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Old 05-18-2006, 11:20 PM   #136
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Here's a great interview from the Sojourner's website on a Christian's view on The Da Vinci Code...

http://63.134.216.19/index.cfm?actio...y&issue=060509

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Brian McLaren on The Da Vinci Code
An interview by Lisa Ann Cockrel

With The Da Vinci Code poised to go from bestseller list to the big screen on May 19, pastor and writer (and Sojourners board member) Brian McLaren talks about why he thinks there's truth in the controversial book's fiction.

What do you think the popularity of The Da Vinci Code reveals about pop culture attitudes toward Christianity and the church?

Brian McLaren: I think a lot of people have read the book, not just as a popular page-turner but also as an experience in shared frustration with status-quo, male-dominated, power-oriented, cover-up-prone organized Christian religion. We need to ask ourselves why the vision of Jesus hinted at in Dan Brown's book is more interesting, attractive, and intriguing to these people than the standard vision of Jesus they hear about in church. Why would so many people be disappointed to find that Brown's version of Jesus has been largely discredited as fanciful and inaccurate, leaving only the church's conventional version? Is it possible that, even though Brown's fictional version misleads in many ways, it at least serves to open up the possibility that the church's conventional version of Jesus may not do him justice?

So you think The Da Vinci Code taps into dissatisfaction with Jesus as we know him?

McLaren: For all the flaws of Brown's book, I think what he's doing is suggesting that the dominant religious institutions have created their own caricature of Jesus. And I think people have a sense that that's true. It's my honest feeling that anyone trying to share their faith in America today has to realize that the Religious Right has polluted the air. The name "Jesus" and the word "Christianity" are associated with something judgmental, hostile, hypocritical, angry, negative, defensive, anti-homosexual, etc. Many of our churches, even though they feel they represent the truth, actually are upholding something that's distorted and false.

I also think that the whole issue of male domination is huge and that Brown's suggestion that the real Jesus was not as misogynist or anti-woman as the Christian religion often has been is very attractive. Brown's book is about exposing hypocrisy and cover-up in organized religion, and it is exposing organized religion's grasping for power. Again, there's something in that that people resonate with in the age of pedophilia scandals, televangelists, and religious political alliances. As a follower of Jesus I resonate with their concerns as well.

Do you think the book contains any significantly detrimental distortions of the Christian faith?

McLaren: The book is fiction and it's filled with a lot of fiction about a lot of things that a lot of people have already debunked. But frankly, I don't think it has more harmful ideas in it than the Left Behind novels. And in a certain way, what the Left Behind novels do, the way they twist scripture toward a certain theological and political end, I think Brown is twisting scripture, just to other political ends. But at the end of the day, the difference is I don't think Brown really cares that much about theology. He just wanted to write a page-turner and he was very successful at that.

Many Christians are also reading this book and it's rocking their preconceived notions - or lack of preconceived notions - about Christ's life and the early years of the church. So many people don't know how we got the canon, for example. Should this book be a clarion call to the church to say, "Hey, we need to have a body of believers who are much more literate in church history." Is that something the church needs to be thinking about more strategically?

McLaren: Yes! You're exactly right. One of the problems is that the average Christian in the average church who listens to the average Christian broadcasting has such an oversimplified understanding of both the Bible and of church history - it would be deeply disturbing for them to really learn about church history. I think the disturbing would do them good. But a lot of times education is disturbing for people. And so if The Da Vinci Code causes people to ask questions and Christians have to dig deeper, that's a great thing, a great opportunity for growth. And it does show a weakness in the church giving either no understanding of church history or a very stilted, one-sided, sugarcoated version.

On the other hand, it's important for me to say I don't think anyone can learn good church history from Brown. There's been a lot of debunking of what he calls facts. But again, the guy's writing fiction so nobody should be surprised about that. The sad thing is there's an awful lot of us who claim to be telling objective truth and we actually have our own propaganda and our own versions of history as well.

Let me mention one other thing about Brown's book that I think is appealing to people. The church goes through a pendulum swing at times from overemphasizing the deity of Christ to overemphasizing the humanity of Christ. So a book like Brown's that overemphasizes the humanity of Christ can be a mirror to us saying that we might be underemphasizing the humanity of Christ.

In light of The Da Vinci Code movie that is soon to be released, how do you hope churches will engage this story?

McLaren: I would like to see churches teach their people how to have intelligent dialogue that doesn't degenerate into argument. We have to teach people that the Holy Spirit works in the middle of conversation. We see it time and time again - Jesus enters into dialogue with people; Paul and Peter and the apostles enter into dialogue with people. We tend to think that the Holy Spirit can only work in the middle of a monologue where we are doing the speaking.

