Desire and Deliverance

Three new documentaries examine Christian faith, homosexuality, and the question of change.
Desire and Deliverance
Dennis Jernigan in 'Sing Over Me'

“You can choose to believe or not believe that my experiences are valid. That's OK. I just ask you to keep an open mind and consider that it might be possible that this is a genuine, authentic experience, and that it’s possible for more than just me.”

So says “Rilene” near the beginning of Desire of the Everlasting Hills, a new documentary about three Catholics who chose chastity after being in homosexual relationships (watch online here). She says these words as we see images of her carrying the communion bread and wine—an important image for the film, as “communion/community” is suggested as the root object of the desires indicated in the film’s title.

Rilene’s personal journey out of homosexuality is one thing; but the second part of her statement is most controversial: “that it’s possible for more than just me.” This comment is the furthest the film ventures in the “it’s possible for others too” direction. In an age where (particularly on issues of sexual identity) individual choices are fine insofar as they never suggest themselves as preferred models for others, Desire wisely opts to focus on three people sharing their unique-only-to-them journeys, without any statements of universality. And yet Desire—produced by Courage, Int., a Roman Catholic apostolate focused on ministry to same-sex attracted (SSA) individuals and their families—clearly wants the film to offer models of hope for Christians seeking to reconcile their sexual identity with the teachings of the church.

Each of us has a story and “whether or not this story is welcome, it deserves respect,” writes Fr. Paul N. Check, executive ...

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