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Homosexuality and Religion are not Mutually Exclusive - Writers Nook

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I am a religious man, and I have done a lot of searching and found that certain aspects of a gay identity do not conflict with my faith. The problem is that there is so little awareness about this subject, so I have begun to engage myself in the writing of a story involving experiences that I have had here in NYC with regard to being gay and religious. I've watched a few flicks recently such as Prayers for Bobby, Beautiful Thing, and You are not Alone. None address the issues that I face, so I must address the issues myself, pave the way for brave souls who need both reconciliation and support.


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Janian_Nenanivik
Posted

great! seriousely! I want to read it when your done. good luck and much awesomeness to you for taking on such a huge and tough subject . congrats! , janian


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Posted

I wrote this about the same thing

A Part in the Play

There was a hell of a fuss in the five churches! For over twenty years the Deanery had been twinned with an area in Africa where Desmond Tutu had first started. Now, at Easter, the man was at last going to actually visit - Desmond Tutu was visiting!

There were meals and services arranged, but they wanted something a bit extra, different. Eventually it was decided to do a passion play. This was to be put on by members of all five churches and all groups, including the Youth groups. A drama teacher from the secondary school had agreed to direct it, even though he was not a member of any of the churches. He had done loads of school plays, some at a theatre in the nearby city of Portsmouth. The problem was the auditions, who would play what part.

Mr O”Connor was surprised that Christians could be so jealous of what parts they played. He didn’t know much about the adults, except for a few that he had taught, but the youth club kids he knew well and he knew there were a few really god actors, and one in particular, 16 year old Joseph. He had stared in three of his plays and had rave reviews in the local press for his part in Blood Brothers at The Kings Theatre in Portsmouth. The smaller parts were filled fairly easily, it was the main roles that caused the problems. The script had been especially written and certain characters called for strong acting. Herod, Caiphas, Pilate, Peter, Judas; and of course Jesus himself, were all powerful parts needing confident and positive acting for the piece to work. There were a few fights over certain parts. Mr O’Connor chose a local man of Caribbean ethnicity to play Peter. He had the presence and skills to fill the role. Mr O’Connor had expected some resistance as he had chosen a none white to play the role, but there was none. Eventually only Jesus was left, and Mr O’Connor, relying on his own personal knowledge, chose Joseph. It was this choice that caused the resentment.

Joseph, or Joe to his mates, had a following amongst the youth club members as they knew his from school, where he was popular. It was the adults that were not in favour. They seemed to think he was too young for the role, which was strange because most of the alternatives were far too old and it would be easier to age Joe than to make a fifty year old look thirty! Others just said things like; “He is just not right for the role” or “I don’t think the choice is right” and even “That would not be a popular choice”. Mr O’Connor could not understand why as Joe sang solos in his church choir, and was by far the best actor he had at his disposal. The resentment seemed an over re-action, but it was very strong. He even heard, through a rumor, that the writer was not happy with the choice and might withdraw his script. He was not told that direct it was just a whisper he picked up from the kids at school. Eventually Joe’s vicar and the Rural Dean asked if they could have a word with him.

“It is your choice of Jesus Mr O’Connor, it seems inappropriate, if you know what I mean” the Rural Dean said.

“No actually I don’t see what you mean Dead. Joe is by far the best actor we have to choose from. He is popular with the other Youth Club members and he can carry the part easily” was Mr O’Connor’s response.

“Oh we don’t doubt that at all, it is just, well you know, his lifestyle” said Joe’s vicar.

“His lifestyle: he lives with his mum in the village and is about to leave school and goy to college. What is wrong with that?”

“You obviously do not know Mr O’Connor so we can understand why you made the choice you have. The rumor is that Joe is, well, gay; not appropriate for Jesus. We did not realise you did not know. I am sure you now understand” was the Dean’s comment.

