Have you come here to play Jesus to the lepers in your head?

The power of words

with 2 comments

Of the reading I’ve done concerning The Da Vinci Code, the Christian response usually falls into one of three categories:

Boycott it

Ignore it

Respond to it

The first choice is just silly.  You don’t boycott to make a statement, you boycott to initiate change. 

The second choice is one that I’ve leaned toward for a while.  I read the book last fall, and I agree with general critical analysis—the book suffers from endless cliché, flat characters, prose that cannot help but spell everything out for you, and a host of other problems without a single regard to the fact that it’s a fine example of the poorest academic research.  It is, however, fiction, and I can forgive the writer for manipulating history for the sake of his tale. 

What’s harder to ignore is the large number of people who’ve locked elbows and taken the plunge off the top of Mount Da Vinci, swallowing every half-truth armed with the conviction of a single search through Google. 

Again, I am usually apt to ignore this.  But 40 million copies leave an impact.  Even if the movie does flop in the wake of X3 this weekend, questions will be asked by the incalculable number of lemmings who’ve read the book, searched Google, and therefore believe. 

Thanks to this post from the Maven, I’m trying to get a handle on fiction that has affected significant cultural change…

"So you're the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war."

That's what Abraham Lincoln said to Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, upon meeting her. Her novel made Americans more vividly aware of the horrors of slavery than any other media outlet had done before. People were moved by the book, inspired by it, in ways that all the politics, all the printed diatribes, could not do.

But Uncle Tom's Cabin was "only fiction."

D.W. Griffith's film The Birth of a Nation premiered in 1915 with its technologically ground-breaking but socially horrifying positive depiction of the Ku Klux Klan and the lynching of a black man. It sparked massive race riots across the country, and led to the rebirth of the Klan, which had been dormant since soon after the Civil War.

But Birth of a Nation was "only a movie."

I don’t know if I’m inclined to shelve Dan Brown’s tome with the likes of these—Uncle Tom’s Cabin at least highlighted real horrors.  Brown’s horrors are all imaginary, and anyone who cares to look will find a great many articles detailing the facts he ignores.   

Should we find anyone who has, unfortunately, fallen for the pseudo-historic claims of the novel, we shouldn’t blame the novel.  At least not entirely.  The book only whets the appetites of those who were already leaning that direction.  Therefore, choice three leaps to a point of greater necessity. 

How best should we respond to this?  There’s talks, sermons, articles, etc.  The lay person can even write letters to the editors of various publications in the hopes of spreading the message.  But I think that a far better response from the Christian community would be to do some thing quite…novel.  Are you ready?  Here it is:

Write better books. 


Written by taj

May 26, 2006 at 2:07 am

Posted in Books, Movies, Writing

2 Responses

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  1. Trav, “Write better books.” Great response to the Christian community. It is time this community of believers rose up and stopped being doormats for the rest of the world – let’s get a VOICE!

    I always appreciate your writing.



    June 10, 2006 at 2:08 am

  2. Trav, I always appreciate your writing, and enjoy watching you on your “soapbox.” Thanks dude.



    June 10, 2006 at 2:09 am

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