Monday, June 12, 2006

I Broke Down and Saw the Movie

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What can I say? I broke down and saw the Da Vinci Code over the weekend. Besides being a very long movie (2.5 hours), it was decent. Great? No. Decent? Yes. Worth seeing at some point? Yes. To me it seemed like a boring Indiana Jones flick. The plot was average, and it had some overly-corny aspects, especially the end.

Now, for some theology. Would someone please contact Dan Brown and give him a lesson on Constantine, and more importantly, the Council of Nicea? I mean, come on, there's a difference between theological musing and downright ignorance. What the movie had to say about the Council of Nicea was just downright ignorant. Sadly enough, I'm not sure the general audience would've realize how ridiculous this part was.

My wife, a trained historian, laughed her way through the movie. Needless to say, I joined her on many occasions - people were looking at us, but hey, if would have enjoyed it much more if they were thinking critically.

Now, for the affirmation. While I don't subscribe to Dan Brown's final claim (I won't give it away for all of you who plan to see it at some point), I think the overall-message deserves some critical acclaim. I think he's right in that Christianity has, for too long, been a power-hungry, controlling, and manipulative institution. We Christians deserve liberation from the oppression of "religious" powers. For example, women have been severely oppressed in the Christian tradition. It's time to get over it. Why are we still debating female ordination? Are we really that childish? All children of God deserve to be God's ministers. So, Dan Brown points the way to a liberating Christianity, which I agree with, though I think his method is, in the final analysis, severely flawed.

So, the overall critique: see the movie, if not for anything else, then a good laugh!


At 12:23 PM, Anonymous Old James said...

James: Have you seen Gibsons' "Passion of the Christ"? I suppose for us plain old Christians who walk by faith and not by sight it is an opportunity to see something that is fact rather than "Da Vinci Code" which is strictly fiction. Mel, keep up the good work!

At 12:37 PM, Blogger Looney said...

"For example, women have been severely oppressed in the Christian tradition."

You said you were married to a historian? My understanding is that Christianity stopped polygamy and has for the most part elevated women out of the commodity/breeding status.

Then there are the thousands of women being brought into Germany as sex slaves (legally) to serve the world cup fans. Is Christianity responsible for this? Or the rejection of Christianity?

For the historian, we have Alexis de Tocqueville's observations of the frontier women in a Christian society vs. the european Englightenment women.

Then there is Sharia law ...

No, the chronic unhappiness of the liberated woman is probably due to something other than Christianity.

At 11:15 AM, Blogger James said...

Dear "Old James",

Concerning what is "strictly fiction," I suppose it depends on your view of history. For me history is something which one cannot prove or disprove. Rather, history works in probabilities. Applied to these two examples, Mel's "Passion" has high probability that the gorry details are correct: crucifixions were nasty things. And, the Da Vinci Code has a high probability (in my opinion) of being false. Not false because it contradicts the New Testament, but false because we don't have real solid ground (textually) to assert these things. It all goes back to the texts.

Dear "Looney,"

My point (though not explained well) was that women have suffered throughout history, and Christianity (for the most part) has perpetuated the myths that somehow and for some bizarre reason men are superior (at worst) or "head" of the household (at best). Rather, I see it as hopeful that our new generation of Christians can act more like Jesus who was clearly egalitarian. Perhaps Christianity stopped polygamy in the ancient world, but only to further negate a woman's action in the world - and further relegation in the household. Concerning your comment about the World Cup, it's a disgusting practice - and certain not the direct fault of Christians - but it clearly illustrates where Christianity (as a movement) has gone awry from the message of Jesus. We are called to stand up against these things and do everything in our power to free women from this oppression. What are the Christians doing in Germany to combat this problem? Not much. What are Christians doing in this country concerning the same problem? The same thing - not much. This is what Jesus calls us to do - to be our brother's keeper - AND our sister's keeper!


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