I finished working my way through all six sessions of Andrew Marin’s new DVD study resource based on his book, ‘Love is an Orientation.’ The short review? It’s a must buy. Well put together, thought provoking, amazing DVD that lives up to the book it is based on and the topic of elevating the conversation with the LGBT community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender)
It’s actually three resources in one, which I don’t think I totally realized until I finished watching the whole thing. The first four sessions are a great exploration of what it means to make love the priority, how to build bridges – and why it’s so Christlike to build bridges. And finally, in the fourth session after laying the critical foundation of love and priorities, Marin gets into the tough questions. He does it eloquently, with passion, and in a way that is both provoking and challenging – especially to those who have grown up in churches that have not been loving to the LGBT community.
The fifth and sixth sessions are not ones we’ll use with our small groups – not because there is anything wrong with them, but because they are the second and third resources I was referring to above. Session five is an amazing training session for youth workers and parents on how to respond to adolescents who are coming out, or are questioning their sexuality. I loved that he brought in a couple other experts to weigh in and help give some guidance in an area that is become an increasingly real scenario for many families and churches. And session six is a guide to creating your own ‘Living in the tension’ group like what the Marin Foundation does in Chicago.
I think one of the significant things Marin has done in this resource is include the stories of six individuals representing different places in the LGBT community. I think it’s important because for many conservative and/or legalistic church goers watching this series, it humanizes the conversation. It’s a lot easier to resort to hate and angry rhetoric when you don’t know the other person’s story or heart.
Maybe this is the best way I can recommend this resource: literally within moments of finishing session six, I got online and ordered several more copies of the DVD and study guides. This is the one topic that more of our high school small groups are asking to work through, but my leaders don’t feel like they have the resources to tackle it well – now they will. While it’s targeted at an adult audience (hence Zondervan publishing it instead of a youth ministry company), it will certainly work in a student ministry environment.