UPDATE: What Do You Think?

This post is in response to the Relevant Magazine article about the movie Brokeback Mountain. You’ll find a link to the story as well as comments people made here.

Special thanks to those of you who replied to the article below. After much deliberation I’ve found the words.

My major concern with the article is that it carries the usual Relevant theme and progressive tone. There’s this trend to be “cutting edge”, to slice and dice the truth of Christ in order to massage, prod and package the Gospel. It’s all done in an effort to appeal to as many people as possible. I’ve been involved with ministry for the last five years and at times have been guilty of the crusade towards progressivism.

My fear is that as Christians try harder and harder to fit in, to find God in an unGodly world, we’ll lose the purity of His truth. We’ll bend and buckle under the weight of progressivism and lose sight of the simple, black and white, beckoning call to be obedient to God.

Verse after verse God calls us to live in this world, but not of this world. Did God create Brokeback Mountain? I don’t think He ordained it, much like I don’t believe He ordained messages we see everyday that tell us we should be disobedient to God. Will He use it? Absolutely and this conversation is evidence of the extent of His power.

My point…don’t get caught up in the latest trend, fad, book, movie, ministry approach, bible study or worship “experience”. Hold tight to the simple, consistent, truth of Christ. His truth is the same yesterday as it is today, as it will be tomorrow and forever.

See, I think we’ve just been re-gifting His truth over and over again. Hoping if we constantly change the wrapping paper, someone might open the box. The most powerful and precious gift isn’t the wrapping, the presentation or our “progressive approach”, it’s what’s inside the box.

Hold tight…

While I’m still formulating a well thought out, biblically sound response, I wanted to post an article to this link and get feedback.

What do you think?

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/beta/pc_article.php?id=7101

More later after your thoughts…

-D

11 thoughts on “UPDATE: What Do You Think?

  1. Not trying to spur an argument, rather just conveying my opinion. Go Old Testament on it! While I fall into the stereotypical few that will not see the movie, or many other movies for that matter, it is absurd to think that God uses Hollywood as a tool for ministry.Granted there are a few who have tried, but they are immediately shunned by their peers. I think this article was written with the New Testament in mind, but part of accepting the New Testament as it is, means you accept the Old Testament as it is as well. James 2:10 tells us two things. The fore mentioned point about accepting both NT and OT, but also that you cannot pick and choose what parts of God you wish to keep.But hey don’t base it on what I think, base it on what the Bible says. The Bible plain tells us that Homosexuality is wrong. The Bible also tells us that plenty of other things are wrong as well. Part of walking the path with Jesus is turning our backs on the world forsaking all, trusting Him. Anyway, I could go on but do not need to, after all it is just an opinion.

  2. Another argument (that could go in conjunction with the previous) is that the article in question talks about it receiving wonderfull press and reviews.It is not what the press or other viewers thinks, it is what God thinks.

  3. I don’t think there is a need to form a “biblically sound” response, Danny. I think the article IS biblically sound.This person is using the brain God gave them. They have independent thought– which is not something all Christians excel at, in my opinion. Too often, many simply fall back on “the bible says this, and the bible says that,” which is nothing but a cop out. I doubt such a response makes God proud. Seriously. If all someone can do is quote the bible to argue with me, I will feel as if I’ve already won the argument. Sticking only to that perspective indicates little thought outside of the Bible, which is a slap in God’s face if you ask me.We were not made to be lemmings. We were made to think for ourselves, because that’s the only way to be brilliant. This writer has an open heart, and an unjudgemental mind, and that is more Godly than any snooty, bible-thumping response could ever be. Not that you would’ve given such a reponse, as I know you say things in a wonderful way… Point being, I’m of the opinion that this article is best left alone.I bet you didn’t know I read your blog. =D-Hayley-

  4. i think God gave us the bible because in it, it says those pages marked out are paragraphs and words that were spefically inspired by God. and that book can be used as a weapon to attack, its literally the sword for christians.(ephesians 6)its not bible thumping or a cop out, its giving visible-written answers to an invisible God.but i will agree that the article makes a good point.i bet you didnt think i read your blog, danny :)-bvrbicek

  5. Holding fast is key. I agree that we cannot re-wrap a gift that is already extraordinary. We can’t really find ourselves trying to sell Christ when using things like movies as a witnessing tool. Nothing is better than a few Bible verses at sparking the Biblical truth into someone’s heart for the first time. Christ really is that good. He is a beautiful gift and we need no special author or best-seller to tell us more about Him than what God has already conveyed to us in culture. I’m all for ministries having resources, so this may suprise a few when I say something like this.God IS that good. I don’t really like the idea of the Relevant columnist when he says that nature’s beauty clearly should be glorified in the movie. The cinematography cannot be a stronger message than the message of two homosexual men. This movie has gotten a lot of talk, but nearly all of it surrounds the issue at hand, not the actors, not their career choices in taking the film and certainly not the cinematography.

