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Love Is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community [Kindle Edition]

Andrew Marin , Brian McLaren
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)

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Book Description

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.

Editorial Reviews


"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)

"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 (


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

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
79 of 84 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love Is An Orientation - Andrew Marin November 13, 2009
It's become one of the main issues of our time. It's a spiritual question, a relational question, and, in past decades, a highly politicized one. You'll find extremely strong opinions on both sides, and these polarized opinions can lead to confrontation, heated argument, broken relationships, even violence.

The issue: homosexuality.

The complexity of the issue is sometimes hidden beneath the same old rhetoric from both sides. One side tends to boil it down to a simple injunction to stop, often in very insensitive ways. The other side, defensive and angry, has its own tendencies to resort to inflammatory language and hate of its own. How can a bridge be built between these two communities?

Enter Andrew Marin and his book, Love is an Orientation.

Let me be clear about something up front. As a conservative (both theologically and politically), bible-believing Christian, I found a decent amount in this book that I disagreed with. I even found myself answering some of Marin's statements out loud. For the most part, however, I found myself challenged to take on a quality that the Christian community claims to value: empathy.

That's really the strength of this book. You might not agree with all that Marin says (I certainly didn't), but his ability to put you in the shoes of members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered (GLBT) community is powerful. This is a quality missing from much of the discussion Christians have regarding the issue of homosexuality. It's easy to look at the passages in the bible that condemn homosexuality and think things are clear-cut; don't do it. The issue isn't really that simple, however, for GLBT people who desire to walk with God, but struggle to reconcile their sexual desires with God's revelations in scripture.
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71 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gay Love April 24, 2009
In a world that increasingly welcomes and accepts those of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transsexual (GLBT) orientation, Christians must open their eyes and ears to what GLBT people are saying about God, the Scriptures, the church, and human sexuality. This is especially true if we want to minister among them.

Furthermore, the GLBT issue is increasingly being brought up on television and in politics. Numerous states are passing laws legalizing same-sex marriage. Therefore, it is vitally important for Christians to know how to respond to these situations, not only in truth, but also in love.

Andrew Marin is one Christian who is pioneering the way.

In his book, Andrew Marin provides an excellent overview of the absolute necessity for Christians to build bridges to those people who are in the GLBT community. As Christ took the initiative and came to us, we must take the initiative in building bridges of hope and love to others.

Thankfully, Andrew Marin is not writing theoretically, but from yeas of experience from living among the GLBT community as the "gayest straight person in the world."

The book provides excellent insights and guidelines for working alongside and developing relationships with people in the GLBT community. For example, Andrew advises the four of the most important things Christians can do are (1) love, (2) listen, (3) don't judge, and (4) seek friendship and conversation. Also, he recommends we stop saying "Love the sinner; hate the sin" and referring to those in the GLBT community as "homosexuals." Both, he explains, are derogatory.

One helpful feature of the book is the answers to the five main questions that are on the minds of most Christians. The questions are:

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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful approach to a very divisive issue September 2, 2009
This book is a welcome contribution to the discussion about the rift between Jesus' conservative followers and the mainstream gay culture. I believe it will speak to people all across the spectrum. For instance, I am a Christian. I also happen to be gay. I also have chosen to be celibate. But my choice to do so doesn't mean I think that's the best way for all gay people. I grew up a conservative evangelical, and that's the world I know best and am most comfortable in. But I identify as gay, and I am post-belief that God's intent for me is to change my orientation. So where does someone like me go?

Believe it or not, the self-described "straight, white, Bible-banging, conservative evangelical" former homophobe Andrew Marin has a great deal to offer me. I first heard Andrew speak at the National Pastor's Convention in San Diego 2009. I can't tell you how excited and hopeful it made me to hear a voice from the conservative evangelical community advocating for a new approach from Christians toward LGBT people - he had me in tears that day.

I believe this, one of Andy's fundamental principles established in the book, rings very true: that if there is to be any change, mitigation, or lessening of the verbally (and sometimes physically) violent culture war between gay people and Christians, it is the Christian's responsibility and call to lay down our arms and take a new, humble approach to loving the gay community. Mainstream gay culture has no motivation to do so; Christians, however, have the greatest sort of motivation - the love Jesus has given us to share.

I don't care who you are or where on the spectrum you find yourself - if you care about this issue at all, Andy's story and message will benefit you.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A needed reconciliation...
Andrew Marin does an excellent job in writing to reconcile the conservative Christian Right with the GLBT community. Love and compassion supersede judgment and finger-pointing. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Donna W. Martin
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I have read other books on this subject matter that opened my eyes; this book opened my heart.
Published 1 month ago by Judi O Krauss
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful message
Beautiful message communicating in a sincere and gentle voice, tears streaming down my face as I read the book...It's almost like I'm talking to Jesus himself. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Tabitha
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly excellent book for those christians wanting to understand and...
A truly excellent book for those christians wanting to understand and converse with the LGBTQ community. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Annie Titus
1.0 out of 5 stars Pro-gay theology buried under layers of rhetoric.
Marin thinks the bible does not speak against homosexual unions. I had to read his chapter on "The Big 5" bible verses several times before it made any sense at all. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Just another opinion
5.0 out of 5 stars must read!
Incredible book! Thankful for Andrews faithfulness to Gods call to not only build bridges but to share the importance of that with others. Could not recommend this book more!
Published 3 months ago by Matt Ryba
4.0 out of 5 stars Rethink your criticisms.
Valuable realignment of Christian behavior.
Published 3 months ago by R. W. Buck Jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars This provides a great insight into the relationship between the church...
This provides a great insight into the relationship between the church and the Gay Community. It provides a lot of thought provoking topics to bring up. Great read!! Read more
Published 4 months ago by Zach
5.0 out of 5 stars we all are abomination - thank God for Jesus
excellent - treating each other as God loves us - if you are a Bible thumper you will be challenge on homosexuality and being a Christian; Christian is one who seeks to serve... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Claude
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read from the conservative evangelical perspective...
An excellent read from the conservative evangelical perspective. The author comments penetrtingly into how too often conservatives fail to offer a place for the GLBT community to... Read more
Published 6 months ago by D. Mourn
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More About the Author

Andrew Marin is President and Founder of The Marin Foundation ( He is author of the award winning book Love Is an Orientation (2009), its interactive DVD curriculum (2011), and the ebook Our Last Option: How a New Approach to Civility can Save the Public Square (2013). He blogs at, is a regular contributor to a variety of media outlets, and frequently lectures at universities around the world. Since 2010 Andrew has been asked by the United Nations to advise their various agencies on issues of bridging opposing worldviews, civic engagement, and theological aspects of reconciliation. For twelve years he lived in the LGBT Boystown neighborhood of Chicago, and is currently based St. Andrews, Scotland, where he is teaching and researching at the University of St. Andrews earning his PhD in Constructive Theology and Ethics. Andrew's research centers on the theology and praxis of social reconciliation between victims and their perpetrators. Andrew is married to Brenda, and you can find him elsewhere on Facebook (AndrewMarin01), Twitter (@Andrew_Marin), and Instagram (@andrewmarin1).


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The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics

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