“Fish Out of Water” (2009) is a feature documentary with a blend of animation and academic interviews. It showcases the seven verses in the Bible used to support discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and trangendered (glbt) people both in churches and in marriage equality discussions. Director Ky Dickens begins with her own journey of coming out to her sorority sisters at Vanderbilt University. They reacted predictably: they damned her to hell, condemned her and labeled her an “abomination”.
Ky knew at the age of seven that she was gay. Information now shared with those around her, she felt like “a fish out of water.” Ky drove around Nashville for three weeks asking opinions and insights of scholars, pastors and glbt people. She says she learned more in those three weeks than in her twelve years in the church. Compiling all the info, she put it in a letter to a friend who had broken relationship with her. Five weeks later, the friend responded, “Let’s work on the relationship.” This encouraged Ky to write a public letter, hence, the documentary.
Knowledge is a powerful mind opener. My own path to trying to understand homosexuality and faith began with relationship and lead to studying the seven sections of Scripture for myself. I believe most Christians who hold a view of the non-congruence between Scripture and same sex behavior/transgenderism have not studied the verses for themselves. My own blog site deals with the verses extensively. Each mention of same sex behavior in the Bible falls into one of these categories: rape, violence, prostitution, idol worship and abuses of sexual relationships. The Old Testament verses were given to keep the Israelites separate from the culture they were coming from (the Egyptians) and going into (the Canaanites). The New Testament verses have been altered in the last forty years to incorporate the word “homosexual”, a concept the writer, Paul, would not have known.
“Fish Out of Water” is well done and can help shorten the process of cutting through the misconceptions many non-affirming Christians hold. It is particularly important now to be educated on what the Bible does and does not say with respect to homosexuality. Many states and the Federal government are wrangling with Defense of Marriage Act, individual state amendments against same sex marriage and civil unions.
America tends to vote with religious views. In the 2012 election, as in the 2004 elections, marriage equality will be a defining issue. Some candidates are building their following on anti-marriage equality positions. If the issue is indeed that important, should we not understand it better? This is true especially for Christians who think we know what the Bible says. I am well educated and have been in the church for over twenty five years, in Bible Studies and own a well-worn Bible, yet, I only looked into this issue for myself in the last seven years.
I see this film as one of the tools that can be used to pique the interest of people in this space: the ones who think they are sure of what they believe. (Another excellent resource is “Through My Eyes” )
I agree with the overview on the sections of Scripture shown in “Fish Out of Water”: the creation story of Adam and Eve, the Sodom and Gomorrah account, Leviticus and Deuteronomy purity codes, Paul’s Letter to the Romans, Corinthians and Timothy. Director Dickens does a good overview that may stir the viewer to check out the verses for themselves. That is the goal I would hope for. Don’t believe me, don’t believe her and certainly, don’t believe the anti-gay Christian rhetoric. Come on now . . . was Jesus anti-anyone except the false teachers?
In my blog, I write extensively to debunk the myths about the glbt community and in particular, about glbt Christians. Continuing to believe lies about a class of people is ignorant and destructive. If you are Christian, you are obligated to seek truth. “Fish Out of Water” is an easy and fast-paced introduction to a perhaps unfamiliar point of view on the seven sections of Scripture. You may struggle to combat your established mindset.Good. If you feel one tightly held belief start to unrust, you will have invested one hour wisely.
Then, take the search for your truth further using your own Bible and concordance or one of the resources I list on my blog. This is far too important an issue in the church, in politics and most importantly, in the lives of people we treat with disrespect due to our own lack of understanding.
“Fish Out of Water” is available for instant view on Netflix or for purchase online.
If you have questions, come on back and ask and I will point you to the responses. I have answered most of the concerns you may have; I had them all myself.
“Fish Out of Water” trailer:
I also HIGHLY RECOMMEND “Through My Eyes” from the Gay Christian Network: