"Love is an Orientation" could have been written by many of us. My last 18 years as out gay man, being involved in of the many diversities of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community and 22 years living totally within a Christian context certainly have given me the insights to pen this work. What makes this book so remarkable is that it is written by a straight, evangelical young man.
Author Andrew Marin's begins his journey when three of his close Christian friends secretly confide in him that they are gay. He realises his only knowledge of homosexuality is based on what others have said; believing that it was a choice and his friends just needed to pray the gay away.
Surprisingly, Andrew feels a call of Gods Spirit to 'immerse' himself into the LGBT community. And here is the key. For over 12 months Andrew lives and socialises in Boystown (LGBT neighbourhood of Chicago) and goes to gay bars, cafes, venues, support groups, political events and social clubs. And so begins his education through real life relationships and God’s Spirit challenging him to face his own prejudices.
Within the LGBT community Andrew is an enigma. A straight Christian who doesn't preach but listens; often to heart wrenching stories of rejection and pain. experienced by LGBT people within and outside the church. His heart is touched for ever as he falls in love with the people his previously preconceived concepts would have judged and condemned.
There are valuable lessons and insights in these pages for straight Christians who are sick of the debates and embarrassed by the condemning, insensitive comments of church leaders and right wing extreme groups. There is a growing number of Christian people who believe there is a more Christ-like way to engage and be like the Jesus we read about in the Gospels.; a man who shunned religious exclusivity and reached out to real human beings no matter what their background. Andrew shows them the way.
Andrew's book is both refreshing and touching. I was moved to tears several times as a gay man who spent many years struggling to resolve the perceived conflict between his faith and sexuality. For the LGBT reader, let me reassure you that Andrew gets us and shows there is not only a better way, it's a new day.
© Anthony Venn-Brown
Anthony Venn-Brown is the co-founder and former leader of Freedom 2 b[e], Australia’s largest network of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people from Christian backgrounds. He is also an educator and consultant on LGBT/faith issues and leader in deconstructing the ‘ex-gay’ myth. Anthony’s autobiography 'A Life of Unlearning', details his journey from married, high profile preacher in Australia’s mega-churches to living as an openly gay man. Anthony has been twice voted ‘One of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians’ (2007 & 2009) and this year was one of four finalists for the ACON Community Hero Award. He is also the founder and director of Ambassadors & Bridge Builders International ( www.gayambassador.com )