May 22, 2006

I guess all must be right in the worldwide Anglican Communion as far as the Church of England is concerned – I mean, why else would it bother to get its britches in an uproar over Madonna’s latest publicity stunt, in which she opens her latest tour suspended from a large mirrored cross. Wow, what a surprise – Madonna poking fun at Christianity to provoke outrage and garner publicity. Haven’t we seen this somewhere before ages ago? Sheesh, getting all upset over some 47-year old media hound masquerading herself as some spiritual pop icon just because she’s a member of some screwball quasi-Jewish, New Age sect. Sigh. One can only hope that the lack of church attendance by young people in its own back yard, or the threat of schism and dissolution of the worldwide communion of churches it heads over controversies involving church teaching and human sexuality are somewhere in the Top Ten.

Along those same lines, all this hubbub over The Da Vinci Code movie. I mean, if your personal faith and belief system (or your church’s, for that matter) is so fragile and tepid that a movie about a book about a painting gets you all hot and bothered, how will it stand up in the face of real trial and tribulation? Professor Bainbridge lends some much-needed perspective. And Megan Basham’s observation about those who take this kind of stuff any more seriously than they might, say, any of Ron Howard’s other movies, sounds about right to me:

A more interesting question is why as preposterous a conspiracy theory as this should hold such wide appeal in the first place. Dare we consult Scripture on the subject and suggest its root lies in the oldest sin in the Book—pride. It seems obvious that at least part of the allure for those who take the Da Vinci Code seriously comes from pride that they are smarter, more clued-in than the average, churchgoing Joes and Janes on the street; pride that they alone, this relatively small group of renegades, have unearthed the secrets that duped all previous ages of men; pride that only they possess the intellect to recognize a con that took in entirety of Christendom.

There’s always a thrill to be had at feeling like an insider–especially when one can gain that feeling for the price of reading an airport novel rather than a serious study of liturgical history or, even more difficult, a serious searching of one’s own soul.

Look, I have no qualms about The Da Vinci Code any more than I would Madonna hanging from a cross or Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Is The Robe and its schmaltzy ending any more or less believable? I mean, aren’t we talking the entertainment industry here? To me, anything that exposes someone to the Church’s teachings and/or causes them to confront the – oh my God! – mysteries of faith and belief in the slightest of ways has to be a better alternative than the usual trash TV, right?

Of course, for those looking for a Christian scholar’s response to the movie, you can’t do a whole lot better than Mark D. Roberts.

OK, enough about the entertainment industry’s assaults on Christianity. Let’s talk real-life practicalities here. Here’s an amazing and thought-provoking post by one of my favorite bloggers, The Anchoress. I’ve been working off and on on a “thinking out loud” draft post about exactly this sort of common mindset, but could never figure out how to button it up. Thanks, Anchoress, you’ve said it far better than I could…

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 17:08 | Comments Off on Blessings and Curses
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