The Christians strike back. Ever since The Da Vinci Code book was made into a movie and became “one of the best selling novels of all time” as the author boasts on his website, Christians have looked for a movie to help rebut Dan Brown’s claim that Jesus Christ is not the Son of God. It appears they have a movie out this week that does exactly that, and it is a truly emotional and gripping blockbuster retelling of The Greatest Story Ever Told. The movie name itself very simply proclaims the divinity of Jesus Christ as the human born Son of the Almighty God.
This author never read the original Dan Brown book after reading reviews about it long before it became such a pop culture hit and caused so much damage to the Faith of so many, especially the younger generation.
I have long been troubled by the advent of the so-called digital age where for the first time in American history, a generation reads less than their parents, and speaks an abbreviated and unpunctuated form of English indecipherable to those handicapped by years of reading books, in short outbursts of text and tweet communications. Understandably short messages since there appears to be a short attention span and the additional handicap of writers using their thumbs instead of all ten fingers.
I do not digress but come right to heart of what I wish to expound on today: thank God for this movie so that we can appeal at last, to those who get more information from what they call “media” and less from reading actual books, such as the Bible itself to name one.
With the new movie Son of God, the Christians have a horse in the race and do not have to rely solely on that old and apparently discredited notion of reading books or the even more disliked idea (according to today’s generation), listening to their elders.
The Son of God should be appreciated by Christians who understand that in order to fulfill our duty to evangelize, to go forth and share the good news of Jesus Christ, we must use all means available to us, especially digital “media” that gets through to those who we are handicapped in communicating with.
We can literally say The Son of God has arrived now, and catch the attention of those who either do not know or do not understand the impact of, His arrival as an Infant in fulfillment of the promises made by God the Father. Man had turned away from God and the promise made to our Creator at the Garden of Eden. That “original sin” as we Christians called it, closed the Gates of Heaven from Mankind. This is a central point of Christians – that evil or wrong, is a choice and it always involves turning away from God.
In sacred scripture – that book which has outsold Da Vinci consistently for two millennia - we find through the Prophets that a promise of redemption was made, to give man the option of forgiveness through the Grace also given to us as a gift by our Father.
Those familiar with the movie world recognize that in the Old Testament we have what is called a prequel in the movie and book world. Fans of The Hobbit recognize that this great book and later movie, was the prequel for the Lord of the Rings. Today’s generation may be shocked to realized that these faith-based movies about fallen man, faith and redemption by a Christian writer, were among the best selling books of their parents’ generation, and highly recommend reading, not just watching, to those weaned on movies only.
One of my regular sources explained this to me a few years ago with a sad illustration. He had remarked to his then 18 year old son, a recent graduate of high school, that something was “positively Orwellian.” The boy had no idea what that meant. The puzzled dad said, “you know, from George Orwell and his book, 1984, don’t kids read that in high school anymore?” The son still did not understand.
The dad replied to his Son, “you’ve heard “big brother is watching”? “No,” replied the son, explaining, “Dad, if they didn’t make a movie out of it, then you cannot expect my generation to know these things, we get our information from movies.”
That dad was of course, disappointed that the son being raised on the Left Coast by his ex wife for the preceding four years, was clearly not reading books on his own, and that 1984 was no longer required high school reading. While his bad news changed to good news. The high school graduate clearly was influenced by his conservative, Christian dad. He went on to become a U.S. Army Ranger, Iraq war veteran and in recent years a member of Special Forces and a well informed reader, conservative and like Dad, a Tom Clancy fan. In fact, that Dad told me earlier today, His son and wife are excited to go see Son of God already.
But sadly, most of those his age are still not readers and get their information from movies and internet “buzz.”
Now as a Christian conservative, it is my contention that the more active, churchgoing believers, are not the ones who voted to reelect Barack Obama and impose on the entire country certain practices by the government which believers find abhorrent. It is not my purpose in this article to review those grievances but to note that 51% of Catholics voted to ignore the criticism of their Bishops and reelect the President. I contend that more active, believing Church going Catholics and other Christians, are not the ones who reelected this President who forces people to choose between following their Faith or the law.
At the heart of the problem for Christian conservatives is that the young people who are unchurched and not as strong in the faith, are the generation that voted in such high numbers to reelect Barack Obama.
Hence the importance to Christian conservatives, of the movie Son of God.
While I do appreciate the advice of American Bishops to “not comply” with an illegal and immoral law forcing all of us to pay for infanticide and other abortion services, I am much more enthusiastic about their advice to their flock to do our utmost to persuade our fellow Americans about what is right in public policy. Having more Christians join our ranks, and having more who already profess the faith become more motivated than they were before, is critical to influencing public policy.
