What Andrew Marin Can Do

The 700 Club just aired a story on Andrew Marin, the 29-year-old evangelical Christian who lives in Boystown in Chicago and builds bridges between the GLBT community and the evangelical Christian community. They interviewed me for the piece, and I thought they did a nice job presenting Marin and his heart for the GLBT community, as well as his desire to challenge how the church has responded to the GLBT community.

As I write this from a Starbucks on Erie in downtown Chicago, I’ve just finished two days of consultation with Marin, J. Michael Bailey of Northwestern University, and Elisabeth Suarez, a colleague of mine from Regent. Marin is analyzing data from his large study (1700+ participants) of religious acculturation in the GLBT community. He is looking at the experiences of GLBT persons in terms of their acculturation in the GLBT community and in religious communities, among other questions.

The consultation itself was a good experience. I hadn’t met Michael Bailey previously, although I’ve read many of his articles, including the widely read twin studies form the 1990s, and his book, The Man Who Would Be Queen. He is currently doing some interesting work on differences in sexual arousal (measured by brain imaging) by sexual orientation. As interesting as discussions in any one of those areas would have been, the purpose of the consultation was to really help Marin look at his data in a way that would help him answer the questions he had about the participants in his study, and that was a common goal we could all work toward.

I suppose what the 700 Club story and the consultation have in common is that both reflect well on Andrew Marin’s ability to bring together a diverse group of people who share a common goal or interest. I’d like to see more of that happen in professional circles in particular – and I think collaboration helps guard against biases and blind spots that are inevitable in research and related projects.

Stories of Integration

When I came home from vacation I had a nice surprise awaiting me. My friend and colleague at Regent, Glen Moriarty, has just had his new edited book come out, and there it was on my front stoop. The book is titled Integrating Faith and Psychology: Twelve Psychologists Tell Their Stories.

Gary Collins provides the forward, and Glen has brought together an interesting group of Christian psychologists, including Al Dueck, Mark McMinn, Rebecca Propst, Siang-Yang Tan, and Ev Worthington. (Glen also asked me to contribute a chapter, so I wrote about “Practicing Convicted Civility” as my theme.) Some really well known folks are here – people you might expect in this kind of book – as well as others who are really worth getting to know.

Each chapter includes the following components: development (or background psychological and spiritual events from the person’s life), mentoring (the impact of key relationships), struggles (the personal and professional challenges that have shaped them), spiritual disciplines (both impactful experiences and daily disciplines/behaviors), therapy (more of a sharing of insights from providing therapy), and a letter (each section closes with a letter to future students in training).

Glen’s done a nice job of organizing and editing the book into a warm and accessible account of the personal and professional aspects of what it has meant to be a Christian in the field of psychology. I think the reader is in for a unique journey, and I hope the reader will begin to reflect on his or her own integration journey.