Love Is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community

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Overview

2010 Outreach Magazine Resource of the Year Award winner: culture category

2010 Golden Canon Leadership Book Award winner

Relevant Magazine: Top 20 Best Overall Books of 2009 winner

Englewood Review of Books: Top 20 Best Overall Books of 2009 winner

Christian Manifesto 2009 Lime Award winner

Andrew Marin's life changed forever when his three...

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Love Is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community

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Overview

2010 Outreach Magazine Resource of the Year Award winner: culture category

2010 Golden Canon Leadership Book Award winner

Relevant Magazine: Top 20 Best Overall Books of 2009 winner

Englewood Review of Books: Top 20 Best Overall Books of 2009 winner

Christian Manifesto 2009 Lime Award winner

Andrew Marin's life changed forever when his three best friends came out to him in three consecutive months. Suddenly he was confronted with the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community (GLBT) firsthand. And he was compelled to understand how he could reconcile his friends to his faith.

In an attempt to answer that question, he and his wife relocated to Boystown, a predominantly GLBT community in Chicago. And from his experience and wrestling has come his book, Love Is an Orientation, a work which elevates the conversation between Christianity and the GLBT community, moving the focus from genetics to gospel, where it really belongs.

Why are so many people who are gay wary of people who are Christians? Do GLBT people need to change who they are? Do Christians need to change what they believe? Love Is an Orientation is changing the conversation about sexuality and spirituality, and building bridges from the GLBT community to the Christian community and, more importantly, to the good news of Jesus Christ.

