Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Da Vinci

The following is a pre-edit version of an article I did for the magazine, The Christian Leader slated for publication in July of 2006.

You couldn’t turn your head in any direction for the third week in May or most of the year, without seeing or hearing about The Da Vinci Code. The movie has as a part of its plot that Jesus and Mary Magdalene married and ended up having children. This is a belief held by many is actually a recent approach made popular by Dan Brown’s book The Da Vinci Code and the 1982 book, Holy Blood Holy Grail written by Baigent, Leigh, and Lincoln. Some theories, not contained in the book or movie, claim Christ faked his crucifixion and ended up moving to France with Mary. Many were convinced the movie was going to damage Christianity.

The Da Vinci Code wasn’t just a money maker for Sony and Columbia Pictures; it became big business for the Christian Industry. Many attacked the story portrayed in this fictional work. From videos to books, Christians too advantage of the mêlée, and with resources in hand, many decided to protest theaters across the world.

The truth is the movie just isn’t that good. While opening to the second largest worldwide numbers ever, $224 Million Dollars, the numbers took an incredible dive in week two. Most industry standards state a movie will have legs if it does half its numbers in week two. The Da Vinci Code went from its massive opening numbers to $42.4 Million Dollars in week two. Taking over the number one spot in week two was X-Men III The Last Stand, produced by devout Christian, Ralph Winter who insisted that X-Men III present Christian values and a Christian worldview. By the time this article goes to press it is likely The Da Vinci Code will be showing in discount houses.

Many expressed frustration of those involved. There were complaints about Actor Tom Hanks and Director Ron Howard. “Forest Gump has become the devil,” or “I can’t believe little Opie Taylor would make such a movie.” Suddenly, we had our own expectations of Tom Hanks and Ron Howard.

Christians should know better than expect non Christians to act like Christians. Many have forgotten, we are the light and salt, not non believers or the movie industry. Christians should be making a difference within society, and within the movie industry we can see that outspoken Christians like Ralph Winter, of X-Men III is doing that. Even those making a difference in a positive way though, are the recipients of the attacks we tend to throw at “Hollywood.”

One might assume after seeing all of the press and protests that The Da Vinci Code is the most serious attack on the Church in her 2,000 year history. How soon we forget persecution from the first century, to the French Revolution and from the Reformation to present day in countries like Sudan. The Church has come under attack, yet the Church that Christ said he would build has persevered. One of the strengths of the church is the power of Christ. We serve a God who sees the Church as His bride. God will preserve his Church.

While Christians need to stand for truth regarding the foundations of our faith we should remember two concepts. First, God is the ultimate judge, what we say, and do, we say and do in love with a non condemning attitude. We would do well to remember Matthew 7:1-3 – (1) Don't condemn others, and God won't condemn you. (2) God will be as hard on you as you are on others! He will treat you exactly as you treat them.

(3) You can see the speck in your friend's eye, but you don't notice the log in your own eye.

The second thing is that despite where a person is coming from, without Christ, they will be blind to the truth of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:3-5 – (3) If there is anything hidden about our message, it is hidden only to someone who is lost.

(4) The god who rules this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers. They cannot see the light, which is the good news about our glorious Christ, who shows what God is like. (5) We are not preaching about ourselves. Our message is that Jesus Christ is Lord. He also sent us to be your servants.

Sometimes the overly aggressive nature of those of us in the Church tends to do more harm than good. The immediate reaction to The Da Vinci Code could have been one of those areas. The quick reaction and harsh criticism could have done the very thing we were trying to prevent. That is, create enough public commotion that it drove up the box office numbers. If the quickly declining numbers are an indication of anything, they are an indication that the public just didn’t think the movie was that good. Some may say an answer to prayer; I tend to think a sovereign God whose message continues to stand true.

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