Reponding to the idea of "Othercotting" the DaVinci Code

I came across this article about the DaVinci Code, read it, and tried to dismiss it. But it seems I can’t. As I have mentioned, I can’t believe all the hype over a fiction book.
Yesterday I worshipped at a church that had a series of sermons on this. The sermon was very good addressing the need to further study church history (which I am the first to admit that I am working on). The pastor explained the difference why the Gnostic gospels were dismissed as heretical. He also pointed out that we can gain insight on further understanding early century beliefs. Very true. And did not condemn seeing the movie, but wanted to educate the inaccuracies both historically and theologically.

All this began a discussion of course, among which includes this article. While some are boycotting (which could be another post but again, I respect those that do not want to see it, although I may debate the reasoning, nevertheless …), this article, suggests we “Othercott”. Meaning we still go to the theater … but see something else (she suggests “Over the Hedge”). And so, this is my response:

Although I respect Barbara, I take issue with her stand.

If her convictions lead her to not seeing it, everyone should be satisfied with that.
But what I take issue is her suggestion on what the rest of us should do.
Why criticize the people who want to engage those who are going to watch it and may be influenced it? What about those that watch it and walk away believing part of it? Is it not better that those who understand Christianity and the heresy of this movie engage in conversation with these viewers?

And regarding her criticism of the conversations she has had with people (and I am certain that she has had several of these, it’s ridiculous to think that all or many of the conversations are going to be like this. And why have I had so few of these terrible conversations, is it her rhetoric? And while we are on it, maybe Barbara should read the gospel of Mary Magdalene since she hears this conversation so many times. (I read the Koran and other texts for this reason). I am the first to say that it comes down to faith, however, giving seekers and critics intelligent refutations to their charges and probably reasons for our faith is what we are instructed to do from Jesus to Paul to Peter.

After visiting Barbara’s blog, I found that one of her favorites of 2005 included “Munich” (a great movie in my opinion). But my question to Barbara would be if supporting DVC is like supporting heresy, isn’t supporting “Munich” like supporting revenge killing? What about all the people who left that movie and all who have visited the blog? They might leave not knowing the difference between retaliation versus self-defense?

My other question is how much money does Barbara have that she can afford to take her family and friends to a movie they are seeing in spite and buying refreshments on top of it? If she has a lot (and I don’t begrudge for having a lot), may I suggest bribing people in line NOT to go see Davinci and giving them a ticket to “Over the Hedge”? Or maybe some Soprano’s style tactics, “Extortion for His Highest”, or stealing film reels in the name of God, breaking knees for Jesus….
I find this as yet another instance where Christians are running away from the battle.
The suggestion of “othercotting” is just as odd as boycotting or protesting. Make someone else rich … in spite. Can’t you just hear the conversations? If you don’t want to see DVC and want to see “Over the Hedges”, great, but making someone else rich in spite of not wanting to make someone rich, doesn’t really advance the cause of the kingdom. I have no intention of seeing the OTH, and my only knowledge of it is the movie poster, but the point remains, if it’s less wrong, or for the most part morally neutral, I don’t understand the wisdom of this advice. Choosing to ignore a bad philosophy rather than engaging it, deconstructing it, and refuting it (then offering a better philosophy like the truth of the Gospel) as Francis Schaeffer taught seems like a poor tactic. Again please do not misunderstand my point, I am not calling for all Christians to see this movie for the sake of evangelism, only if you lead to but at the same time we should not dissuade others from seeing it.

American Life League: How Come Planned Parenthood Doesn't Get It? You Can't Have Mother's Day Without … Babies!

It’s like the KKK sending cards out to African Americans on Martin Luther King Day.

WASHINGTON, May 4 /U.S. Newswire/ — “How is it possible for Planned Parenthood, the operator of the nation’s largest chain of abortion clinics, to conduct a fundraising campaign with a Mother’s Day theme?” asked American Life League president Judie Brown. “It’s simply horrifying to think that anyone involved in abortion – even Planned Parenthood – could have the audacity to claim any association at all with a day designed to salute a mother’s selfless love for her children.”

Over the years, Planned Parenthood has committed more than three million abortions. “That’s three million instances in which mothers permitted their children to be killed at this organization’s hands,” said Brown. “For many of these women, Mother’s Day is an annual reminder of the unspeakable evil they permitted to be perpetrated on their own flesh and blood.”

A recent e-mail communication from Jatrice Martel Gaiter, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., urged supporters to “honor your mother in a very special way” with a financial contribution to Planned Parenthood. Gaiter said that at Planned Parenthood’s Washington affiliate, “Mother’s Day also reminds us of our mission – to ensure that every child is wanted, nurtured, and enormously loved.”

“Can Planned Parenthood be serious?” asked Brown. “Ms. Gaiter’s words have a ghastly ring to them. How is it that a beautiful baby, which she describes as ‘nurtured and enormously loved,’ can be violently put to death in the offices that she oversees? And how could it be that such a ‘service’ be funded in honor of the woman who gave life to these potential contributors?”… (full article linked to title)

The Killing of Baby Girl Skinner

This is unacceptable. She killed her baby by shooting her stomach and it was considered a self-induced abortion. Unlawful, Uncivil, & Unjust

“Tammy Skinner was charged with inducing an abortion. However, since she actually fired the gun herself, General District Court Judge James A. Moore decided that she could not be charged with inducing a miscarriage or abortion. After all, abortion is legal in America, throughout all nine months, under the holding of Roe v. Wade. Her lawyer, known for his “civil rights” work- and for his representation of the People for the Ethical treatment of Animals (PETA)- argued at a preliminary hearing that the charge of inducing an abortion or miscarriage is intended for use against a third party.

