Three recent films approach the topic of homosexuality and Christianity from different viewpoints, but share one clear message: The church has a lot of loving work to do when it comes to reaching out to gays.
One young man interviewed for the heartbreaking documentary Through My Eyes (Gay Christian Network) says he stopped praying because the church had taught him that gays were not righteous; Proverbs 15:29 says that God hears the prayer of the righteous, so why pray?
In another documentary, SoleJourney (First Run Features), a woman blames the words of Focus on the Family's James Dobson for her attempted suicide. Mel White, cofounder of the controversial group Soulforce, says reconciliation with Focus depends not on theological agreement about homosexuality but on hearing Dobson say that both he and God love gay people—the way they are.
Regardless of their theological underpinnings, the personal stories at the heart of both films show how some Christ-followers have left a wake of injury—not because of the offensiveness of Scripture but because of the offensiveness of the messengers. In Exodus Student Ministries' The Question of Homosexuality (Harvest House Publishers), the ministry's director says that while Christians must stand firm on biblical truth, we must also "repent of all the times we've thought of our sins as less than those with homosexuality."
Watching these DVDS back to back to back was a moving, thought-provoking experiment. No Christian viewer will agree with everything in these diverse films, but they undoubtedly will be given discussion fodder. And with 70 percent of U.S. adult homosexuals identifying themselves as Christians (27 percent as "born again"), according to a recent Barna survey, it's a topic we all should be discussing.
In fact, two of these films—The Question of Homosexuality and Through My Eyes—are made precisely for small-group discussion. Question is a slick, scripted youth talk staggered with real-life interviews. It challenges arguments that homosexuality is biological and focuses on the possibility, based on 1 Corinthians 6:9—11, that homosexuals can change.
Through My Eyes, on the other hand, features no-frills, no-narration footage of young people talking about finding Christ, discovering same-sex attraction, wrestling with the truth of Scripture, and trying to change. This is where Eyes differs from Question. None of these young people were changed, and that's where their stories end. It's not clear if these Christians are involved in same-sex behavior or not. And that's the point: It's for viewers to debate. In fact, the group behind Through My Eyes, the Gay Christian Network, is itself divided on the legitimacy of homosexual relationships.
The only true documentary of this group is SoleJourney, which follows Soulforce's protests against Focus on the Family's anti-gay-marriage stance. The film champions Soulforce—one interviewee repeatedly equates the group's fight with Martin Luther King Jr.'s fight for civil rights—and paints Dobson as a villain. Despite being one-sided, the film challenges viewers to ask, How did the Good News end up being called—as it is here—"the primary source of homophobia"?
Todd Hertz, who works with youth, is a film critic for CT Movies
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