I recently viewed a new feature-length documentary, “Seventh-Gay Adventists,” which explores “the spiritual quests of three subjects who wrestle with the difficult issue of reconciling their religious and sexual identities.” Originally conceived as an “issues” film—with a broad range of perspectives—the project evolved into its final narrative form.
Producers Daneen Akers and her husband, Stephen Eyer, are indeed skilled storytellers, and the film’s gentle tone softens its in-your-face title. The subjects of the film include two longtime couples—male-male, female-female—and one new couple: a young man and his boyfriend-turned-fiancé. We’re brought into their everyday lives—grocery shopping, making supper, family worship, Sabbath school—in a way that feels all too familiar, if not mundane. The message is clear: gay couples are pretty much like anyone else, and they should be welcomed and loved by our churches, not left out in the cold.
The film’s most iconic scene is the wedding of the two young men, with their loving but conflicted family members looking on. “This has been a journey for us as well,” remarks his father, a church official. “This isn’t what we’d imagined for David.”
What this film does very well is help viewers see gay people as . . . people. These six Adventists aren’t just gay; they’re also smart, funny, and kind. And though the film doesn’t depict this nearly enough, they have relationship challenges just like you and me. At the screening I attended, the room was filled with emotional people who clearly resonated with the three stories being told on screen.
But I found myself wishing for a fourth story: the one in which a gay Adventist loves someone of the same sex, but who loves Scripture even more. In 2009 Wayne Blakely—a gay Adventist who after 37 years in a gay lifestyle recommitted his life to Christ and chose celibacy—asked the producers if his story could be included in the film. “It seemed apparent,” he writes on his Web site, know hislove.com, “that they were not seeking any testimonies from same-sex attracted individuals who have been redeemed and are choosing to live sexually pure through Christ.”
When I asked the filmmakers why a celibate gay Adventist wasn’t included, Akers said that they ultimately decided that the film’s focus should be on gay Adventists whose lifestyles were in conflict with the church’s position, because conflict is what makes a story.
So there isn’t enough conflict in a celibate gay Adventist whose flesh and spirit daily wage war? Whose courageous scriptural stance flies in the face of contemporary culture? Ironically, it’s still gay Adventists being left out in the cold, except now it’s the gay Adventists who choose sexual purity.
Blakely’s isn’t the only voice of purity—not by a long shot. His Web site links to other “redeemed” Adventist men and women who have put their eternal destinies ahead of short-term tendencies. A beautiful new memoir, Out of a Far Country, by a gay man, Christopher Yuan, and his mother, Angela, also shouts purity from the shelves of mainline bookstores. These stories are the truly heroic ones.
Not to include even one of them belies this film’s more subtle message: acceptance of the gay lifestyle. Akers and Eyer say that they are supportive of gay relationships, as long as they’re committed and monogamous. “How could a God of love,” says Eyer, “ask people not to be in a loving relationship?”
It’s a hard question that more and more Adventists are sincerely asking. But God is not only a God of love—He’s also a God of holiness, and He calls us to both during our sojourn on this sin-plagued planet. When any of us struggles with a sinful tendency, as we all do, the last thing we need is for those entrusted with Scripture itself to say “Go ahead and do it.”
Which of the other tendencies named in Romans 1 would supporters of a gay lifestyle also encourage struggling people to live out? Worshipping created things? Greed, envy, murder, strife? Gossip, slander, insolence, arrogance? Dishonoring parents, heartlessness, ruthlessness? Why is it only this tendency that’s now OK to practice? Because it doesn’t hurt anyone else? Or because it hurts only those who practice it? n
Andy Nash is a journalism professor, pastor, and author of Paper God, a spiritual memoir. This article was published July 19, 2012.
As this is a repeated conversation here I thought this would add a little something more we seem to be forgetting. Altho how we treat people who ARE gay is important. We seem to forget about the ones who given up that lifestyle and dedicated it to God. That these people need our support and prayers even more for taking that big step to set aside their lifestyle to follow God.
