MEDIA
Jesus Meets the Gay Man
107+ min. Jean-Claude Lafond, dist. by Breaking Glass Pictures, www.bgpics.com. 2018.DVD UPC 855184007273. $19.99.Love the Sinner. 17 min. Jessica Devaney & , dist. by Women Make Movies, www.wmm.com. 2017. DVD $89; acad. libs. $195 (Rental: $90). REL
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The team behind Jesus Meets the Gay Man are gay men who believe in Jesus Christ but question the idea that Jesus condemns homosexuality. Through skits and interviews with gay believers, including a gay Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) pastor, and by asking random people on the street, they seek to discover, "What would Jesus say to a gay man?" The in-your-face quality of some of the video—represented by language and images—would be offensive to some, but these would not likely be the film's viewers. Using a mix of serious discourse and humor, the video emphasizes Jesus's call for forgiveness and exhibits that quality within itself. It looks to open a dialog between church people who reject homosexuality as sinful and abhorrent and gay Christians who do not see an issue and in fact consider this rejection as alien to the teachings of Jesus.In the short but effective Love the Sinner, director Devaney, who grew up in an evangelical church and later came out as a lesbian, examines much the same question. In the aftermath of the 2016 Pulse Nightclub shooting, Devaney returns to her home state of Florida to examine whether the antihomosexual preaching of evangelical pastors had a direct influence on the rise of antigay violence. Unlike the pastors in Jesus Meets, who are seen in clips from their sermons, the church leaders Devaney interviews give her a sympathetic hearing, emphasizing that loving the sinner while hating the sin would mean that they would allow her to join the church—one even goes so far as to say that sometime in the future he could see the possibility of his changing his attitude toward homosexuality.
VERDICT While both productions try to make the same point, their approach is decidedly different. Jesus Meets would appeal to the more radical element of the gay (and gay-friendly) Christian population, while Love the Sinner could be used as a conversation starter even in a relatively conservative congregation that is open to significant dialog.

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