and movement. It also means sometimes not focusing on the issues, but just building relationships.

  • six11

    I am a bridge builder, cause CHRIST is a bridge builder.

  • Anonymous

    I find myself in the middle. I really want to be a bridge builder. Some things hold me back. I continue to pray and think.

  • Corinne

    I consider myself to be strictly on the bridge building side. I’m a firm believer that Christ’s example was one of a bridge builder… (just look at how he intentionally placed himself in Samaria, beside a well, and built a bridge with the women of that community). I’ve been meaning to comment for a while now on your site, since learning of your ministry, and I am in AWE of what a wonderful balance (or tension) you maintain between two polaraizing ends. I’m always asking my husband if he’d want to up and move so that we could be a part of your ministry on a daily basis.
    So thank you… thank you, thank you, thank you… for allowing God to use your gifts to teach with such gentleness and humility.

  • David

    Interesting you posted this just the day before this article came from NPR:'m still trying to process what this means to an evangelical such as myself who is seeking ways to constructively dialogue with the GLBT community – and particularly my friends who are part of and/or support it. Would love to have your thoughts, maybe in a follow-up blog or something?

  • Andrew Marin

    Thanks for the comments – I'm going to inject my thoughts to them one-by-one:Mrs T: Changing people's hearts is indeed the key to ending the culture war. My posture however is that changing people's hearts does not align itself with fighting as the means to convincing someone else of whatever you believe. There is a humbled, inverted heirarchy way that Jesus modeled, in which I also try to model through my work day by day. We do have a long way to go as this movement is only just starting; but let that never be the reason we feel it's too daunting to actually complete!Scot: read your blog post on the passage in James. Wow. It always amazes me when there is biblical background to things that I feel so strongly in my heart. Everyone please go to: <a href="… />Brad: Time perspective is one of the most hindering issues within evangelicalism today! We tend to rightfully (in our own Christian mind) have certain check-points that tangibly show "discipleship progress". Though, I feel these progress check-points are the main factions that tear straight Christian folks apart from the GLBT community, because that is what they are already expecting of us. And when we continue in expected means of what constitutes progress, it is easily giving the GLBT community the justification to say, "see, I knew it…so why should I continue in this relationship?". The biggest compliment I have ever gotten from a GLBT person is, "You are not like every other Christian I've ever met." This doesn't mean I have to theologically believe differently, it just means I live it out in a different way.Oh – just got a phone call, have to go….I'll post my other responses when I'm done.:)

  • Kansas Bob

    I love what you said about bridge building. Interesting that I added a culture war post to my blog yesterday using an email message I got from a right wing warrior.

  • Margot

    Wonderful insight. Thank you.


    Andy:are you going to keep interjecting your thoughts one by one?… cause your phone call interrupted you before you got to mine 😉 I've been anxiously awaiting…

  • Andrew Marin

    Here is the continuation to my last comment (sorry for the delay):

    1. Thanks Jeff and Eron – as always, thank you for your encouragements. They really mean the world to me.

    2. JDESJARD: I cannot thank you enough for your point, sharing your life and honesty in this work. There are no excuses in anything you said. 1 Corinthians 8:9 says, “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak” and Romans 14:13 says, “Make up your mind to not put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.”

    Here are a few thoughts:

    In quoting 1 Cor 8:9, I am not calling you weak! But if you move forward in much of this non-traditional bridge building work, as you say, “this isn't really a great time to have the carpet pulled out from under me on everything I've believed about homosexuality and the Christian faith”, then by no means am I asking you to do something that ever might undermine the Lord’s work in your life! As you also mentioned, I, as a straight man, do have a freedom to do this work much, much easier than you do because of your experience differing from mine. I have to commend you greatly for such precise introspection on very honestly assessing where you’re at along your journey. The last thing that I would ever want to have happen is for people to just jump into any situation that might end up doing more harm than good—especially when the stakes are so high after so many years of working towards what the Lord has lead you to. My general rule of thumb is that this life is a full journey that we literally have until our last breath is taken (Think Big Picture Principle). So when you feel the Lord prompting you towards a more bridge building direction instead of a change direction, look at it in the span of a lifetime instead of a here and now. From your profile picture you look like a young dude, so think about how much time is left to make sure you’re: 1) hearing the Lord’s voice in His right time, 2) giving yourself realistic expectations about what bridge building looks like in your own context, not mine or any other person who has never had a same-sex attraction, and 3) the peace and freedom to understand that a bunch of very small, tiny steps at the end of a lifetime retrospectively add up to a big movement forward. I hope this helped some….look forward to hearing.

    3. six11 – a saying that I came up with is: “He was a Jewish carpenter and therefore I build bridges.” © So I hear ya brother!

    4. Di5 – I think reading the book will definitely help clarify a lot of stuff. The part where I think you might be getting confused in “bridge building” is that I’m not saying people cannot work towards a traditional interpretation of Scripture, because they can. My posture is that as straight Christians, we live out our responsibility to our GLBT friends, family, etc in a non-traditional fashion.

    5. Corrine – no, thank you so much for your heart and thoughts and love! I’m truly blessed that you decided to comment.

    6. David – I will read the link you put up there and post on my thoughts to it, and your questions. Keep on the lookout for it in the next few weeks. Thanks for brining it to my attention!

    7. Kansas Bob – Loved your post! If there is one thing that gets under my skin it’s fundamentalist conspiracy theories. I find that those type of polarizations are nothing more than an easy excuse to fight. It’s too easy to do what has always been done in those circles. Thanks for bringing it to light!

    8. Margot – thanks…and just so you know I voted for the cover that lost in your "pick a book cover for my book contest". 🙁

  • Di5

    Andrew, I think you read my reply all wrong. I did read all of your book with a highlighter, will likely read it over again, and would like to have one of my pastor's read it too. As for the pictures, I got my answer on the last page of the book.

  • Anonymous

    There is a sad irony in the cuture warriors persective. By having so many issues he'll fight for (gays, flags, school prayer, marrige, Islam, etc. ad nauseous nauseum) he multiplies millstones and submbling blocks to people on the other sides' openness to the gospel. Christians are not called to change culture by external pressure. Salt & Light is what we cease to be when we're angry and fighting. People don't see Jesus in us. "the anger of man worketh not….etc."