This is interesting and also a little informative.. He poses good questions.. It'll be interesting to follow this discussion..
i want to see this movie
i heard it was being made for a long time and even put up a thread about with a link promo from utube
it didnt go over very well here.
its important to see gays as humans
many christians dont think of them as humans
not deserving dignity as humans
their relationships are less than yours
most christians that feel that way dont even know it
they think voting against their relationships is a GOD thing
but gays receive it as another reason not to trust christians
we are called to further the kingdom thru service
not to deny dignity
to lord over others
the gays will get their rights hopefully
the christians will get their priorties straight hopefully
... that thing about the gay celibate not being included is a slap in the face
but totally understandable
this movie is about gays in the SDA CHURCH who are practicing
thats the emphasis here
they are human and its worthy of every conservative vewing
we are human!
too many christians TREAT US AS WE ARE NOT
GOD help us all
WOE UNTO U WHO DONT KNOW YOUR HEART TOWARDS THEM
WHEN U ARE A CELIBATE GAY
the gay community dont understand and even a suble rebuke to their lives
and reject u
the church community isnt really comfortable either
GOD DIDNT MAKE U STRAIGHT WITH THE WAVE OF HIS WAND?
something is wrong with u
or u lack faith! U HAVENT PRAYED ENOUGH
U MUST BE HANGING ON TO SOMETHING EVIL
YOUR NOT SINCERE
AND THAT TEARS U DOWN
AND U R REJECTED IN CHURCH TOO
Disclaimer: I have not seen this movie. I have seen the trailer, read transcripts (can someone link me to those again please?), and read commentary from both sides.
Being full of pride (like I too often am) is a sin. Being an active homosexual is a sin. I see no difference in how 'bad' either one is. I do see a difference in how public they are. But either one will blot us out the of the book of life.
The strength needed to battle a public sinful propensity when others are condemning you and not loving you as Christ would... it is almost unimaginable. Battling sin is always a struggle. Those that are seeking God and His will MUST be supported in that struggle. As followers of Christ, we Christians MUST love fellow sinners with the love of Christ. This includes those who are actively sinning. We are one family. We must see each others as people and always love the other people in our family.
But we must never "normalize" sin. Sin is always reprehensible. Living a sinful lifestyle is always wrong. No sin should be "normal" to us.
And that is where the tension lies. How can we love someone with Christ-like love when they are choosing to live in sin? Especially a visible and public sin. As humans we fail at this far too often.
I agree that the inclusion of other stories in this movie would have painted a fuller picture. I'm disappointed that they did not do that. Because without that, many see this movie as a propaganda piece. They see it as endeavoring to make "normal" a sin that is condemned by God.
I pray that all members of God's family, conservative and liberal alike, can see homosexuals as real people. People in need of a Savior. They need to love them with self-sacrificing love. Lead them to Christ and His perfect love.
This movie says it is about "subjects who wrestle with the difficult issue of reconciling their religious and sexual identities." I think perhaps that frames it too narrowly. Can't we frame it as all of just being sinners and struggling with sin? We ALL understand that. As Adventists, our religious identity should be one where we fully live out the will of God as revealed to us through scripture. Every sinful temptation we have must be subordinate to that. Choosing to live in any sin will be our ruin. I understand this struggle with sin all too well.
This movie appears to present the goal of those in this struggle as not endeavoring to escape their sin, but rather to be accepted while choosing to live in sin. Is that a fair assessment? Choosing to live with a partner in a homosexual relationship is choosing to live in sin. That CAN'T be our end goal, can it? To be accepted while we live in sin? At some point, while continuing to love the sinner with His love, we must call sin by its right name and encourage fellow sinners on to holiness.
I vaguely understand how difficult the choice is to choose holiness rather than community. Because as MFG pointed out,to choose holiness and chastity will alienate you from the secular gay community. And being gay and chaste will still not please all the other sinners in the church. So they are STILL alienated from the church and often left alone to fend for themselves. We as a church must reach out and smother them with support and His love. It's not happening like that everywhere now and it should be.
