Saturday, January 28, 2006

"We found out he was gay after we offered him the part..."

I'm sure End of the Spear is a fine film, and I plan to see it. The testimony of what those missionaries accomplished is very powerful indeed, and I'm glad that it's made the big screen.

However, the controversy over the fact that the lead actor, Chad Allen, is gay has left me feeling a little glum. Of course the only reason that there is any controversy is that the film's producers are Christian and the message of the film is of the impact of Christianity on a violent Amazon tribe. In other words, a "Christian" movie hired a gay actor in a lead role.

For the record, the producers have said kind things about Allen and his abilities, but they made a point to note that they "found out he was gay after we offered him the part."

Read this article in Christianity Today, entitled "Christian Studio Explains Hiring of Gay Actor." Line after line in the article bear witness to the painfully tense--at best--relations between gays and evangelicals. Both Allen, the actor, and Steve Saint, the son of a martyred missionary and author of the story the film was based on, reveal in their statements how volatile this issue is:
"I wanted to know that the money from this movie wasn't going to wind up being used to hurt people," Allen said. "Having been on the other end of some attacks from Christians, I wanted to make sure people like me weren't going to get hurt..."
...In an e-mail to Christianity Today Movies, Saint said, "I could not imagine how something like this could slip through a professional screening process." He continued, "After I got over the emotional shock of realizing that a man who has chosen to live a lifestyle in stark contrast to my dad's would actually be playing his role in End of the Spear, I realized I would likely be held responsible for that decision. I wanted the issue to go away. Finally, I realized I was going to have to face what was happening, and there was little chance of coming out unscathed."
Fine, but let me ask this question: what is it, exactly, about Allen's life that is "in stark contrast" to Saint's father? His gayness, presumably, but would Saint have said the same thing of a divorced actor? An actor living with his girlfriend? An actor who had been party to an abortion? Maybe he would, but probably not.

Nothing grips the evangelical church's collective psyche more than homosexuality, and nothing makes the church look more graceless than its response to the gays in its midst.


At 5:58 PM, Blogger ~Kat said...

Christian "love" - you gotta love it.

At 7:26 PM, Blogger Grafted Branch said...

I'm a born-again Christian and I saw the movie today. Incredible! (Though I wonder how much of the Christian "code" an unchurched, unbelieving movie-goer would actually understand about the storyline.) Anyway, I wasn't ignorant of the story or of the controversy surrounding Chad Allen.

Now, I can't condone homosexuality; but I can't condone anger, bitterness, strife, anxiety in the life of the believer, etc., etc. either. So yes, I'm calling all those things sinful because God calls them that; but I'm also leaving the judgment of them to the Creator.

Not all Christians want to call unbelievers on the carpet -- just the really loud ones (who may or may not actually be born-again Christians afterall). Really, we're called to share the good news of Jesus' death and resurrection for the forgiveness of our sins! The re-birth by His Spirit really does changes people, as was clearly seen among the tribes and clans in the movie.

At 7:59 PM, Blogger dorsey said...

Steve Saint has become dear friends with the man who murdered his father, but doesn't even want to be associated with a homosexual who never did anything to him. That's just f**ked up.

At 8:22 PM, Anonymous blamemike said...

Controversy or not. There really is only a controversy in something, when someone needs to cover their own booty. Not like i'm saying anything revolutionary here.

At 8:31 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

Dorse, I think that may be a little strong--I seem to recall that he had very positive things to say about Allen's performance and about his professional demeanor--but you sure can almost hear the sweat popping out of Mr. Saint's pores over the issue.

At 9:58 PM, Blogger Herobill said...

Hey again, Zeke. Question man, here! :)

If you and I were in the same town/fellowship, and we had differeneces over, say, BEER, we'd probably need to learn how to extend grace for each other's stance on that, right?

But if you and I were living in the same town/fellowhsip locally, and I started living with my father's wife...

What exactly would you prescribe for that!??

At 10:38 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

Bill, I'd say that somebody living with his father's wife shouldn't throw stones. Right?

At 12:30 AM, Blogger dufflehead said...

i'm going to ask some really dumb questions, simply because i know all of you can point them out, but i can't find them:

can someone pull up the verse in the Bible where God (or Christ) says that homosexuality is a sin?

and then point me to the verse that says we're not supposed to love sinners?

and then point me to the verse that says we need to "call out" the unbelievers for their sins?

seems to me that Christ spent his time giving the finger to the Pharisees, which were the important people in the Jewish subculture (which is equivalent to anyone of prevalance in the present day christian subculture, in my mind)

At 2:48 PM, Blogger dorsey said...

"Dorse, I think that may be a little strong--I seem to recall that he had very positive things to say about Allen's performance and about his professional demeanor..."

Mmm...maybe, but it sounds an awful lot like Pat Robertson's tactic, the way he tried to soften his judgement of Ariel Sharon by saying how much he admired him.

It could just be PMS.

At 4:35 PM, Blogger Herobill said...

I'm not sure I'm following... Was I unclear?

Or I can just drop it, if you like. No big, either way.

At 4:04 PM, Blogger Jody said...

good thoughts everyone. i recently read a book entitled "repenting of religion" by gregory boyd, and it spoke heavily of these topics. i found it very beneficial to my life. it really points out that the call of christ's followers is to extend the unconditional love of God to everyone. we do not have segregated churches for those who are gluttonous, we allow them in our churches without issue, even allow them to be pastors and leaders. yet the bible says much against gluttony. we tend to love unconditionally in the face of some sin but not all.


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