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Comments

Jamie Arpin-Ricci

Well, that settles it. I'll try to see it this week or so. My recent series on homosexuality went surprisingly well, so perhaps the atmosphere is changing, even in the church. We'll see.

Peace,
Jamie

Chris

I feel the jury is out on these sorts of movies. Do I need to see Hollywood's warped version of gay love to understand God's redemptive plan? I know the reality is not always as nice as what we see portrayed so maybe the conversation would be more helpful if it were more real. Perhaps we would be less inclined to be voyeurs?

I know that there is pressure to engage with culture as a part of God's redemptive mission but where do you draw the line as to what's helpful and what isn't. I am not trying to draw a line here but just wondering.

brandon

Good thoughts, Chris. I appreciate your willingness (and Jonny's) to engage with these issues that many Christians make quick, knee-jerk judgments on without having engaged their minds and hearts. I wonder if part of what we can do as followers of The Way is to thoughtfully interact with people (even in Hollywood?) in such a way as to help them be more honest about the issues, vs. the sugar-coated and glorified portrayals of politically-charged issues like homosexuality and even abortion. And I mean in an authentic and transparent way, not necessarily in a biased way. If that's possible. ??

lisa c

I'm a little confused and ask these questions openly, not argumentatively:
- how is hollywood's view of gay love 'warped'?
- what do you mean by 'redemptive'? (I know the specific meaning but please expand).
- why do you feel pressured to engage with the culture? - are you not connected to this anyway whether gay/not? this is who we are. I would be concerned if we didn't consider ourselves part of all these things - completely immersed - rather than something we feel it's our duty to save others from?
- Brandon, did you think hollywood wasn't being honest? Do you think the film glorified homosexuality? I don't think this was the case - the whole situation was just very very sad. There doesn't seem to be any glory when two people who love each other can't be open about how they feel.

- How could 'we' possibly help 'them' when we still see it as 'us and them'? How are we more qualified to tell it as it is?

Thanks for the post
Lisa

jonny

lisa
i don't think most of your questions are directed at me (at least they seem to relate more to what other people have said). the one that does is asking what i meant by redemptive. braodly speaking i think the gospel is about the healing of creation - the scope of redemption that christ won through his death on the cross is as wide as creation itself. so the viision of the future is of a new heavens and a new earth liberated from its bondage, feed from brokenness and suffereing, racism, sexism and so on. good news eh?!
in terms of the film, i was using this in the sense of an overall direction that is life giving, healing, redemptive. what could be good news in this as you say sad situation?
maybe it is worth thinking about that at different stages in the story?
1. early in the film
i think it is pretty clear that both guys are gay. given that, living in denial of it isn't redemptive. truth, honesty and so on are going to save the future damage that enuses from getting married, having secret flings, adultery etc.
2. once they have got married, the question is much harder. marriage requires faithfulness/troth. the secret affair/adultery is destined for disaster. so it's hard to see what is redemptive. maybe if the marriage is a sham, talking about it with their partners and facing the pain of the truth about sexuality might have been a more redemptive route? i don't know - it's so difficult because of the wider cultural context which makes it so difficult for them to admit they are gay. or maybe it would be redemptive to stay married and be faithful in spite of the pain of that? who knows...
anyway a few thoughts

Ali Campbell

Living in the light, or moving towards the light is redemptive - that isn't happening in this film, would we see their deceit as "a tragic love story" if they were having adulterous relationships with women, or secretly engaged in some other practice that abused their commitment to their wives. The problem with film is just how subjective it is, another current example is "Jarhead", which has just come out - some might see this film as an important take on the American view of war etc. To me, it just look likes "American Pie" in a desert. I feel concerned that in our willingness to engage, which is important we are allowing our hearts to see things as "important" or "romantic" or "tragic" our discernment about the values in a film seem to be dictated by the brilliance of the cinematograhy.

lisa c

thanks for expanding on redemption jonny

wrt Ali's comment, I would say that it is a tragic story where any two people love each other and can't be together. whether this be because they're married/with partners or they're gay and society won't allow them to be open about their sexuality. this doesn't detract from whether they've been deceitful, which I'm not condoning (thinking of their wives/partners). it's not necessarily the right thing to love someone but it doesn't quite work like that does it? I would agree with jonny that it's how you then act to choose the best redemptive route available.

Marshall Kirkpatrick

My thoughts on watching the movie were this:
1. thank goodness it is safer today in many places than it was in this movie to be gay.
2. it is horrible that non-heterosexual people still face the threat of being beaten to death for their sexuality.
3. thank goodness this movie was made. hopefully it will help change #2 above.

Thanks so much to the Christians out there who are working to spread love, empathy and non-judgement/acceptance. You certainly temper my rage towards those who work in the opposite direction.

