Thursday, February 02, 2006

I Broke Down and Saw Brokeback

I went with my daughter to see Brokeback Mountain.

Yes, that film.

You know what? I liked it. I'm serious. I thought it was good.

The acting was absolutely first rate. Cinematophraphy was out of this world. The story was compelling and believable. I can see why it's nominated for Best Movie, not just because it's controversial, but because it's good.

I found the movie not so much to be a "gay" movie. In fact, once past the initial minor shock of seeing two men engaged (not all that explicitly, by the way - not in comparison with hetero-sexual scenes in movies of similar ratings) in a sex scene, the movie became a love story. Honest.

A tortured love story, to be sure, but a love story nonetheless.

What jumped out at me as the main theme of the story was the anguish these two men went through because they were unable, either by the very real pressures of society or their own expectations on themselves, to be honest and open about who they were and their love for each other. Their ability to be open was hampered by the fact that people were killed in their part of the country for being homosexual in those days. Also, they were cowboys - ranch hands - and true men, as cowboys were raised and expected to be, were not queer. Ever. As a result, they led faded, false, double lives, taking wives and having children, all the while having clandestine meetings disguised as camping or fishing trips a few times a year.

Naturally, the pressures of keeping up a false life tear each of them down, along with their families. In the final analysis, neither of them get anything they really want, everyone gets hurt, and, after one of them is brutally murdered for being homosexual, the other is left alone - a lonely old man having cut himself off from his children and family.

Truly, it was a good film. Thoughtful and thought provoking. A story about love, joy, loss, anguish, sorrow, and selfishness.

Selfishness? Of course. The human failings of selfishness drove these two men to constantly lie to their families, their wives and children, in their efforts to maintain their hidden relationship, and nurture what was, for them, a very real and deep love and need for each other. The human failings of selfishness broke the hearts of two families, and several children.

And to be fair, the men were despairing over what to do, both with their own relationship and their relationships with their families, and how to justify and reconcile with themselves what seemed to be an impossible situation. Here they had in each other the love of their lives - the joy and ecstasy that made live livable for them, and it was forbidden.

I'm not judging right or wrong, just commenting on what the films depicts.

It just seems interesting to me that so many people pre-judge this film, simply for their narrow-minded view of the subject matter. I know I did. My initial thought was, good Lord, Hollywood's at it again, throwing homosexuality down our throats! But after seeing the movie, and I thank the Lord he motivated me and allowed me to be humble and swallow my pride and watch it, I think I've learned something.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a born-again Christian, and I know that the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin. But so is adultery, lying, stealing, killing, and just about every other vice that you and I, dear reader, are equally as guilty of.

God doesn't differentiate between sins. They're all bad, and God loves us all anyway.

But when we live lives that consist of lies, and are unable to be honest about ourselves and who we are, no matter who we are, we will live poor, paltry, sad, miserable lives. Imagine the freedom and joy that these two men would have had if they'd been able to openly love each other, without fear from either society or their own expectations.

Again, put away your homophobia for minute, and just think. How many men and women live lives of desperation, never being honest about who they are, and what they think, and how they feel?

I think all of us would love to be able to kick off our metaphorical shoes and just run through the metaphorical grass and not give a rip what anyone thinks about who we are; to have no fear of what anyone feels or thinks about us. We always have to be good, or be upright, or be righteous, or be stable, or responsible, or... or.... put your own label in there, because I know you, and me, all have one.

To me, Brokeback Mountain highlighted the savage anguish brought on by deceit and dishonesty, and the torture of touching joy and freedom, then throwing it away because of fear. When we are honest and open, we have freedom from fear. When we hide what we are, we always fear someone will find us out.

I've found that freedom in Jesus. Knowing Jesus had bought me freedom, knowing that my sins, no worse than anyone else's, but just as bad as everyone else's, are paid for. I don't have to answer to anyone, and no one can take away my relationship and eternal life granted by the almighty God. And the freedom of knowing God is pleased with me no matter what I do, because I am his son.

It's that freedom that let me see this movie, and that's why I thanked the Lord for prodding me to see it. I have nothing to fear from different ideas, because I am sure of what I believe in. But to have insight into how others see and experience the world just might help me relate better someday to someone who needs to talk.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

It's Wednesday....

Ok, so now and again the Canadians figure out how to do something right. Congratulations to the new Miss Universe, Natalie Glebova.

Keep your snide comments to yourself. She, and everyone else in that pagent, worked very hard to get there.

Oh, and we might have a new planet in the solar system. I just thought Natalie deserved the headline.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Ok, I'm tired of the comparisons between Christianity and Islam. Anyone who tells me there's no difference between Christianity and Islam is just plain ignorant.

Case in point: Danes Try to Calm Muslim Outrage. Outrage over what?

A cartoon. Uh huh. An editorial cartoon in a Danish newspaper depicting Mohammed as a terrorist. The picture above is one of the offending cartoons.

And because of this, "On Tuesday, an unidentified terrorist group from southern Iraq called for a fatwa (war) against Danish troops stationed in Iraq, while the offices of Jyllands-Posten in Copenhagen and Aarhus (a Danish company), north of Copenhagen, were evacuated after a bomb threat."

Over a cartoon. Over someone's opinion. Over someone believing something different.
This is the religion of tolerance and peace? Make no mistake, this is no offshoot, splinter group expressing this outrage. This is the general opinion of mainstream Islam in the Middle East.

How many silly, malicious editorial cartoons have we all seen depicting Jesus in the media? Jesus has been depicted as everything from a dope-smoking simpering idiot, to a stupid, maniacally insane martyr, a gay surfer, a wimp, and everything in between. These are examples from a simple search for the term "Jesus cartoon".

And, of course, who can forget South Park Jesus?

So Muslims are offended that someone disrespected Mohammed? So what?

What right do they, indeed does ANYONE have, to NOT be offended? It's the threat of violence and force that makes the Danes fearful, not the fear of Allah. It's the threat of middle-east oil being withheld, and the danger to their citizens and soldiers from a religious sect that threatens to kill them if they don't apologize and make amends in the name of their prophet and their god.

Peace and Love? Hogwash.

And don't quote me anything about the Crusades as examples of Christian vengeance. That's just plain wrong, because the Crusaders were not "Christian", and every historian knows it. The Crusades were an evil war of pure conquest. The leaders of the Crusades were misguided at best, and evil murderers at the worst. The leaders of the Catholic Church at the time were power hungry warlords (warrior-popes). They did not in any way represent the teachings of Jesus or Peter or Paul or any of Jesus' disciples (Jesus told Peter to put his sword away, after all). It took the Reformation, and the invention of the press to bring the writings of the Bible to the masses before people read The Book for themselves and realized they were being misled by power-hungry, evil people bent on using God's Word for their own means.

But not so for Islam. Anyone can read the Quran (or a fairly accurate translations of it), and see for themselves what it teaches. Read the Hadiths, which are the teachings of Mohammed and his insight on the Quran. You'll be shocked.

Mohammed killed, or had killed through war and slaughter, thousands.

Jesus killed no one. He saved and healed thousands. He's purported to have raised at least one from the dead.

I ramble, but to close, I'm all for treating all people with respect. I try not to denigrate (which is talking about someone in untruthful terms) anyone. But I'm tired of the comparisons between Islam and Christianity, placing them on equal terms. They are not.

They are nothing alike. If we are to survive as a culture, and as a nation, we must understand this.