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Editorial Reviews

(andrewmeans.typepad.com) - Imago Andei
"I have to say I totally recommend this book. The church has not loved the GLBT community well and Andrew is helping to change that. Love Is an Orientation is a great book to read if you're interested in how bridges can be built between these two communities. It's well written and a pretty quick read. It is very informational and applicable but also stretching."
Brandon O'Brien
"In summary, this ultra-conservative, self-proclaimed 'homophobe' felt God draw him into conversation and ministry with Chicago's gay and lesbian community. He's been at it for about six years now, and with great success. His book is a guide for those of us who want to learn from his experience how best to engage the gay community."
Cynthia Bezek
"Marin forced me to think outside my usual categories in ways that made me uncomfortable at times. But his bottom line offers a whole lot more hope than anything else on the subject I've read recently."
(internetmonk.com) - The Internet Monk
"I'm hoping to write a book in the next few months. I have something I want to say and I think it's important. But I want you to hear what I am about to say: If you had two books to choose from, whatever I will write and what Andrew Marin has written in Love Is an Orientation, I would want you to buy Andrew's book. What Andrew Marin has written in this book isn't just interesting. It is absolutely vital that evangelicals hear what Marin is saying about the state of things between Gays and Evangelicals. Love Is an Orientation is a must buy. In fact, buy two or three. Don't just read it; get someone else to read it. Marin's book isn't about exercising an agenda. It's a book that grows out of the Gospel, out of the incarnate God's love for all persons, out of refusal to be torn apart on the usual talking points and out of ministry to people who need Christ. Unhesitatingly recommended in the highest possible terms."
(armybarmyremix.blogspot.com) - Armybarmy REMIX
"I highly recommend this book as a must read for every Christian."
(young.anabaptistradicals.org) - Young Anabaptist Radicals
"I believe Marin is doing something truly extraordinary in his work and in this book. I think it's going to be very important in Evangelical and conservative-ish Christian circles. If you are someone who cares about the church and also longs for any sort of progress in a positive direction on the church's obsession with the gays (or—maybe I should say—overwhelming amount of energy focused on the issue) I would put this book at #1 on your priority of books to read."
(tbonecafe.wordpress.com) - The Cafe in the Woods
"I've been searching for a good Christian book that deals with the topic of gays and lesbians, and I believe this one is it. What I liked most about this book was that he brings back the word 'love' to the foreground. Marin emphasizes having true relationships with the GLBT community, not just lip service. He strongly encourages Christians to look past sexual orientation and focus on real friendships. And he reminds the church: it is not up to us to 'fix' gays, or even to make them Christian. All God requires of us is to love them. Can we trust Him to do the rest? This is a book that needs to be read by all Christians, I think, both gay and straight."
Wendy Gritter
"A courageous step forward in elevating the conversation on gay issues. It sings with a deep love for Christ, for gay people and for the Church. It is not a book that can be read with passive indifference. It offers tangible hope and practical steps forward for those who hear Christ's call to build a bridge toward their gay neighbors."
Adam Griffin
"A simple and clear perspective of how authentic Christian love can help build bridges with an often abused or ignored portion of American culture."
Craig Detweiler
"Marin's call to 'be bold' is surprising, refreshing and life-giving."
(pursuegod.wordpress.com) - Pursue God
"Clear off all the other books on homosexuality and Christianity and make room for Love Is an Orientation. This is by far the best book I have read on the Christian response to the gay and lesbian community. Who knew it would take a straight, evangelical, white male and former homophobe to write it? Love Is an Orientation takes the conversation to an entirely different level. It is startlingly fresh. Marin's insights come from having done what few other Christians have done—complete immersion in the GLBT community. He is as incarnational in representing Jesus to this population as one can possibly get."
Brian McLaren
"One of my mentors once told me, 'The hard thing about being a bridge is that you get walked on from both ends.' Thank God for those big-hearted people willing to be bridges . . . willing to suffer a lot of abuse and misunderstanding in trying to bring others together. Andrew Marin is one of those bridge-people, and he has laid himself across a huge gap to bring together people who need each other."
David Roberts
"This is a book unlike any other on the debate about homosexuality in the church. Andrew establishes a new starting place for us all--a definite must-read."
Shane Claiborne
"One of the most important conversations happening in the church. And one of the most divisive. Andrew Marin is a fresh, gracious, innovative voice in the dialogue. For Marin, this is not about a hot-button 'issue'--it is about a face, a friend, a child of God. It is about Jesus, whose love many find hard to grasp because of what they have felt from his followers. Andrew reminds us that, whether conservative or liberal, we can have great ideas and still be mean and self-righteous. And ultimately they will know we are Christians, not by our proof-texting, but by our love."
Scot McKnight
"Homosexuality is more than a biblical debate about who's right and who's wrong. Everything converges in the pastoral and the personal context, and Andrew Marin--unlike any writer I've seen--deals with real humans in real human contexts. We desperately need this book; it has the potential to shift the evangelical movement in a more compassionate direction."
Mark Oestreicher
"The evangelical church, with a few exceptions, has been stuck with three options when it comes to our thinking and action concerning the gay community. Some remain silent because they're fearful and aren't sure what they believe. Others engage in loud and acerbic speech-making, convinced that they must first address 'conclusive' biblical truth on this special sin before any possible conversation could even begin. Still others attempt to adopt a 'love the sinner but hate the sin' perspective that sounds good on paper but seems to play out in reality as distancing from those perceived sinners. Andrew Marin, thankfully, breaks through these three options with the 'Why haven't we been doing this all along?' approach of love and dialogue. Reading this book feels like Marin just called a time-out, and asked us all to sit in a circle and talk turkey."
Michelle Strombeck
"Andrew Marin speaks with a loving, clear voice about an issue that is dividing families, churches and our nation."
Karrie H.
"I read this book in 24 hours. I could not put it down and have been recommending it to others ever since. Why? Simply because Andrew's life and ministry is a testimony of what love, God's unconditional love, looks like and should look like in His Church. This kind of love is about freedom: the freedom to love others without worrying about the outcome."
Imago Andei (andrewmeans.typepad.com)
"I have to say I totally recommend this book. The church has not loved the GLBT community well and Andrew is helping to change that. Love Is an Orientation is a great book to read if you're interested in how bridges can be built between these two communities. It's well written and a pretty quick read. It is very informational and applicable but also stretching."
The Internet Monk (internetmonk.com)
"I'm hoping to write a book in the next few months. I have something I want to say and I think it's important. But I want you to hear what I am about to say: If you had two books to choose from, whatever I will write and what Andrew Marin has written in Love Is an Orientation, I would want you to buy Andrew's book. What Andrew Marin has written in this book isn't just interesting. It is absolutely vital that evangelicals hear what Marin is saying about the state of things between Gays and Evangelicals. Love Is an Orientation is a must buy. In fact, buy two or three. Don't just read it; get someone else to read it. Marin's book isn't about exercising an agenda. It's a book that grows out of the Gospel, out of the incarnate God's love for all persons, out of refusal to be torn apart on the usual talking points and out of ministry to people who need Christ. Unhesitatingly recommended in the highest possible terms."
Armybarmy REMIX (armybarmyremix.blogspot.com)
"I highly recommend this book as a must read for every Christian."
Young Anabaptist Radicals (young.anabaptistradicals.org)
"I believe Marin is doing something truly extraordinary in his work and in this book. I think it's going to be very important in Evangelical and conservative-ish Christian circles. If you are someone who cares about the church and also longs for any sort of progress in a positive direction on the church's obsession with the gays (or--maybe I should say--overwhelming amount of energy focused on the issue) I would put this book at #1 on your priority of books to read."
The Café in the Woods (tbonecafe.wordpress.com)
"I've been searching for a good Christian book that deals with the topic of gays and lesbians, and I believe this one is it. What I liked most about this book was that he brings back the word 'love' to the foreground. Marin emphasizes having true relationships with the GLBT community, not just lip service. He strongly encourages Christians to look past sexual orientation and focus on real friendships. And he reminds the church: it is not up to us to 'fix' gays, or even to make them Christian. All God requires of us is to love them. Can we trust Him to do the rest? This is a book that needs to be read by all Christians, I think, both gay and straight."
Pursue God (pursuegod.wordpress.com)
"Clear off all the other books on homosexuality and Christianity and make room for Love Is an Orientation. This is by far the best book I have read on the Christian response to the gay and lesbian community. Who knew it would take a straight, evangelical, white male and former homophobe to write it? Love Is an Orientation takes the conversation to an entirely different level. It is startlingly fresh. Marin's insights come from having done what few other Christians have done--complete immersion in the GLBT community. He is as incarnational in representing Jesus to this population as one can possibly get."
Library Journal

