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.