Friday, September 05, 2008

Save Me

Gay actor Chad Allen stars in this indie flick called Save Me. This is a great article about the movie and Chad's struggle with the Bible, Christianity, and being gay. Here are some excerpts from the article and a full link to it here.

As a teenager, Chad Allen used to lie awake at night convinced that God hated him and that he was going to hell.

At 20, addicted to drugs and alcohol, he paced alone in his Malibu condo, gun in hand, agonizing over whether or not to pull the trigger.

And for years, he thought all Christians loathed people like him—because he was gay.

Today, at 34, the veteran actor says he's gotten over all that. Allen is now convinced of God's love, has been sober for eight years, and no longer thinks of taking his own life. And he counts among his good friends a number of evangelicals who object to his lifestyle but have reached out to him in love and compassion.

What Mark (played by Allen) does not find at Genesis—an apparent reference to Exodus International—is a "cure" for his gayness. At the end of the film, Mark has changed for the better in many ways. But he's still gay.

"I think the premise of gay conversion is a false one," says Allen.

But the actor very much believes that ex-gay ministries can and do bring hope and healing to the lives of hurting men like Mark, the main character in Save Me.

"I don't think there's any question that Mark was helped by his stay at Genesis House," Allen says. "He's transformed by it."

Allen notes that in the film, "We don't empty Genesis House of all the characters at the end; Mark leaves, but everyone else stays. It wasn't our intention to bash ex-gay ministries. We've seen that done before, but we wanted to achieve something different. We made this film for anybody who wants to have the conversation about God and gay."

When Allen came out about his homosexuality at the age of 25, his father initially rejected him. "It was a long time before my dad could look me square in the eyes again," Allen says. "I wanted his acceptance so desperately, and I was afraid I was never going to get it. Now, looking back, I realize that same relationship [father-son] is often how we define our relationship with God. I used my relationship with Dad to identify God. I believed God was this big, mean, scary guy who could never love me and I could never earn his acceptance, so why even try?"

Allen says his father eventually came to accept him again. "When I realized he still loved me, that changed my relationship with God. Now I have a great relationship with my dad, and with God."

"I don't think you can discern the Word of God unless you're holding the love of God in your heart," he says. "I can take any piece of written material, and if I'm holding fear and anger in my heart, I will get fear and anger as a result. And if I'm holding love in my heart, I will get love as a result.

"I don't pretend to say that Scripture doesn't say what it says [about homosexuality]. And I don't have the intellectual and theological background to enter into a debate. But I know there's lots in Scripture that I can read and come up with fear. And there's lots that I can read and know those aren't aspects in my life. Certainly today we know that slavery isn't something we can condone, but it seems to be condoned in Scripture. And today we know that women have a role in society that wasn't there in Scripture. When I'm reading Scripture, it's about the experience of a loving God."

Some Christians say that sexual orientation alone isn't necessarily sinful, but acting on it is. Allen disagrees.

"In the three and a half years I've been loving and committed to my partner, the fruit born of that and of my sexuality is beauty and love and goodness, not fear and destruction," he says. "The fruit that was born of my alcoholism was fear and destruction."

Which brings Allen back to Save Me and his hopes for the film.

"I want viewers to walk away from it knowing that God is participatory in all of our lives and all of our experience," he says. "Maybe I don't have all the answers, but I can choose to love my brother. Period."



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