“Oh that, of course I know. Joe does not shout about it, he keeps it quiet really, but he told me as his tutor in year ten, when he had problems with his sexuality. Surely that is not why you do not want him playing the part?”

“Well Arch Bishop Tutu is from Africa and they have a very strong view against homosexuality. We would not wish to upset him, and there are those who have heard the rumor locally who are not happy either. Could you please re-think you choice?

“I am very sorry Dean but no I cannot”, retorted Mr O’Connor. “Joe is the right person for that part. He will carry the role, and the entire action, and make the play really impact and mean something to the audience.”

The Rural Dean sighed. “I am very sorry you feel that way Mr O’Connor and it is with a great deal of regret that I have to insist that you do choose somebody else. We are sorry but it is the impression it might create. I am sure you understand”.

Mr O’Connor took a deep breath and there was a silence that seemed to last ages.

“Well if you put it that way”

“Thank you Mr O’Connor, I knew you would understand when you had the full picture”

“If you would allow me to finish please: if you put it that way then I have to withdraw my offer to direct, and I think you may find that all your young people also withdraw and so you will loose most of your minor characters together with all your stage hands etc. Like me they do not understand homophobia, especially if it is only a rumor on which most of you are basing this decision upon”

“But you have started the rehearsals and we could never get another director with your experience in time. Please do re-consider”

“I am sorry but you have made your decision, and I have made mine”.

“Would you please give us time to consider the situation. Could you continue for another week, without doing scenes with Jesus, and I promise we will let you have our decision within seven days”, said the Rural Dean.

“I can agree to that, but after that it will be very difficult to use anybody else as the rehearsal time will be very short and Joe is the only one who could take on the role and make it work in that time. there is nobody else that could do it”, was Mr O’Connor’s departing remark.

There was much closed conversation with Vicars, The Rural Dean and the Churchwardens. There situation seemed to be unresolvable. The Bishop was not able to help, he agreed with the feelings but would not commit himself one way or the other. Then one of the Wardens, a retired naval Commander, came up with a devastating idea!

“Why don’t we use an independent arbitrator. Let us ask Arch Bishop Tutu himself!. He is from Africa and we know how they feel there; so that will solve our problem and at the same time we will be in the clear because we will not have made the decision. Everybody latched onto this idea as the perfect solution. A means to get their own way and at the same time be absolved of all blame. They could keep the youth club members on side. Also it had the advantage that Mr O’Connor could not refuse as the play was to be in Desmond Tut’s honour. they were right, Mr O’Connor could not refuse, but he did read the e-mail that was being sent very carefully. It laid out the problem of a suspected gay lad playing the role of Jesus, and so causing affront to those watching the play, and fellow actors.

The rely from Desmond Tutu was almost immediate. It simply read: -

“Acts 4 vv 11”

The Rural Dean reached for a bible, as he could not remember the verse off hand, he read: -

“This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner”

The Rural Dean informed the other vicars and churchwardens, who were somewhat puzzled at the reply. WHat did it mean?

The following day a second e-mail was received from Africa.

“You did me the honour of asking for my opinion, and I offer it to you with humility. Personally I cannot think of anybody else in all of your congregations who could play the part of Jesus. This is not for his skills at acting, as I do not know what they are. However, who else will know the feelings of being rejected by all, abused, insulted and cast aside? Who else will be able to draw on his own sense of utter desolation? The final choice has to be yours of course, I can only offer you my personal opinion”

This was also circulated throughout all those concerned with the final decision.

The play was a huge success, so much so it was repeated again the following week for those who could not get a seat first time round. It also went to the Cathedral for two performances as the Bishop was so pleased. Some members of the congregation were seen to be crying when the words “My God, my God, why have you foresaken me” were screamed from the cross.

One was heard to remark ;- “It is almost as though he can really feel that rejection!”


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Posted

Dean, that's a very touching story. Thank you for sharing it. Janian, I'll definitely keep you updated on the story. I wrote like a whirlwind the last two days.


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Thanks Jack


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