A film series called REEL Faith and Sexuality begins Tuesday night at Kalamazoo College. It’s co-sponsored by The Faith Alliance of the Kalamazoo Gay Lesbian Resource Center. The Faith Alliance is a gathering of religious leaders in the community who seek full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons in public and religious life.
Ken Arthur is with the Phoenix Community Church in Kalamazoo and a member of the Faith Alliance. He says some churches are not accepting of the GLBT community.
“The church,” he says, “especially the Christian church that we see in the media a lot of times is not a very welcoming and open picture. And, I think a lot of people in the GLBT community struggle with the church and whether they are going to be accepted. They often feel rejected by the church. So, I think it is important for us to stand up and say it doesn’t matter, God loves all of us.”
Arthur says this is the second year for the Kalamazoo film series. He believes it’s an idea whose time has come to “generate discussion around the intersection of faith and sexuality and how those two things play together in our lives. Also, to let the community and the world know that there are people of faith that welcome GLBT: gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people.”
The film series begins Tuesday night at 7 p.m. with a screening of a film called Yossi and Jagger, which Arthur says is “basically a love story between two Israeli soldiers.” The REEL Faith and Sexuality film series features four movies, two dramas and two documentaries.
They will all be shown at 7 p.m. in the Light Fine Arts Building at Kalamazoo College and admission is free. Call Me Malcolm will be shown October 9, Fire on October 23 and For The Bible Tells Me So on October 30. Each film will be followed by a panel discussion with local religious leaders and scholars.
Ruth Moerdyk is the pastor at Christian Church Disciples of Christ in Kalamazoo and a member of the Faith Alliance. She says last year’s film series got lots of positive feedback from the community, and attendance at each film numbered around seventy, but she realizes that some community members might not feel completely comfortable with the issues of faith and sexuality.
“If somebody is worried about fitting in,” she says, “I think that’s an especially good reason to come because that would give them some idea of how people who aren’t allowed to fit in feel. People who are GLBT, or friendly or allies to that group of folks in our culture, are always having to stretch their envelopes to accommodate other people’s realities. And, I really think if someone wants to come to a film and let their realities be stretched a little bit, and try to accommodate their understandings to a population they might be unfamiliar with or uncomfortable with. And, that’s a good thing and something that we need to do more of in our culture in general.”