Specials: We’ve lost Porkins. Foreign Oscar-hopefuls. Magdelena.

Today’s specials:


HE STAYED ON TARGET.
Star Wars fans, it is a day to mourn. We’ve lost Porkins. He also had memorable roles in Raiders of the Lost Ark and A River Runs Through It.

ONLY ONE FILM PER COUNTRY GETS TO PLAY
The annually-screwed Foreign Language Oscar category has named its list of qualifying films for the year. As usual, each country only gets to submit one film for consideration. So, if the ten best films of the year were all made in France, it wouldn’t matter… only one of them would qualify for consideration at the Oscars. Ah… America… what a country.

HERE COMES MAGDALENA
A comic book hero named Patience, who is apparently a descendent of Mary Magdelene, is coming to the big screen. It’s a Gale Ann Hurd project.

The film’s present-day action-adventure storyline draws on elements of biblical history, reminiscent of “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown. “‘Magdalena’ is exactly the kind of project we love: a strong female lead character, a story with rich mythology, and compelling characters,” said Hurd. “The religious overtone adds a new dimension to the adventure story, while Kevin Taft’s terrific storyline still deals with realistic, contemporary issues in an entertaining and relatable way.”

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  • Daniel Crandall

    I would agree with others here that you gave a good response to what I read as a rather intolerant clinical psychologist.

    A couple of things that could have made your argument stronger.

    1. Christ did not come to change one jot or tittle of the law, i.e., the Torah, where homosexual behavior is condemned in no uncertain terms. Christ Himself says he came not to change the law. Arguments that Christ was all about compassion and “speaking truth to power” are baseless Leftist interpretations of Scripture.

    2. Christianity’s violent history pales in comparison to the violent history of Islam. Islam was spread by the sword and jihad. It is sad that many throughout history who claimed to be Christian did so just to promote their violent, sinful desires. In Islam, however, being violent is itself a cause for celebration from that religions inception to this very day.

  • Tom

    Jeffrey,

    Well-thought out, articulate, even-tempered, grounded in Scripture, and totally accurate. Huzzahs all around!

    Tom

  • CM

    They should have used this blog entry on CT’s Leadership Journal blog as an example of how a Christian should approach the homosexuality issue rather than McLaren’s “Sitting on the fence” answer.

    Nice job, Jeffrey.

  • Ellen Collison

    Yikes!

    I meant “the late 18th century” (above).

  • A. Campbell

    Nice comments.

    My Christian-informed, non-Christian accessible summary on Brokeback Mountain here

  • Levi

    Excellent Jeffery. Once again, reason slays the wisdom of the age. God bless.

  • Gaffney

    Oops – clarification: “I consider opposite-sex sex OUTSIDE OF WEDLOCK a sin,”. Glad to correct this before my wife saw it…

    -Sean

  • Ellen Collison

    Re. abolition, I think Wasp Jerky’s got a great point. And it’s not as if supposedly Christian countries have been quick to abolish slavery! Here’s an example: in Brazil, slavery was not abolished until 1888.

    In the US, we were pushed into it. The odd thing is that some states (including Virginia) were on the verge of doing so in the late 17th century, but didn’t.

    It’s a complex issue, and not one that’s confined to any single culture or religion. (Many Muslims are against the “owning” of other human beings on religious grounds.) Though it is clear that abolitionism gained ground in England (and other countries) partly because of the actions of committed Christians.

  • Gene Branaman

    “But we shouldn’t forget that Christianity was also used to justify that slavery in those countries to begin with, at least in the States.”

    And some so-called “queer apologists” currently use Scripture to justify the practice of same-sex sex. Just becasue some Christians (& non-Christians) have misused Scripture in the past has no bearing on the Truth of Christianity.

    Just as Dan Brown’s misuse of history, for example, has no power to change actual documented fact.

    “Truth has nothing to do with the number of people it convinces.” – Paul Claudel

  • Ellen Collison

    I think the point about sexual attraction per se not being a sin is well-taken – we all face it, whether it’s opposite-sex or same-sex (or both, in many cases, like those of the lead characters in this movie).

    It’s what we do with it – in our heads and in our actions – that’s the rub. (And a very big one, according to Biblical standards!)

    I also agree with those who’ve noted the way people in the US single out certain sins as being more grievous and destructive than others. To me, at least, that seems to contrary to what’s said in Scripture. To take that argument one step further (as some do) – don’t we all hold responsibility for racism and – in the case of indigeouns peoples here – some pretty clear-cut acts of genocide? And we’re certainly a lot easier-going on sexual sin so long as it’s opposite-sex.

    Lots of food for thought here!