Ali Campbell

Agree with Marshall's comments, which might sound paradoxical, but, I cannot STAND those who would enforce their views on others . . . especially where that turns to violence, which I think is often as a result of fear, "American Beauty" was a prime example exploring the issues a dad was suppressing in order to be the "man" he thought he was supposed to be, his anguish moved me to tears. Yet, I can't escape the fact that making it personal - i.e. a film which explores the love between two people, directed in such a way, immediately shapes our feelings and thoughts about the wider issues implied and it is hard to be anything other than subjective . . . it is right however that we are made to care about the individuals - that should temper our attitudes and the way we communicate out beliefs and values with others.

Charles

Why is Brokeback Mountain being given nomination after nomination? Why is this movie resonating with those in power in Hollywood? The answer is Hollywood doesn't view adultery or unprotected anal sex in a negative light. The emotional pain of the women and the potential diseases the women may be exposed to (syphilis, etc) is overshadowed by a story of two men pursing their desires. Unprotected anal sex and lying to your “loved ones,” these are minor plot points to those in Hollywood. I saw an interview of a major actor going to see Brokeback Mountain. The interviewer asked, “do you find anything morally wrong about the Brokeback Mountain story?” The actor was offended and replied in a challenging voice, “do you?” There is a profound disconnect between the “anything goes” attitude of the Hollywood elite and those who are on the other side of the movie screen in the theater.

Charles

The synopsis of Brokeback Mountain given by the studio is: "Two young men -- a ranch-hand and a rodeo cowboy -- meet in the summer of 1963, and unexpectedly forge a lifelong connection, one whose complications, joys, and tragedies provide a testament to the endurance and power of love." Adultery and lying is a testament to the endurance of love? Engaging in unprotected sex that endangers the lives of your family is a testimony of the power of love? Only from the viewpoint of those who made this movie. They see the adulterer as the hero and protagonist. This is wrong.

ian

Charles - the story and thus the movie begins in 1963 - AIDs was not an issue so the 'condom' angle is totally out of context. And as for the adultery aspect nearly every negative reaction I've read to this film conveniently ignores that these men were torn between what society expected them to do and be, and what their true feelings were. This film in no way shies away from the negative impact the relationship has on the spouses and children, but you seem determined to shy away from examining it at any level other than 'it led to adultery so it must be intrinsically wrong' - life and adult human relationships are just not that clear cut. Rather than blaming Hollywood perhaps you should be blaming societal discrimination and hatred and the all too swift tendency of some to judge others without ever pondering what life in their shoes might be like.

Charles

Ian -
You see only what you want to see. Case in point, I never used the word AIDS in my post. Yet you write "Charles - the story and thus the movie begins in 1963 - AIDs was not an issue so the 'condom' angle is totally out of context." By the way Ian, latex condoms were invented in the 1930s and were aroundin the 1960s, along with nasty STDS.
These are minor points. The broad view, which you claim to enjoy, is that Brokeback Mountain isn't a story about love. It's a story about being selfish and hurting people. Even the gay lovers are selfish in their actions with each other (if you REALLY want to talk about true feelings). That's my beef. Just because there are gay people in this movie, people are jumping on the band wagon supporting this film. I hope people truly examine what this film is about. It certainly isn't a love story. It's a movie that profiles an adulterer.

cheryl

i just saw it this afternoon - it's only just opened here. i thought it was a beautifully told, desperately sad story. (I am 'supporting' the film, charles, because it tells a story i need to hear about what it's like to deny who you are and who you love. Just because i 'support' the film doesn't mean that i support the actions of the characters.)

we came out asking the question: if you were able to choose between never knowing love, or knowing only 'forbidden' love like this, which would you choose... and then realised that the whole point was that for jack and ennis there was no choice. they were in love before they knew it. Their physical relationship was visible evidence of that, but even if they hadn't had that, even if they never saw each other again after that first encounter, they knew they were diminished by not being together, and they came to life when they were.

as for redemption... it guess it would come in different ways for each of the characters, but just thinking of ennis, the film doesn't end with him being an adulterer. it ends with his faithfulness to jack. maybe that could be the beginning of his redemption?

actually, perhaps what the film shows best is that individual redemption can only come hand in hand with the redemption of society...

cheryl

just need to add that when i say ennis was faithful to jack at the end, i mean not just that he knew he needed to not make the terrible mistake of marriage again, but that he was faithful to the love they had - he acknowledged to himself, perhaps for the first time, just what this relationship meant to him, and he honoured it by visiting Jack's parents, and particularly through his interaction with jack's mother.

he'll die lonely. maybe redemption doesn't always mean happy ever after. but you can't ever begin to find liberation and wholeness if you aren't honest to yourself.

