Andrew Marin, president and founder of The Marin Foundation, spoke on Belmont’s campus this week as part of the university’s annual “Sex & the Soul” week. The Marin Foundation works to educate, equip and provide both the religious and LGBT communities with tangible experiences and relevant teaching that brings each group to have a better and more clearly defined understanding of the other. Marin is the author of the award-winning book, Love is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community.
Marin, who created his foundation after his three best friends came out to him over the course of three months, works to build bridges between the religious and GLBT communities through scientific research and Biblical and social education. His first talk Monday morning focused on the intersections in culture between God, sex and an individual’s perception of the “ideal life” and how each informs the others.
“The Bible doesn’t say that the greatest gift we can give to someone we love is sex,” he noted. “Rather, the greatest gift is to encourage them as they conform to the image of Christ.”
Marin also spoke extensively on the topics in his book, Love Is an Orientation, which fellow author and frequent Belmont speaker Shane Claiborne endorsed, noting that the book is about “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.”
Belmont University’s “Sex & the Soul Week” began in 2009 when Donna Freitas, author of the book Sex & the Soul, spoke at Belmont and inspired an annual event of the same name. Other speakers for the week were professors and authors David McCarthy (who spoke on the topic “Sex and Love in the Home”) and Dr. Christine Colon (who addressed “Sexual Freedom: A Christian Feminist Perspective”).