The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Prayers for Bobby

Yesterday was movie day. One at the theater, one at home.

We ended the day after coming home by watching Prayers for Bobby on Lifetime (check your listings, it repeats several times over the next few days). Here is the movie Bobby, played by Ryan Kelley. Sigourney Weaver plays his mother, Mary.


This movie is based on the real life and death of Bobby Griffith, a young gay man whose rejection by his Christian conservative mother led to his suicide. His mother Mary, then realizes that her understanding of the Bible was wrong, that her lack of compassion and understanding of her son was the reason he killed himself. Here is a picture of the real Bobby Griffith.



His mother, Mary, went on to become an advocate for gay equality, but look at the cost she paid for refusing to accept the truth. For refusing to even listen to the truth. Oh, his father didn't help much either.

Ryan does a great job of portraying the emotions that a gay kid might go through as he struggles for acceptance. I want the readers of this blog, especially those who are so outspoken about gays, to imagine if they have a child who reveals he or she is gay, how they would react. Would they still love their child? Not the fake, "love the sinner" type love demonstrated in this movie and that we hear so much about.. But real, true, Godly love, where you love your child because of what he is, not in spite of what he is. Or would they reject their child, drive their child away from home, drive their child to suicide.

Here is a preview. There are more on the site.


This movie is likely to earn some Emmy nominations. Watch it.

If you are visiting this blog, in search of answers about your own sexuality like Bobby, and are approaching a crisis point, visit The Trevor Project , or call 866-488-7386, where you can find help. the Trevor project is a round the clock helpline for gay or confused youth.

I guess that is enough for today. The other movie review will have to come later.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I watched "Prayers for Bobby" last night and was emotionally reminded of my own rejection from my parents when I came out to them at the age of 25. Unlike Bobby, I led the double life into my mid-twenties. I experienced many sad Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays where I had to solemnly sit back and be alone while all of my other siblings were paired off with loved ones. My whole being was repeatedly killed each time that a family member would make a negative "queer" comment, just as the grandmother did in the movie. When I decided that my self-esteem could not get any lower and my emotional journey had taken me through several inquires of suicide, I introduced my same-sex spouse to my family. The same person that they had known, loved, and joked with now became the enemy. My parents even stated that I had killed "them". They do not even know what an internal lonely death feels like. I was the one who had internally shut down and died at the age of 15 when I began to battle who I was and why I was different.
As I am about to approach my 33rd birthday, I continue to understand the yearning and acceptance that Bobby was seeking from his own family in the movie. However, I know who I am and have had a successful relationship with my same-sex spouse for the last 10 years (longer than both of my two siblings' multiple marriages). We have an intimate relationship with Christ as our head, which is ironic since the parents who condemed with me their old testament scriptures are no longer involved in the church. At this point, they are the ones who are bitter and lonely, while I am free and lively in the name of Jesus. I continue to pray for my parents and family--that they might come to realize what they are missing and the love that they have rejected from their son. I, like Bobby Griffith, continue to seek their acceptance and love. Until then, I have acceptance and peace knowing that I am a child of God.

Joe said...

Anonymous,
Thanks for the comment. Your story adds to the wealth of information regarding the need for acceptance and equality. And to the fact that we can still rely on the love and acceptance of God, even when we can't expect the same from our loved ones.

You deserve a big hug.

Congratulations on your 10 year relationship.

Jennifer said...

"...whose rejection by his Christian conservative mother led to his suicide."

Amazing. This movie both bashes religion and lays the blame for a disturbed man's suicide on conservative Christianity. How sad.

While it is true that some people, Christian or not, can be rude and mean sometime, it is sad the way this movie shows Christianity.

Could it be that maybe in real life (not in the movie) that this man committed suicide b/c he could not come to terms with the sin in his life. He looked around his family on the holidays and saw NORMAL relationships, and could not come to term with his abnormality.

It is true what you say. We CAN rely on the love and acceptance of God, HOWEVER, God expects us to follow his teachings and his word. How sad that homosexuals so often try to compromise the word of God to fit their sinful lifestyle.

