Marlin grew up in suburban Chicago. He received a BA in Sociology from Tulane University in 1990. Upon graduation he relocated to Kyoto, Japan where he worked and studied for two years. Leaving Japan, he and a friend took a three year, 20,000 mile, around the world odyssey on mountain bikes. The trip took him through some of the world’s highest mountain ranges, across parts of the Gobi desert, and throughout much of Asia, Eastern Europe, the middle-east, and North America.
Upon returning to the United States he entered the Divinity School at Harvard University where he received his Masters in Divinity. He was ordained by the Unitarian Universalist Association in 1999 and went on to serve the historic First Church in Boston.
In 2000, at the age of 31, Marlin was called to All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa as their Senior Minister. During his tenure the church has grown from 1000 to over 2000 adult members and serves 850 children and youth. Today, All Souls is the largest Unitarian Universalist church in the United States. Marlin has been a leader in a number of boards and commissions in Tulsa and has received numerous awards for his work for equality and justice locally, nationally and internationally. In 2014, he was awarded an honorary Doctoral Degree from Phillips Theological School. Marlin is married to Anitra Lavanhar. They have a son Elias born in 2000 and a daughter Lyla born in 2008. His hobbies include fly-fishing, hiking, and outdoor adventure.