So if our churches can encourage people to, if you see someone reading the book or you know someone who's gone to the movie, say, "What do you think about Jesus and what do you think about this or that," and to ask questions instead of getting into arguments, that would be wonderful. The more we can keep conversations open and going the more chances we give the Holy Spirit to work. But too often people want to get into an argument right away. And, you know, Jesus has handled 2,000 years of questions, skepticism, and attacks, and he's gonna come through just fine. So we don't have to be worried.

Ultimately, The Da Vinci Code is telling us important things about the image of Jesus that is being portrayed by the dominant Christian voices. [Readers] don't find that satisfactory, genuine, or authentic, so they're looking for something that seems more real and authentic.

Lisa Ann Cockrel is associate editor at Today's Christian Woman.
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Old 05-19-2006, 09:02 AM   #137
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My local paper said it is too faithful to the book, way too much exposition, Ron Howard was the wrong choice, and so on. They gave it 2 out of 4 stars. A TV reviewer said Audrey Tautou basically just stands around and says very little, why on earth would they waste her like that?

All the church is doing with all the silly attention is getting people to go see a bad movie who haven't even read the book. After the book audience sees it I think the box office will dwindle. I will see it just out of curiosity, hopefully I won't burn in hell for that
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Old 05-19-2006, 05:18 PM   #138
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I read this book. I preferred to believe my catechism over a popular novel.
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Old 05-19-2006, 05:35 PM   #139
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I got a mailing from a conservative Catholic group that was solicitating money for a campaign against the movie. I threw the mailing into the nearest trash receptacle. All they're doing is giving it free publicity.
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Old 05-20-2006, 08:26 AM   #140
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Quote:
Originally posted by verte76
I preferred to believe my catechism over a popular novel.
So do I, but I'm also not in any way "threatened" by the plot of the book/movie. Watching the movie last night I could see and understand how it can carry away your imagination. The ending is interesting in that it challenges you to consider what is ultimately more important-what Jesus stands for and what his message is vs the stories of the Bible and the history that we've been taught. I think perhaps the whole movie should make you ask yourself that. My feeling is that the church is diminishing Jesus and his power in a way by getting upset over this movie. And they are insulting the intelligence of Catholics.

The movie wasn't as bad as I expected, for me what made it bad was Tom Hanks and his performance. What the heck happened? One review I read called it constipated, I'd say that's being kind Also the historical flashbacks, just dreadful and unnecessary.

And Audrey Tautou looked absolutely gorgeous, wow

Welcome back verte, great to have you back
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Old 05-20-2006, 08:38 AM   #141
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen


So do I, but I'm also not in any way "threatened" by the plot of the book/movie. Watching the movie last night I could see and understand how it can carry away your imagination. The ending is interesting in that it challenges you to consider what is ultimately more important-what Jesus stands for and what his message is vs the stories of the Bible and the history that we've been taught. I think perhaps the whole movie should make you ask yourself that. My feeling is that the church is diminishing Jesus and his power in a way by getting upset over this movie. And they are insulting the intelligence of Catholics.

Great post!
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Old 05-20-2006, 08:41 AM   #142
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yeah I haven't read the da vinci code but i can assure you that Umberto Eco's work are very enjoyable...
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Old 05-20-2006, 08:44 AM   #143
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonosSaint

Great post!
No, but thanks Bono's Saint

I have a girl crush on Audrey Tautou, should I go to confession?
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Old 05-20-2006, 08:55 AM   #144
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Hey, I thought it was a great post because it was pretty close to my thinking (insert ego here)

Seriously, I think you get to the heart of it. No religion, secure in the strength of its doctrine, should be afraid of a challenge to it. It is then their challenge to answer it. Hey, if I were any church, I'd be delighted with any interest, any talk about it.

Nah, no need for confession. But I guess you have to go to confession just for seeing the movie.
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Old 05-20-2006, 09:15 AM   #145
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The scenery in the movie is gorgeous, I will never get to France or to the Louvre so that was nice to see

I would LOVE to see the Mona Lisa in person

LiveScience.comWed May 17, 12:03 PM ET

Maybe she's smiling because she found the secret to immortality.

Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa," widely considered the world's most recognizable work of art, turns 500 this year. Maybe.

The sitter's enigmatic smirk is just one of the mysteries that historians, scientists and conspiracy theorists have been debating since the artist touched his last brushstroke to the canvas.