I am a Christian. I go to a church that loves and accepts anyone who wants to come through it's doors. But at the same time, we want to minister to those who are living a life that is not in accordance with His word.

You should condemn this movie for it's portrayal of Christianity.

Joe said...

Jennifer,
The movie has a positive portrayal of Christianity, in its depecition of the MCC Church and its pastor (played by Dan Butler). It is the actions of the uninformed, miguided "Christian" mother that the movie speaks out against. I agree with the movie.

The movie also accurately portrays how scripture has been misinterpreted to condemn gays.

Joe said...

Jennifer,
I don't go back and forth on the issues you brought up. History, culture and scripture, when analyzed together, dispute what you wanted to post.

Trey said...

Anonymus,
Thanks for telling your story. It is one that more poeple need to hear.

I have a little story too. My best friend in high school suddenly moved to Florida by himself when we were seniors. In the period that followed, he didn't seem very interested in keeping in touch. I was a little confused and saddened by this at the time, but it soon slipped from my mind. I was preparing to get married when I was 26 and took some pains to track him down and invite him to my wedding, which took place over a weekend at a beach house. As I was driving him back to the airport, he told me that the reason he had left and hadn't kept in touch was because he was gay and didn't know how I would react to that.

By that time in my life, I had some gay friends and told him that everything was fine with me. He went on to describe to me the tremendous internal struggle he went through in high school, not only with coming to terms with his identity, but in not having the courage to come out to me and his other close friends.

It was a very relieving revelation. We have been in constant contact over the ensuing 10 years, getting together at least once per year. He is definitely one of my wife and daughter's favorite people.

Though by the time I was 26, I had developed the maturity to see gay people as normal and representative of the kind of social diversity that should be celebrated, I'm really not sure how I would have reacted when I was 17. I know I wouldn't have shunned or rejected him, but I may not have had the personal tools or sociological context to continue the same kind of relationship that we had. In that sense, his reluctance to come out was perhaps justified. And that is the kind of tragedy that we as a society need to be working to prevent in today's world.

I know that responding to the, shall we say, less-than-fully-thought-out comments on the blog is laborious and tiresome for one guy, so I try to take up some of the slack for Joe in the comments section. So I'd like to respond to a couple of Jenifer's statements:

1)"Could it be that maybe in real life (not in the movie) that this man committed suicide b/c he could not come to terms with the sin in his life. He looked around his family on the holidays and saw NORMAL relationships, and could not come to term with his abnormality." Yes, you are almost right about this, but wrong on a couple of points. First, American clergy and Biblical experts are split on whether or not homosexuality is a "sin", so the dogmatic assertion to the affirmative is a bit narrow-sighted. Second, according to the American Psycological Association and the American Medical Association, homosexuality isn't an abnormality, but a natural and normal variation on human sexuality, much like left-handedness is a natural variation on hand-preference. But you may be correct in proposing that, because of unnatural social pressures, he was unable to come to terms with his identity.

2) "we want to minister to those who are living a life that is not in accordance with His word"
I wonder what other "sins" you and your church feel rise to the level of being deserving of your intervention, or "ministering", as you put it? Since Jesus talked A LOT about devaluing material things, do you "minister" to someone who shows up at your church in a BMW? Since Jesus talked A LOT about the "sin" of divorce, do you "minister" to divorcees when they come to your church? Since Jesus talked A LOT about giving money to the poor, do you feel it necessary to "minister" to those who give insufficiently?

Jesus NEVER ONCE mentions homosexuality, but homophobia seems to be the veritable cornerstone of many people's "faith". Very curious.

I doubt very much your claim that your church "accepts" gay people with the same degree of inclusion as it does those who are committers of scripturally worse "sins". Very curious.

Joe said...

Trey,
Thanks for the assist. your story, BTW, is an example of how people should be respond to their loved ones and friends. I'm certainly glad you and he have gotten back in touch and stay in touch with each other.

As times have changed since you and your friend were seniors, maybe kids these days are not as reluctant to share their identity with close friends. Maybe close friends are educated enough to realize its no big idea. I know my kids have gay friends and its certainly no big deal to them. But of course, they have an advantage.

