Saturday, January 28, 2006

Duckedness, Angels in America and Brokeback Mountain

This post is in response to some of my sweet brother's comments.

Duckedness -- ever heard of the expression "odd duck"?

Why I'm in seminary.

I am pursuing a Master's in Divinity and perhaps a Masters in Theology. God willing, I hope to be ordained a priest for I feel that call in my life. I'm here seeking to be faithful to God's call in my life and continue to work that out, day by day for love of my Beloved Savior.

Angels in America -- living life on one's own terms.

As a nurse, I learned it is better to have a patient partially due healthcare behaviors than to do none at all. It is far better for an individual to choose to live life on their own life-affirming terms them blindly follow the terms of the prevailing culture. Prior may a life-affirming decision and chose to live that out. He was not saying “my way or the highway”. Yes, for the Christian the goal is that we choose to live life on God's terms. Pryor was not anywhere near that place in his life. Yet in Pryor's decision to affirm life he was certainly pointed in the direction of God's will for him and for all of us that we should affirm life. I think of the Second Vatican Council’s definition of the people of God. Tthey started out with defining Roman Catholics as the people of God, and then they expended the circle to Protestants. Then they expended it to include anyone who believes in divinity, and finally to include those who seek to do good in life.

Dear brother, I think you are misconstruing the "homosexual agenda". Our agenda, such as it is, is to have equal rights of every other human being. It is not that everyone should become gay. You seem to be basing your conclusions on the most extreme aspects of homosexual culture that the religious right likes to highlight. You have not listened to the thoughts and feelings, the fears and aspirations of the majority of homosexual people. I suggest you read Mel White’s Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay And Christian In America. Follow that with The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart by Peter J. Gomes. I think these books can help you to better understand the struggles gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people go through.

Brokeback Mountain

Concerning Brokeback Aountain. Aye, I felt homesick too watching that too. As I've hides in camps in raises very much like those in the movie. That Wyoming town could have been an Idaho rural town. I enjoy Berkeley, but oh, I do miss Idaho.

To me, the movie is a tragic testimony of what happens when people are not allowed to be who they are created to be. If our culture would allow people to be who they are those young men could have had the option of forming a committed relationship and not be forced to into false marriages. Their lives were tragic, not because they were homosexual, but because society did not accept them. This injustice still continues today, and it is a sin.

For all you readers out there, obviously my brother and I disagree on a few things. But he loves me and I love him and we both love Jesus and that's what counts. We both seek to respectfully disagree with one another when there is a difference of opinion.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Sis, for your responses to my various question/observations. Oh, and thanks for the phone call the other nite. It was fun to talk to you (even tho' we may disagree on a couple of things; as you say, we still love one another and love our dear Lord). Here's an observation that'll throw you: as you get older now your voice on the phone is sounding more like Mom's!

How interesting that we two find the gist of the movie "Brokeback MTn." to be a tragedy. However, I disagree that Ennis' marriage was a "false" one. I got the distinct impression that he and the young lady were MEANT for each other, and that had he NOT continued his homosexual affair with Jack, they would have continued in a happy, loving relationship indefinitely. A "false" marriage would have been if she had continued in ignorance of the affair or had lived in denial that she had seen the lustful encounter between Ennis & Jack in the corner outside their front door. As it were, there apparently WAS a bit of falsehood, in that the movie doesn't indicate that she ever let on openly & plainly to Ennis that she knew what the two fellows were doing, and what she had seen, until well after the divorce. (That was one shortcoming in the plot, that it didn't develop reasons for the divorce.)

As for Jack, he was another matter. The movie seemed to present him as of homosexual bent from the opening scene when he first sees Ennis. All thru the movie Jack does little to control his urges; he is the one who initiates the encounter with Ennis on the mountain. (That was another shortcoming: it appeared from Ennis' movements in the tent that perhaps Ennis was resisting and reacting against Jack's advances, but it was too dark to clearly discern what really was happening in the tent.) When Jack married the rodeo gal, yes, that was probably a false marriage. But then, certain of the scenes involving Jack could lead to the interpretation that he was bisexual (and a promiscuous bisexual, probably). And when that bearded husband and he were waiting outside for their wives, and the bearded fellow spoke of a cabin on Lake Kemp, I was half expecting that Jack might initiate an affair with him, too. Or, conversely, be faced with the question of loyalty to Ennis (sort of like Sonny was confronted with the question of loyalty to Ruth in "The Last Picture Show" (the novel more than in the movie) when he was tempted by other women). But we see no more of the bearded guy.

