Headlines from First Thoughts

Friday, May 19, 2006

DaVinci Disappointments

The DaVinci Code is a two hour and twenty minute marathon that fails to keep up with the thrills of the book. Tom Hanks plays the role of stiff professor Robert Langdon to a "T" or shall we say a "V," as the divine feminine would have us imagine. Audrey Tatou gives little life to Sophie Neveu's ("New Wisdom's") quest for knowledge about a crime and about her past. In fact, the many plot twists of the book, coupled with the convoluted revision of church history, makes the average viewer ask a big, "Huh?" midway through the movie. Even I was asking, "Now how did we get here again?" And I read the book.

The movie does not include the disclaimer that the book has at the beginning, the one that says this is a fiction book. That's ok; you can tell from the outset we're not dealing with reality.

The educated viewer who knows something about the early church and the Bible should walk away relaxing that she will not find this movie in a credible church history or Scriptures class. Pastors can pipe down; this will not lead to heretical teachings any time soon. Oscar voters will have to look elsewhere.

Like most flicks, we can learn a few things from Ron Howard's depiction of the bestseller.

1.) Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute. I did not need the movie to tell me that; it's in the Bible already.

2.) The church is full of secrets. If you don't believe me, just try attending a church of another denomination than your own on Sunday. It takes a few months to pick up on the "code." Even I wonder occasionally how Baptists got the phrase, "transfer by letter."

3.) The church has made mistakes. The movie makes the Roman Catholic church look like a bunch of conspirators and criminals. We Baptists know that we kept silent too long during the Civil Rights era. All of us have things we regret in our past. We do not need a movie to expose sins of the past. We can admit those and also gladly proclaim the positive difference that the church has made in this world.

4.) Our faith is a faith. We believe without seeing, and unfortunately the Code goes to great lengths to prove something by seeing it at a tomb. We believe in a tomb that is empty, and we respond to God's revelation of this truth by God's grace. Historical evidence is nice, and we have plenty of it. In the end, we take a leap..."by grace, through faith, not of ourselves, it is the gift of God." Even Ron Howard tips his hat to faith when Robert Langdon kneels at the end of the movie. It was a little corny, but I'll take what I can get.

5.) We are adopted children of God, carrying his message today. At the end of the movie, Langdon asks Neveu, "If there was a living descendant of Jesus Christ, would it destroy your faith or reinforce it?" Great news! The Christian faith says we are sons and daughters of God, joint heirs of his promise. As believers, we are "body of Christ." As I understand it, I am that child of God. My life should make a difference to others in helping them see Christ's work. As one of those living descendants, I hope I reinforce the faith of others.

Go enjoy the movie if you like, but for an even better adventure, read about the real Mary Magdalene. You'll find most of her information in the Gospel of John and in Luke 8. It should take you less than two hours and twenty minutes to read them through. I recommend reading aloud to yourself or with a group; it's very exciting that way. You'll find twists and turns, miracles, and the incredible. And the ending....well, you'll have to read it to believe it.

1 comment:

Julie Rice said...

Thanks Bill for the review and the reminder. It's good to know I can skip the major cash outlay for yet another movie where the book was better. Now when is Mel Gibson's newest movie coming out?

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