Jay Peters Talks About His Project "Opening the Door; Homosexuality and the Church"
Updated: Apr 3, 2020
In this next podcast from Karitos, Jay Peters was interviewed by Zach and Susannah Francis about his current film, Opening the Door, Homosexuality and the Church.
Peters, who is a teacher at Kankakee Trinity Academy, challenges his students in his film and media production class every year to create a script on a subject that interests them. This year the film was on homosexuality.
"This year what would typically just be a student film that didn't go beyond the school became something much larger than that." Peters said.
The class is very hands-on according to Peters. Students partially helped in the interviewing and editing of the film. However, Peters says that this film almost failed because of the confusion surrounding how the church should view homosexuality.
"What you have in the church is, you have a lot of people on one side of the church that is kind of like, well, God hates gay people, end of story or you've got people on the other side who say love is love, we accept it and that's just the way it is. Then you've got a lot of people right in the middle who aren't saying anything. They are silent on the issue because it’s not comfortable," Peters said.
Peters stated that, because the subject is not a comfortable one, many people are not being exposed to the true gospel or being connected to the church. Peters said many questions were brought up about the subject within his classroom.
Peters explained that as he learned more about the subject, he felt the Lord leading him to do a documentary.
"Before I knew it we were getting people across the country who wanted to be in this film," Peters said. Peters explained that he felt like God was asking him to make the film and, once he committed to doing it, it changed his heart on the subject.
The film premiered on June 3 at Paramount Theater in Kankee, Florida. Since then it has been shown in many different areas of Florida including the Fire One Twenty Conference. It was recently shown at Karitos in July. Peters shot the film and interviews with a Panasonic GHS and an IPHONEX. The film will be shown throughout the U.S. in the next couple months.
"What we do is we will go into a church or venue and we'll show the film and then we will open it up afterward for Q & A time, prayer time, ministry time. It’s crazy the way people just, I guess, I call it the anointing on this film that causes people to open up," Peters said, "at the end of the day it’s about surrendering to the power of Jesus."
Peters talks about one of the interviewees in the film, Gabrielle Pagan, pastor and author of the book He Still Cares. See his live interview about the book with Peters at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYD2BEHmi4M . Pagan was the first person he contacted for an interview when working on the project. Pagan's book was about himself who had lived the LGBT lifestyle, who had come out of it and who is now a pastor according to Peters. Peters and Pagan connected through Facebook Messenger and, after a few conversations on the phone, Pagan flew to Peters home to help with the film project. Peters said that getting to know Pagan changed his heart towards the LGBT community.
"It was like, no, we don't need to be passive, like, if they come, then we’ll talk to them. We need to be like Jesus and the Bible says that Jesus went out to seek and to save the lost," Peters said. "We need to show ‘hard love’ to where we’re really being intentional for reaching this community...Its a
Peters went on to say that he had spoken with someone who had seen the film and they had said, "This isn't so much a film as it is a movement." Peters is hoping this movement will stir the church to go after the LGBT community with love, with the gospel and with respect.
Peters said that some pastors have asked "What do I do if a gay person comes into my church?" Peters response, was "What do you do if anyone comes into your church, you don't know who someone is or what’s going on in their heart, so why would you treat them differently than you would someone else?"
Peters says it’s about examining how you would treat anyone and encourages others to focus on loving the person as Jesus did. Peters said focusing on what Jesus did on the cross is the message that needs to spread, not a message of what a person may be doing wrong.
"It’s not a gay to straight thing, it’s a lost to found thing," Peters said.
Peters states that this film is a conversation piece. "It doesn't answer every question, it doesn't try to. I think some people hear about the film and think, ‘Oh, this is going to be an apologetic film that will cover every Bible verse and 12 points with people in this lifestyle’ and that's not it at all... Its purpose is to get people talking about this."
To purchase the film Opening the Door, Homosexuality and the Church or to learn more about this subject, visit openingthedoorfilm.com. To contact Peters for a showing of the film in your church, visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
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