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Hey there, I'm Sunny Shell, a wretch saved by God's grace through faith in Jesus Christ the Lord. I'm married to the most incredible man on earth, who loves Jesus more than he loves me, and we have two precious adult sons.

The compassionately endures me through my metabolic disease (since 2004) that enables me to be more prayerful and careful about commitments I make and helps me to make the best use of my short time here on earth.

If you want to know more about me, click HERE.

'Audacity' Brings Truth and Compassion to the Conversation About Homosexuality


By definition, "audacity" can refer to sheer arrogance for the sake of arrogance, or boldness without any regard for self-preservation. In his latest film, "Audacity" (available for download on June 24, 2015), Ray Comfort and his staff at Living Waters, graciously demonstrates the latter definition—boldness without any regard for self-preservation.

"Audacity" presents the truth with great compassion on the hotly debated topic of homosexuality and all that it entails (same-sex marriages, are people born gay, what does the Bible say about homosexuality, etc.). And there's no Disney-like scenes. It's real, edifying and offers true hope to all who watch this movie.

One of the things I really appreciated is how Ray Comfort portrayed the homosexuals (three different couples) in "Audacity" as they truly are—image-bearers of God Almighty (like the rest of us), who are in desperate need of the one and only Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord. I'm always disgusted by Hollywood's depiction of homosexuals as overly-sexed maniacs whose only identity and interest is their sexual orientation. Gay men and lesbian women are no more overly-sexed than heterosexual men and women. Sexual orientation does not determine, nor define sexual obsession (e.g. the abominable "50 Shades of Grey").

I've had many homosexual friends (both gay men and lesbian women) since I was 17 years old. I loved them dearly, so naturally, I shared the Gospel with them; whether they were my co-workers, bosses, or friends of mutual friends. Unlike Hollywood's gross exaggeration of homosexuals, my friends were more than sexual beings, just like heterosexuals are. My gay and lesbian friends were kind, loving, hilarious (well, not all of them), quirky, artsy, brilliant, talented in many ways, thoughtful, etc. They liked many activities I liked and frankly, lived very similarly to me, except that I'm a Christian and a heterosexual.

A movie like this is not only timely, but necessary because homosexuality is a widely misunderstood issue among the secular world and sadly, even among many Christians. Some Christians quote Bible verses stating that homosexuality is a sin while others quote Bible verses (out of context) and conclude that homosexuality is not a sin. Whether secular or Christian, those who contend that homosexuality is not a sin, lean on their definition and comfort level of what love is, rather than defer to God's definition of love—holy, righteous, sacrificial and morally pure.

"Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him...For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?"
-1 John 4:8-9; 5:3-5, ESV

God is love, but love is not God. What I mean by that is exactly what Scripture says; God is love, therefore, He defines what love is. Those who believe love is God, dangerously and erroneously define God by what they "feel" love is...at any given moment. I understand why the world has this faulty, man/self-centered view of love, but I'm quite bewildered at why Christians have the same misguided view.

The talented, atheist illusionist and comedian Penn Jillette (of Pen and Teller) once said about Christians who don't share the Gospel, "If you believe there's a Heaven and Hell and people could be going to Hell, or not getting eternal life or whatever, and you think 'Well, it's not worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward' ...How much do you have to hate somebody to know that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?" I quite agree. Withholding the truth from someone because it makes you feel uncomfortable, isn't you loving others, it's you loving yourself.

Jesus Christ, the only Son of the only living and true God, suffered and died; was crushed for our iniquities; He drank the cup of God's wrath in our stead and rose again on the third day, so all who repent and trust in Christ will have everlasting life. How can any professing Christian condone and celebrate the sinful lifestyles of loved ones? Perhaps it's because too many Christians don't read and study their Bibles. Perhaps it's that too many Christians desire so much to keep a relationship with loved ones living in sin (any sin, whether heterosexual immorality, homosexual immorality, lying, stealing, etc.), that they've convinced themselves this is love, rather look to God, who is love. I don't know.

What I do know, is that the movie "Audacity" demonstrates God's definition of love—extraordinary compassion without compromising the truth. One of my favorite lines is from Peter (Travis Owens) who says, "If I really love people, then I have to say something. Love can't stay silent."

Below is my interview with Ray Comfort.

What inspired you to make this movie and story line?

After making films about abortion and evolution, people kept saying that I needed to make one on the issue of homosexuality—because it was confronting the church, and most Christians were very uncomfortable about how to deal with it without sounding hateful. I adamantly said that it wasn’t going to happen. There were two reasons for this. The first was that anyone who spoke against the issue of homosexuality nowadays are instantly vilified as though he were a hate-filled racist. Nobody wants that. And the second was that I really didn’t know how I could break away from the stereotypical way such a movie would be done. Most films on the subject would have a few ex-homosexuals giving testimonies on how they were now heterosexuals and were happily married with kids. No one was going to watch but Christians. I would be preaching to the choir.

