TREMBLING BEFORE GOD
Come, Malachi 4:6, Come!
Release Date: December 13, 2002
Distributor: New Yorker Films
Director: Sandi Simcha Dubowski
Producer: Sandi Simcha Dubowski and Marc Smolowitz
Address Comments To:Daniel Talbot, President
New Yorker Films
16 West 61st Street, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10023
Phone: (212) 247-6110
Fax: (212) 307-7855
Unlike many movies with homosexual themes, which often unashamedly parade before us the “sinful deeds of darkness” as pro-gay promotional films, the documentary TREMBLING BEFORE GOD earnestly follows the lives of several people in New York, London and Israel, who are sincerely struggling with the moral issues of being Orthodox Jewish AND having homosexual desires. Most of those interviewed in the movie truly believe they were born and must die both gay and Jewish, lovers of God and His Torah AND lovers of their own sex.
One man, David, goes back to visit a beloved Rabbi after 20 years and confesses that he is still “gay,” that the rabbi’s recommended psychotherapy did not work, and that he is absolutely perplexed that his lifestyle and innate desires are smacking up against God’s holy moral law. The rabbi suggests that David simply decide to remain celibate. David asks if the rabbi could possibly imagine living a celibate life, if he could abstain from having sex with his wife for the next 40 years. The rabbi shakes his head no and offers no other counsel to the distraught seeker.
A lesbian couple, shown in silhouette, bemoans the angst of living their lives in alienation from their parents. One of the gals gets a call from her father, who is wishing her a perfunctory Sabbath blessing, but the woman cries when she hangs up, that her father’s words are simply obligatory and never heartfelt.
Another man is Israel, an ageing tour guide whose wit and street smarts gradually, as the movie progresses, turn into a transparent voicing of the depths of longing in his heart for his father’s love. “The real truth is that I want my daddy. I’m 58 years old, and I want somebody to stand at the head of the table and sing, ‘Shalom Alecheim,’” he says as he belts out the rueful Hebraic song.
The heartache of these people is almost tangible. The emptiness of their religion, which is “rules without relationship” with God, is an immeasurable and eternal tragedy. Where are their answers? How does one fill the emptiness of the human heart without a personal relationship with Yeshua? How did the Old Testament Jews obey God’s holy moral law without the benefit of the Holy Spirit? When will God rend the heavens and show Himself to be the powerful, personal, pursuing Savior and healer to these Jews so desperate to find Him? These and other thought-provoking theological issues will grip the hearts of those who love the Jews.
The movie is an interesting study for those who don’t understand the mindset of the person caught in the homosexual lifestyle who, paradoxically, is still desperately trying to live a life that is pleasing to God. It is a call to prayer that God would, indeed, return the hearts of the fathers to their children and the children to their fathers– as it is clear from the movie that most, if not all, of the men who believe they are homosexual perceived or knew in reality an early and/or ongoing lack of attention and affection from their fathers.
The movie does have a couple moments of frank discussion about the specifics of homosexual sex, and it shows a few seconds of a man dressing as a woman, but there is no other graphic sex in the movie, beyond an allusion to a hug or a kiss here or there. It is truly a movie about a spiritual quest and the longing for love and approval – from the “father” and the “Father.”
Of course, the overall thrust of the movie seems to support the homosexual position against the rigidity of the Orthodox position. While Jesus died and rose again to redeem all who call on His Name, the law was ordained by God and is not to be dismissed by wayward men and women. These people have a choice and need to choose life by the power of His Grace, not perversion by the power of their rebellion.
Some points to consider:
Stop blaming fathers, mothers, etc., for your problems.
Stop excusing the homosexual lifestyle.
The person entrapped in the homosexual lifestyle is responsible for his or her choices.
Exceptions should not be made the rule.
Feelings should not be elevated above the Law or the Truth.
All children are in rebellion.
No man is righteous.
The Children of Israel thought God was unfair.
God chastised and punished the Children of Israel; He did not show His approval of their wicked ways.
The heartache of these lost people is almost tangible. Clearly, they do not understand that by accepting the free gift of Jesus Christ they can get out of their immoral homosexual lifestyle. The emptiness of their legalistic interpretation of religion, which is “rules without relationship” with God, is an immeasurable eternal tragedy. TREMBLING BEFORE GOD contains a couple spots of overly frank discussion on homosexual sex and documentary depictions of the homosexual lifestyle. This is otherwise a movie about the longing for love from the earthly father and man’s ignorance of the love of the heavenly Father through Jesus Christ