The Yank

I confess I shouldn't comment because I have not seen the movie yet but I can't miss the dialogue about it and the enthusiasm Hollywood is showing. I do wonder if Hollywood is just blindly parroting the PC angle or if they really appreciate the story. That aside, I am still wondering why we believers expect non-believers to be 'moral.' True morality is to be understood only in the context of believers living out the life of savior in community. I think that if we as believers authentically demonstrated the alternative way of life Jesus came to introduce to us, we might be invited to play a 'redemptive' role in all the stories that are reflected by the movie, Broke Back Mountain.

I will see the movie, I promise.

home mom

None of these comments have convinced me that this movie has any redeeming value. I think that Hollywood has a perspective based on demographics. Because of their money and power there they think they have a moral obligation to correct society. They are hoping the the majority of Americans see things their way. Why??? Why not go all the way and try to convince Islam of the correctness of your moral?

I feel like this movie is nothing more than a political statement by the liberal Hollywood agenda. If they were so satisfied that this is right they wouldn't feel the need to try and "convert" the rest of us. Conservative values founded this country. If you want a "diverse" society why are you so desperatly trying to make us all think alike? Frankly I don't care what liberals think of me or my family values. And just for the record, I'm not phobic. I've known, worked with and had many friends and a few family members that are homosexual. I have respected them as individuals and never attempted to change their minds or lifestyle.
Thank you

ian

Charles - I take your point about the condoms/STDs but I would still like to hear your take on the inescapable fact that if homophobia were not still rife today, some homosexuuals would not feel pressured to marry to maintain an illusion that is expected of them by society. It doesn't make the pain this may cause to all involved at all 'right', but do you think people deliberately set out to hurt their loved ones? I don't. Imagine if there was no homophobia in 1963 so that Jack and Ennis could have settled down on a ranch together. Would that have hurt anyone? In my opinion, no it wouldn't of. They could have been themselves and the wives could have married men who weren't always with someone else - physically and emotionally.

home mom - why on earth would you think that a movie that has gay characters at its core is trying to 'convert' you to something? Is King kong trying to convert us into giant apes? Is Big Mommas House trying to make us into robust black women? Your argument makes about as much sense as mine above. You are right - Hollywood goes by demographics and box offices and beyond the Birdcage and Philadelphia there has been little in the past to make them think that BM was a potential success. Conservative values may have founded your nation but what were the founders fleeing? Persecution, intolerance and a society unable or unwilling to let them be themselves - I know Amercians are said to have an irony deficiency but I'm sure you can see the parallels.

Andrew Seely

I wrote an article talking about Brokeback. You can find it here http://www.relevantmagazine.com/pc_article.php?id=7101

Love to hear your thoughts.

Fat Roland

Andrew, how sad that Relevant saw fit to put a 'disclaimer' at the start of your article. I thought Relevant was better than that.
Good article, though!

steve collins

a useful parallel to consider might be those societies where marriage is a property/family/caste transaction. people are obliged by social structures to marry those they don't love, and may spend the rest of their lives in furtive affairs with those they would have married given a free choice. breaking vows is wrong, but this is a different kind of adultery to the consumerist kind we know. one could wonder whether such marriages are truly marriages, in the 'those whom god hath joined together' sense.

lowell

i welcome any constructive conversation regarding a christian view of gay relationships. i struggle however with the contemporary belief that love over rides covenant and that there is justification in breaking a vow simply because of a strong feeling for another human being.

Jeff

I know that I am late to the party, but I am seeing something very interesting. For being a Christian site, there is not a lot of talk about God, and his views on man’s affairs. As believing Christians, our chief aim life, is to Glorify God and enjoy him forever. Bottom line: it’s not about us, our desires, our dreams, or our will; it’s about that of the Savior.

I must say that I whole-heartedly agree with many on this site that as Christians, we should not hate, oppress, or demean ANY person or group. That is truly out of bounds for Christians. But we ARE called to proclaim and uphold truth. Even if that truth is not what the mainstream wants to hear. Homosexuality is defined in the bible as sexual sin (as much as heterosexual Adultery or Premarital sex). Our reaction to that should be to love the sinner and hate the sin (he is a forgiving God). We don’t deny the temptation to homosexuality (much as we don’t deny the temptation to other sexual activity that is out of bounds), but admonish against the behavior, not the person.

If we take seriously, God’s most important two commandments (Love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul and mind, & love our neighbor as ourselves), we may put aside our own selfish, carnal desires and live for the will of God. I hope that these truths are not lost as we applaud the talented film-making surrounding this “love story”.

jonny

thanks for the lecture... maybe i didn't intend my blog to be a platform for preaching?!...

thanks for everyone's comments. interestingly the most profound comment by far imho is from the visiting non christian marshall (thank you) whose three points sum it all up

1. thank goodness it is safer today in many places than it was in this movie to be gay.
2. it is horrible that non-heterosexual people still face the threat of being beaten to death for their sexuality.
3. thank goodness this movie was made. hopefully it will help change #2 above.

amen brother

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