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The first day is full day ...
The first day is full day of business meetings and planning for the next academic year; the second day includes speakers (past speakers have included Justin Lee of the Gay Christian Network and Andrew Marin of the Marin Foundation); and the third day is a day for our students to bond.
Staff | The Marin Foundation
President and Founder
Andrew Marin |
Andrew Marin is the President and Founder of The Marin Foundation, which over the past dozen years has been widely credited with creating a new cultural category of building bridges between the LGBT community and social, theological, and political conservatives.
is the award winning author of Love Is an Orientation: Elevating the Conversation with the Gay Community (2009), its corresponding DVD curriculum (2011) and audio book (2014), the ebook Our Last Option: How a New Approach to Civility Can Save the Public Square (2013), and the forthcoming book, Us vs Us: The Untold Story of Religion & the LGBT Community, releasing June 2016.
also publishes his
academic research in theology and political journals.
regularly lectures at universities and facilitates trainings for community groups around the world.
Since 2010 Andrew
has been asked by the United Nations to advise their various agencies on bridging opposing worldviews, civic engagement, and Christian involvement in reconciliation.
bridge building work has been called a model of hope for the future by the BBC; described as blocking hate with love by CNN; was #1 on BuzzFeed's list of Restoring Faith in Humanity; and along with Pope Francis among others, was recently named by FAITH as one of the 25 Most Influential People of Faith for the Next 25 Years.
Andrew has degrees in Applied Psychology (BA), Urban Studies and Social Change (MA), and is currently finishing a PhD in Divinity from the University of St. Andrews, where he is researching and teaching on the theology and praxis of social reconciliation between victims and their perpetrators.
is married to Brenda, and you can connect with him on Facebook
, and the blog of The Marin Foundation
Brenda currently lives in St. Andrews, Scotland with her husband Andrew
The Marin Foundation
The Marin Foundation
Andrew Marin | ...
The Marin Foundation
President and Founder of The Marin Foundation
Andrew received his BA in Psychology from the University of Illinois Chicago in 2003 and is working towards a doctorate degree, currently attending Moody Graduate School.
has been published in academic journals, been on various TV and national radio programs, as well as been written about in national media publications.
is newly married to his
wife Brenda, and they reside in the 'Boystown' neighborhood of Chicago.
Each year he
longs to see the Chicago Cubs win the World Series sometime in his
On a normal fall day in October of 2003, Andrew Marin
was walking to the famous Chicago "El" train when all at once his
life and the lives of many others would change with that one moment in time.
was raised in Aurora, IL, a western suburb of Chicago.
lived right on the boarder of Aurora and a town called Naperville; a very conservative, upper middle class town which US News
and World Report has rated the #1 town in America to live.
And three months after that, Andrew
is hanging out with one of his
best friends since they were children, and he
is also gay.
In the next couple of months, a few cordial, awkward pleasantries had been exchanged back and forth, when one night a series of serious messages had been left by Andrew
three friends, scheduling a time and a place to do what should have been done originally…lay everything on the table, no topic untouched, or unturned.
"That night was the first huge turning point in my life that set me on the path that I am on today.
We talked and talked and talked until the early hours of the morning and held nothing back.
When all was said and done, Andrew
three friends had let everything out.
spoke of all the stereotypes he
had ever heard of regarding the GLBT community; from sex to pedophilia to AIDS to gay genes.
Yet even after that night, what still bothered Andrew
was the fact that he
did not have a lot of the answers to the more in depth theological and doctrinal questions that his
friends were asking about.
At that point in time, Andrew
committed himself to start learning and researching everything he
possibly could about the theological and doctrinal beliefs from the religious community regarding the GLBT community, both from the Progressive and Fundamental communities, so as to better equip himself for not only his
future, but for the future of his
three friends and the others around him including his
family and his
originally attended UIC
on a baseball scholarship, and by the following winter of 2000, Andrew
had been feeling incomplete since he
started doing his
own theological research.
had always grown up in an environment involved with his
spiritual life not revolving just around church on Sundays, but rather intermediate Bible studies during the week also.
During the spring baseball season of 2001, road trips across the country always allotted Andrew ample time to study the Bible.
A specific few players on the team would always come up to Andrew
and ask him questions about God and about the Bible.