He contended that the Statute did not apply to a mother who shoots herself to commit an abortion. “A strange irony for a civil rights lawyer”, you might ask? Well, in America, Baby Girl Skinner had no civil rights. Mother Tammy has them all. She also has a “right” to kill. Given the state of the law in this nation, the other person involved, the one who died as a direct result of the gunshot, Baby Girl Skinner, had no voice and no legal standing. She, along with all children in the first home of the human race, their mothers’ womb, had been reduced to the status of property.” (title links to full story)

A Faith Tailored Just for You

For those interested in the discussion about the gnostic gospel of Judas:

“When the Gospel of Judas was unveiled in April, much of the American press and public were bowled over by this “lost” Gospel’s claims that Judas was Jesus’ favorite, that he was the only disciple who understood Jesus’ mission, and that Jesus told Judas to hand him over to the authorities, so that Judas would “sacrifice the man that clothes me.”

Little was reported of what the 13-sheet Coptic manuscript had to say about the heavenly kingdom of Barbelo, the 72 heavens, the 360 firmaments, and the confusing array of demigods who inhabit them.

Fortunately, some members of the press saw how ridiculous it all was. Newsweek’s David Gates took aim at the hoopla manufactured by National Geographic and others who had a financial stake in the Judas Gospel: “Can the lipstick tie-in be far behind?

More importantly, the best liberal scholars admitted up front that this find “tells us nothing about the historical Jesus, nothing about the historical Judas.” Those are the words of James M. Robinson, lead scholar of the team that investigated the last great find of Gnostic Gospels, the Nag Hammadi library. Or as Adam Gopnik told New Yorker readers, “The finding of the new Gospel … no more challenges the basis of the church’s faith than the discovery of a document from the nineteenth century written in Ohio and defending King George would be a challenge to the basis of American democracy.”…
(click on title)

Brian McLaren on The Da Vinci Code

Having read a couple of his books and attended lectures, listened to podcasts, etc., I highly respect Brian McLaren. Having said that, I don’t agree with everything he says (and I am not sure he agrees with everything he says). The Davinci Code is a lot a mosquito that just won’t stop. I thought its hype would have been its own demise but I thought the same thing about American Idol (and yeah, I’ve watched from time to time. I watch now just to laugh at that idiot Taylor. Pick anyone, Chris, that Brunette, bring back the airhead Kelly, but if this 52 year old weirdo wins, there is no hope for the Amercian public). Anyway, I digress, Brian McLaren on the DaVinci Code: (full article linked to title).

“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?” …

King of the Hill Looks For Church

“The Tram car is now leaving for the sanctionary. Parishoners, please keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times.”

Too funny.

"Brotherly Love for Bonds? Yeah, Right"

Those Philly fans …

Published: May 6, 2006
PHILADELPHIA, May 5 — When Barry Bonds jogged to left field in the first inning here, some fans unfurled a huge banner with a message that he could not miss…

(Click title for full art.)

Flickering Mind by Jill Carattini

Jill makes a great illustration of one of my favorite pieces of art – Rembrandt’s Prodigal Son. I actually had the blessing of seeing it last year. Loved it, enjoyed this article in light of it.


Gallery statistics report that the average time a person spends looking at
a particular work of art is three seconds. To those who spend their lives
caring for the great art museums of the world, I imagine this is a
disheartening sight to behold day after day. It would have been
interesting to hear the thoughts of the St. Petersburg curators who
watched as Henri Nouwen sat before Rembrandt’s Return of the Prodigal
Son for more than four hours.

I wonder how often I am more like the three-second viewer than a
captivated Nouwen, moving through my days with my eyes barely open. How
often am I surrounded by the presence of God, but unaware and
unseeing-missing, in my absence, the bigger picture? One of my favorite
poems begins with the lines, “Lord, not you, it is I who am absent.”(1)

The parable of the prodigal son is typically understood as a story that
speaks to us when we have wandered away from God in belief or obedience.
It is a story we often apply to a specific time in our lives–a momentous
return to faith, a homecoming back to the church, a particular event that
caused us to remember God’s grace personally and powerfully. It is a
parable that at one time or another describes many of us. Perhaps it is
also a parable that describes us daily. In the daily struggle to
see, the constant battle to be present and conscious of the presence of
God in this place, we come and go like prodigals. …

Read the rest by clicking on the title.

Liberals Have Values Too

This is too funnny.

Commenting on United 93

Last night I watched United 93. Incredibly intense and you leave the theater speechless.
The question surrounding the movie is “Was it released too soon?” There is even disagreement within the families of those involved in this horrific event. For me, it wasn’t too soon but this movie is very difficult to watch so I would caution any movie-goer. It’s not like the Passion where we see Jesus resurrected after the gory crucifixion. It’s not like Schindler’s List where there’s resolve in the end. I am not really sure what it’s like. Raw is the only word that seems to come to mind.

The acting is different – they shot long improvisations (one lasted 40 minutes) because the intent was to be as real and as chaotic as it was on that fateful Tuesday. A couple of the actors are not professional and FAA Ben Sliney plays himself. Personally, I thought highly of the authenticity of the characters from those in the control rooms and especially the passengers. The men who played the terrorists were very convincing as well. You really believe that they believe in this disillusion to give glory to Allah in this most evil of ways.

Again, this movie may not be for everyone. But as difficult as it was to watch, I could not help but be moved by these courageous passengers who stormed the cockpit. Still can’t really wrap my mind around it.

A couple reviews: