For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God....Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.I've been a bit slow in catching up with the news lately, so I missed the fact that several Catholic priests and bishops (including one who broadcasts on the EWTN cable channel) have called to boycott the movie "The DaVinci Code." Still others (Catholic and Protestant) have called to NOT boycott the movie, and still others have said, "It's ok to see this movie,but it needs a disclaimer up front that this is not Biblical."
(1 Corinthians 1:18,22-24 NIV)
For me, I've not read the book, so I'm not even qualified to make a comment about either the book or the movie.
But my own experience has been that when Christians condemn something or someone - especially declaring someone or something to be "heresy" - they are just "cruisin' for a bruisin'," because every single one of us is a blip on someone's "heresy" radar...whether you start from Martin Luther and work down, or start with my own poor self and work up.
The saddest part was that in talking with an unchurched friend about all this errant nonsense, he simply said, "Yeah, well, there go those Christians again..."
And, Christ help us, he's right.
So much of what Christianity has become in the world today has been about who "we" are supposedly against. And small groups of vocal Christians tend to tar the entire Church with the same brush. So much of the world assumes that we Christians ALL hate (or, God help us, even want to kill) the same groups of people. Go through the news, and you can tell who "we" are supposed to be against.
And yet we hear so little about those whom we are called to be "for" and to love - the poor, the needy, the broken, and the outsiders. In fact, who we are supposed to be "for" is a lot of the folks that so-called Christians are "against."
The important thing to note from Sunday's lectionary reading in 1st Corinthians is that the boycotting folks (and the hating folks) have missed the point entirely.
"We preach Christ, and him crucified...Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."
Not against movies, or this cause or that group of supposedly unacceptable people. In fact, it seems we have no place deciding who is unacceptable - that job is already done. "There is no one righteous, not evenone..." It's all there in Romans 3. Check it out...
Nope. There really is only one sermon topic, it seems. Just Christ, and him crucified. God's unending love for us through Christ. It ought to be enough, shouldn't it?
Find me a church that points me to Christ, rather than pointing me away from my sinful fellow humans (which would seem, according to the apostle Paul, to be just about everyone) and I'll attend gladly.
But anyone who is making sermon fodder out of "Da Code" (as us Chicagoans would say), and missing the chance to preach on a more timely topic (for instance, the "when I was hungry, you fed me" passage from Matthew 25:31-46)...well, those preachers ain't gonna win any points on my scoreboard.
Lord God, help us to remember that we are called to preach Christ, and his crucifixion, death, and resurrection. Let us leave the world to deal with the rest. Let us, in this holy time, be an arrow pointing to Christ, and how each of us needs him. Amen.