Brokeback Mountain Blues

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I wanted to see it, but I didn’t want to see it. I’m talking about the “gay cowboy” movie called Brokeback Mountain (even though I read Jake Gyllenhaal, one of the two major actors – “Jack Twist,” wants it to mean much more than that to its audience).

I didn’t want to see Brokeback Mountain because I felt it could be considered some type of tacit approval of two men “falling in love,” which goes against my Christian grain and biblical beliefs, but I wanted to see it because I am humanly “gay all the way.” However, I am not a practicing homosexual (some would say I’m a professional one!), sober and celibate by choice, so help me God, because of deep spiritual convictions.

I went and ran errands with a gay friend (who knows my beliefs and knew me wild and now knows me tame), visiting his “lover” in the Bowling Green, Ohio jail where he’s doing ten days for a drunk driving, donated an autographed copy of my book Beyond Babylon: Europe’s Rise and Fall to the main library in downtown Bowling Green (since I was born there 46 years ago, but never lived there), we picked up some fast food and visited my friend’s mother where we ate and then he asked if I wanted to see Brokeback Mountain that would be showing at Franklin Park Mall (now called Southfield or something since the Brits took it over) in Toledo shortly, so I said yes and we rushed to get there and made it — ten minutes late. He had seen it a week earlier up in Michigan with some gay and lesbian friends, thinking it wouldn’t be shown around here — wrong!

Immediately you have to stand in awe (or sit and watch) the scenery that is most spectacular and moving, especially as the sheep are being herded and moving on the big screen in front of you like you could reach out and pet one, and the mountains are majestic aspiring to reach Heaven with their snow-capped tops and trimmed with forests here and there, evergreens, and of course I couldn’t help but think of the irony of nature playing such a prominent role in this film that the Apostle Paul would say is against nature….

I was surprised to see so many older folks in the audience. I thought they would all be set in their ways (I’m not saying that’s wrong in some ways), traditional, opposed to such a real or imagined threat to “family values.” Maybe they just wanted to watch a movie that looked interesting or they’re also jaded, or desensitized to the seriousness of sin like too many, or recognized that it could provoke discussion or a greater understanding (without necessarily approving of it) of this whole issue of homosexuality.

I thought the first sex scene was rather abrupt, nothing really leading up to it, no mating game or cruising or furtive glances or hints of anything out of the ordinary. Must have all been buried underneath all that butch (masculine) appearance, simmering somewhere, and the fuel on the fire was a tad too much liquor, true to life. Alcohol can strip away any inhibitions some might have or offer an excuse later to help cover your butt (which is why I am sober and celibate by the grace of God). The movie does help blow the stereotype that all homosexuals are limp-wristed, sissy faggots – but didn’t Rock Hudson already prove that? Among others.

The whole idea (or unwholesome idea) of two men on a mountain, far away from rules and regulations and norms, reminded me of a passage within a little booklet I wrote years ago (“God and the Gays: What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality”) to address many of the issues Brokeback Mountain broached: about how some men who are basically “straight” (heterosexual) will engage in homosexual acts while in prison or a monastery, but will quickly revert to their preferred heterosexual passion as soon as possible and pretend nothing ever happened.

In BM, which we called “Bareback Mountain” among ourselves (no “safe sex” practiced in it among the men or women involved since it was set in the sixties), the fellows went their separate ways initially and got married and thereby proved they were hybrids – bisexuals – since they could obviously get sexually stimulated by men and women. A curiosity to both heterosexuals and homosexuals. But the first chance they had to get back together, in every way, they jumped at it like a raging bull let out of his cage. “Free at last, free at last!”

I’ve watched Oprah have men on her program who have been married for years, with children, who have suddenly “discovered’ they’re gay, and in “finding” themselves – isn’t that just interestin’? – lose their wife and children. What about the commitment they made before both God and man? I don’t care if you’re gay or straight, if you make a vow you should keep it! Why make victims of the truly innocent wife and children who didn’t ask for it? Of course some will say they’re all victims, and that’s true to an extent, but even if someone has “feelings” they should control them or nip wrong thoughts in the bud — not permit them to take root and grow.

Why do some find it fascinating for a man to cheat on his wife with another man, but would stone someone who was going through his “midlife crisis” sleeping around with younger women to prove some point to himself? It’s not that the thoughts aren’t there, it is possible to lust after your neighbor’s wife or husband (or both), but you’re supposed to rein in such maverick thoughts and not let them run roughshod over your life and marriage!

Of course two men can fall in love, or a married man and woman can fall in love with someone other than their spouse, but you’re not supposed to set yourself up for a fall, you’re not supposed to let yourself flirt with forbidden love, you’re supposed to control the thoughts rather than let them control you (Genesis 4:7).

Brokeback Mountain forcibly brings all these tumultuous thoughts, tormenting conflicts of interest and personal struggles to the surface, surging like lava from a volcano, which I’m now wrestling with and pouring out for others to consider.

We can feel hopeless and all too human or we can transcend human relationships, overcoming sin rather than being overcome by it, by going up to the Mountain, following the path paved by the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53), who gave His back to be beaten for us to break the power of sin over us, by whose stripes you are healed, who bears our heartaches, sorrow and sin; by going up to Mount Zion and “to the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels…” (Hebrews 12:22).

Instead of wrong desires that only lead to self-destruction, please let us yearn to return to Zion, time and again.

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