  • Wasp Jerky

    I think I pretty much agree with the Christianity being the basis for compassion line of reasoning, and that Christian countries abolished slavery first. But we shouldn’t forget that Christianity was also used to justify that slavery in those countries to begin with, at least in the States.

  • Martin

    >I’d also like to point out that
    >slavery was abolished in Christian >countries before it was abolished
    >anywhere else. Buddhist Thailand
    >didn’t abolish slavery until late in
    >the 19th Century.

    Heck, it’s still practiced in Niger, which is mostly Muslim.

    The racism/slavery/civil rights card is often played in such discussions, with convenient ignorance of the fact that major figures in the Abolitionist and civil rights movements, from William Wilberforce to Martin Luther King, were guided by Christian convictions.

    Word verification string for this comment: kkimwno (Keep kvetching, it’ll make weightier noisome objections!)

  • Mike Harris-Stone

    Dear Jeff,

    I thought your review was fabulous. I really appreciate the way you were honest and avoided the swirling politics of left and right to make your own statement. Would that there were more Christian responses like yours. I also have gay friends and have a similar feeling of ambivalence about their lifestyle. But as you point out, I have problems with my OWN lifestyle as well.

    As to compassion and Christianity, I’d argue the Christianity is the ONLY major religion that provides a basis for real compassion. What other religion teaches that even the most evil person could, potentially, find forgiveness and redemption? I think of Paul, who was famous for killing Christians before his conversion. Would any other religon have accepted such a man as a leader? As to the assertion of your correspondent that Christianity has “the bloodiest history of any major religion,” I’d like to point out that all of human history is bloody — why blame a religion. I’d also like to point out that slavery was abolished in Christian countries before it was abolished anywhere else. Buddhist Thailand didn’t abolish slavery until late in the 19th Century.

    Long live “Looking Closer!”

    I’m still not sure if I’ll see the film are not…I have trouble seeing all of the films I want to see, so those that are on the border tend to fall out unfortunately.

  • Evan

    Great post and well-argued defense.

    I’ve not seen Brokeback Mountain yet, I’m sure I will eventually so I’m not left out of the cultural loop.

    When I first saw all the reviews for the film I started to get the feeling that the film’s supporters had a built in defense mechanism against criticism of the movie. If you don’t like it you’re automatically homophobic and a bigot (see attack on Rex Reed). I’ve no pre-conceived notions about Brokeback but attitudes like that (not the content of the film) make me want to see it less and less.

  • Thom

    “I consider opposite-sex sex a sin,”

    Even between married couples? :)

  • A. M. Hildebrandt

    Steve,

    With the recent election in Canada, we have just elected a Prime Minister who wants to re-open the issue of same-sex marriage, and put it to a more public vote. Many Canadians don’t like the idea of the Supreme Court passing it with out our consideration.

    Loving a member of the same sex is not a sin, it’s called in Greek Philia, Brotherly Love, it is natural and promoted by God. It is often mistaken and turned into lust, which turns into sexual immorality. It happens to members of the opposite sex as well. I have many friendships with people of the opposite sex, but for me to go beyond “Philia” with anyone but my wife I would be sinning.

  • Chris Hansen

    Oh — and P.S. — I’d like to echo what Sean said. Christians don’t (or shouldn’t) see homosexuality (or same-sex sex) as some kind of ‘special’ sin. We are all sinners — and thank you, Sean, for your excellent examples of other kinds of sin that we all commit.

    Unfortunately, those Christians who represent us as ‘our leaders,’ in the media, have more often than not singled out homosexuality and abortion as special sins, the kind that, if you commit them, make you an evil person on a whole different level.

    These words aren’t spoken plainly, of course, but the contempt in which many Christians seem to hold anyone who commits these sins makes the reality pretty clear.

    So I agree with you, Sean. But I also see why non-Christians don’t really believe that — there are too many ‘loud’ Christian voices condemning them every day.

  • Chris Hansen

    You guys all impress me with your restraint and well thought-out comments. Honestly, as a Christian, I’ve often been frustrated by ‘our’ response to these issues. At least in the media, and in many local churches, the responses offered by those who (for better or worse) represent Christians to the rest of the world are unfortunate at best and downright hateful at worst.

    Jeffrey, I read your blog because you articulate your beliefs in such a clear and HUMANE way — it’s really an example.

  • Gaffney

    Nicely done, Jeff.

    Adding to the last response, Steve said, “the fact remains that you consider their relationship ‘sinful’ suggests that you are not prepared to accept them as equal citizens.”