Will this movie change enough perceptions in America about Christians that it might actually help influence future public policy? I am hopeful. The movie Non-Stop finished in first place this past weekend with $30 million in sales, but the shocker was that Son of God was a close second, despite playing in far fewer theaters (only two here in York County, PA) and squaring off with a movie with a well-known box office star, Liam Neeson.
In my view, the work of Christians has just begun. With the arrival of the Son of God, our work for His cause has an invaluable new tool to help us.
Son of God must be given full support in every way that we can think of. Speak it up, bring friends to watch it, go again, have a dinner party and movie, write about it on your Facebook page, tweet about it. This is one of the best new tools we have to communicate, educate and motivate the new generation about the divinity of the Son of God and His importance to their life.
Where The Da Vinci code uses a fictional book and movie to falsely proclaim that Jesus Christ is but a hoax and the Church he established is a fraud, the Son of God makes watchers so emotional that you would be braver than this writer to watch this movie without a box of tissues in your pocket.
This author being Catholic, I cannot but remind my protestant brothers, who should together with us see this movie and evangelize about it, that we are also reminded of the importance to us frail human beings, of symbols. Our Lord of course, was The Master of symbolisms with the stories (parables) he tells and which is in your book as well as ours (mine is a New American Bible, Revised) to illuminate and illustrate His message and the reason for His ministry and life.
We frail humans, Catholic version, have long made use of statues, rosary beads and stories of Saints and Martyrs, to focus our attention on the message of Jesus Christ. Our non-Catholic, Christian brothers have had their fun with what appears to some of them, to be worship of craven statues and prayers to dead humans instead of to Jesus Christ himself.
In Son of God we see the value of a symbol. We see why Catholics have Saints and why Mary is so special to us. We should not emerge at movie’s end, at least hopefully not most of us, worshiping and admiring the actor who plays Jesus Christ, or the talented actress who plays His Mother Mary or any of the Apostles. Hopefully, it will be Jesus Christ and those who helped Him advance His short but incredibly influential ministry that the actors and this movie, make you think about, and listen to. It isn’t the exact words the actors utter that is important, nor the appearance of the actors that is critical, but the message of Jesus Christ.
And that message is very simply: man is imperfect, tends towards evil, is fallen, but can arise because God the Father promises us a Messiah to swing open the gates of heaven to pay for or redeem our sins. We have been forgiven our sins.
That promise of the Old Testament that a Messiah would come to free mankind, was kept. Jesus Christ is God made man, he is the Son of God. He came and told us why He was here. He died painfully and with humility and humiliation, to pay off our debt.
On His death, He arrived and stood at the Gates of Heaven, which were then opened, and remain open, for all those who hear, listen and follow the word of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
So The Christians have struck back to borrow from The Star Wars Trilogy Second movie. Or perhaps far more appropriately, I can borrow from the third in that Series of six bestsellers, and say in this movie I highly recommend, Son of God, we see The Return of the King. If you are a Christian who wishes to evangelize, you can best do so by not only watching this movie but by speaking out about it in every way open to you.
For example, two groups in York, PA are having a dinner and movie party on Tuesday: Americans for Christian Traditions in our Nation (ACTION of PA) and The Philippine American Heritage Council. The former has more Christians such as Pastor Ken Gibson and ACTION President Jay McKiernan in their ranks, and not as many Catholics. They are also a politically active group advocating for the election of conservatives and a conservative public policy agenda.
The latter group is 80% or more Catholic as are most from their country of origin, the Philippines. They are patriotic Americans with traditional values learning and sharing what is great about their adopted country. When the top rated conservative Congressman in Pennsylvania, Scott Perry, visited and spoke at their 2nd annual picnic last summer, he was very well received by the group.
The two otherwise disparate groups will get together this evening (Tuesday) for dinner, to watch the movie, and to celebrate what they believe will be one of the best movies all of them will have ever seen. While the movie is only showing in two York County movie theaters, they were sold out Saturday night and the Tuesday showing at Frank Movie Theater in York was also sold out nearly a week in advance.
One of the “dinner and a movie” participants looking forward to tonight's dinner told me “when the Son of God came, how could I be too busy to go see Him?” This writer concurs.
Make time for the Son of God. And to get a free “Son of God: I was there for Him” Facebook profile banner go to the York County Action Facebook page (the group also will distribute at the movie, free 5x7 glossy souvenir photos suitable for framing with the movie logo and that message – write to this author with a mailing address to get one sent to you. You can also look me up on Facebook to get a free copy of the graphic to decorate your Facebook page or even you’re your profile with.
Remember, if He is here and you are too busy or afraid to publicly proclaim your support, then perhaps Jesus Christ will also not know you, when you stand before His Father at the gate of heaven, facing eternity.