Shuck and Jive

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Let Your Light Shine: An Important New Film

Thanks to More Light Presbyterians for pointing out a new film project, Let Your Light Shine.   The film explores the intersection of religion and homophobia:
Why are religion and the Bible used against homosexuals?  Why are evangelical Christians especially condemning of LGBTQ people and feel free to call us "sinful"?  "Let Your Light Shine" will probe the intersecting circles of evangelical Christianity, the gay civil rights movement and activism by queer alumni from Billy Graham's alma mater, Wheaton College!  This kaleidoscopic lens will shine a light on the deeply historical and discriminatory roots of evangelical Christianity, and the growing visibility of queer liberation which challenges Bible-based homophobia.  The testimonies of LGBTQ survivors from Christian colleges and religious upbringings reveal both the damaging impact of evangelicalism and a spirited resistance to continued religious oppression.  Please view our trailer and help us any way you can!  Even a mustard seed . ..

Here is a preview:

While the focus is Wheaton College, similar stories are found on college campuses all over the country.

To get this project started they are looking for funding. They are almost to their goal of $50,000. Yours could be the dollar that puts them over the top!


  1. My favorite quote of that video: "God created you that way, but don't act that way...That is really bad theology." I hear that all the time in our community in the PC(USA). The problem is, that is awful theology in and of itself shown in making that statement. Again, the only way that particular theology works is if we start with humanity's perfection, rule out sin (not saying sexual orientation is a sin), and then throw out scripture beyond saying, "God is Love."

  2. No, RT, it really doesn't. It merely requires being consistent with traditional, orthodox Reformed theology, rather than the Pelagianism of fundamentalism. While fundamentalists haven't cornered the market on bad theology, but their emphasis on works-based salvation, belief that faith is something we make, and complete ignorance of the notion of the Imago Dei are particularly pernicious errors.

    One doesn't have to throw out any part of the Bible to do better than that sort of insipid bubble-gum theology. Yours is a false dichotomy.

    Also, I might suggest that expecting a complete, systematic theology from a movie is probably not realistic, but then fisking a few comments from a trailer is probably more fun.

  3. Having watched the trailer a second time, I find it interesting that the first response here was not to even mention actual people's real experiences at Weaton, but to criticize the theology of a person who is not a theologian.

    But then, fundamentalists do like to deny the reality of human experience whenever possible. Because they forget the doctrine of the incarnation.

    (Also, take it from me, substitute the words Calvin College for Weaton College and there would be basically no difference in people's experiences.)

  4. Wow, John! You've made it! I see that PW at the The LayMAN has devoted nearly an entire article to grousing about you! And you're in good company in the article, as well.

    And we can say we knew you when.... :)


  5. By none other than Parker Williamson himself!

    That guy got payed a higher salary than any of the pastors of the tall steeple churches in the denomination for no other purpose than to tear down the denomination - a whole career devoted to tearing down instead of building up - amazing.

    I wonder if he will be too disappointed if he does not live long enough to see the fruits of his labors come to fruition.

  6. I don't know Alan... Why should I accept your view of someone else's theology? I have it on high Evangelical authority that the LGBT community rejects both the living Word and the written word of God. It sort of makes it hard to know whom to trust. Maybe that's why I just trust the Spirit to light my path through the word.

    BTW, I liked the trailer and am looking forward to the whole film. OneWheaton seems to be doing a good work. Maybe something similar can be started at Calvin.

  7. :) Yes, yes, blah blah, blah reject yadda, yadda. Because before they can actually be honest enough to acknowledge our actual positions, they'd have to admit we exist, they'd have to actually listen instead of interrogate, and most impossible of all, they'd have to admit that their words and the Word of God are not the same thing.

    Kattie, you're more optimistic about Calvin than I am. A few years ago, an LGBT group of alumni attempted to simply place a small ad in the alumni magazine for an unaffiliated LGBT alumni group, and even that tiny gesture was denied.

    And recently Calvin professors' have lost any personal or academic freedom on the issue: “Advocacy by faculty and staff, both in and out of the classroom, for homosexual practice and same-sex marriage is unacceptable.” (Which is a shocking statement for Calvin to make, which has up until recently been a stalwart defender of Christian liberty.)

    The both in AND out the classroom part is most astonishing. The college apparently believes it needs to act in loco parentis for grown adults.

    But then, that is precisely the fundie mindset in just a few words.

  8. Thank you very much. Always happy to be of service to Parker's rants.

  9. Alan, I guess I'm not as astonished about Calvin's position as you are. Employers controlling advocacy by their employees is not all that uncommon, especially when the particular advocacy could potentially adversely affect their bottom line. It’s too bad they felt they had to do that though. Maybe upholding Christian liberty is too much to expect from us, the totally depraved.

  10. Well, that would be true, if there were a bottom line. But as a College, I would expect academic integrity would have some pride of place.

    And, given Calvin's strong protection, over the years, to faculty in biology, astronomy, and geology, who have taught evolution and cosmology according to commonly accepted scientific ideas, I was pretty surprised at this sudden about face.

  11. Well, maybe I'm still, after 26 years, a little jaded as a result of my brief tenure as a college professor. Enrollment at our institution was falling, and we were told by the Dean of our school that now we were each expected to bring in a research grant to help offset the reduction in tuition receipts. I felt I would be sacrificing the quality of education of my students if I followed that mandate. I refused and ended up not working there very long (I didn't have tenure). It didn't seem to matter much that I tended to have the second highest student evaluation scores in the department. Of course there's a bottom line. Is Calvin really any different?

  12. There is, but I'm not sure how one gets more money by sacrificing the one thing that small rigorous liberal arts colleges actually have going for them.

    But then, I'm faculty, not an administrator and/or university bureaucratic apparatchik, so I may have a different perspective than they would. :)