Below is a piece that John wrote this week. He said I could share it here...
Well, I saw it. I waited until it came out on DVD and watched it in the safety and comfort of my own home – Brokeback Mountain. I really wanted to see how the movie dealt with male friendships. I had heard and read all the hoopla about it being the gay cowboy movie, but I also knew, from the storyline, that it began as a friendship between men. And that is what I was curious to see unfold; however, the story didn’t so much unfold as it unraveled, for somethin’ got broke, long before that mountain, and everything else ended up broke as well.
As the final credits rolled across my screen, the overriding emotion I felt was sadness. I told my wife the next morning, Boy that was sad. The two main characters, Jake and Ennis, sit at a bar early in the film recounting a little of their past. Jake talks about how he could never please his father and so he eventually just stopped trying. Ennis lost both parents at a young age and ended up being raised by a brother and sister. Can anybody say father wound? And their lives, from those points on, were painful attempts to assuage those original wounds. They both married women and had kids and tried to present (for 1963) a normal face to the world. But both men ended up passing their pain onto their wives and children. As Richard Rohr says: If you don’t transform your pain, you’ll transfer it, certainly to those closest to you. You see, once the heart is broke, all the denim, boots, pickups, and longnecks can’t put it back together again.
I read one pastor’s blog where he declared that Brokeback was a movie all Christians must see. He felt it boldly exposed the prejudices we all carry. Sorry to burst his bloggle, but I didn’t feel that at all. Now I know that may indicate just how prejudiced I am, and I’m willing to look at that, but that’s just not the truth I believe the movie holds. I feel it boldly exposes the wounds we all carry and how we try to heal them. And how so many of them can be traced back to our fathers.
After the movie, I watched a special feature on director Ang Lee. He kept describing Brokeback as a classic American love story. I don’t know much about the American love part; there are some aspects of America these days that I just don’t have a context for. But I do know that it a classic story, because it tells the story of the heart’s longing for the father and how it gets broken along the way. And whether the names are Adam and Eve or Jack and Ennis, sadly, we go lookin’ for love in all the wrong places. And even though a mountain named Brokeback might look to be the key to unlock the door, even the psalmist knew that when he lifted up his eyes unto the hills or mountains, that wasn’t where his help cometh from. His help came from the LORD. And so does ours, whether cowboys or doctors and lawyers and such.