Where I spray-paint my thoughts…

I may take up reviewing movies …


… but it’s unlikely. I don’t even go to that many movies, and I have a full-time hobby just reading and reviewing books. So it’s unlikely I’ll branch out into movie reviews anytime soon.

But occasionally I see a film and think, “More people should see this!” and want to share about it on my blog. One such film is Seventh-Gay Adventists: A Film About Faith on the Margins. Check out the trailer, below, and then I’ll tell you why I think you should see it:

1. If (like many of my friends) you’re a Christian who believes in the traditional view of marriage and you’re worried about the growing trend in society to accept gays and lesbians and same-sex marriage as normal, you should see this movie. Why? Not because it will change your mind; it almost certainly won’t. It’s not an argument or debate-type movie. You should see it because it tells the stories of gay and lesbian Christians whose lives have been affected by traditional church teachings and beliefs about homosexuality. It puts a human face on what might otherwise just be the “Other Side” in an intellectual or theological debate. Since your religion (and mine) calls us to love, we owe it to ourselves and others to think hard about how to love those with whom we disagree. You can’t love people theoretically. You have to see their faces, hear their voices and stories, before you can grapple with what love looks like in a particular context.

2. If (like many of my other friends) you’re a completely secular person who takes it for granted that LGBT people have the same rights as straight people, and can’t understand why religious people are dragging their heels, you should see this movie. Even if (perhaps especially if?) you’re gay or lesbian yourself, and have no ties to organized religion — maybe even have a great deal of contempt for it. Yes, religions (all religions!) have a pretty bad track record with the LGBT community. Watching this film may give you a different perspective, might help you understand why some people choose to cling to their faith, what an important cornerstone of life it is for them, even when it brings them into conflict over their sexuality.

3. If (like me) you are a Christian who questions the traditional definition of marriage (or at least the often hypocritical way in which it’s applied in the church), and you want to be an ally for your LGBT brothers and sisters, you should see this movie. Especially if your LGBT brothers and sisters are literally your brother or your sister — or your uncle, or your mom, or your best friend, or anyone you care about. Maybe you’ve heard stories like the ones in this movie many times. Or maybe you haven’t, because the people you love haven’t talked to you about their experiences. Hearing these stories will open your heart even further, and make you realize how important this struggle really is. Maybe, like me, you’ll emerge from the experience realizing that you need to be more outspoken, more pro-active, in supporting those who are truly “the least of these” in our congregations and church fellowship halls, or on our missing-member lists.

While it’s a film set firmly within the context of the Seventh-day Adventist community (and there are definitely some SDA in-group references, like “What’s not to love about haystacks?”) this film is relevant to everyone who’s ever been part of any faith community, because gay and lesbian people exist in every church and temple and gathering place, and as this film clearly shows, ignoring “the problem” in hopes that it’ll go away, isn’t enough. 

Particularly if you’re in Category #1 above, I urge you to see this movie — not because I expect it to change the way you read Scripture — it doesn’t even attempt to do that. But because I believe listening is so important, and love is impossible without it. It’s possible to love people and sincerely disagree with them, about lots of issues. It’s not possible to love people while ignoring them and refusing to hear their stories.

There are lots of ways to get hold of this movie. If all else fails, I have a copy. Borrow mine.


4 thoughts on “I may take up reviewing movies …

  1. Thank you, Trudy! I’m glad you finally got to see it! My fondest hope at the moment is that somehow it will be shown at the GC’s big sexuality summit in Cape Town, SA, which is billed as an attempt to further love and acceptance of gays in our church while remaining true to biblical teachings! Three of the “Coming Out Ministries” reps will tell their stories of how they left a life of prostitution, promiscuity, and drugs and came back to God and now, in their 50s and 60s, have become celibate! But no one like those in this film will be allowed or invited to tell their stories.

  2. I agree … the more Adventists who see this film the better. Every member of my Sabbath School group has now watched it and we’ve had several discussions about it. It didn’t change anyone’s mind and actually brought forth a lot of anger towards the LGBT community, but at least it was honest.

    The thing that most resonated with me is the desire to feel safe in the church. I’m a third generation Adventist straight woman and there have been a lot of times when I didn’t feel safe in church. I can’t even begin to imagine how vulnerable and unsafe gay people feel when they walk through the church doors.

    • I showed it to our church’s young adult group at my church, along with maybe half a dozen older couples who wanted to see it, and the response was very positive. But I know that people who have made up their minds aren’t going to change them from watching this. It still may plant some seeds that will bear fruit someday.

      Have you seen Larry Geraty’s reports on the Summit on Spectrum? Or, if you’re on Facebook, like the “Prayers for “In God’s Image” Summit and Beyond” page and see a lot more about it.

    • I agree with you about safety, Sharon. Our church had a meeting recently where members were encouraged to talk about issues and concerns they had about church life. One member who rarely attends anymore said that she found adult Sabbath School “boring” and the pastor seemed very surprised by that and asked if anyone else felt the same. I said, “For me, ‘boring’ would be a best case scenario in adult Sabbath School — my biggest concern for many years has been feeling attacked there if I express an opinion that certain members don’t agree with.” Someone else chimed in quickly to agree with me about feeling attacked and unsafe. As you say, I can’t imagine how scary church can be for gay and lesbian Christians, when even those of us whose lifestyles are very “orthodox” feel threatened at times.

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