Yesterday I saw on Twitter that there was a documentary screening in Pasadena for a movie called Give Me Sex Jesus about that insanely popular Evangelical movement True Love Waits which if you grew up in a church particularly in the last 20 years or so, you know all about it. And it has probably scarred you in some way.
I watched the short trailer and promptly got tickets for my boyfriend and I. In our relationship so far he and I have talked a lot about the things youth group told us about sex before marriage, things our parents, pastors, and friends did or did not teach us.
The weird shame feeling that comes with wanting someone.
The insane way a past can feel like you’re on a sinking ship that’s taking you into your future.
My boyfriend and I are sitting in the room before the documentary starts, I look around and I see people and couples of different sexual orientations all coming because their teenage years (and lets be real, their adult years too) were intensely impacted by this purity movement. I turned to my boyfriend and said, “Whether or not this movie is any good, it’s incredible to be in a room of people wanting to reconcile and make sense of this. So many open minds and hearts.”
The documentary shared stories from people who grew up in this era of pledging to wait till marriage. We heard stories from couples who did wait, couples who didn’t; gay, lesbian, and transgender men and women who had to try and find their identity in the midst of heavy un-acceptance and intolerance. Even heard a great deal from the man who began the entire movement, who without intending to, kind of screwed over a generation of youth’s sexual understanding. (Not that he feels responsible for it, anyway.)
There were so many moments in this humorous and very real documentary where someone would say something and I would think, “Yep, I’ve heard that a thousand times from my friends.” and “Mhmm, that’s always how I’ve thought too.”
So very many moments watching it where I could do nothing but shake my head.
A gay man named Chris shared his story in the documentary about growing up in an extremely Evangelical home, his grandparents founded Campus Crusade for Christ college ministry, he talked about when he was young his prayers were less that God would make him straight and more that God wouldn’t let him die while he was gay because it meant he’d go to hell.
I sighed, a heavy sigh. Heart aching.
Even worse though, after the film played there was a short panel, and Chris who shared his story was on the panel, and people asked questions. One guy in the audience asked Chris, in so many words, whether or not he had come to term with his faith while being homosexual. Chris said, “Am I a Christian? No.”
He went on to answer a bit further but as soon as he said no the tears began to pour down my face.
Thankfully it was the final question for the panel and as my boyfriend and I headed to the car I couldn’t hold back the tears.
I’m not asking your opinion on the subject, because I don’t care what it is, that answer… “No.” It tells me and it should tell you what a shit job Christians can do at loving.
Late in my high school years I walked with my dear friend through his journey of accepting that he was gay and through that acceptance he could not figure out how to hold onto his very real faith. A huge part of that was the lack of acceptance and love felt by the people who had helped mold him in his faith.
It was incredible hearing everything that was shared but that end note just shattered my heart.
Again, I am not interested in upsetting or hearing your beliefs on the matter. I’m telling you, something is wrong.
There were so many rough and insightful stories shared in the documentary and as easy and uneasy as it is for a group of 20-30 year olds in Los Angeles to watch it I hope it hits the people in the small town in Michigan where I grew up.