Friday, January 20, 2006

Which End of the Spear?


This past Monday, I received a churchwide e-mail distribution from a minister at the church I attend encouraging our membership to patronize the local cinema to see the movie about Christian missionaries (martyrs) to the Auca Indians (now called the Waodani) in Ecuador, South America called End of the Spear. I'm an "out-of-the-loop" kind of guy, so it was really the first I had heard of the movie. Then, looking over the Blogsphere, it seems some controversy had arisen because one of the lead actors in the movie is homosexual, and more, a gay activist.

Here's a review: from a Christian site, Common Grounds Online. Here, Catherine Claire gives the movie a positive review, and I enjoy many of the points she makes. And speaking of points, she gets extra for mentioning Narcissus and the reflecting pool (which was my actual first post on this blog, here), as well as mentioning Jean Valjean from Les Miserables and Edmund Dantes from yet another of my classic favorites, Count of Monte Cristo.

To be fair, movies.com also has their critics and fan reviews of End of the Spear, and the results were underwhelming there.

Going back to the controversy, probably one I'd be well-advised to stay away from (but I have all kinds of difficulty following my own better judgment), I tend to agree with The Internet Monk in his piece/rant (the comments are worth reading as well) on whether it matters if gay actors play in Christian movies. Which is not much of a surprise. I generally agree with Michael Spencer on about 85-90% of everything he says. Maybe more. And I hat tip him, and the Boars Head Tavern, for every link on this post save the movies.com and my own post on Narcissus. I understand the concern many Christians have regarding giving gay activists a platform to discuss Christianity and homosexuality side-by-side when a homosexual is hired to play a lead in a "Christian" movie. It's been touched on at other sites where people are going into way more depth than I desire, but the lead actor in Chariots of Fire was openly gay, and of course, Ian McKellen, Gandalf from LOTR, is likewise a gay activist. Maybe people don't classify those as "Christian" movies, and it is a stretch, but it's impossible for me to completely say they're unrelated to the faith. In the end, I agree with Imonk on the issue. My answer is: So what? If the Gospel is being proclaimed, so the heck what? Plus, I enjoy Michael's rhetorical -- or not-so-rhetorical -- question at the end of his piece:

Why not find a homosexual in your community, and offer to go see Brokeback Mountain with him/her, and invite him/her to see End of the Spear- starring well known homosexual activist Chad Allen- with you?

I want the heart of Jesus, I really do. But questions like this let me know that I'm still so far from it. Well, it's not just questions like this, but I'm living a life, too, and that in and of itself does a pretty good job of letting me know as well. And I'd bet a lot of American Christians would have a huge problem with not only doing what the question asks but with the premise of the question itself. Which to me is a shame. But I digress...

Bottom line, right now, is that this is a rental for me. Anytime movies.com comes out and the critics blast a movie with a D-, I've got to be a little wary. Sometimes, I even need to be careful about what I rent. I mean, I made the mistake of renting Left Behind many, many moons ago, and I'm still regretting that.


1 comment:

WandaV said...

Don't know if I plan to go see the movie or not. I know the story of the missionaries quite well. I've met Elizabeth Elliott in person and have a signed book.

This is the first I've heard about the actor being gay.

Wanda