Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray
What about gays needs to change? Answer - It may not be what you think.
What’s wrong with being gay? Answer (Homosexual behavior versus the Bible: Are people born gay? Does homosexuality harm anyone? Is it anyone’s business? Are homosexual and heterosexual relationships equally valid?)
What does the Bible say about same sex marriage? Answer
What should be the attitude of the church toward gays and homosexuality? Answer
How can I deal with temptations? Answer
Personal stories of men who have battled homosexual lust in their own lives:
How to share Christ’s message with homosexuals
Claim: God made me a homosexual. Response
|Featuring||Kate Mara, Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams, Linda Cardellini|
|Producer||Michael Costigan, Michael Hausman, Larry McMurtry|
“Love Is A Force Of Nature”
We are strangely drawn to forbidden things. This wanting after anything forbidden in the human existence cuts both ways. Both men and women can have an immoral character.
The emphasis here is placed on the spirit portrayed in Director Ang Lee’s beautifully filmed “Brokeback Mountain”, not necessarily on gender, although we’ll deal with this aspect, but on immorality.
Breathtaking landscapes and top notch performances aside, “Brokeback Mountain” is not the “cowboy drama,” or the “romance western” it starts out being, but is most assuredly just what they are now describing it as, a “Gay Western.” Heath Ledger’s cowboy Ennis Del Mar and Jake Gyllenhaal’s rodeo rider Jack Twist are a heartache in progress. From their first fateful encounter through to the tragic ending, “Brokeback Mountain” was akin to a Shakespearian tragedy. Bending the mind of the viewer, urging us to jump up and shout, “stop this behavior, can’t you guys see where it’s leading you?”
Ennis and Jack become friends on a poor man’s sheep herding mission into, over, and eventually meant to go through the Wyoming mountains known as Brokeback. Friendship forged in the duties of rounding the herd, tending the horses, and the back breaking labor of cowboy life, becomes more than just a couple of cowboys with things in common. Jack, from the beginning, sees something in Ennis which interests him. Ennis, not much of a talker, finally opens up and discusses with Jack his innermost troubles, which sets the stage for what happens next.
Ennis’ story is not a pretty one. He had a father who’s hatred of anything unnatural was passed on to him. At just nine years old, Ennis was exposed to the horrible murder of two old men, whom it was implied might have been homosexual—the murder performed in a most hideous way, most likely by his father. In being taught through fear to hate homosexuals, Ennis was taught to hate his own feelings when they welled up within himself for Jack.
As a cold night closes in, Ennis insists on sleeping by the fire, while Jack gets the warmth of the tent. The fire out and snow’s bite subsequently forces Ennis into the cramped tent for his own survival. That fateful encounter turns this rugged ranch hand flick into a no-holds-barred contradiction on a dime.
The following morning, a guilty-eyed Ennis announces, “This here was a one shot thing, ya know I ain’t queer!” Jack puffs himself up and declares, “Me either!” and in 1963 that shoulda been that, but the power of the action and the loneliness of the characters themselves proves no match for the attraction. As we weren’t as forgiving of that sort of tendency in the 60’s, the encounter had to be buried deep within.
Bound by their secret and fueled by their love, these men continue their affair through the following 20 years. Ennis marries the sweet and devoted Alma (a heartbreaking performance by Michelle Williams) and has two daughters. His life destined for a paycheck-to-paycheck existence, Ennis kicks through it with determination to survive and provide for his family as a “man.”
Meanwhile, Jack is branded locally as a not quite “straight” cowboy. Their boss (Randy Quaid) tells Jack he doesn’t want him back for hire: “You guys sure found a way to make the time pass up there. You weren’t getting paid to let the dogs guard the sheep while you stemmed the rose.” Jack eventually finds a way out of the rumor mill by marrying the beautiful Lureen (darkly beautiful Anne Hathaway), daughter of a wealthy farm machinery mogul, and has a boy of his own.
As the years roll by, these men wreck their own lives and those around them. Those people most endeared to them, people that they love, suffering because of their relationship. At Alma’s first sight of her husband and Jack in an “embrace,” the torture in her eyes teared over with utter disbelief, was almost too much to bear.
“Brokeback Mountain” is aptly rated-R. It is filled with very homosexual images. It includes a couple graphic “love scenes” between two men, and love scenes between men and women. The Ennis character is shown nude (in background), while bathing by the tent. The Alma character is shown bare-breasted Included are several scenes of men kissing each other passionately. These scenes are very realistic, and honestly left me with a sick feeling long after. The images are haunting, and so I must caution, spiritually dangerous for anyone who is not completely grounded in Scripture!
The f-word is spouted regularly. “Jesus” is uttered several times as an explicative, not referring to His reverence. Vulgar language is sprinkled throughout, but it doesn’t seem out of place in respect to the cowboy life and the characters’ environment. There is a scene where two obnoxious males sit and loudly discuss a private part of female anatomy at a social gathering where children are present. The Ennis character asks them to stop that talk in front of the children and ladies, and when they don’t, he proceeds to punch and kick them until they do.
