Engaging Culture

Live on Paula Zahn

Tonight, I discussed The Da Vinci Code with Paula Zahn on CNN, and frankly, I’m glad the movie is finally opening tomorrow.  I’m ready to move on with my life.  We did have victories in the process – not for the movie of course – which by the early reviews stinks – but by educating pastors and other Christian leaders of the importance of using this as an opportunity to engage the culture, rather than protest or boycott.

My original post that was picked up by MSNBC, CNN, and as far away as the Phillipines, called for a gracious strategy of engagement, rather than protest.  So what have we learned?

1.  Boycotts are the “nuclear option” only, and must be used carefully.  Even with the massive May 1st boycott on immigration, National Public Radio reported today that the leaders of that movement are questioning it’s success.  Many worry that it created bad feelings with the public and may have done more harm than good.  This, in spite of millions of people that turned out across the country.  So we need to be careful with boycotts.

2.  Start the conversation with the culture.  It’s interesting that after appearances on most of the talk shows, the producers and staff would come up and introduce themselves, congratulate me, and say things like “Wow, I didn’t know there were Christians out there who thought this way.”  They wanted to talk with someone about the movie, but were afraid of most of the Christians who disapproved of the film.  We must put down our protest signs and reach out our hands and begin the dialogue.

3. Gather our resources.  I was very excited about all the seminars, books, teaching materials, and other resources that were marshalled to point people to the real truth of the Bible.  Sites like The Da Vinci Dialogue pointed thousands of people to some of  our most brilliant scholars who gave them important information to help as they shared their faith with friends and family.

4.  Finally – one movie isn’t going to bring down the faith that transformed the world.  As I said in some of my interviews, this movie won’t create a nation of agnostics or athiests.  Yes, some will be duped, but frankly, the Christian faith defeated the Roman Empire, and transformed music, literature, the arts, scholarship, and science throughout Europe and the West.  Although I’m always ready to share my faith, I’m not too worried that God needs defending.  He’s done pretty well since the creation of the world.

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  1. Now that critics are siding with historians and Christians in their slating of the Da Vinci Code, hopefully this will put more people off.

    I agree that boycotts are dangerous, but I still wouldn’t recommend the book to anyone, and I expect I’ll think the same about the film once I’ve seen it.

  2. Agreed. But I think rational recommendations to people are quite different from full blown boycotts. Boycotts stifle dialogue, but recommendations and conversation encourage it.

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