Saturday, May 27, 2006

To watch or not to watch?

Ooh, a Da Vinci Code-related post! Now's my chance to jump on the bandwagon and boost my ratings.

On my friend Ryan's recommendation, I was listening to a talk by Pastor Joel Biermann this morning. The thrust of his message was that our character is molded by our surroundings. One thing he suggested is that we really need not read Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code or see the movie, because it's not really a salutary influence upon our minds and beliefs. In addition, our money would only help to support these types of entertainment. But I, for one, have read the book and watched the film (which, I say, was a confusing and rather poorly-rendered adaptation of the book).

Part of me really wants to agree with Biermann: During the film, my friend Sam, who hadn't read the book, said that the film's bloody scenes and sexual innuendo "quenched her spirit." And I think that we are accountable for the entertainment choices we choose, as to whether or not they are actually beneficial. "All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify" (1 Cor. 10:23). Is watching The Da Vinci Code a worthwhile use of two hours and $8?

But with everyone and his mom in both America and Turkey having read this book, I honestly would've felt like an ignorant fool if I didn't read it. I wanted to know exactly what was being purported about the historical Jesus and the Church, not merely what some website or apologetic book tells me. In the same way, I want people to read the Bible for themselves, not simpy to pass judgment based upon secondary sources or hearsay. I do likewise and read the Qur'an. (And I might add that doing so has only further solidified my belief that it is not divine in origin.)

In a similar way, though I've never been one for basing sermons off of popular films (no more Braveheart or Lord of the Rings, please!), Paul himself models that we are to be knowledgeable about popular, secular things. He frequently quotes Greek poets (Acts 17:28; 1 Cor. 15:33; Tit. 1:12). [Disclaimer: Don't even think you can justify watching any and every film, no matter how grotesque or indulgent, just so you can be a "more knowledgeable evangelist." Films like Eyes Wide Shut do not count!] So should those of us who are Christians concerned about effectively communicating the gospel of the rescuing Christ to others bear with entertainment like The Da Vinci Code or The Last Temptation of Christ even when they are hardly edifying to one's faith?

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1 comment:

Ryan said...

I'm with you, I didn't necessarily agree with Biermann's take on Da Vinci. There's something to be said for wanting to be in the know. But I think it's an equally valid position to read secondary sources. You have had the opportunity to really interface with Islam, as I did with Buddhism in Thailand, but not everyone has the time or resources. That said, it really varies with the strength of each Christian's faith, and whether they're in a community that watch and discuss film seriously. So.