Love Is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community, By Andrew Marin

Love Is an Orientation

Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community

by Andrew Marin
Foreword by Brian McLaren

Love Is an Orientation
  • Length: 205 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: March 25, 2009
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 3626
  • ISBN: 9780830836260

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Outreach Magazine Resource of the Year Award winner

Golden Canon Leadership Book Award winner

Relevant Magazine: Top 20 Best Overall Books winner

Englewood Review of Books: Top 20 Best Overall Books winner

Christian Manifesto 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.

"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."

David Roberts, editor of Ex-Gay Watch

"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."

Shane Claiborne, author, activist, recovering sinner,

"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."

Scot McKnight, Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies, North Park University

"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."

Mark Oestreicher, president, Youth Specialties

"Andrew Marin speaks with a loving, clear voice about an issue that is dividing families, churches and our nation."

Michelle Strombeck, Moody Broadcasting Network

"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."

Brian McLaren, author, speaker and activist (

"This book could be used in a study group of folk concerned to reach out more effectively to family and friends who acknowledge homosexual attractions. It is a challenge to our thinking and attitudes. It is a portrait of courage that few of us can emulate."

Rodney Stent, The Lamplighter

"Marin's call to 'be bold' is surprising, refreshing and life-giving."

Craig Detweiler, Outreach, March/April 2010

"It is a particularly helpful resource for those who want to build bridges with GLB persons in their circle of friends and acquaintances."

Mark A. Yarhouse, Religious Studies Review, March 2010

"A simple and clear perspective of how authentic Christian love can help build bridges with an often abused or ignored portion of American culture."

Adam Griffin, YouthWorker Journal, July/August 2009

"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."

Wendy Gritter, New Direction Ministries, July 2009

"Bravely, Andrew Marin is telling the story of his own new approach to Christian ministry with gay and lesbian neighbors. Bravely, IVP is publishing this book. Today, we're applauding the prophetic courage of both Marin and IVP."

Read the Spirit (, June 3, 2009

"In his book Love Is an Orientation, Andrew Marin takes us along with him on his immersion into the gay neighborhood 'Boystown' in Chicago. Examining the current reality of the relationship (or lack thereof) between the Christian community and the GLBT community, Marin seeks to build bridges between the two camps. Marin teaches from his experiences in the gay community in a way that is both thought-provoking and entertaining. If you're looking for helpful insight into the lives of gay men and women, along [with] practical tools to authentically reflect the love of Christ to those you encounter (even in church--surprise!) this is a great place to start. Be warned: this book will challenge your thinking and force yourself to question how you view people. Do you really love people as God does them? Remember God made them."

A Non-Quotidian Existence (, June 11, 2009

"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."

The Café in the Woods (, July 12, 2009

"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."

Karrie H., Book Bargains and Previews (, July 2009

"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."

Young Anabaptist Radicals (, May 17, 2009

"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."

Imago Andei (, April 21, 2009

"I highly recommend this book as a must read for every Christian."

Armybarmy REMIX (, April 24, 2009

"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."

Pursue God (, April 30, 2009

"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."

The Internet Monk (, May 3, 2009

"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."

Cynthia Bezek, Discipleship Journal, May/June 2009

"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."

Brandon O'Brien, Off the Agenda (, March 27, 2009


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
Appendix: Testamonies from the Gay Community


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Andrew Marin

Andrew Marin is the president and founder of The Marin Foundation, an organization that systemically builds bridges between the broader lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ), and conservative Christian communities through scientific research and biblical and social education. He is the author of Love Is an Orientation and the ebook Our Last Option: How a New Approach to Civility Can Save the Public Square. A self-described homophobic, straight, Bible-believing, conservative Christian, alpha-male, Marin's life changed radically in 2000 when, during three consecutive months, his three best friends all came out to him. Determined to find some answers to his crisis, he became what he calls "the gayest straight dude in America," and followed God's call to move to the LGBTQ Boystown neighborhood of Chicago to immerse himself in the gay and lesbian community. While living there for twelve years with his family, he began The Marin Foundation, focused on training and teaching churches around the country how to build bridges with their local gay and lesbian community in order to make a significant impact for the kingdom. He also oversees the foundation's national research study, which is the largest study of its kind ever done in the LGBTQ community regarding spirituality and religion. Marin has a BA in Applied Psychology from the University of Illinois-Chicago, an MA in Urban Studies and Social Change from Eastern University and is currently earning his PhD from St. Mary’s College at the University of St. Andrews in Constructive Theology and Ethics. He regularly lectures and facilitates trainings around the world and his speech Homophobia and Bridging from within the Evangelical Church, given on Capitol Hill the night before the inauguration of President Barack Obama, is archived in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC. Since 2010, he has been asked by the United Nations to advise their various agencies on bridging opposing worldviews, civic engagement, and theological aspects of reconciliation.