The Ennis character is shown in many violent fights. Drinking, smoking, adulterous acts and divorce run concurrently. There is blood, violence and death throughout “Brokeback Mountain”.
I’m not saying this isn’t Oscar material. What I am saying is, this is not Christian material.
Oscar is known for setting apart the creative and original film. “Brokeback Mountain” certainly fits this image with it’s sweeping cinematography, absolute attention to detail, sensitive direction, and the sincere desire to paint a picture of what it really was like to be a man of homosexual tendencies in the early 1960’s and on into the next 20 years, especially in the ultimate macho male environment embraced in cowboy and rodeo life. The panoramic view of nature is breathtaking and flawless, nearly pristine. The complex relationships of the characters are fraught with emotion running the gambit from heated fist fights to tenderness—all done with exquisite performances.
Considering all the above, I just cannot justify any of the supposed “love” between the male characters. It is lust, definitely not love, and here’s why:
The dictionary defines the word “lust” as “an intense and unrestrained craving, an overwhelming desire.” Synonyms include obsession, longing, yearning, hunger and thirst. And if you’ll note the scenes where Ennis is waiting for Jack to show up for their “fishing trips” you’ll see exactly what I mean. There isn’t any specific mention of sexuality, because lust is much bigger than the sexual sin we usually associate with it. We witness lust in those who pursue relationships for the sake of filling a sense of emptiness that only God could fill.
Sexual relationships with those of the same gender as depicted in “Brokeback Mountain”, can be emotionally damaging, not to mention the potential for STDS that are fatal such as AIDS. Our relationships ought to be more important than the sometimes fleeting enjoyment or lusts that the “anything goes freedom policy” carries.
What about the issues of gender and immorality? The Hebrew word for “immoral” carries the connotation of something that is profane, which is the way God sees immorality. We human beings don’t always share God’s perspective, and Satan knows this; therefore he will do all he can to disguise sexual sin with deceit. Satan is cunning enough to package the profane as something that seems to satisfy a need or want, as in the case of Ennis and Jack’s affair, which might seem fine at first, but let us never forget this relationship that was fine to them at first, failed and finally lead down the path to pain and death. Had the relationship been avoided, the sin never would have happened, along with the devastation and destruction it left in it’s wake.
“But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you…”
The Lord wants us to avoid the profane and therefore, He pleads with us to never allow these types of relationships to take root in our hearts. He has made it clear that we need to be diligent in our duty to monitor the relationships we voluntarily invite in. This will keep our relationships pure and preserve our hearts for the relationship with the one whom God has called us to love for a lifetime.
“Then the Lord God made the woman from (Adam’s) rib, and He brought her to him…” And the man said
“This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called woman,
For she was taken out of man.”
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”
God has blessed us all. He alone provides a mate for each one of us always worthy of His love. If then God loves us enough to provide a mate, it is truth that He provides this mate according to His Word. There is no deviation of that course. If there were exceptions to His rules, God would not be God.
God’s design for us is to have no intimate sexual desire for those of the same gender. I know that this sounds like a decree that can’t possibly be kept in our modern permissive society, but remember that the Living God has put these moral laws in place to be eternal, which means they are good forever. Therefore, if they are good forever, we his people, will be able to keep them forever.
“Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman, that is detestable.” God speaks to man through Leviticus: “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both have done that which is detestable.”
“Flee the evil desire of youth, and pursue righteousness.”
“For the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked…”
We need something more reliable than our hearts to lead us in our relationships. God’s Word enables us to discern what can and can’t be done in all relationships, even sexual relationships. Today, just as was in the time of the Judges, there is a sinful cycle echoed by the verse in Judges 17:6: “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes,” ignoring God and allowing their hearts to lead and direct instead. The results of this type of thinking is painful and ultimately devastating.
Man is completely incapable of making his relationships right without The Word of God. As a compass’s needle always points North, a ruler always helps make a straight line, similarly the Bible is the measurement which always will point us to what is right, keeping the heart straight on the path of God’s Perfect Will in our relationships.
“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me; but not all things edify.”
From Genesis to Corinthians, Scripture notes that sin lies in wait and hides behind the mask of freedom. To be sure, there are a lot of things we do that the Bible doesn’t have a specific “Thou shalt not” commandment attached to it. Like watching R-rated films, or having unprotected sex, or bringing up porn on the computer, but we must know that just because we are free to do something doesn’t mean it’s going to be good for the relationships we choose in life to do that “something.” Remember that “Sin lies at the door and it’s desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”
“Brokeback Mountain” is a riveting film, with characters you can believe are real, many performances deserving of an Oscar, but “Brokeback Mountain” has an eternal flaw and that is that there was no redemption from the sin. It was pitiful that the characters were left with no way out, no forgiveness. They were fooled by the facade of freedom that sentenced them to sexual sin. Not knowing Christ died to set them free, free from the power of sin giving them a love for the law of The Spirit, which leads to Life! Enabling them to walk away from that mountain called sins and into the liberty of righteousness!