To me the tragedy remains that Ennis and Jack failed to foster a deep friendship based upon mutual experiences (especially the sheep herding on Brokeback Mtn.) and not upon erotic lust. The relationship seemed to get based entirely on eroticism once they had that first encounter in the tent on that cold night. It prompted me to review the many deep friendships I've had over the years since my four in the Lambda Chi Alpha house at U of I. I'm thankful that in all of these, even tho' I developed intense feelings of love for the other fellows, these never were tainted by eroticism (or "horniness" to put it bluntly). And so my final question for the two main characters of "Brokeback Mtn." becomes: why could you two not foster a similar relationship? (It's a matter of choice, as your psychologist sister-in-law would say.)

well, this is getting very long, so I'll bid you "adios".

Tu hermano, Glen Alan

Anonymous said...

Howdy! I'm back!

So-o-o, it's an M.Div. plus possibly another degree! You probably remember that the M.Div. is what I earned at TCU (Brite Div. Sch.) And I'm SO HAPPY that you mention "God's call" on your life, because when I was at Brite, there were several women seminarians, and it used to irritate me that so many of them would say that they were there either because Dad was a preacher or they wanted to show that women COULD DO ministry. (Anyone who has ever tho't women couldn't was wrong, wrong, wrong!) And I'd always ask myself (shame on me for being too cowardly to say it to their faces), "What about the call of Christ??? Does that not matter to you as much as, if not more than, being a woman?"

The "sacred spaces" (in San Antonio, Texas) that we talked about over the phone, was this a seminar or speech, or was it part of a class you're taking? If you can obtain Virgil Elizondo's "The Future Is Mestizo" in your area or via interlibrary loan, I would highly recommend it for further insight into 1) the nature of being Mexican-American or mestizo, and 2) certain of the spiritual aspects of the Mexican-American culture (at least Texas-style). Elizondo also authored a book called "Galilean Journey" which compares the Mexican-American experience of the 20th Century with Jesus' & His disciples' experience as inhabitants of Galilee of the First Century. Both populations were borderland folk, looked down upon by the "central-area" residents and oppressed by and invaded foreign power.

Furthermore, investigation into the missionary efforts of the Spanish Franciscans in Texas and the American Southwest might interest you. It's been a fascination of mine since I was a chaplain at Fort Hood. Marion Habig's "The Alamo Chain of Missions" focuses on the five historic missions of San Antonio (my city has the highest number of Spanish colonial missions of any city in these United States). The first of these missions was San Antonio de Valero, which after secularization became a fortified post for the budding city and was renamed The Alamo. He also includes a chapter about San Fernando Cathedral in the book. There are plenty of other books that present the Spanish Franciscan missionary effort, too. One of my favorites is "Nothingness Itself" which is the collected writings (mostly letter and reports) of Fray Antonio Margil de Jesus. Fray ("Friar" in English) Margil came from Spain in the late 1600s and walked (he seldom rode even a burro) thousands of miles from central Mexico south to Costa Rica, northwest to well past Guadalajara, and late in his life to Tejas, where the crowning jewel of his missionary efforts was the founding of Mission San Jose, The "Queen of the Missions" of San Antonio, which as a mission was the most successful of the five, and now is the most-completely restored.

Wow! Get me started on my favorite scholarly topic, and I can go on and on!

Hasta luego, hermana.

Glen Alan

Anonymous said...

Well, as you can tell, I've been responding/commenting by beginning with the final item of your latest posting and working back to the first. Hm-m-m, didn't Jesus say something about "the last shall be first and the first shall be last"? :-)

Hm-m-m. . . "duckedness". . . Thanks for explaining this term for me. It's quite the odd duck (pun intended, to some extent).

Now, one could interpret it as a reference to homosexuals, who used to be called "queers" before they hijacked the innocent word "gay". And are still "odd" in being even in the most generous estimates no more than 10% of the populace. But I won't go further down THAT road!

Instead I want to focus on seminarians in general as "odd ducks" or possessors of "duckedness". Now THIS seems to fit! All who love Jesus and seriously seek to follow Him obediently to the best of their understanding (i.e. Christians) are decidedly odd in the general cultur of the late 20th and now 21st Century. How sad that the culture of these United States is no longer permeated by Christian and New Testament items, as it was a century ago. E.g., current great authors make no references to Bible passages and terms, as did 19th Century and earlier authors (and copiously) -- because their readers woudn't "get" such Biblical references!

And then, within the "odd" Christian community, those who have chosen (or feel led by God) to become professional clergy or are studying for the same, are a distinct "odd" group too. Come to think of it, we who made up the Brite Divinity School community at TCU in the late 1970s were graphically distinct or odd. This is because our self-contained seminary building (attached to the campus chapel and the undergrad religion bldg) and two of our three housing areas were on the east side of University Blvd, while the main TCU campus, with admin bldg, student union, all athletic facilities and all dorms, was on the west side of that major multi-land street. And we definitely had our "characters" who displayed a definite duckedness! Yup! Icould tell you some stories! :-)

Well, just some final musings. On your first item. "Last first, first last!"

Love, tu hermano.