catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 3, Num 19 :: 2004.11.19 — 2004.12.02


'Loosing' the Church to combat abuse

Woman, Thou Art Loosed, an independent film based on Bishop T.D. Jakes' eponymous novel and play, is a troubling tale in the biblical, or Bethesda sense—that is, it "troubles the waters" to initiate healing. From shocking teaser to inspiring tag, the film dramatically unfolds an unforgettable character's story, which will be for some an autobiography, for others an indictment, and for the chosen few, hopefully, a call to compassionate action.

Actress Kimberley Elise stars alongside Jakes, who portrays himself. Elise is Michelle, a young adult initially seen sitting in a prison cell, talking with the minister as he probes the painful events that brought her there. Michelle's criminal actions have arisen from the trauma of her childhood sexual abuse at the hands of her mother's live-in boyfriend, and from the broken bonds of love and trust between the adult-child and her neglectful mother. As Jakes counsels the young convict, he learns the secrets of her deeply damaged life and downhill path through low self-esteem, drug abuse, and further exploitation. Listening, he offers Michelle not only compassion, but a genuine hearing for the first time, and he helps her discover the healing and freedom that can be hers through Christ.

Elise's powerful performance brings the deep pain of Michelle's childhood palpably to the surface through her intense facial expressions and body language. The actor's craft may well catalyze the self-commissioning of many new advocates for the abused. Jakes says Christ built his Church "squarely at the intersection where tragedy meets triumph, and where pain turns the corner to hope," and his film artfully reminds the Church to heed the cry of the victimized. Meanwhile, its important story announces to all the redemptive power of the Gospel, which can infiltrate even the most damaged lives and darkest prisons with the renewing light of love and the freeing hope of new life.

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