Blessings and prayers,
TL;DR We are all sinners. Our goal can be nothing less than holiness. As sinners, we must love (with Christ's pure love) all of our fellow sinners, regardless of where they are on the path to holiness. If anyone gets stuck at any point on the path, we need to press on to holiness, not accepting sin as our final destination.
I totally and completly agree Clark P.!!!!
We are all sinners and EVERY sin is BAD.
yes it is propaganda!
we all see that
its better than the christian one
thats been on a loop for too many years
btw there are many gay christians who do see a different non traditional biblical gay understanding
who love JESUS and serve Him with all their hearts
maybe some day i will share a few zingers that progay theology espouses
they might show up at your church
MAN GOES BY OUTWARD APPEARANCE BUT GOD KNOWS THE HEARTS
the church reveals their hearts toward the people
all the time
As overcomers of homosexuality, no longer lusting for the same sex...no longer hanging around where they used to...perhaps they are no longer gay..or straight..they become a new person.
Glenn Coon had a story about walking in and seeing someone struggling with a sin.. You go in and say, Well I TOLD you this was gonna happen!! .. You just won the battle for satan.. Same scenario.. Only this time, you go over and you put your hand on his shoulder and you say, I am here to pray WITH you, and WE WILL win this battle!.. And then you very well may have won the battle for Christ instead..
Some things HAVE to be put away for His love to shine as it should.. But never the Truth we stand on.. Clark put it very well.. In my opinion... :)
Satan does not want the other story to come out..about people who have been convicted that what God says about homosexual acts is in fact true...that the Bible is true..and that what God says about changing people is true. Homosexuality I believe is satans counterfeit for God's creation of marriage..we all know satan has a counterfeit for just about everything God has said. Satan wants people to believe that they will not die..that God does not mean what He says...and I see this even in the Adventist church..how so many adventists are telling gay people that what God has had put in the Bible about homosexual acts is wrongly interpreted by the rest of us. They tell gay people how many gays are actually in the Bible...my heart breaks for the gay people being led astray.....their souls being given over to Satan.
Nothing is easy when overcoming...but when we give something up for God..because He is our Father and Creator....He does a magnificent and perfect work....and how sweet the prize..being reconciled with Him. It is awesome.
yes it is all about reconciation! amen
im gonna tell a secret!
im gonna spill the beans
im gonna lay some powerful truths to u confirmed in a few same sex ministries that most dont realize for years but it does come
hi ho hi ho...
when two men fall in love and romance starts
[ cover your ears ]
there is all the blah blah of idealism and butterflies and hormones
as two gay men
or even months
GOD CREATED A MECHENISM IN THE MALE BOND
THEY BECOME LIKE BROTHERS
IF THE SEX POT IS NOT STIRRED
im gonna get slightly more deeper here
so dont read more if easily offended by gay stuff
i will be delicate cause i respect this setting and all u here...
if the two gay men bring in other sexual recourses to amp it up
[people or literature movies ect ect ect]
the brothership dont form cause of the romance or whatever is reignited and feeds the fire
GOD created all men who form a close bond to become brothers
straight or gay
throw out sex and keep the close relationship there is a brotherly love that is formed
many christians get offended by gay couples who have been together a long time?
many dont have sex anymore with each other
by them selves maybe or outside their relationship
GODS DESIGN OF MAN IS PERFECT
we both straight and gay screw it up
im speaking in general according to what ive read and seen up close and far away for decades
if no one believes me
so what :)
"throw out sex and keep the close relationship there is a brotherly love that is formed"...and that is what I hope for all of our christian gays...give the sex issue to God...let Him change them into close bestie's...let them be mighty for God..to spread the news of what He has done.
(((((((((((jumps on man flower and hugs his stuffins out)))))))))))))