Three new documentaries examine Christian faith, homosexuality, and the question of change.
“You can choose to believe or not believe that my experiences are valid. That's OK. I just ask you to keep an open mind and consider that it might be possible that this is a genuine, authentic experience, and that it’s possible for more than just me.”
So says “Rilene” near the beginning of Desire of the Everlasting Hills, a new documentary about three Catholics who chose chastity after being in homosexual relationships (watch online here). She says these words as we see images of her carrying the communion bread and wine—an important image for the film, as “communion/community” is suggested as the root object of the desires indicated in the film’s title.
Rilene’s personal journey out of homosexuality is one thing; but the second part of her statement is most controversial: “that it’s possible for more than just me.” This comment is the furthest the film ventures in the “it’s possible for others too” direction. In an age where (particularly on issues of sexual identity) individual choices are fine insofar as they never suggest themselves as preferred models for others, Desire wisely opts to focus on three people sharing their unique-only-to-them journeys, without any statements of universality. And yet Desire—produced by Courage, Int., a Roman Catholic apostolate focused on ministry to same-sex attracted (SSA) individuals and their families—clearly wants the film to offer models of hope for Christians seeking to reconcile their sexual identity with the teachings of the church.
Each of us has a story and “whether or not this story is welcome, it deserves respect,” writes Fr. Paul N. Check, executive ...
Culture is inescapable. Each an every one of us, who claims the name of Christ has been called to exist within the diverse cultures of this world and to do so as Aliens.
Citizens of a heavenly realm inhabiting earthly kingdoms. To inhabit this world faithfully is to contend with a culture that is in many ways foreign to the Kingdom of God. The tension created by this engagement is called contextualization.
Contextualization has been a buzz word and heated topic for some time now, I have written copious amounts on the topic, because it is near and dear to my heart. My team has summarized some of that here, with links to past articles.
Simply put, Christians are called to share the gospel in every nation and culture. The effectiveness of our sharing is often, in part, determined by the way in which we learn, respect, exegete, and communicate to, the culture in which we are living.
Below we have organized a series of posts together on ‘ins and outs’ of contextualization-- why we do it, why we need it, and its benefits and its dangers.
Too many pastors and church planters pastor in their heads and not in their communities. This happens in two ways. Some are Bible-only types, and others are model-inspired-- and both make the same mistake of ignoring their culture.
In this post I discuss the importance of culture and why it matters. As Christians, we must enter our mission field with our eyes open, so we are wise to ask “What is culture? And why does it matter?
We must strike a balance between contending with culture and contextualizing to it. Which leads me to my second post…