Da Vinci Response

calumny [n]
1. defamation
2. defamatory statement

traduce [v]
1. disparage somebody

One of the men with Jesus pulled out a sword and slashed off an ear of the high priest’s servant. “Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will be killed by the sword. Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly?

-Matthew 26 (NLT)

I’m praying with a group of brothers I’ve prayed with for around 16 years. We get together every Wednesday morning. Today I am concerned about the opening of the Da Vinci Code.

da Vinci.jpgLord, may those who name your name as your followers respond to this film that demeans you with peace and patience according to your character not with retaliation and violence as though you needed us to defend your honor. May swords remain sheathed. May the contrast with the recent riots over cartoons be crystal clear.

2 thoughts on “Da Vinci Response”

  1. Some random thoughts, since I do not expect to note the Code over at my blog. (Oops. My comments have wandered on a bit, so I am going to try to insert some basic HTML in hopes that this will not be rendered as a single paragraph.)

    Ron Howard’s refusal to include a special disclaimer ought to be a comfort. (I assume that the customary one will run in the credits.) He says, “Hey, this is fiction, and you don’t disclaim fiction; fiction disclaims its OWN self” (to borrow Ray Stevens vernacular). Good for him.

    It is astonishing to see really bright “former” Christians buy into this crap. Some say, verbatim, “I’ve always known they were hiding something from us.” It is as if they have been looking for something to seize upon as justification for having excused themselves from the Lord’s table.

    That Dan Brown prevailed in the British trial can hardly be read as a victory for him. The trial caused him to have to lay out in embarrassing detail the “sources” of his ideas, i.e. shoddy research and vivid, if overheated, imagination. Brown has played a great game of “coy” with American journalists because it would not have been good publicity for him to have to admit how wide of scholarship he flies. He had to expose himself in England, not that anyone here paid much attention.

    One of my favorite people in the Church today, asked about the book, exercised his fine (invariably self-deprecating) wit by saying something like, “Secrets? Gosh, I’m a cardinal. *beat* That means I’m a ‘prince’ of the Church! *beat* Being a prince, you would think they would tell me the secrets. [Arched eyebrow, all the more impressive because there is just about no other hair on his head.] They haven’t told me this one yet.”

    A number of ladies I know out here on the Plains — well, they’re old ladies, to tell the truth — have read this book. (Happily, most of them shared a copy.) These women are not well educated and nobody would consider them to be especially “grounded” in their beliefs. Every single one of them has confided in me, without my asking, what she thinks. Each one said it was a pretty good mystery, though far from the best of recent lots. Each is utterly mystified about the uproar. They understand that some people take the book seriously; they cannot understand why. I think I understand their “problem”: they are not looking for a reason to disbelieve.

    What makes them so much less credulous? Many have outlived their husbands; for more than one, this is a blessing. Well after retirement, the husband of another gambled all their money and lost. Several have endured burying an adult child. Some live uncomplaining and productively with physical pain marking the beat of every moment. There is so much more and yet nothing a stranger would read in their kind and cheerful faces.

    What makes them so much less credulous than the smart, rich people who anxiously take up the cynical cross of the Code? Reality, I think. They have not been able to shield themselves or, heartbreakingly, the people they love most from the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” But maybe looking down double-barreled reality has made them recognize instantly when they are looking down the barrel of a squirt gun.

    Friends of mine have written and spoken at length about the errors of the Code and I am glad that there are people of faith with the perspicacity to do so. I might be even more glad that there are people like these women who, simply from their experience of “capital T” Truth look at the Code and say light-heartedly, “That just isn’t so.”

    At Easter, we renew our baptismal vows. In one form, the questions are starkly simple: “Do you reject Satan? And all his works? And all his empty promises?” The longer form mentions the “glamour of evil” and the “father of sin and prince of darkness”. When our daughter was a little girl, she used to object mightily to the longer form “because it makes the devil sound too special.” I have a feeling that a great danger for us might be in making the Code too special.

    We should not disregard the reality of Satan (our resident non-theologian also objected to that capitalization, on the same grounds), nor should we ignore the dangers of letting the Code pass unremarked. But, like the holy examples I offer here, it might not be a bad thing to be light-hearted about it.

    Pretty soon, Dan, you are going to ask me to get my own blog 😉

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