With the October 1 release of Woman, Thou Art Loosed: The Movie, one of Bishop T.D. Jakes' most popular messages—a story of hope for wounded women—hits the big screen. The story had been adapted into a stage play, and now it's a feature-length film that deals with the issue of childhood sexual abuse, tracing protagonist Michelle's journey toward healing. Jakes spoke to us about his hopes for the movie, the risks of dealing with a difficult topic, and the importance of interaction between churches and social service agencies.
You're known for your ability to minister to hurting women. But how did you come to the point where you decided to address the issue of sexual abuse through a film?
T.D. Jakes: It's been an ongoing conversation since I wrote the book Woman, Thou Art Loosed! I'd wanted to re-enter the conversation because I learned more about these issues after I wrote the book than I'd known before, because so many people wrote me with their stories. This movie is dedicated to all of those stories. There are slices of all of them here.
The response to the play was overwhelming. Many times, we would need to stop a scene and wait for the audience because they began to pray or to worship during the performance. Eventually, we started doing altar calls.
As we saw that response, we began to talk about maybe doing something with video. I started dreaming. Stan Foster, a fantastic scriptwriter, started putting it together. Things started to develop. I was also amazed by the number of actors and actresses who didn't mind that we didn't have much money to offer, because they were so hungry to do something positive.1