LeadingSmart

Practical Stuff for Church Leaders

Love is an Orientation

Book-CoverLast week I finished a fabulous book by Andrew Marin called Love is an Orientation. In summary, Andrew is a straight white guy who works with the GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual) community in Chicago. He is working hard to build a bridge to this community, and help them experience the love of Jesus Christ rather than the condemnation of evangelicals. The point of the book is not to tell people what he thinks the answer is--but rather to help the church become more loving to these modern day lepers. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

  • "In a traditional interpretation of Scripture, gay sexual behavior is defined as sin, and because of that many Christians have taken that sin and, in their mind, rightfully ostracized an entire group of people. Think about what that means to a gay or lesbian person who is trying to discover, or rediscover, church."
  • "The Christian community has only ever known one way to handle same-sex behavior: take a stand and keep a distance."
  • "Research suggests that on average only 7 to 15 percent of the GLBT community was sexually abused in their youth."
  • "Christians have given the gay community the impression that only their sexual behavior is worth discussing, labeling GLBT people as nothing more than a dysfunctional set of sexual attractions and behaviors rather than whole persons with unique stories to tell."
  • "Among gays and lesbians, 'love the sinner, hate the sin' is the most disdained phrase in the Christian vocabulary."
  • "Christians look at a gay or lesbian person and see a potential behavioral change instead of a person longing to know the same Christ we seek. If we could only release control of what might happen down the road in a GLBT person's life when Jesus enters, I promise that God loves his children enough to always tell each of them what he feels is best for their life."
  • "A reporter asked Billy Graham, 'Why are you here supporting (Bill Clinton) after everything he has done to this country?' Reverend Graham's answer was succinct, powerful and true. 'It is the Holy Spirit's job to convict, God's job to judge and my job to love.'"
  • "David committed a behavioral sin, and suffered consequences for it. But Jeroboam committed a spiritual sin, turning his heart away from the Lord by making himself gods and idols of metal. David is remembered as the one who did what was right in God's eyes, and Jeroboam is remembered as the one who did more evil than any who lived before him."
  • "Throughout the entirety of Scripture the Father is calling his sheep to realize this radical way of life. But still few are able to find it--to leave the judging to God, to leave the convicting to the Holy Spirit and to embrace the orientation of love."

I purposed to read the book with an open mind, and learned a great deal. Read it and see what you think.