Living in the Tension Gatherings

 

Want to start a Living in the Tension gathering? Check out our  Living in the Tension Gathering Guide PDF

Overview:

Individuals throughout our culture today need to start making conscious commitments to counterculturally live in different ways than what mainstream (secular and religious) currently deems as the only acceptable medium of engagement. Such decisions must become a reality no matter what anyone else’s outcome might be. As Chris Heuertz, author of Friendship at the Margins, says,

“The outcome to any relationship is secondary to the fidelity of the faithfulness in that relationship.”

A new example must be set for the rest of our society to see a new vision of what bold reconciliation looks like between LGBTs, liberals, conservatives and the faith world. So many have been working off of a paradigm of reconciliation based on a mainstream worldview of strength in numbers that either forces ‘the other’ to conform or be ostracized. But reconciliation based on a love of God giving us the strength to relentlessly pursue those that are thought to be most unlike ourselves will ultimately connect humanity on new levels of faith, relationship, action and sustainable impact.

The point of committing to experience this type of reconciliation is to then turn around and affect other individual spheres of influence to faithfully live in the same manner. A bridge cannot be built from only one side, and a Movement cannot continue if only lived in one area.

Mission Statement:

That non-Christian LGBTs, gay Christians, celibates, ex-gays, liberal and conservative straight Christians and straight non-Christians all willfully enter into a place of constructive tension, intentionally forming a community that peacefully and productively takes on the most divisive topics within the culture war that is faith and sexuality.

Why These Gatherings Are Needed:

Culture wants to resolve conflict. Living in the Tension Gatherings want to use each of the different communities’ filtration systems to elevate the conversation through the tension. Get past the stereotypes. Practice what it means to listen to and dignify your political or theological enemy. Actively learn to live and love in real-time. Seek reconciliation not based on a change of belief system but rather living out your current beliefs differently.

Living in the Tension Gatherings are intentional spaces created to shift our paradigms away from the pervasively dominant success or failure model of life and faith to one that turns hearts, souls and minds onto what it means to establish Kingdom.

Ground Rules:

Participants must know that the goal of these gatherings is not for people to convince others that they are right and ‘the other’ is wrong, but rather work off of a worldview enhancement model. Living in the Tension Gatherings build a community where individuals can feel safe to not only share their experiences and beliefs with ‘the other’ but also learn to excel in constructive tension with those they disagree with. The point is not a debate that ends up turning into a competition. It’s an active engagement in learning what relationship with ‘the other’ tangibly looks like.

The group should seek to validate everyone’s stories and experiences regardless if people see other’s conclusions as right or wrong. Dignifying another person’s humanity and validating their stories as a legitimate part of their journey does not mean that they’re affirming or agreeing with everything another believes or states.

Experience a Living in the Tension Gathering:

For more information on our upcoming dates, please see the Current Events page.

The following link is a blog post from a visitor to a Living in the Tension Gathering the summer of 2010. She drove to Chicago from Michigan with two other people; and that gathering we were delving into ‘What Personally Impacts our Faith and Sexuality.’ Read her thoughts here.

Follow-Up:

If your university, church, organization or group would like The Marin Foundation to give an in-person one day seminar to extrapolate on how to build and sustain a Living in the Tension Gathering in your own community, please contact us at speaking@themarinfoundation.org.