May 24, 2006

Uncle Dave

Uncle Dave in Afganistan with

General Peter J. Schoomaker, U.S. Army Chief of Staff
Dad passed along this photo of my Uncle David who is serving this year in Afganistan. (My sis Jen has another photo on her blog.) I referenced a fascinating anecdote from him in a previous post.

Uncle David was always one of my childhood heros, in large part because he once told me when I was about 5 or 6 (he was in High School) that he "could pick up the whole house" and would if not for the fact that he would be in trouble my Grandpa (his dad.) Also, he was the youngest of my Dad's 9 younger brothers and sisters and so while most of the rest were gone with their own families and lives, Dave was often there to take us hiking or on other adventures.

When I was probably in junior high, Dave gave me a real patrol cap with my name on it. Chandler (age 6) has now claimed the patrol cap and has incorporated it into his own composite Soldier-Fireman-Paramedic-Doctor uniform.

Chandler - age 6

May 22, 2006

The Vinci Code

My sister Jennifer sent me a copy of "The Da Vinci Code" along "The Truth Behind the Da Vinci Code" for my birthday. I am anticipating reading both A.S.A.P.

I know there has been a lot of uproar regarding whether Christians should patronize the book and movie. Here are two views from a couple different folks I respect. The first is a guy named Joe Phillips who posts some on a message board I read:

OK, I'm now nearing the end of the book and there is certainly some material in it that would be jarring and offensive to most Christians. The ideas presented go a bit further than simply "Jesus was married". Still it is fiction and I think Brown presents it as such, but once one is caught up in the excitement of the story line, I suppose it is possible to forget that fact and start thinking that the material is being presented as fact.It is still a fascinating read and there are, in my mind, compelling reasons for Christians to read it:

  • It's well written and highly entertaining.

  • Its popularity makes it a fantastic beginning for conversations about God, the church, and religion, because almost everyone knows about it or has read it.

  • There is a wealth of unique trivia that I find bolstering to faith. I didn't know anything, for instance, about the so-called "Divine Proportion" or "Golden Number" - Phi or 1.618. I sounded very intriguing in the book, so I started checking it out. Did you know that if you divide the number of female bees by the number of male bees in any beehive, you always get 1.618? Or that the ratio of each spiral of a nautilus shell to the next is 1.618? Or that this ratio is evident in nearly every aspect of nature - dimensions of the human body, plants, insects etc.? I find that absolutely fascinating and I wouldn't have known about it, had I not read The DaVinci Code. For more information, check out The author of this website is, by the way, a devout Christian and part of his website is in which he shows in many ways how he sees God in all of creation.

I understand the angst regarding the book. I think one should be aware, when reading, of the nature of the book, and not get side-tracked by ideas expressed that may not coincide with ones own propriospect. My conclusion. It's not for everyone, but I enjoyed it immensely and have found a lot of good that has gone completely unmentioned in utterly unfavorable, uncharitable reviews by people who, I still suspect, haven't even read the book.......

Done with the book. I still stand by what I said above, although, having read the entire book now, I can see clearly that there is no way many people would be able to see anything other than evil in its scope and intentions. I can live with that.

One other interesting byproduct of reading the book is an increased understanding of paganism. I strongly suspect that much of the stuff talked about in the book is reflected in modern day Wicca. No surprise then that the book provoked a maelstrom of reaction with its heavy descriptions of pagan rites in one section and pagan symbols thoughout, as well as its decided preference for "the sacred feminine" - a subject long thought to be occultic in church circles. Nevertheless, reading the DaVinci Code didn't make me pagan anymore than reading Brengle and Boardman made me CHM, or reading Sproul made me Calvinist.

Peace be with you!


This following is from an Wall Street Journal Online op-ed by Peggy Noonan:

Speaking of the detachment of the elites, the second big news of the week--in some ways it may be bigger--is the apparent critical failure of "The DaVinci Code." After its first screening in Cannes, critics and observers called it tedious, painfully long, bloated, grim, so-so, a jumble, lifeless and talky.

There is a God. Or, as a sophisticated Christian pointed out yesterday, there is an Evil One, and this may be proof he was an uncredited co-producer. The devil loves the common, the stale. He can't use beauty; it undermines him. "Banality is his calling card."

I do not understand the thinking of a studio that would make, for the amusement of a nation 85% to 90% of whose people identify themselves as Christian, a major movie aimed at attacking the central tenets of that faith, and insulting as poor fools its gulled adherents. Why would Tom Hanks lend his prestige to such a film? Why would Ron Howard? They're both already rich and relevant. A desire to seem fresh and in the middle of a big national conversation? But they don't seem young, they seem immature and destructive. And ungracious. They've been given so much by their country and era, such rich rewards and adulation throughout their long careers. This was no way to say thanks.

I don't really understand why we live in an age in which we feel compelled to spoof the beliefs of the followers of the great religions. Why are we doing that? Why does Hollywood consider this progressive as opposed to primitive, like a pre-Columbian tribe attacking the tribe next door for worshiping the wrong spirits?

"The DaVinci Code" could still triumph at the box office, but it has lost its cachet, and the air of expectation that surrounded it. Its creators have not been rewarded but embarrassed. Good. They should be.