I am going to see The Da Vinci Code (TDVC) movie as soon as it comes out and I’m able. I am a sincere Christ-follower (an Evangelical Christian) and I don’t believe nearly any of the historical foundation for the story. You may ask, why would you go to this movie then – I thought Christians were boycotting it or something? Let me answer that question… thanks for asking.
I am going to see TDVC because it will probably be a great movie and I like to see great movies. I like to watch Tom Hanks breathe an intangible but undeniable spark into the life of almost any character he plays. I try to only watch so-called Christian movies when they also are great movies on their own (like The Passion) or have some merit other than their “Christian” label. It makes no sense to watch inferior artistry just because of the label. Would you let a dubiously mediocre surgeon cut you open because he was a Christian?
I am going to see TDVC because it will be a topic of conversation for sure. The controversy alone has generated more dialog than any movie already released right now. The talk may well be questions about the validity of various parts of the movie… the accuracy of the historical references… the theological implications… and of course, the “could it all be true?”. Many of my friends and coworkers will come to me, being “the religious guy”, and ask me what I think about it or what my “priest” says about the movie. I know this from experience.
If I don’t see the movie I can’t enter into those conversations… I can’t directly and credibly engage those people with their questions. As a Christian I’m called to engage. Some Christians might say I could engage by speaking what I know to be true from the Bible about who Christ was and who Mary Magdalene was without having to see the movie… but it wouldn’t be as genuine, as applicable to specific scenes, or as honest. And it wouldn’t be as credible. Credibility is important, because there’s too many hypocritical Christians out there already. You know who you are… you who will condemn Desperate Housewives or Harry Potter or [fill in the blank]… and you haven’t even seen any of them!? All you know is that some schmuck behind a pulpit found it to be a convenient target to fill a Sunday morning rant session and you walked away with an opinion other than one you formed yourself. Now I’m not advocating diving headfirst into the sin city underground and steeping yourselves in every manner of worldly medium… there has to be some limits and you need to use your brain… but today’s Christians tend toward a missionally debilitating conservatism when it comes to culture.
Back to TDVC… I’ve heard Christians tell me that “I don’t want my money going to them”… but who is them? The “them” is probably about 75,000 people scattered over all of the cinematic industry, from marketers to mass-producers to theater employees to stunt doubles. The notion of keeping money away from a particular “them” is a fool’s notion. Your money will go to Hollywood in some form or another no matter what movie you go to. Then the argument Christians are ultimately making by proxy is whether or not to see movies at all, but that’s not the argument they’re vocalizing… so are they confused or intellectually dishonest? Or maybe just plain hypocrites? Christians have had a shameful streak of openly boycotting a “Judas” only to ultimately patronize a “Pontius Pilate”… whether we’re talking clothing, movies, restaurants… you name it. Here’s a tip – see the best movies, buy the best clothing, and eat at the best restaurants. Dig?
So you’d have to be an “outed” gay Muslim cleric hiding in a Pakistani cave not to have heard all the controversy surrounding this movie. Catholic and Protestant groups are calling for boycotts and disruptive litigation. But why? They say the movie is offensive… but how? Sure, the story has all the historical accuracy of an episode of the Teletubbies… much like most other stories from books and movies. Sure, it said Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, but does that offend you to hear someone think or say that? Are we all of a sudden offended by anyone with a different view than our own? Do we only see movies or read books that we already agree with? Who exactly, then, are we trying to engage? Many are seeking some truth from somewhere in this topsy-turvy world, and they just may look for it in TDVC… wouldn’t it be great to use TDVC to enter into a dialog with them about Jesus? Wasn’t that what the Book of Acts says Paul did in Athens?
Pastor Ed Marcelle of Terra Nova Church was a scrambled soul looking for truth in 1988, long before he became a pastor, when the movie The Last Temptation of Christ came out. The movie was met with much controversy from Christians for how it depicted Christ, so local churches would picket theaters and hold demonstrations. Ed recalls going to see the film and having to jostle his way through a crowd of Christian protesters who wore stern frowns of disapproval toward everyone they saw and stood in stiff-shouldered groups to impede entrance into the movie. What was the goal of any of that? What possible constructive purpose did that serve? None… those Christians may have had sincere hearts and some Biblical knowledge but they were acting like idiots. They could have brought a friend to the movie and then afterward talked all about Christ for hours over coffee… a priceless opportunity.
To my Christian readers, listen up a second. TDVC comes out soon. Don’t play the idiotic boycott game… and don’t let priceless opportunities slip away. Be like Paul in Athens and go see the movie. Because if you don’t then someday you may just have to explain why not. *wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge*
Here’s a good site for TDVC error checking: www.davincidelusion.tv