    I can’t speak for Jeff, Steve, but for myself I can say that your argument is way off. I consider gossip to be a sin, but I do not consider gossipers to be second class citizens. I consider opposite-sex sex a sin, but I do not consider, oh gee, a majority of my friends to be second class citizens. I consider breaking the civil law of speeding to be a sin, yet I allow myself to vote every November.

    To assume that since, as most true Christians believe, “all have sinned,” no Christian is ready to treat anyone on the planet (including themselves) as an equal citizen is a tad silly.

    Just my thoughts.

    -Sean

  • Cynthia Duck

    Nicely done, Jeffery! I’d like to offer some additional comments, mainly to your responders.

    As a Christian, I don’t believe same-sex love is sin, but same-sex sex is sin.

    The tolerance argument based on gender and race don’t wash with me. Unless I arrange for surgical intervention, I remain a woman 24 hours a day. Any sexual act is a behavior. Gender and race are not. While a person might feel he was born with specific sexual attractions, sex is still a behavior.

    Steve – check out the status of women in the Bible again. Jesus was very inclusive of women in the midst of a society which treated women like second class citizens. You’ll have a better understanding of the Biblical view of women if you read in context.

    I hope the standard for the United States is not to be more like Canada or Europe. Recent elections in Germany and Canada could indicate that many people in Canada and Europe want to be more like us.

  • Ellen Collison

    Good response on the whole, Jeffrey – it’s tough to respond to letters like this without wanting to hit back. (We’re all human…)

    Sorry to sound like a broken record, but one of the main characters in Annie Proulx’s story has been abused by his dad – and, of course, both Jack and Ennis are committing adultery, lying (to themselves and others), etc. As far as i know, those items are part of the screenplay – so I find it hard to understand why someone who is endorsing compassion would not show compassion on the family members who’ve been hurt by this behavior.

    At any rate, I don’t think the story itself is any mroe cut and dried than the writer assumes your response to be. Adultery, lying, stealing and cheating on taxes can feel pretty good too, along with a multitude of other sins.

    I hope this letter might just initiate a dialogue, though I’m not confident that it will…

  • Steve

    To be honest, I’m leaning toward agreeing with several of the points in the original letter. What I find rather depressing is that there are still intelligent people who consider same-sex love to be a “sin”. I keep being reminded that back in the 40s and 50s and most of the 60s, there were equally intelligent people of different religions who considered that negro people were sub-human and second-class citizens. And going back, there were equally intelligent people who considered women to be second-class citizens unworthy of the vote or even full human rights. (And there are still many parts of the world where this holds true today).

    Jeffrey, while I don’t believe that you’re practising discrimination against gay people and I’m prepared to believe that you practice more tolerance toward them than most Christians, the fact remains that you consider their relationship ‘sinful’ suggests that you are not prepared to accept them as equal citizens. Your religion will clearly lead you to reject assigning them equal social rights such as civil partnerships or benefits – things that women and negroes had to fight for – solely because you’ve dug into your Bible and picked a literal transcript that states that to be worthy of a Christian, you are required to do so. I can’t imagine you doing the same for women despite the fact that there are plenty of literal transcripts in the Bible stating that women are second-class citizens.

    I live in hope that as the years pass, considering gay love as a “sin” in the USA will gradually become outmoded and even socially unacceptable. Most of Europe and even Canada have, mercifully, taken a more enlightened stance. Is the USA to be bastion of intolerance here? I hope not.

  • Martin

    The “Go and sin no more” vs “Go” comment is from Sean Gaffney’s blog entry on The Book of Daniel…

    I love the way this guy dangled his “clinical psychologist” credentials over you at the end of his letter. Yeah, facile dismissals, rampant stereotyping and outrageous lies about Christianity mean so much more when they come from a shrink. I hope he doesn’t try to bill you for his time.

    Word verification string for this comment: kdagkq (King David: “Ask Goliath – keep quiet!”

  • Jeffrey Overstreet

    Heh. Yeah, that was out of line. Even before you posted this, I’d posted a revision of my replies. My snarkiness was uncalled for. I just get a little testy after a couple of weeks of being labeled all kinds of things.

  • Anna

    “I’ll be interested to see how that works for you on your deathbed.”

    You only got snarky there, Jeffrey. :o)

  • jasdye

    a supposed descendent of mary (the prostitute) magdelene with lustful features?

    why hasn’t anyone thought of this biblically-minded idea before?

  • Why

    I just glanced at the Star Wars home page and it didn’t say anything about Porkins but maybe I didn’t dig deep enough

  • Chris Durnwell

    I have never read Magdelena, but Top Cow Comics is best known for T&A comics. It’s gotten better recently, but not by much. I doubt any “spiritual” aspect transcends its inevitable big breats.


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