The Seminarian: God is Love

Title: The Seminarian: God is Love
Writer: Joshua Lim
Director: Joshua Lim
Studio: Breaking Glass Pictures
Year: 2011
Length: 101 minutes

Available: Amazon.Com and Amazon.Ca

The Seminarian is an award winning movie. According to the DVD box, The Seminarian won Official Selection Newfest 2011, Official Selection Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival 2010, Best Feature Nominee Atlanta Film Festival 2011 and the Directorial Discovery Award Rhode Island International Film Festival 2010. There is a reason why this film won so many awards. The movie has deeper themes that encourage the audience reflection.

The film has a couple of brief shots of fontal male nudity. Other than the brief shots of male nudity, there is little in the film that people may find offensive. There are no scenes of violence and the language is generally very good.

Ryan is a gay seminary student at a conservative evangelical seminary. He is not out on campus or to his family, but he has a few gay friends who also attend the seminary.

Ryan comes across as a romantic and sensitive young man, who is searching for love. Bradley, the man Ryan has fallen for, does not seem to be interested in having a long-term relationship with him. Through the movie, we fallow Ryan’s pursuit of Bradley, at the same time Ryan works on completing his master’s degree thesis.

From a first glance, the movie does not appear to be really about the reconciliation of faith and sexuality, nor does it appear to be about homophobia. There is no combat over Bible passages. The movie shows a few open references to religious-based homophobia. One character in the movie tells a story of being called a “faggot” and being beaten up in the church parking lot. Ryan experiences homophobia from a friend at the seminary and from one of the professors. Indirectly, however, the movie addresses religiously-inspirited homophobia and has a lot to say about the reconciliation of faith and sexuality. Ryan states, “When we love each other, we already love God.” His master’s degree thesis, which is about why God gives humanity the ability to love, is titled, “God Curses Us.” Ryan’s thesis holds that love requires relationships, relationships require forgiveness and that we have to forgive those with whom we have relationships including God.

The understated theme of reconciliation of faith and sexuality and of combatting homophobia allows for much contemplation. Gay people are called by God to love. The God-given call to love people of the same gender causes gay people untold amounts of pain. Because loving people of the same gender causes so much pain, the gay community may need to forgive God, and, perhaps, forgiving God can be what is required for some gay men and some lesbians to reconcile faith and sexuality. Gay people who love each other “already love God” and do not need to worry about if they can love God and be gay.