Even the year it was painted is not known for sure. It is widely believed to have been finished in 1506, but experts say that's no more than a good guess. Toting it with him his entire life, da Vinci likely touched it up in subsequent years.

What's the fuss?

The painting currently hangs in the Louvre Museum in Paris. It is set behind a wall of bulletproof glass and watched over by armed guards.

So what's all the fuss about?

"There's no reason for it," said Frank Fehrenbach, Renaissance expert and professor of art history at Harvard University. "It is a beautiful portrait, but only historical coincidences have made it so famous."

The Romantic Movement in the 19th century had a lot to do with popularizing the work, Fehrenbach said.

"Romantic writers created the popular image of the 'Mona Lisa,'" Fehrenbach told LiveScience. Because of her bemused smile, "they said she must hold secrets, that she was the quintessential ‘femme fatale.' With all of these new ideas about the Renaissance being discussed, the 'Mona Lisa' became the symbol of that."

The decisive moment

A brief absence from the Louvre made her even more famous.

"The theft in 1911 was a decisive moment in her history," Fehrenbach explained. "After she was recovered and returned triumphantly to the museum in 1913, she became its temple icon."

Since then, the public has held an unwavering fascination with the "Mona Lisa," and her mystique has only snowballed with the emergence of various popular theories over the years. "The Da Vinci Code", Dan Brown's wildly successful novel, has helped out in no small part, with the painting figuring prominently in its riveting opening chapters.

Like Brown's protagonist, some are convinced that da Vinci filled the "Mona Lisa" with religious and scientific symbolism, including the golden ratio—a very precise measurement said to appear mysteriously throughout the natural world—in drawing the sitter's face. Experts are quick to dismiss this notion, and most other "theories" on the painting, as the products of overactive imaginations.

"There is no documented evidence that da Vinci had any kind of intention to use the golden ratio within the 'Mona Lisa,' even though he certainly had knowledge of it," said Mario Livio, astrophysicist and author of "The Golden Ratio: The Story of PHI, The World's Most Astonishing Number" (Broadway, 2003).

"Art historians will sometimes treat paintings with a meter stick to find some kind of hidden geometry," Fehrenbach agreed. "But you can always find something if you're looking."

Science and art

There is plenty of science going on in the painting, Fehrenbach noted, just not the hidden, mysterious kind that people would like to believe.

Most evident is da Vinci's fascination with the earth sciences.

"The sitter's background is a rough, primordial landscape with very little else. This technique was very new at the time," he said. "It demonstrates da Vinci's interest in erosive forces and hydrogeology, which we know he would investigate further."

And what about that half-smile? Fehrenbach has his own theory.

"It's quite possible that she became bored during the long sitting process and da Vinci wanted to reflect that in the painting," he said.
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Old 05-20-2006, 10:47 AM   #146
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I agree with you Mrs. Springsteen. I don't feel threatened by the book or the movie. I think it's a sign of insecurity in your faith to feel that it can be threatened by a book or a movie. That's why I pitched that appeal for the campaign those conservative Catholics want to run against the movie.
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Old 05-20-2006, 01:54 PM   #147
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I'm going to see it tonight because I have free passes and otherwise wouldn't pay for it. I thought the book was on par with your standard Sidney Sheldon fare - mindless and poorly written but passably entertaining.

And I'll be in France in...29 days now, so I'll get to spend time in the Louvre which I've wanted to do forever.
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Old 05-20-2006, 06:26 PM   #148
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The male domination and the knee-jerk defense of the Institution and the rejection of new ideas in the Christian church does not need a Dan Brown expose (in book or film) to reveal it. It's been plain as day for centuries, and hardly "covered-up."

Sadly Christ has been poorly represented by the Christian Institution through much of history.

Here's a funny thing. I've been following this thread religiously (ha ha) for the past week or so. I've posted comments. And after all that I just have no interest in seeing the movie. I don't know why. . .I'm just don't have any real curiosity about it.

Finally, I've seen the Mona Lisa at the Louvre and the thing I really remember about it is that it's smaller than I expected it to be.
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Old 05-20-2006, 07:30 PM   #149
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Last summer I was supposed to go to the Louvre the day Tom Hanks was there shooting for the movie, but because he was there I had to go the day before. You should have seen the crowd in front of the painting, my german teacher had to hold me up so I could see it
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Old 05-20-2006, 07:36 PM   #150
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When I was at the Louvre I took one look at the giant line at the Mona Lisa, and decided it wasn't worth it.
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