Around April 2014, I was with my friend Stuart Scott in Huntington Beach here in California, when I saw two girls walking towards us kissing each other. I asked if they would like to be on camera, and to my surprise, they said that they would. These two ladies gave me an amazing 14-minute interview, and ended up thanking me for not being judgmental. Yet I hadn't compromised the gospel even slightly. It was as though God had dropped the foundation for a movie into my lap into my lap. That night I wrote a script and sent it to Mark Spence (he was the main editor and producer of "180"). He wrote back "Wow, wow, wow!" I quickly called a meeting, and after just over a year later, we had a completed movie.

This is very different from any of your other movies; it's a scripted story with actors, extras, etc. Why did you decide to do it this way?

To go the documentary route with this subject would have pushed me into a predictable mold. I wanted to stay well clear of the "We are now ex-homosexuals and everything is happy" type of film. Instead, I was thinking of something that was so well-produced and had such a good story line it would grip the attention of the unsaved—where they would stay and listen to the gospel. And at the same time, something that would help Christians who didn't know how to share the gospel with a homosexual without coming across as being hateful. I knew that it could be done, because 1 Timothy 1:8-10 tells us how to do it. It was just a matter of wrapping truth in a package that had the production quality of a modern movie. It was a tall order, but I knew our guys had the gifting to deliver that.

Are all the actors in the movie Christians?

Only three of the actors are Christians. Our big concern was bad acting. Even five seconds of poor acting would be like a small gash in a big ocean liner. No matter how good the production, [bad acting] would sink the whole movie. The only way to make sure this didn't happen was to have auditions and choose the best we could find. As soon as we had our actors, we sat them down at a table. Then my director Eddie Roman introduced me and I took the time to tell them why the script was as it was. I gave my testimony, which included a very clear gospel presentation, said that I wanted everyone (including homosexuals) to find everlasting life and that's why the script was as it was. It was an appropriate opportunity to share the way of salvation right at the beginning of our relationship.

Since this is your first scripted movie with a story line, how did you know where to look for actors, film crew, etc.? Did you have specific things you were looking for?

Over the years we have used Hollywood lighting and sound crews for our television program. We even took them with us when we went to Europe and filmed 13 episodes in 13 countries in 13 days (for our Fourth Season). We also had contacts in a professional casting agency. It’s a fascinating process. When we needed one waitress to play a small part, we had just under 2,000 applicants.

We were looking for talent and likability. We didn't want to stereotype homosexuals.

Do you have any friends who are living a homosexual lifestyle? If so, how long have you been friends with them and how do they remain friends with you, knowing you're a faithful Christian?

I have a number of friends who are atheists (I have no idea of their sexual preference). One of them in a particular, is a close friend. I had him play a paramedic in the movie (very small unspoken part). I also invited him to a special pre-screening we had for donors. His reaction to the movie was interesting. He sent me this quote and permission to use it: "Audacity is entertaining and has some great comedy and dramatic tension. Unlike most Christian films it is far from cheesy, and has a great, well-acted script. Most of all it is not heavy-handed, showing the Christian position on homosexuality without being intimidating or angry. Well done!" -Michael S. Martin (Atheist).

If you could choose one Bible verse or passage that best describes the foundation and heart of "Audacity" what would you say it is?

It would be from First Corinthians 13—about love. A skeptic recently wrote to me and said that it was virtually impossible to be a Bible believing Christian and not be "homophobic." I could understand his reasoning, because Scripture is very clear on the issue. Even when the movie won two awards (we submitted an uncut version), we wondered if Christians would like the movie. When a well-known Christian blogger asked for a review copy, we were a little nervous because he didn't pull any punches. When I sent him a link he replied the same day with, "Ray, this is the best film you have made yet. Congratulations on a job well done. " That was particularly sweet, because we felt a little haunted by "180" during this whole process, because it was so well received; it set a high bar.

Conclusion: From a purely cinematic standpoint, the script and acting were predominantly good, engaging and displayed much talent. The camera work, lighting, music, sound and visual effects were on spot.

Travis Owens "Peter" and Molly Ritter "Diana" were convincing, lovable, authentic. They drew you into their character's fears and convictions, as well as displayed what a truly loving friendship looks like in spite of strongly conflicting views.

Aaron Mitchell "Robert" and Franklin Killian "Lance" played one of the movie's homosexual couples and they were true-to-life, passionate and relatable. Both actors gave such a stellar performance you never judged them, but rather, you feel for them and understand their plight. It's one of my favorite scenes in the movie as it reminded me of precious friendships I once had and miss.

I found Ben Price to be an extremely gifted impersonator (with more than 47 near perfect impersonations). Talented guy. Danielle Rosario "Hailey", though she seemed to have some talent, didn't bring Hailey's character to life; making her character hollow.

As a whole, I love "Audacity" and highly recommend it to everyone (Christians and non-Christians, and especially Christians who know and love homosexual family/friends).

My prayer is that God will provide the necessary means for Ray Comfort to produce more biblically sound, Gospel-focused films so that Christians may be exhorted to live abandoned to Christ and unbelievers will come to saving faith through the steadfast preaching of the Gospel of God's grace (Acts 20:24).




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1 comment:

  1. Short Little RebelJune 15, 2015 at 11:43 PM

    looks great! can't wait to see it.

    ReplyDelete

"If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him." ~ C.T. Studd
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