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Extreme
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
With eight Oscar nominations, more than any other movie this year, “Brokeback Mountain” continues to gain momentum. And with the momentum comes increasing interest by evangelicals to see it.
I will avoid the movie like a slug avoids an overturned saltshaker, and for the life of me, cannot understand why any evangelical would see it-though there appear to be many. But what is more disturbing to me is that many men and women I know with unwanted homosexual attractions are seeing the movie.
A reporter from The Christian Post asked my thoughts about the movie, and I obliged. My comments as a former homosexual were made from the reviews I had read—comments which generated numerous e-mails to me from individuals arguing that I could not make an intelligent comment on a movie I had not seen.
They suggested that my viewing the movie would be beneficial in responding to the reporter’s questions. I told them and the reporter that my going to see “Brokeback Mountain” would be similar to asking a former alcoholic to go to a liquor store to buy his neighbor a toddy for the body.
Opponents of ex-gay ministries will immediately shout “Aha, so you are still tempted with same-sex attractions!” I do not deny it! Martin Luther said it this way, “if your head is made of butter, stay away from the fire.”
These opponents will also argue that ex-gay ministries “only teach avoidance techniques.” Indeed, avoiding anything which may cause temptation is appropriate and biblical.
“Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way” (Proverbs 4:14-15).
“You are to abstain… from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things” (Acts 15:29).
“Avoid every kind of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22).
“Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Cor. 6:18).
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality” (1 Thes. 4:3).
I am aware than an ultra-literalist might argue that viewing the movie does not constitute sexual immorality, but let’s remember that sexual immorality can be a thought as much as it can be an act.
On a more simplistic level, I urge people who are allergic to bee stings to avoid bees—fair-skinned women to avoid the sun—lactose intolerant men to avoid dairy products—asthmatics to avoid perfumes—and hay fever sufferers to avoid pollen.
When Dr. R. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary appeared as a recent guest on Larry King Live he said,
“I’m going to say something that is about as counter-cultural as I can imagine, and that is I’m actually convinced that as a Christian, there are certain things I don’t need to see. And that’s the reason why, as a matter of principle, I have not gone to see the movie. I wouldn’t encourage anyone to go see the movie. I’m unembarrassed to say that.”
A self-avowed unhappy homosexual man e-mailed me to say he saw the movie and “cried for three days after seeing it.” Why am I not surprised?
Another wrote “As a man who has struggled with homosexuality all my life, I decided I would face it head on when I first saw the previews.” (Those previews did their work-didn’t they?) Indeed another wrote “I would rather face challenges than run from them.” These reasons may sound heroic and one can imagine a man charging into the theater refusing to avoid this issue which has caused him so much hurt.
But let me ask, is it possible the homosexuals’ continued pain results in part from continued time investment in things homosexual? When Potiphar’s wife was attempting to seduce the godly Joseph, he faced his challenge by running for the exit sign (Genesis 39:12).
Lest I sound uncaring to homosexuals, let me say to you (and you evangelicals need to hear this also) that I am aware of the unfathomable suffering which is part of same-sex attractions. Despair, depression and darkness blacker than the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
One of the reasons that evangelicals have not made much progress in reaching homosexuals with the gospel is their failure to empathize with the excruciating pain homosexuals experience.
But back to my main point, to view the movie will most likely reduce one’s defenses from future immorality.
A large man had won accolades from his co-workers by dieting. However, the man walked into the office one day with a half empty box of donuts under his arm. His colleagues, genuinely concerned as to why he had slipped-up, asked why. He told them that in his race to work he took a detour by the local donut shop and a blinking “HOT DONUTS NOW” neon sign caught his attention.
But there was a problem: the parking lot was full! He told his co-workers, “At that moment I told God that if he wanted me to stop and buy some donuts, he would have to open up a parking space right in front of the shop—and sure enough, the seventh time around the block, there it was!”
In October of 2005, The Associated Press ran an article “Study Backs Out of Sight Out of Mind Theory.” The study, led by Brian Wansink, involved placing candy jars of Hershey’s Kisses in close proximity to a select group of secretaries.
Some of the containers were clear, while other containers were opaque. Additionally, some of the containers were placed on the secretaries’ desks, while other containers were placed six feet from their desk.
Ready for the results?
“Secretaries ate an average of 7.7 kisses each day when the candies were in clear containers on their desk; 4.6 when in opaque jar on the desk; 5.6 when in clear jars 6 feet away and 3.1 when in opaque jar 6 feet away.”
The study went further. “Secretaries rated candy as more than twice as hard to resist when they could see and reach it than when they could not. They were twice as likely to say that they often thought of the chocolates or that the treats kept grabbing their attention if they were visible and nearby. By contrast, secretaries were twice as likely to say they forget the candy was around if it was hidden and distant.”
I will not see the two hour and fourteen minute movie; rather, I will devote an additional two hours and fourteen minutes to my time with God who, when I am tempted, will also provide a way out so that I can stand up under it (1 Cor 10:13).
Read Mr. Wilkins’ story of how he became a homosexual, and how his life was later wonderfully changed through Christ