On one particular road trip coming back to Chicago from Tennessee, those same teammates came up to him and wanted to do a Bible study on the bus.
obliged, and the next thing you know Andrew
and six of his
teammates began to meet once per week to have a Bible study.
friends who came out to him about the Bible study, they wanted to start to come and tap into their Christian past.
From that point on the Bible study started to grow by amazing numbers.
The interesting thing about it though, was that all of the new people who started to come were in the GLBT community!
"Never in a million years did I ever think that people in the general GLBT community would want to be part of a Bible study.
I knew my friends who came out to me were raised in the church and had some interest, but what ultimately shocked me the most was that other people from around the GLBT community who didn't even go to UIC
would come to campus just for the Bible study.
From that point on Andrew
began to understand the depth and power of the Creator and His
ultimate pull on the lives of those on this Earth, regardless of who they are, where they come from or their social or economic status.
"I truly believe that everyone wants to believe in something.
Even if that something is nothing, it actually really is still something.
But more often than not, Andrew
began to see first hand that the general idea of a God, an all knowing, understanding and trustworthy God that can control an unseen spiritual realm was an exciting option for those in the GLBT community; an important facet of overt human life that was always present, yet hardly ever tapped in to.
By the end of April 2001, Andrew
was well into the full swing of the baseball season.
And just like every other Division I baseball player, Andrew
had aspirations of playing professional baseball.
However on May 1, 2001, it would only take one second to change the course of Andrew's life forever.
On that day, Andrew
ended up getting hit in the head by a thrown ball from close proximity.
blacked out and suffered a Level 4 concussion, which is the highest grade of concussions.
The problem was that Andrew
had already suffered four other concussions in the past three years, and this last one not only ended Andrew's baseball career, but jeopardized his
life as a fully functioning adult.
That one second landed Andrew
in the hospital, damaging his
brain and rendering him legally mentally retarded; as he
had the brain capacity of a 9 year old boy.
went from a 20 year old Division I athlete who had a grade point average of 3.5 out of 4.0, to a person who had trouble speaking, a person who had trouble remembering anything, and a person who's right side of his
body could barely stop shaking.
The next seven months were filled with hours of rehabilitation each and every day.
Throughout this time, the Bible study was put on hiatus as Andrew
In September of 2002, it was only by the grace of the Creator, a God who had a plan for Andrew
's life that was intended to be The Marin Foundation
instead of playing professional baseball, was able to take a damaged brain and rebuilt it and let Andrew once again enroll in school.
With the help of a wonderful cognitive rehabilitationist, a great physical therapist, the support and love of family and friends, along with a giving God, Andrew
was able to not only fully recover, but as he
states now, "I can honestly say that now, after all the brain damage that occurred, there is no doubt that I feel stronger both mentally and spiritually in every way possible…more than I ever did at my best point before the brain damage.
was working for one of the professor's studies getting inundated to all of the ins and outs of research, he
began to really enjoy it.
started to think that he
could do something like that on his
own, and began going around to the psychology professors asking them to assist him in applying for a Federal grant.
was laughed out of every office, Andrew
then started on his
own finding out how to apply for a Federal grant.
Three months later, Andrew
landed himself in the office of the Director of Human Development at UIC
, and she
was more than happy to help him complete the grant paper work that he
started a few months earlier.
The next thing that happened, Andrew
became the very first undergraduate at the University of Illinois at Chicago Department of Psychology and Human Development
in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to ever receive a fully funded Federal grant, which was funded by the National Institute on Health
had an overwhelming positive experience, and the next year, his
senior year in college, he
ended up applying for and receiving another Federal, NIH grant.
Later that year Andrew
was humbled and honored to have received the prestigious University of Illinois at Chicago Chancellor's Student Service Award for 2003.
Throughout this entire time, Andrew's relationship with his
friends continued to grow closer over the years.
As much as a straight man can be immersed into the GLBT community, Andrew
immersed himself in order to not just be heavily involved in his
friend's lives, but also to know for himself first hand what the GLBT community was all about!
That period in Andrew's life was a time of excitement and learning.
was always eager and excited to go out and meet new people in the GLBT community.
was always ready for a new experience, and he
always relished in the fact that each new experience also brought a new important lesson learned about the GLBT community through his
The Marin Foundation