Christianity Today Movies has just published a review of Brokeback Mountain.
And that’s just what it is… A REVIEW.
It’s not a protest.
It’s not someone spewing bile about Hollywood’s “homosexual agenda.”
It doesn’t include any slurs like “Sodomites in the Saddle.”
It’s a review of a work of art. Written by Lisa Ann Cockrel, this piece is going to do readers a whole lot more good than a rant about “Hollywood’s gay cowboy movie.” Christianity Today Movies’ editors should be commended for refusing to ignore a picture that is going to be a popular subject of discussion at water-coolers, in schools, at family dinner tables, and in churches across the country.
On the other hand, some Christian journalists seem unable to mention the movie without sneering or nicknaming it something foul. If that’s the best way for Christians to treat films in which characters engage in inappropriate behavior, why single this movie out? Why not be consistent? Where was this “righteous bile” when Man on Fire topped the box office? Why are we singling this film out as especially heinous for its characters’ immoral behavior when a great many character dramas show characters engaging in sins of all stripes every single week? People are drawn to Christ through many endeavors, but they are not drawn to Christ by listening to Christians speak hatefully about homosexuality. There is a difference between speaking powerfully about sin and speaking hatefully about it. Christ never referred to Magdalen as “that dirty whore.” In fact, one of the few times he used direct and bitter language, it was in reprimanding the self-righteous religious judges of the day.
The CT review is not a recommendation. It is not a rave. It compliments what is good about the film, informs us about its volatile content, and encourages us to be discerning viewers. For those who do go see it, the review provides these helpful questions:
1. The tagline for Brokeback Mountain is, “Love is a force of nature.” Do you agree? Do we get to choose whom we fall in love with? Do we get to choose our sexual orientation? Why or why not?
2. Scripture says homosexual sex is sinful (Lev. 18:22, 20:13; Rom. 1:26-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-11). How should the church engage those who hold different beliefs about homosexuality? Should Christians expect all people to be heterosexuals? Why or why not? What does this mean for how Christians should treat gays?
3. Ennis’ parents died when he was young. Do you think the loneliness he experienced as a child played into his attraction to Jack? If yes, how so? When he got married, why didn’t Alma’s love satisfy his need for companionship?
4. Do Ennis and Jack love each other because they’re gay, or are they gay because they love each other? Explain. Had they never met, do you think one or both of them would have happily lived a heterosexual life? Why or why not? What does that say about the nature of sexual orientation?
5. Ennis and Jack determine that their bond is no one else’s business. Can love—gay or straight—stay secret and be and/or remain healthy? Why or why not?
6. How should Christians approach films that depict gay relationships? What, if anything, can we learn from such movies? About the gay culture? About ourselves?
I’m proud to be a part of Christianity Today Movies, and I’m looking forward to the feedback that the editors receive for this review. It will be quite revealing.