Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Report on the Film at Milligan

I just returned from the showing of For the Bible Tells Me So at Milligan College. It is an excellent film. Following the film, four faculty formed a panel to take questions. It was appropriately for Milligan College students and faculty to participate in the discussion, but visitors were graciously welcomed and allowed to listen.

It was very well done in my opinion. People, of course, had a variety of opinions, but it the entire conversation was civil and I think elevated the discussion. I am not sure how much the campus has had these types of discussions, but as an outside observer I thought they provided a good model for both the church and campus.

17 comments:

  1. I am so glad that the discussion went well. It gives me hope that things in the country will change for LGBTQ folks.

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  2. I also saw this film at my university in Alabama. We had four scholars who answered questions also. Two were Christian, one was Jewish, and one Muslim. Very interesting!

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  3. I attended last night and thought the film was very well done. The discussion, in my opinion, was not so wonderful. I heard the message, we can worship together with gays and lesbians, as long as they are moving toward Jesus, and away from the "sin" of the activity of being gay. I also hear, yes, there may be somthing to it biologically that people may be born that way, but choosing to act on it is the sin. Certainly heard the part about gays and lesbians are not fit to be in leadership rolls in the church, deacons, elders or ministers. In fact, I believe one panel member said he wasn't so sure about the roll of women being in leadership, based on a passage in the bible.
    I will say, I was touched by the level of struggle some of the panel members seemd to be going through in their attempts to understand the issues brought out in the film. On the whole however, I felt a little beat up when it was over and thought long and hard about the lable "Christian" as I drove away.

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  5. Beth, I just wanted to respond to your comment as someone who helped to put last night's event together. I can understand how you could see the conversation as being less than great, but you have to understand where we are coming from here at Milligan. The convsersation that took place last night has never taken place like this here before. We tend to not talk openly about what it means to be a homosexual and a Christian. The entire point of the evening was not to come together and come up with some conclusion that we could all agree upon. No, instead the evening was about coming together as a family and wrestling through this. As was stated many times last night by myself and others, the only goal that we had was to figure out as followers of Christ how we can better love all people. We were not there to tell people that you have to believe this way or you have to believe that way. We were there because we wanted to come to a better understanding of what it means to love your neighbor. I think that we accomplished that goal, even if the conversation tended to be a little rough at times.

    We tend to be a more conservative school in a lot of ways, but the conversation that we had last night proves that we are an open-minded group of people who are willing to think. We were not all in agreement last night, and we will never all be in agreement. That is ok. I have come to understand that it is that mystery that continues to draw me to the Christian faith. Being able to say "I don't know" or "I am struggling" is what makes the Christian journey that much more interesting. If we all had all of the answers we would get tired of the faith pretty quickly and I know I would soon look for something else. It is that mystery, though, that keeps me searching and keeps me questioning and keeps saying at times "I don't know".

    I am so glad that we had so many people from the community present last night. Hopefully all of the outsiders, even if they disagreed with a lot of what was said, were able to see that this is something that we have not talked about and because of that we are not exactly sure how to talk about it. The conversation began last night, and from the things I have been hearing on campus this morning it won't end anytime soon. Thanks be to God for that.

    In Christ's Love, Andy

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  6. Andy -
    Thanks for your response to Beth. I thought the movie was fantastic, and am so grateful to you and the other organizers for making it happen at Milligan. I was unable to stay for the discussion, so I can't comment on anything specific. I assumed there would be no wholesale agreement on the merits of the film or its message. The fact that it WAS held at Milligan is itself a move forward that I welcome.
    Thanks again

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  7. Hey Beth,

    "On the whole however, I felt a little beat up when it was over and thought long and hard about the lable "Christian" as I drove away."

    I hear you. I am sorry. We straight folks just don't get it.

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  8. The Christian label should have a huge disclaimer:

    "Dangerous to your health."

    Hey Andy,

    Kudos to you for setting this up. I hope that the college will continue to have these conversations.

    In a future discussion, it might be good in the future to have a few "out" glbt people actually speak from their experience.

    Although, I do have to say, even that guarantees nothing in terms of raising levels of understanding.

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  9. I appreicate your fair minded comments regarding the events at Milligan. There is a misconception that all Christians who have a moral opposition to homosexual behavior are motivated purely by prejudice.

    In fact , many of them struggle with their stand, yet maintain it out of a respect for what they believe the bible clearly teaches.

    I sometimes still waver in my own stance, though I have pretty much settled in my mind what I believe regarding the issue. Same sex coupes which follow the standard of chastity before marriage and monogamy afterwards are no different in God's sight than heterosexual ones, I have come to believe.

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  10. John, when we were originally planned for last night it was our goal to have many from the community involved, including lgbt individuals. Circumstances as they were, we had to end up limiting the panel and the discussion to the Milligan community only. I was against that from the beginning and I wanted the conversation to be open with everyone allowed to contribute. Some thought we were not ready for that and we were even threatened with cancellation of the event if it did take place.

    So that is why it happened the way it happened. If this conversation is ever allowed to take place like it did last night, which I am not sure if it will be allowed, then hopefully we will be able to have more outside involvement. I know I want that and so did most of the other people who were helping to put this together.

    Another quick response to Beth,
    I realized just now that I was almost attacking you in my first response--that is not at all what I meant to do and I apologize. I should have started off by saying that I am sorry that you felt the way that you felt when you left last night. If you were questioning whether or not you like to the label Christian then that means that we did not suceed in doing what we intended to do last night. Again, I am truly sorry and I hope that you can forgive us here at Milligan.

    Peace, Andy

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  11. Andy,

    As it was said of Bishop Robinson, "You are a holy man." I mean that. You will do important things as a priest. You already are. The church needs you. Thank you.

    You did well pulling this whole thing off. From my perspective, I think it was wise to have the Milligan students and faculty have the first go without outside groups dominating the discussion.

    Perhaps the good folks there will see that this discussion will be worth continuing and include other voices in the future.

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  12. Andy,
    Thank you for your most recent response. I too apologize if my reflection of the evening came across as overly critical or harsh, it wasn't my intent. I recognize that you put a lot of time and energy to making this event possible on campus, and for that you are to be commended. Eternal optimist that I am, I just wasn't expecting to feel like I did when it was over. I hope that future discussions will indeed take place on your lovely and conservative campus, baby steps do add up!
    Peace to you, Beth

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  13. JadedJabber--me, too!

    Chris--I bet that was a wild show...

    Closets--thanks, linked to ya on the sidebar!

    Andy, Snad, and Beth--so what is the next movie we can attend together?

    Freethinker--thanks for the pic. I like it when people include a pic. Seems to me you have a pretty fair attitude. Same standards for straight or gay...

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  14. "Every man is my superior, in that I may learn from him."
    -Thomas Carlysle

    Thanks for the orientation-neutral standards for the photos. I thought about posing in a leather thong holding a whip, but I doubt that would be good for anyone - gay or straight.

    Well, maybe my good wife, but then she's awfully near-sighted.

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  15. Oh, sorry, I misunderstood your point. You meant I believe in equal standards for gay and straight people. Guess my brain is getting foggier as I age.

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  16. Well, my friends, I think the next movie we should attend together (after Renewal or Ruin, that is) would be Stop Making Sense on that lovely system downstairs!

    You name the time and I'll bring the movie. The popcorn awaits. Maybe Beth can bring the bevvies.

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