  6. Frankly, I thought the article said a whole lot of nothing. It didn’t have a Biblical background (and by saying that, I don’t mean it had an unBiblical background; it simply didn’t seem to have benefited from any Biblical research). The article seemed rather elementary to me in the fact that it was simply unresearched, unsupported feelings. I suppose there’s a place for that. But for an online magazine that defines itself as Relevant does is, it was really rather disappointing to see such a low-quality article.Personally, I think God can work through any circumstance, and I think it’s not biblically sound to say that God can’t work through the film industry. I definitely wouldn’t recommend it as a ministry tool for reaching the unsaved masses, but I do believe than God can speak to an individual through a film experience.As for Brokeback Mountain, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Christians seeing it or not seeing it. Biblically, we’re supposed to be in the world but not of the world, and we’re not supposed to engage in activities that would cause us to sin. So, I would not recommend the movie to a Christian struggling with homosexuality or lust or adultery, all of which seem to be glorified by the film (which I will admit I have not seen). But for Christians who aren’t struggling with those issues and who are comfortable seeing such a film, I have not found a Biblical reason not to see it.

  7. Its a movie about two people…The fact that there are gay connotations offends Christians…The fact that this topic exists, supports the stereotype that there are too many Christians that are snobbish and judgmental. I don’t agree with homosexuality, but I understand that there are people who do…Its a movie…get over yourselves.www.xanga.com/cwo91481

  8. Well…there you go. Some decent responses for sure. I love movies of all kinds, even one’s with questionable content. The Relevant article was indeed an opinion article and should be treated as such. You know, I was going to respond to several things, including the importance of Scripture in argumentation (which is an appeal to authority and a completely legitimate way to argue a point *couldn’t help myself*) but it seems that it might be a waste of time. There is more than one consideration here. First of all, Christians do have a particular world view and often times more definitive definitions of right and wrong than your average non-religious person. It is false to say that it is inappropriate, as the author of relevant does, to judge a movie without seeing it. This is predicated by an assumption that unless something is viewed with the eyes then no ‘relevant’ opinion can be made. This of course rules out all blind people. So a Christian may be very well informed of the plot line, read the original short story, or the entire script and make a judgment concerning the content, which is what I’m assuming we’re talking about. If you want to ask if the movie was put together well and is artistic in nature then we can have that discussion. But Christians are not concerned with the portrayal of rolling landscapes but with the portrayal and positive message of homosexual behavior. Second, I couldn’t agree more that God can be found in a very wide variety of places. This is why I like the movie Pulp Fiction, it’s a story of redemption. However, Movies are powerful tools of industry and rhetoric. Just as TV and other advertisement is. If you want to change the perception of the mob you must flood their senses. Once we have become accustomed to it we won’t notice when a new regime has taken over. We have been given minds and the ability to think through issues. Let us not be afraid to engage our culture but let us not accept faulty logic or arguments either. As Jesus said *I know here I go quoting Scripture and some people will just assume my defeat* “Be wise as serpents and as gentle as doves”. If we are going to espouse the ideal of accepting opinions that disagree with ours then we have to be willing to accept those who are opposed to the movie or even going to see the movie. I’ve found that there is just as much accusation and slander thrown around by those who proclaim the gospel of tolerance as by those who are intolerant. If we’re going to be accepting of differing view points then let us accept even those that challenge our own.

