Tuesday, May 30, 2006

DaVinci Mania

Can I go one day without hearing about the DaVinci Code? It’s everywhere I go and where I am people are not happy about it. There are seminars, “bible studies,” Church meetings, three week classes, even books about the “evil message” of Dan Brown. I’ve heard it called everything from deceptive to dangerous even satanic. Either I am hearing about it on the radio, from Christian news and magazine articles, or just in personal conversation; either being asked my “professional” opinion as a student at a Christian University (and of course being expected to agree about how deceptive the book is) or being flat out told why Christians shouldn’t read it. I know there are a whole lot of people out there who love the book but apparently their voice is quiet because everything I hear is negative. What intrigues me the most is that though the Church hates it so much the book wouldn’t be half as popular if it were not for the frantic frenzy surrounding it.

Why on earth are we making such a big deal out of a fictional book? What’s the big deal. Shouldn’t we be optimistic about there being such great interest in Jesus? Shouldn’t we trust that truth is more powerful than a lie and light is greater than darkness (this is assuming that the book is “dark” and I am not convinced that it is)? Shouldn’t we pick our battles?

I’ve been living with a story the last week or so. It’s the place is scripture where Jesus is in the garden being arrested. Out of anger and I am sure a sense of duty Peter, one of Jesus closest disciples draws his sword and cuts off the ear of the servant of the high priest. Isn’t he doing the right thing? I mean Jesus, who he swore to follow even to death is being arrested. Anyone who is loyal to his master would surely defend Him. But sometimes what seems to be the right thing to do, the right battle to fight just isn’t. Jesus calls to Peter “put your sword away! Live by the sword and you’ll die by the sword.” What Jesus is saying here is much more profound than we usually realize. Peter is trying to save Jesus life, of course it must be the right thing to do, but essentially Jesus tells Him that in this case his effort to preserve life is really destroying it. What Peter sees as saving life Jesus, with such great wisdom, knows will actually cause death. The ironic thing is that Jesus, though he didn’t live by the sword, still died by it, which would prove Him wrong. But again in glorious irony Jesus shows us how to truly bring life, not by the means we normally seek victory but by surrender. He surrendered Himself, and though He was killed He came to life again. Sometimes victory comes in the most unlikely and ironic ways. Only a God like Yahweh could bring this kind of victory, the most unlikely and ironic but the most complete and true.

So here we are. There is this book and to us it seems like Jesus is being attacked. So of course we draw our swords and fight back. What we may see as preserving life may really be ending it. As we draw our swords and thrust ourselves into battle in order to declare truth to the world and conceal the lies the world only sees burning books. The world sees great literature being insulted and God is saying “live by the sword and you’ll die by the sword.”

4 comments:

Stephen said...

Nice! I'm with you Wes. I think what propels this battle is really just fear. Isn't that the way of it for all the stuff we Christian's fight so hard against. Like we need to defend God? And I agree with you that it's pretty clear that God says no surrender.

Ashley said...

Amazing comparison!!

Danny said...

Let me argue for the Christians who dislike the book. My pastor read the book and said it was a very well written book that he enjoyed. However, the book itself suggested that the events were true at the beginning. Many are just trying to clear up the events for those who do not know any better. This is not really seen as an attack against Christians, it is an attack against those who know very little about Christianity are easily persuaded.

WES ELLIS said...

Danny,
that's not the approach I'm talking about. the approach I'm talking about is the one that says that people shouldn't read the book and thinks that it's an attack from Satan. Why don't we take advantage of the potentially good message of the book; that our faith goes far beyond what history says. Why don't we affirm the truth in the book and appretiate its creativity. By the way, Dan Brown admits that the book is fiction. It's just another conspiracy theory. It can't be proven right or wrong in all respects. Have you read the book Danny?