Marin's book is a reflection of the work of his Marin Foundation, which seeks to build a bridge between the GLBT community and communities of faith. Himself heterosexual, Marin urges these communities to approach each other without an insistence that either "side" yield up cherished beliefs-for him, the distinctive mark of the Christian is love, not judgment. Many readers will find his simple insights transformative.

Sweeney (assoc. publisher, Paraclete; Light in the Dark Ages: The Friendhip of Francis and Clare of Assisi) has written what is far from the first and will be far from the last work in a popular subgenre in contemporary spiritual writing: the touristic glimpse into cloister life. Here he details talks with Cistercian and Benedictine monks at monasteries nationwide. Slight but charming, his contribution should find readers among those who enjoy Thomas Merton's writings or Philip GrA¶ning's documentary film Into Great Silence.


—Graham Christian
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830836260
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 3/25/2009
  • Pages: 205
  • Sales rank: 157,158
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew Marin's life changed radically in 2000 when, during three consecutive months, his three best friends all came out to him. A self-described homophobic, straight, Bible-believing, conservative Christian alpha-male, Marin's world was rocked by the revelations of his friends. Determined to find some answers to his crisis, he made the dramatic choice to become what he calls "the gayest straight dude in America," and followed God's call to move to a predominantly gay neighborhood in Chicago and immerse himself in the gay and lesbian community. His book, Love Is an Orientation, shares the lessons learned, experiences had and lives touched in the eight years since.

Marin is the president of The Marin Foundation, an organization he founded for the purpose of systemically building a bridge between the broader gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (GLBT) and conservative Christian communities through scientific research and biblical and social education. He's served as the secretary, office manager, janitor, organizational director, accountant, research coordinator, human resources manager and head volunteer of the growing organization, and continues to run all twenty-six different classes and programs offered. He also oversees the foundation's national research study, which is the largest study of its kind ever done in the GLBT community regarding spirituality and religion.

The Marin Foundation is quickly becoming a leading national organization in the Christian and mainstream cultures regarding religion and homosexuality. Specific to gays and lesbians, The Marin Foundation is focused on training and teaching churches around the country how to systemically build bridges with their local gay and lesbian community in order to make a significant impact for the kingdom. To find out more, visit Marin's blog.

Brian McLaren is founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church in the Baltimore-Washington region. He is the author of numerous books including A New Kind of Christian, A Generous Orthodoxy and Finding Our Way Again.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Brian McClaren
Introduction: When My Friends Came Out
1. We Don't Need Your God!
2. We Are Not Your Project: Sexual Behavior Is Gay Identity
3. Stigma, Shame and Politics: The GLBT Experience in the Broader Culture
4. Gays Versus Christians and Gay Christians
5. Who Are We Looking to for Validation?: The GLBT Quest for Good News from God
6. Reclaiming the Word "Love": Measurable Unconditional Behaviors
7. The Big 5: Principles for a More Constructive Conversation
8. Laying the Foundation: Commitment, Boldness and the Big 5
9. Building a Bridge: Asking the Right Questions
10. Crossing a Bridge: The World Reads Christians, Not the Bible
Conclusion
Appendix: Testamonies from the Gay Community
Acknowledgments
Notes
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Something to take into serious consideration.

    Many people often wonder why the homosexual community and Christians just can't get along. Well, Andrew Marin provides a deep insight from his own experiences both as an avid homophobic Christian and immersing himself in the gay community.
    This man's done whatever he could to try and understand his three best friends who came out to him in three consecutive months. He visited gay bars, scared out of his mind and unsure of what they might do. He describes his growth in his faith in parallel with the friendliness offered to him by the gay community.
    Andrew Marin knows what he's talking about, and provides enough examples to show how the Lord works through him and reaches out to individuals who need Him the most. Andrew Marin shows that it's not what each side believes differently, but what each side believes in together: The love of God reaches out to all. Leave the judging to Him. It's our job to display an unconditional love.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2014

    Read this book

    You may disagree with parts of this book but you will be challenged to love. Isnt that how we are to be known?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    So glad I read this book.

    The pastor of my church mentioned that the elders were reading this title to better understand the gay community, and I immediately ordered a copy to see what they were up to. Wow! Andrew Marin is an inspiration -- an evangelical who really loves people, regardless of what they do with that love. He refuses to demand that they change, but leaves the results to God and is willing to wait as long as it takes to see the results. After reading his story, I couldn't help wanting to be more like him.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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