  9. I don’t know you but I found myself upon this site so I thought I would leave a comment.A while back I was beginning to find myself irritated with the fact that so many Christian go around condeming other people’s actions, for being a homosexual, a drunk, a cheater, a __ fill in the blank. I was finding thisvery diificult to cope with and becoming slightly removed from the body of Christ. I believed that these individuals needed to be more accepting of other people in spite of their sin. It was then that a wise person pointed out to me that Christian’s too were sinners and for me to be open to loving the former, I needed to also love the latter. There could be many verses that could be pointed out and yes, I agree with the bible, that homosexuality is a sin. God detests it. But there may be a bigger issue of how do we as Christians do two things, one is holding up the word of God and two, how do we treat others in light of that? Author Brennan Manning said something to the effect of, in his book Ragamuffin Gospel, that it is a sad day when the church rejects someone that Jesus Christ accepts. And I have always remembered that.

  10. Danny,As I made my way around your blog recently, I found myself drawn into the discussion about Brokeback Mountain, homosexuality, the Bible, and Hollywood.What is it with this movie?Normally, I don’t engage in these kinds of discussions, but as a person who has actually seen the film, I felt responsible to speak on its behalf.I find myself amused and disheartened by the comments posted by fellow Christians espousing their so-called “Biblical” basis for anti-homosexual rhetoric. Lessons in Biblical study groups usually tie around a central theme, and consequently pull out any number of verses, regardless of context, to prove their point. This selective reading of Biblical material without any form of historical reference, cultural research, or language analysis indicates a sad state of Christianity in the U.S. The best example of selective Christian usage remains the book of Leviticus. If read from beginning to end, the reader will find a strong anti-homosexual message within the text. However, the reader will also find that mouthy children should be put to death (Leviticus 20:9) and that slavery is an acceptable practice (25: 44-45). There are, of course, innumerable other topics that seem silly by today’s standards, such as the subservience of women, never eating pork, and the particulars of shaving. If we followed the Bible to the letter, shouldn’t we follow these measures as well?The truth is that the modern church is a reflection of our current culture, and bears little to no resemblance to the church of two thousand years ago. If one were to even pluck churchgoers out of my Methodist Church in 1906 and place them into a modern service, they would be mortified at the contemporary music, the shortened length of service, the acceptance to inter-racial marriage, and the casual dress of the laity. My point is this: Christianity is and has ALWAYS been trendy. It’s adapted to its surroundings, and reflected the culture of its followers. And those Christians have always used a Biblical basis for their social arrangement, from Puritans to slave holders. Outside of selective passage readings, the Bible is also something that exists in a variety of incarnations. It is essentially an anthology of books written over centuries by men who spoke different languages, lived in different cultures, and came from different tribal and class backgrounds. A modern English Protestant Bible has probably traveled from Hebrew dialects to Roman Latin, Roman Latin to German, German to King James English, and finally reaching modern American English. The book was never actually printed in typeface until 1400 years after Christ’s death (previous versions were copied by hand). This leads to innumerable linguistic problems, because words simply do not flop over and mean the exact same thing in different languages. An example of this is the word “sodomize”, which, as we know, comes from the Biblical account of Sodom and Gomorra. In previous iterations, the word meant that a man raped another man, now it tends to mean any sort of homosexual sex. In the original text of the Old Testament, the translation for the commandments leaned more towards “thou shalt not murder”, not “thou shalt not kill”. These subtle and nuanced differences have only compounded over each language and each hand copy of the book. So, as far as the “black and white” truth of the Bible, the details of each story have been subtly altered over the centuries. I have no problem with someone believing that every word of the Bible is true, they just need to know the cultural context. (And yes, sometimes that means ACTUALLY reading other books.)So where does Brokeback come in? Obviously, homosexuals exist, and, despite what several may say, they can come out of rural backgrounds. These areas have the tendency towards xenophobia, and it is physically and emotionally dangerous to be a homosexual there. That’s the theme of the movie, and it’s a worthwhile, interesting picture. Unfortunately, the movie’s been caught up in this absurd “culture war”, and many believe that it is a Hollywood ploy or a pornographic picture. It’s not. It deals with love, acceptance, finding oneself, and loss. As for those of you who believe that you should “hold fast” and not be a trendy Christian, there’s bad news: you already are, it’s the nature of your religion. And it has always worked that way because the Bible is something that, in the details, doesn’t reflect our world, but its themes do. Acceptance, love, and charity are all that a person needs to get out of the Bible, and that’s the message we need to be sending out to the masses, not anti-homosexuality. In this message board I’ve seen too many criticize what they have not seen, and judge people that have not wronged them in any way. That’s the trend Christianity must lose, or we lose the capacity to convey Christ’s message. Plus, the cinematography was amazing.

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