Unless you've been living under a rock somewhere, you are aware that one of the greatest Olympians of all time (Bruce Jenner) has decided that he is, in fact, a woman (Caitlyn Jenner). This in turn has spawned a litany of opinions, support, anger, cruelty and grace. It has been a fascinating look into the complexity of humanity.
The backdrop to all this is something even larger that is taking place in the very heart of our nation. The Supreme Court is currently trying to figure out what the government's official stance on gay marriage is going to be, and there is a very real possibility that we will soon live in a country where gay couples and traditional couples are legally one and the same.
This is the first time I am announcing this, but over the next year I am going to be making a film about the homosexuality issue within the church. I don't necessarily agree with either of the voices from both the left and the right, and I'm not sure either really represent the vast majority of Christians. I want to make a film that will be a voice for Christians who believe in the truth of the Bible, but also believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring real, tangible change in a person; a film that agrees that there is such a thing as sin, but also believes in the healing power of love. I'm doing this not because I want to subject myself to the inevitable controversy of such a film, but because I think the time has come for the church to fully embrace the issue at hand.
The church, in large part, has had one of three responses to all this. The first approach is to throw up our hands, read the writing on the wall of our culture, give up fighting a losing battle and join in the affirmation of gay Christianity. A subset of this response includes those within the church who feel that the Bible got it wrong on this one, and that this is one instance where society as a whole is being more compassionate than traditional Christianity.
The second approach is to take an aggressive and pronounced stance against it, shout loudly that we are being persecuted for our faith, yet not really get our hands dirty with "those people" because we are content to hide behind the phantom wall of social media. The third approach is to bury our head in the sand and hope it all just goes away, ignore it completely because it's someone else's problem. But the time is fast approaching—in fact it may already be here—where every church in America is forced to come face to face with the sexuality debate that is churning throughout our country.
In the past, Christians were quick to emote a "love the sinner, hate the sin" mantra. But this approach doesn't really work on the issue of homosexuality for a couple of reasons. First, it has proven to be nearly impossible. As well-meaning as Christians have been, when the "sinner" continues to sin, we typically become exasperated, fed up or confused by the fact that they aren't changing. Second, and far more of a problem, is the fact that this approach still objectifies the person and doesn't treat them like a real human being. They are a "sinner," and we are simply vowing to overlook their obvious blemish—but they will forever know that the blemish is there. It also turns the proceedings into an "us versus them" scenario, where the people in good standing are patronizing the sinner who struggles, as if the wider body have no issues of their own.
While my film will look to deal with the subject in all its messy complexity, there is one aspect of it that I'd like to introduce here, because in my opinion it is one of the central issues at hand in this entire discussion. Obviously the topic is much more complicated than the current debate is admitting, and the emotion surrounding it is real and it is raw. That being said, I don't think it is impossible to have an honest discussion between those who believe the homosexual act is a sin and those who don't. But to do that, we first have to agree on something, and that is that homosexuality and transgender issues are in large part about identity.
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