A play about gay Christians, written by Calvin College drama professor Stephanie Sandberg, sold out on its opening night in September and extended its run by an additional weekend.
Sandberg, a member of Church of the Servant Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., wrote and directed Seven Passages: The Stories of Gay Christians, based on 127 interviews with self-described gay Christians, a large percentage of who were raised in the Christian Reformed Church. She called the CRC a “difficult denomination” for gay people.
“My experience was that a lot of [gay] people have left the CRC because of the pain over this issue,” Sandberg said. “Most of the [gay] people who are staying have chosen celibacy because of the church’s position on homosexuality. But not all—some are in committed same-sex partnerships, but the partnerships are hidden.”
The play includes only biblical quotes and actual scripts from Sandberg’s interviews, with many names altered for the sake of anonymity.
Sandberg said she was surprised “that so many people outside the church have taken an interest and said, ‘Wow, there are a lot of people who are faithful and resilient.’” She believes that the stories of gay Christians are a testimony to non-Christians and Christians alike, including 150 pastors who attended a free morning performance that was funded by a grant.
“I can feel God and Christ next to me in some of this,” Sandberg said. “I had no idea that Christ could use something to minister to people in pain on many different levels.”
The play will be produced again in West Michigan Feb. 7 to 16 and will also be available on film and as a script by mid-2008.