February 6, 2006
The Hidden Blessing of Brokeback Mountain
Last week the Oscar nominations were announced and Brokeback Mountain, popularly known as the "gay cowboy movie," has been nominated for more awards than any other film. Although not a financial blockbuster, the film has been heralded by critics as a cinematic triumph. Newsweek's Sean Smith wrote, "Brokeback feels like a landmark film. No American film before has portrayed love between two men as something this pure and sacred. As such, it has the potential to change the national conversation and to challenge people's ideas about the value and validity of same-sex relationships."
Despite Hollywood's growing appreciation for evangelical viewers (and evangelical money), Brokeback Mountain was not marketed to church-goers. However, after reviewing Brokeback on ChristianityTodayMovies.com we received the following letter from one Christian who saw Brokeback Mountain, and believes there may be a hidden blessing in this film for the church.
Thank you for your honest review of Brokeback Mountain. First, I want to point out that I am a born-again believer who has known the Lord for many years. I have also struggled with homosexuality most of my life. Because I accept the written word of God as truth, and because it teaches that homosexuality is sin, I have never accepted homosexuality as an acceptable orientation and lifestyle. For obvious reasons, I wasn't sure if seeing Brokeback Mountain would be good for me. But, I saw the film anyway and I am glad that I did.
Watching Ennis shut down emotionally over the course of his relationship with Jack was like watching myself. But it didn't depress me. Instead, I walked away from the movie with even a deeper love for Jesus because of how he has stuck with me during life and for the role that the body of Christ has played as my family.
As I walked out of the movie, a young man commented to me and two women standing nearby that he thought the film was going to be more about tolerance. Without thinking about it, I blurted, "No, it wasn't about tolerance. It was about life." Then I turned to the two women and said, "I have lived what we just saw on the screen. But, I have been saved by Jesus Christ and, even though he has more work to do, he has changed my life." I'm not sure if they were Christians, but both replied, "Thank God!"
Yesterday, my pastor began a series on biblical prosperity - not the "let's get rich and store up possessions" kind. But rather the prosperity that comes by surrendering to the Lord and allowing him to conform us to the image of Christ. That prosperity brings peace, joy, and contentment regardless of our state in life. Pastor made it clear that the prosperity that comes from God requires that we allow him to clean out areas in us that prevent his blessing.
Later that afternoon, several of my Christian friends and I met for lunch, and I shared with them my struggle with homosexuality and desire to be totally freed of it. I told them that I couldn't do it alone and needed their love and support. They affirmed their love for me and promised to walk through the process with me. Seeing how Ennis ended up isolated and empty helped me to tell them of my struggle and ask for help. I don't want to end up like Ennis. Neither does God!
Gay militants greatly over-exaggerate the number of people that are exclusively homosexual. However, there are far more people like Jack and Ennis than we imagine ? many of whom are Christians like myself. I hope that Leadership and Christianity Today will turn around what Satan means for evil through Brokeback Mountain and use it as a backdrop to write about sexual addiction in the church. It could help others find the same forgiveness and healing that I am experiencing.