Bhamdaniel said...

After all is said and done I have no doubt whatsoever that,"Prayers for Bobby," will save at least one teenager from death by suicide. Oh, that millions of our children may have the opportunity to see this Lifetime movie!

Anonymous said...

ok anonymous, now i will put in my 2 cents. I loved that movie for one thing. now with that said, I do not agree with a lot of points made in the movie. i am a Christian, and i believe every word the Bible says. It states that all scripture is given and inspired by God; not mortal men. For the movie to state that the Bible was interpreted wrongly is, to me, a falicy. The Bible has been interpreted in many ways, by many different people, to fit their needs and to justify their actions.

I believe that God did most definitely love bobby griffin. I have no doubt of that. However, I do also believe that God despised his actions in the gay lifestyle.

I had a battle with lesbianism. I did not want it; as i believe most gay people do not, which is why they have such a hard time coming to grips with it. Also, if it was ok to be that way, then it would not be so hard for a person to say they are gay, and be ok with it. They do not because deep inside, just like myself, they know it is wrong. Anyway, I even acted on it twice, and tried to seek therapy to cure myself of it. I went to my pastor who is a very understanding man, and he told me that "i was enjoying my sin" he then referred me to a professional therapist. She told me she could not help me because i was not ready to be helped. I became so angry at them both. But as time passed, i realized they were right. I had to admit it, go thru it, and deal with it. There was no miracle cure. so I did. I acted on my urges. Afterwards, I realized, that this was not who I was. I am proud to say, that God did bring me out of that sin; with lots and lots of prayers.

So do not say that the movie was bad, or wrong, it had its good points, but i do disagree with the preacher saying that the Bible was interpreted wrong, and that gay is ok, and that God agrees with the gay lifestyle. Now I also disagree with the way that bobby's mom treated him. I think she could have done better.

but then again, we never know how we would react if one of our children stated that they were gay.

The Bible says, go forth and be fruitful. You can not be naturally fruitful with a same sex union. The Bible says, that a man shall not lay with another man as he would his wife. I do not think that God was talkin about watching tv in bed. I am pretty sure that he meant having sex. So interpret it anyway you like to make yourself feel better, but God said what God said.

Oh, and by the way, I have gay and bisexual friends. I do not have to agree with what they do to love them.

Thank You

Anonymous said...

when will everyone understand that in GODS EYES homosexuality is a SIN. GOD does forgive it if you repent and stop your sin... AND you people also need to get it through your thick skulls that homosexuality is a chemical imbalance in the brain., and also a demon attacking you..GET HELP fast for this world is only temporary. WHEN you die, you either go to heaven or hell...there is no middle.

Joe said...

A chemical imbalance? And a demon? I had no idea so much was going on in my head. Oh my.

Anonymous said...

"when will everyone understand that in GODS EYES homosexuality is a SIN. GOD does forgive it if you repent and stop your sin... AND you people also need to get it through your thick skulls that homosexuality is a chemical imbalance in the brain., and also a demon attacking you..GET HELP fast for this world is only temporary. WHEN you die, you either go to heaven or hell...there is no middle. "

Chemical imbalance? your claim is not supported by facts. and even scientists who conducted the research on mice regarding this chemical imbalance say that their research is inconclusive. I pity you,you idiot.

YoungManTalkin said...

Jennifer

I pray you never have children...a person like you only brings misery into the life of a child. Your ignorance is only exceeded by your lack of good breeding and any evidence of a human heart. I am a Christian...you are no Christian, your religion is not religion. Jennifer, people like you are nothing more than trained golden retrievers....except the dog has soul. I will pray for you.

YoungManTalkin said...

Jennifer

I pray you never have children...a person like you only brings misery into the life of a child. Your ignorance is only exceeded by your lack of good breeding and any evidence of a human heart. I am a Christian...you are no Christian, your religion is not religion. Jennifer, people like you are nothing more than trained golden retrievers....except the dog has soul. I will pray for you