"I'll agree to the fact that I have any number of awful character traits. But not to the fact that whatever they did to us as kids automatically made me sick and gay while you stayed straight and healthy." Welcome to The Normal Heart. When I left my faculty position at Greenville College last year to pursue an MFA in stage management from the University of Illinois, I already knew 3 things: 1. I was ridiculously blessed by this opportunity, 2. my faith was one of the few things unwelcome in the theatre world, and 3. I would be working on The Normal Heart. What I didn't expect was that I would have my faith both challenged and strengthened while working on The Normal Heart, nor that I would walk away completely captivated by the story and truth of the show. In the midst of the 80s AIDS crisis, a love story between 2 gay men, and playwright Larry Kramer's angry railings against everyone imaginable - the straight world, the gay world, Christians, non-Christians, the rich, the government, etc. - lives The Normal Heart. And it is tragic. And beautiful.
For the past couple of weeks, the Papyrus has run “Christians Rated R” part I and part II discussing why and how Christians should go about engaging Rated “R” films. (We have worked to provide a method/argument for a way of coming to these films on their own terms while still retaining a Christian identity). This week concludes this series with a final installment that explores an “R” rated film in an attempt to put our thoughts into practice. I have chosen for this piece a film from the late 90s entitled The Boondock Saints. Essentially, the film is about two Irish brothers who, after defending themselves and others in a bar fight, are attacked by low-level enforcers for the Russian mob. The brothers end up killing the enforcers, after which they receive a prophetic call from God to go and smite out that which is evil so that “that which is good may flourish.” The brothers go about systematically tracking down members of the Russian mob and other criminals who they believe are doing evil things. In this process, they develop a relationship with a federal detective who tries to discern whether or not what the brothers are doing is righteous. The brothers believe that they are acting in the truth and justice of God, for they are doing what is necessary to keep the tyranny of evil at bay. The overall sentiment of the film is that the indifference of good people is a worse evil than intentionally evil actions.