REVIEW: LOVE IS AN ORIENTATION
"It is the Holy Spirit's job to convict, God's job to judge, and my job to love." That statement by Billy Graham, in reference to his willingness to dine with Bill Clinton during the days of his sex scandal, set the stage pretty well for the "Love Is An Orientation" program. It's a 6-lesson discussion/small-group series designed to provoke some serious discussion and reflection around what's often a touchy subject, and the crux of the program is that it is our job to love others first and foremost.
Andrew Marin draws inspiration for the lessons from his personal story, which includes several close friends coming out as gay, and his living in the Boys Town area of Chicago, a well-known gay community. In the midst of his personal narrative, he presents a thoughtful mixture of history and context, which gives real meat to the stories and questions presented in the material.
Marin asserts that the Church has given a theological framework about what to think, feel, and believe about homosexuality, but that it hasn't provided a very good framework for follow-up and follow-through after the fact. "I have a belief system," he says, "...now what am I supposed to do with it?" And so this program deals with establishing that framework, starting in the first lesson with our willingness to listen to and understand people we probably have no idea how to relate to.
There’s definitely the potential to wholly love or wholly hate this material, but most people don’t live in extremes, and so most people will find value in exploring the often sensitive topic of reaching out to the gay community. There are 6 personal stories of gay people and their experiences growing up, along with thoughtful discussion around those testimonies. The stories are real, the scripture is real, and the situations are real. If you're looking for challenging, relevant small group material, look no further.