Time For Love:
The Bible and Same Sex Attraction
A documentary featuring interview commentary from various New Zealand Theologians, Scholars, Ministers about homosexuality.
Being raised in a Christian family which became more and more fundamentalist as I grew older I was aware that my attraction to other boys was not something I could mention to my family. In time, when I did, it was clear that it couldn’t fit neatly with my parents, and my families, understanding of scripture and would be an embarrassment. The Bible seemed clear that homosexuality was a definite no no. One had only to look at the story of Sodom and Gomorrah or to read some of St Pauls writings to know that homosexuality was not on. I left home at the first available opportunity.
I didn’t go back to church for many years but even when I did return I did a lot of coming and going from Christianity, but I was called. I needed to be part of a church, needed to keep believing even though the church at every opportunity told me I was unacceptable as I was. Somehow I knew this wasn’t true. Most of my family have continued to have contact with me and to love and support me but the issue of my homosexuality is one where the conversation goes quiet.
This meant that I have had to find God, find Christ, find some understanding of how I could be acceptable to God in the company of God and not so much His Christian followers. Oh I have read books and been to conferences. Done the Living Waters course and been prayed over numerous times to have God remove homosexuality from me. I have led music worship in churches where I was ok (sort of) as long as I was celibate. And for a while I bought the arguments about being celibate and Christian and even advocated for that path. But I remained unfulfilled.
I studied Biblical Studies at BCNZ because I felt I needed to have some better understanding of what the Bible was actually about and it helped me to understand the panorama of scripture. Made me realise that asking questions and seeking out answers with an open mind was an integral part of being a Christian. BCNZ also allowed me to narrow down the truth that it doesn’t matter what I have done, it only matters what Jesus has done. God through Jesus has taken any negative effect of anything I have done and taken any punishment for those things on himself. So that I can have pure, direct, communication with God.
I left BCNZ having discovered that no matter what. Jesus loved me, and that was never going to change. I had something to hold on to.
New Zealand is generally pretty accepting of LGBT+. The church though has a long way to go. This documentary came out of a desire to help both myself and others understand that the Bible can say many things and that traditional interpretations of scripture might not actually be correct. Finding theologians and ministers, and other upstanding members of society who were also Christian who thought that the church might need to think again about LGBT people made me feel that those supposedly anti-Gay scriptures might not be as I had been led to believe. Why did these people change their point of view? How did they interpret those difficult scriptures? If the church was to change how had that happened in the past? How could it happen now?
The documentary is called ‘Time for Love – The Bible and Same Sex Attraction’. In it, various people talk about why they changed their point of view on homosexuality, how scripture informs our discussion about these issues and why change is necessary. I worry about some of the people we interviewed. The chance that they might lose a job, might be put down or treated badly is still there. Despite their academia, their familiarity with scripture and their reverence for God they might still be harmed for speaking. So their preparedness to speak as they have in the documentary is something I honour. That they felt it was something they would speak about, even in the knowledge that what they say could be held against them, gives even more truth to what they say. They take a risk to say it.
I sometimes find it hard to fathom that the God I know, the Jesus I know is not the same as the Jesus others know. As one of the participants in the documentary says, “Jesus is always talking about love, acceptance, passion, always. Justice, mercy; that’s the measure and those things are bought out in the stories of the life of Jesus and his interactions with his disciples and the people around him”.
Why do many Christians fail to get this?
I hope, I pray, that those who need to see the documentary will be able to. I made it for people who need to open their eyes. For loving Christians who have always believed that homosexuality was wrong and have never been told anything different. For Christians who have locked themselves and their lives into the very rules which Jesus sought to get to the bottom of by explaining that at the core of every rule is love. And for that person who is a Christian coming to terms with their own sexuality and gender, you need to know that Jesus loves you.
Time for Love is available on Youtube. You can download it from there (in 720p) or if you email me I can give you a link to a higher quality version. Please share it on your timeline and other feeds, email a link to a friend or colleague or family member who may be helped by seeing it. Talk about it at your church, in your social groups and encourage a group to watch it together and discuss. Please share it.
The Documentary was officially launched on Sunday April 15 at Ponsonby Baptist Church in Auckland.