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.

February 06, 2006

Displaying 1–10 of 32 comments

David

March 25, 2006  7:54pm

Dennis, Thank you for putting your testimony on paper. I have not seen "Brokeback." But I remember the trailer. Ang Lee flashing in white letters on black background strange statements about emotion and truth and such. Something inside me told me to stay away. But I'm glad the Lord used you to write that article. Keep on keepin' on! David

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Mabel

March 20, 2006  9:08am

Hi Dennis, I really appreciate your honesty and courage. You will be richly blessed Mabel

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steve

March 10, 2006  1:42pm

Dennis: Thank you for your comments on Brokeback Mountain. Like you, I have dealt with this issue for almost 30 years. God has been gracious and forgiving. His love has sustained me through some very difficult times. I continue to be amazed at how judgmental and critical many Christians are toward gays, even toward those who are trying to be faithful Christians. I hope and pray that the Church will overcome its phobia and intolerance to help those who struggle with these issues. However, I am grateful to God for the people God has placed in my life who listen, pray, and encourage.

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jack

March 07, 2006  11:14am

Thank you, Dennis, for your review of the movie! "Trapped" is the right word to use when discussing the sin of homosexuality. I bore that burden from 15 or 16 until the age of 43... much of my adult lifetime. It is only by God's grace, my wife's unfailing love, and some solid Biblical counseling that I have been set free to live my life as God intended it to be lived. My heart goes out to those young men trapped as I was...

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Ellen

March 07, 2006  8:58am

I am struggling with the issue of homosexuality because my best friend (a male) is gay. He has not been in a relationship in the past two years that I have known him, but still embraces the lifestyle and frequents gay bars and internet sites. He says that he is a Christian. I have tried to handle the issue delicately and with love and compassion, because he is so dear to me. We are the only "family" that each has. I am torn between a conservative Biblical view of homosexuality and loving my friend who seems to have accepted his gender preference as inescapable.

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alban

March 06, 2006  10:42pm

I believe God loves homosexual people but not the act itself. I know some people are rying to overcome it but struggle with the very real and intense feeling within. So are we stucked? No! I believe there is hope. I have heard so many testimonies about God's mighty power in healing and delivering people from the bondage of darkness. To the people who are looking for hope, i pray that God will set you free and you will find a group of fellow christian that will not judge you, but will love you, encourage you and hold you accountable.

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Kennyp66

March 06, 2006  7:04pm

Dennis As I read your post, I was brought back to my own decision one year ago in March, to leave my gay partner. It was a very hard decision, but I could not longer negotiate my sin with my relationship with Jesus Christ...the redeemer of all of us. I remember how I ran away from God. How I decided 8 years ago...that I couldn't fight these "urges", these "feelings" and so I walked. I broke up with my fiance and decided to embrace the gay life and tried hard to not listen to God. But He is everywhere and he pursues us. He loves and adores us. Through that adoration, I could not take it anymore and had to leave my partner. I had everything...house, car, great partner, wonderful job...but it wasn't enough. There was this empty void in my life that I just could not fill...even thought I tried. This past year has been a mix of mourning, but there has been so many times of amazing joy which is surpassing my sadness. Dealing with my unwanted same sex attractions is not easy, but Jesus never said it would be easy, I have chosen the road less travelled. I know that one day I will stand in the throne room of the Holy God and He will say...well done my good and faithful servant. I am no longer defined by my "feelings", I am defined by the cross. I become more and more like Jesus everyday. I die to myself so that He can live in me. Deny myself...take up the cross. I've decided last year that I would no longer remain quiet about my healing process. It is becoming transparent...real with one another. I look forward in how God is going to restore the years the locusts have eaten and sing and rejoice FOR HE HAS SET ME FREE. So be encouraged Dennis...God is faithful, He is just, loving and full of mercy and grace.

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chuck

February 12, 2006  11:15pm

I'm not sure how to respond. If Dennis is saying that he wants help and encouragement to overcome homosexual desires, than that is wonderful. I think that is what he is saying, and I commend him for it. May the Spirit of the Lord continue to conform you into the image of the Son, Christ Jesus. To all who keep commenting on the "tolerance" of Jesus: With all do respect, I think you need to re-read the Gospels. Jesus demanded perfection; He actually said "Be perfect, as My Father in heaven is perfect." Yes, He did reach out to the poor and the blind and the broken; however, in the context He always did so in order to be given a greater platform for His message: "Repent of your sins and believe." How is that "tolerance" in the sense of passing over sin? I think that many 'Christians' have bought into the dollar-store Jesus who merely gave handouts and talked about peace. Unfortunately, they fail to realize that this same Jesus spoke more about eternal conscious punishment in Hell than any other figure in the entire Bible. Food for thought.

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David Bozeman

February 11, 2006  10:31am

I have been struggling with sexual identity issues all my life and what resonated with me about BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN was not the homosexuality but the cold, loveless world of which the two main characters were exiles. True, they made terrible choices, but that does not let society off the hook. All my life I have believed that something was wrong with ME and that I should repent and that I should change. I'm not here to lick my own wounds, but what about a world that belittles and disparages men at every turn? Jacks's father-in-law, for instance, was the embodiment of so many men that I have encountered. Remember the Thanksgiving dinner scene where he usurped Jack's parental authority so that the grandson could watch football - because it'll make a "man" out of him (I still feel less than a man because I couldn't care less about football)? The villian of the film is a world that leaves boys to fend for themselves (materially and emotionally) and that equates filth and obscentiy with manliness (the fireworks scene where Ennis protects his wife and daughters from the ravings of a foul-mouthed drunk should be applauded by good people everywhere). If anything, this film is an example of how society should NOT raise its sons ( I could relate to Jack, the son of a stern, disapproving father and I could feel for Ennis, who was orphaned and abandoned by his siblings). I know that if I am to find resolution I cannot just blame others. I know that the choices I make are up to me. But I'm going to stop beating myself up, too. This can be a cold, loveless world and maybe we should all do our part to change it.

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Elizabeth

February 10, 2006  8:10am

Dennis, What a wonderful comment you wrote. You are an excellent writer and your point is well taken. Keep going the path you are going, even when it seems difficult. God never promised submission to His ways would be easy, but He did promise we would be blessed beyond all comprehension if we persevere. Good for you for reaching out and asking for help. It can be such hard thing to do. But God made us for community, to be in helpful relationship with each other - for we all struggle with something. And where one is strong and the other weak we can encourage one another. At the very least (and sometimes this is the most) we can pray with and for each other. This is where the truly supernatural begins and God blesses us sometimes with a glimpse into His incomprehensible ways. You are a wonderful witness to your Savior Jesus Christ. Persevere and our Lord will fill you with joy beyond your wildest dreams.

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