April 08, 2006

Spring cleaning: The need to be pure

I'm cleaning out some started blog posts from my desktop. This one was started from February and has just been sitting there, taunting my lazy ass.

So a controversy is erupting over a gay man playing a central role in a film, End of the Spear, about Christian missionaries in South America and produced by a explicitly Christian studio. Apparently, when offering him the contract the studio didn't know the actor, Chad Allen, was gay. On learning this fact they "felt obligated to honor it [the contract]", and even when Allen offered to withdraw they refused.

Some Christians are incensed by this. In particular, Kevin Bauder in two blog posts (Jan 13 and Jan 16).

It's interesting to read the comments on these. In the first there's one from 'Linda' that's unusual for asking the WWJD question thoughtfully instead of rhetorically -- sorry for the long quote, but I think it's worth preserving whole:

Hello. I am Linda, a newbie. I know this is a little extreme for my first message. But please bear with me, as I believe that this has to be said.
I am incredibly disappointed with your views regarding the casting of Chad Allen, a gay activist, in "End of the Spear". While I agree that homosexuality is a sin and that Chad needs Jesus Christ, I do not see how his homosexuality and his views on this lifestyle will affect the movie. Not only that, but I believe that it is hypocritical of some professing Christians to complain about the fact that he is in the movie. It's as though you and the others who are complaining have forgotten that Jesus Christ died to save ALL sinners, including homosexuals like Chad Allen. The way you're acting, it's like you believe that your sins are forgivable, but homosexuality is not. Remember: there is only one unforgivable sin, and that is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
(I apologize if this came out harsher than I intended. I'm not trying to be mean or anything. I just want to get my point across. I don't want you to think that I'm bashing you or anything like that.)
I didn't even know that Chad Allen was gay until I came across a thread on a message board. I don't believe that his homosexuality will harm the film. In fact, this sin isn't even mentioned in the film. Not only that, but I truly do believe that God allowed Mr. Allen to be cast in this movie so he would be given the opportunity to hear the gospel and to learn about the love of Christians, as well as the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The mere fact that Chad accepted the role after he learned that he'd be playing a Christian missionary is, to me, a miracle. I truly believe that God is tugging on Mr. Allen's heart, and that He began doing so on the day when Chad was offered the roles of Nate and Steve Saint.
God always places us in situations, either directly or indirectly, where we are given chances to hear the gospel. Perhaps that's what He did with Mr. Allen. Personally, I am more concerned about Chad's spiritual fate than I am with whether or not a gay actor should have been cast in a Christian film.
After reading Mart Green's comments in regards to this issue, my belief that God wanted Chad to be in this film is strengthened. Not only that, but as I was watching the movie, Mr. Allen's homosexuality didn't even cross my mind. I was more concerned with the message of the movie.
The only problem I have with Chad being in the movie is the fact that he was cast in dual roles. I don't understand why he ended up playing both Nate Saint and Steve Saint. What's up with that? I listened to the narrator, and I knew it was Chad Allen. But I didn't understand why he ended up playing Nate AND Steve. Very confusing. But in any case, I thought he did an excellent job playing both roles. Very moving performances by all, in fact.
I believe that it is important for all Christians to watch this movie, because it is a sobering reminder of the sacrifices that we may have to make during our service to God. Granted, most of us will probably not be martyred. But who's to say that our loved ones will be spared? I believe this movie is incredibly important, and it's a shame that people like you are allowing Chad Allen's homosexuality to prevent you from watching a film with such an important message. In fact, I plan on telling my Christian friends to watch this movie.
If you truly believe that no sinner should take part in a Christian film...Well, doesn't that mean that there would be no Christian films? And have you forgotten that God uses ANYONE for His purposes?
I believe that you are entitled to your opinions. However, I do not support your view of the casting of Mr. Allen in this movie. I love you, brother. But I feel that you are just plain wrong. Not only that, but I believe that these views will be used by gay activists against all Christians, because they will believe that your opinions come from hatred for them and not just for their actions. I think you need to do a little more praying for Chad Allen and a little less complaining about the fact that he was cast in a Christian film.

So the people wanting to boot the actor feel it would be hypocritical to keep the sinner on board; others feel it would be hypocritical to boot him because we're all sinners.

We encounter the need to be pure -- or non-hypocritical -- all the time. I call myself a vegetarian but I eat milk, eggs and fish. People of different types get upset by this -- some vegans think this a betrayal, some omnivores gleefully point this out to point out my inconsistency. But one person's taintedness is another's consistency -- I wouldn't mind collecting milk or eggs, or killing a fish, for my dinner. I'd have a problem doing that with a lamb, pig or cow. So I'm not asking someone to do something I wouldn't do myself.

But that sounds like a rationalization, doesn't it? The need to keep my own actions in a consistent state. Why is this so important? Is this an American thing? Does the fundamental idea behind puritanism linger into whatever we do?

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