Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Open Thread

Okay. Here's an experiment. I will say this is an "open thread." If you don't know, that means you can comment on anything you like. The weather, ancient Roman aqueducts, how to tell the future by looking at bird entrails, sports, how George Lucas is feeling since Star Wars only got nominated for a makeup Oscar, favorite movies from the 80's. Whatever.

You better write a comment or this is the last open thread, people. It will just be me talking and talking otherwise.


  1. Hey Matt...what do you think about Brokeback mountain? ...just so you know I've not seen it.

  2. Well, as President Bush said at the University of Kansas, "I haven't seen it. I'd be glad to talk about ranching, but I haven't seen the movie."

    I haven't seen it, either. From all reports it is beautifully written, directed and acted.

    I think what is most difficult for me about the film is the constant references to it as a "love story." You know, "Love is a force of nature." It's this unstoppable thing that might force us to love someone we aren't married to, someone of the same gender, a small child, an animal, a tree, a lollipop. Whatever. The key word being "force." You know, the cowboys don't want to be in love with each other in the movie. In fact they tell each other that they "aren't queer." They just can't help that they are "in love".

    The story is meant to be a tragedy. I think the author's point of view is that the tragedy is caused by the society of the 60's not allowing men to express this love to one another (sexually at least), and that causes lots of trouble and heartache for everyone.

    From my point of view the real tragedy comes from the human condition. There are plenty of relationships just as messed up (and not just gay ones) without the social taboo angle today. The reality is that these men are seeking something to fill the emptiness, and just not finding it. In that sense, the movie is practically Christian. I don't know how it ends, though... if it ends with the happy cowboy couple (which I doubt) then it's not reflecting the real world. Romantic relationships of any kind simply cannot bring eternal satisfaction.

    A more disturbing question is why Christians create sub-par art (Mel Gibson, I assume you are reading this. You know I am not talking to you.) We supposedly have acces to the secrets of the universe and the transcendent God, but our ability to tell stories seems lesser than that of others. These guys come along and make a movie about a secret gay love affair between two cowboys and are going to win a bunch of Oscars. Hmmm.

    Anybody out there actually see the film? I'd be interested to hear your insights.

  3. The movie guy on the Today show...I can't think of his name...he has a crazy mustach, he didn't like it at all.

    I agree with your thoughts about love. From the preview of the movie it sounds like a skewed view or slightly disturbing perception of love. I'll take love that is a choice...self sacrificing, unconditional, rather than love that was 'forced' to give with the giver having no control.

  4. Statistically speaking, people with weird mustaches are much less likely to enjoy movies in general.

  5. Maybe I'll post a picture of me with a mustache on my blog...perhaps it would lead to an increase in hits (or comments from my wife like, "eeewwww grosss."

  6. I think it's important that you take Jodi to this site:

  7. One of the reasons I believe that Christians create sub-par art is because there doesn't seem to be support in the Christian community for creating art in general. I'm not sure *why* this is, but it disturbs me.

    It seems to me that the Christian community just doesn't tolerate artistic expression very well. I remember very distinctly going to see "The Prince of Egypt" in a theater during opening week... and being almost the only person there. It was a sad, sad commentary - the followup movie went straight to video, to a much smaller audience. A similar thing happened to Veggie Tales' "Jonah" and they were forced to sell out to another company to survive.

    I can't say for certain if Christians objected because it wasn't a strictly literal telling of those stories, so they didn't go, or if they just don't think Moses and Jonah are as interesting as Star Trek or Tom Hanks, or if there just aren't very many Christians in this country, but any way you look at it I think it's a sad indictment...

    ... and might very well put *me* off of creating Christian art, if I even had that ability to begin with.

  8. New Thread:

    Praying For the Porn and Sex Industry in Portland

    Since November 2004, my church and people from around the country have been praying about the overwhelming amount of pornography, etc. in Portland. As may be apparent from the articles in the recent Willamette Week and any commute for a length longer than 10 blocks, the city
    has the highest number of "adult businesses" per capita in the nation.
    These establishments are as ubiquitous as corner donut shops are in
    some other cities. There are well over 40 strip clubs, bookstores and
    "other businesses" for the 2 million of us.

    I felt impressed that a prayer map was needed to organize prayer for Portland; I asked my church to pray for
    these businesses as we unavoidably pass by them in our daily
    activities. Last year, I did a superficial survey of the phone book and came up
    with a map (shown below or at ).

    As I have been driving and walking by a fraction of these places for
    the past year, I have prayed that God would cause the businesses to fail. The good news is this: Location 9 went
    out of business almost immediately after we started praying and has
    not reopened, Location 3 went out of business last month even though
    it was in a high foot traffic downtown location, Location 7 did not go
    out of business, but this last week, "Dancers" was removed from the
    list of attractions for the bar. I know about these places, not because I have saught them out, but because I
    pass by them on a regular basis,. Location 14 was on the news recently: it did not
    shut down, but apparently the police broke up a prostitution operation
    at the establishment.

    The goal in wanting these places to go bankrupt is not because I
    despise the people involved with them. I really don't want to see
    somebody unemployed, fall short on their rent, or otherwise have their
    lives ruined. My prayer is that God would reveal a true, unending
    source of satisfaction to the patrons and employees of these
    establishments. Where once there were parched and vacant spirits, I
    pray that there would be overflowing Living Water and abundant Bread
    of Life.

    There is a limit to which sex can satisfy the soul. The urge to procreate is a God-given survival instinct and the pleasure of sex is a gift, but so many of us have made an impotent god out of sex. I propose that many of us, both in the church and outside, are enslaved to sex. I can say this with confidence because I am a sinner (though I strive for holiness and know that real spiritual fulfillment can be found in a relationship with Christ).

    I believe that people who profess to be Christ-followers have become apathetic toward sin and desensitized by an implied message from
    society that says "you're a bigot if you don't tolerate this". I believe that
    at some point, God's people in Portland stopped calling on their
    Father's name when they saw the things that they knew grieved Him.

    Once God stops hearing from His people that sin bothers them, I
    believe He often allows us to live with the filth that we can
    apparently tolerate.

    Parenthetically, the wrong way to respond to the problem is to deny
    that these are spiritual issues and try to handle things out of our own human

    It is implausible that pushing an agenda of
    morality will really be effective in changing society or healing Portland. Referendums, amendments, and petitions may spark conversations, but, the conversations tend to be US VS. THEM- they repel, they lack in humility and exude arrogance. We cannot claim holy highground because we all fall short of perfection.

    Obviously, Christians should boycott the sex industry, but going the
    political route does not address mankind's need for Christ and it shows our lack of courage in His power.

    To those who believe that the second most important commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself, I plead with you to pray that Portland would be released from the bondage of sexual sin. As you pass by these businesses, don't apathetically look the other way. God desires a response of love for your neighbors and
    trust in Him to change hearts.

  9. Hey "praying for porn in portland"... as you can see I put a link in the main part of the blog to your entry. I saw that you made a new blog for it because you said you were getting abusive e-mail or something. What the heck happened with that?