Friday, May 08, 2009

I Am Not Alone

Some time ago, my roommate pointed me to a blog that I've read faithfully ever since. Andrew Marin is a self-described "white, straight, conservative evangelical" who lives with his wife in the middle of Boystown, a predominately (that's an understatement) gay part of Chicago. It's simple, really - he's taken incarnational ministry to the gay community. The type of "move-into-the-neighborhood" approach that is so popular right now among Jesus-following urban dwellers, inner-city ministers, and even those in international, third world work is Andy's approach to bridging the rift, gap, divide between the mainstream church and mainstream gay culture.

I can't tell you how excited and moved I was to learn of a guy on the conservative & straight side of things who had made it his life's mission to eradicate ignorance in both the church and the gay community about the "other side," and is so humble, open, and willing to go where the road leads him. When I had the chance to hear him speak at the National Pastor's Convention here in San Diego a couple months ago, I was in tears by the end of his presentation. I'm convinced he's the real deal - love is his priority, and he sees people before he sees an issue or agenda. Which is why I'm REALLY excited that he is coming back to San Diego next week, and I"m going to have the opportunity to take some friends from Citywalk, my church, to meet with him personally and get deeper into the dialogue about what needs to change in the church for reconciliation to happen in a big way in this area.

It's one thing for me to be committed to the idea that gay people would one day be a vital and integral part of the American church. It's another thing entirely for a well-respected, conservative, straight dude to write a book about it, build a foundation around it, travel the country and speak the truth about it. It's given me a lot of hope for my own future, and one more reason to keep working for and believing in the possibility of peace in the current culture war.

I'll have a lot more to say about Andy & The Marin Foundation in coming weeks, I'm sure. First, I'm gonna finish reading the book and enjoy the time I get to spend with him next week!