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malcolm chamberlain

musings about the emerging church, mission and contemporary culture...

God is at large, intimately involved in his world in ways that the church is maybe just waking up to!

the context and the response...

Monday, September 25, 2006


"Have you protested against The Da Vinci Code?"

That was a direct question I faced in a meeting with Christian young adults in Peshawar, Pakistan. I'd fully expected it after seeing the poster on the notice board of the Peshawar Diocesan youth office calling on Christians to boycott the book and film, not to mention the almost iconic status of Da Vinci's The Last Supper - almost every Christian household I visited had a copy of the painting displayed somewhere.

My answer to the question, which initially drew some very disappointed looks, was "No, I haven't."

But I did continue my response in discussion after the meeting had formally ended. What I said went something like this (though I may have used more understandable English!)...

"A lot of people in Pakistan think that I come from a Christian country. Historically it may be, but in practice today Christians are a minority community just as they are in Pakistan. However, whereas in your country the majority community belong to another faith, Islam, in my country the majority community would not ascribe to any faith and are at best apathetic to religion and God and at worst openly hostile. I can see how for Christians in Pakistan, living amongst a Muslim majority, something like The Da Vinci Code is very unhelpful. All it does is give further ammunition to a people who already believe that Christians have manipulated and corrupted their own scriptures over the centuries to teach errant doctrines like the divinity of Jesus. The Da Vinci Code adds fuel to their fire and so the Christian community in Pakistan must distance themselves publicly from it. I think your response of protest against The Da Vinci Code is wholly right in Pakistan.

But in England, where most people are uninterested in historic religion, The Da Vinci Code, through its popularist conspiracy theories, has reawakened an interest in Christianity, even though that interest is initially about finding holes in conventional beliefs. This has given the church an excellent opportunity to engage with the arguments of The Da Vinci Code and, through this, to expose its weak research base and largely discredited conclusions in comparison with the overwhelming evidence supporting the historic Christian faith. So, no I haven't protested against The Da Vinci Code! In my context, back in England, I have used it as an opportunity."

Of course, the discussion continued but I'm pretty sure that my questioner understood where I was coming from. I guess this one conversation six and a half thousand miles away from home highlights how centrally important the issue of countext is both to how we proclaim the faith we hold and to how we engage with the challenges raised against it.

A response that is wholly right in one context can be wholly wrong in another.

Labels: ,

posted by Malcolm Chamberlain, 3:39 PM

2 Comments:

Hello brother;
I would disagree with you on the point that it's the 'Da Vinci Code' that is responsible for much of anything. The church itself IS corrupt and DOES NOT teach the TRUTH of Christ.
Before you blow your top please allow me to explain with my OFFICIAL definition of 'Religions': "That which was created by the guys who didn't understand what the spiritual dudes were talking about...otherwise we'd just have a bunch of spiritual dudes walking around."

CASE IN POINT: I walked into St. Micheal's in Toronto on day and was blocked at the door, at first they weren't going to let me in.
Upon entering, it was all I could do to not openly call the BISHOP that was giving service a LIAR, as he went on about how Jesus told us to be good citizens, told us to be good employees, good this, good that and that we should GATHER TOGETHER as Jesus taught to say the LORD's Prayer, and YET I remember Jesus saying; "Why do you call me good, there is only one who is good and that is GOD." and that it would be better for me to lock myself in a closet and prayer to GOD from the heart in privacy than to make a show of it in public for all to see.
I have had priests REFUSE to come and speak to me, without knowing WHY I WAS there, though I did nothing more than arrive and request a meeting.
I was sent away, numerous time without one.
The POPE(pretender that he is) and the Vatican have ignored GOD's choice and made one of their own.
The church and their religion do NOT follow GOD, nor Jesus.
As foe me...I AM, who I AM.
your humble servant,
Ancient Clown

commented by Blogger Ancient Clown, 11:10 PM  

p.s. I invite you to visit and explore "Ancient's History".
Please come as a child that you may SEE and not just look.
Please walk wisely that you may LISTEN and not just hear.

commented by Blogger Ancient Clown, 11:14 PM  

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