Friday, May 19, 2006

I Got Your Code Right Here

I grew up with a rule about how wrong it is to talk about folks who can't defend themselves. That's what bullies do.

That's a pretty good maxim to live by.

In many ways, it's one fundamental to any definition of justice.

So, if true, I find myself wondering what Leonardo must be feeling these days.

From the outset, let me be clear. Two summers ago on vacation, I read four books, all by Dan Brown - in two weeks, mind you. In order, "Angels and Demons" (which is far superior to "The DaVinci Code"), and, of course, "The DaVinci Code," "Digital Fortress," and "Deception Point." I figured I'd read everything this guy had out. Like John Grisham, his style becomes predictable. Enjoyable at points, sure - but predictable nonetheless.

When I finished "Angels" and "DaVinci" I remembered thinking, "they're going to ruin this when they make the movie."

Early reviews of Ron Howard's work seems to validate my fear. I like Opie and Forrest, but some source material is best suited for the movie screen that is projected between the ears and not on the silver screen in the movie house.

Some things don't translate well.

A few thoughts on DaVinci mania -

My wife is one of about 12 people in the world who hasn't read the book. She wondered if she should before going to the movie. I told her to read the book and forget the movie.

Let's go see something good.

In the last two weeks, I've been amazed by the number of churches who need to decode the "Code."

Or, to prove that Dan Brown is just plain wrong.

Nevermind that it's a NOVEL, for God's sake.

Why is the Church so paranoid that a work of fiction is so threatening? I hear Jesus saying to us "You of little faith."

And to boycott a movie based on a book that just about everyone but my wife has read, what's the point?

I don't remember boycotting or calling for one when the gospel according to Mel Gibson came out. I think I said, if you want to see it, go see it, and then let's talk about what it means.

Where were the boycotters when that "Left Behind" drivel was published and made into movies?

At least Brown has some sense of historicity on his side.

Herein we come to the rub.

There is history in the formation of the movement. It's not all pretty. Some of it co-opts other practices in the times in which the Christian movement was formed. You think pluralism is a convention of our time?

Think again.

The Christian movement, spread across the Gentile world, lived within a diversity that we can't begin to capture in our time, because we're too busy trying to convince each other that we're right and you're wrong.

The Church of our time lives in the ignorance of historical considerations. We follow that other maxim that guides too much of our lives -

"What you don't know won't hurt you."

It's like making sausage. I don't want to see it made, I just want to enjoy the finished product.

You may not like it, you may not know it - you may just think the Church mystically and magically has become what it is - and if you do, allow me the slightest sadistic pleasure to burst your theological bubble.

There are parts of our history that will make you cringe. And it ought to.

Walter Wink talks about systems and structures that are fallen just as is humanity. The Church, divinely guided but human in many ways, is a fallen entity. But thanks be to God, it is not for us to save the world, but God who redeems the fallen of every time and place and empowers us to be instruments of grace.

As such, we are reminded that it is God through us, and not we ourselves, that grace is operative.

Hmm, seems like I've heard something like that before.

So, go to the movie if you want to. I guarantee you - if you've read the book, it won't come close to the movie in your head.

Oh, and one more comment on the movie. That "militant" group that's all upset about how they are portrayed in the movie and book - and no, I'm talking about albinos.

Rather, Opus Dei.

Would that a group like that existed that cleaned up the, uh, "clergy problems" that abound.

If they open a Memphis Conference Chapter, I'm in.

Be afraid, be very afraid.

1 comment:

Chris said...

You can picture it... "History of the World Part I." Dom DeLuise in his ceasar garb and Mel Brooks as the stand-up philosopher (comedian)... "Have you heard about these Christians? They are so poor (How poor are they?) Thanks - they are so poor, they only have ONE God!" How is that for being divinely guided? HAHA!