I thoroughly enjoyed The Da Vinci Code - book and film, not least because of it's capacity to force people who should, think again about their faith.
I am prompted to the Da Vinci Code comment because I am reading, "The Wisdom Jesus" by Cynthia Beaugealt, who draws on The Gospel of Mary Magdelene to make her point that Jesus was quite Zennish in his approach. CB prompted me to ask some pretty fundamental questions about the teachings of Jesus that had never occurred to me before. Why SHOULD he teach in parables, for example? Why not just come out and say stuff? Parables are inherently unsatisfying - especially the ones about people hiding treasures in fields, that sort of thing. They play on the mind. Well, there you have it! What the brain can't fully grasp, it never lets go of. I have noticed this - 'The Kingdom of Heaven is like a crossword clue that you can't get, but might ... " the old grey matter chews it over and over until a light goes on and "Eureka!" Is heard throughout the land.
I love going to church, to hold in my hand and in my mouth the essence of God herself and KNOW beyond thinking, that We are becoming One. It's a deeply mystical encounter that takes me out of myself and into everybody else. Is this what the church teaches? Well, sort of.
Frankly, you can keep much of the rest. Sorry, fellow believers, I can't be doing with male supremacy, dodgy saints, self-serving prayers and lives lived filled with guilt and emptied of compassion.
Uh-oh, the Bhuddist that sits on a cushion in the back of my head is whispering, "Judging mind!" And I have to sigh and respond with, "Too bloody right!" And Enlightenment eludes my grasp once again.
I cling as precariously to my Catholic faith as ever I did, often wondering why. Then Pope Francis comes along and sticks his head out of a window in Rome and advises the church to get its hands dirty,
I am quite looking forward to see how this translates into action. I hear he's getting a lot of stick. "The Red Pope!" Is being bandied about like it was an insult.
Go for it Your Holiness. If Church doesn't serve the poor, it isn't serving its Founder.
As for the Da Vinci Code, well: a great story. Mary of Magdala has been pretty much written out of official church history despite her impressive discipleship (SHE didn't leg it when things turned nasty ... ). She obviously loved her teacher with a tender passion that I really hope brought him joy.
PS: Enquiries into the catholic order "Opus Dei" went through the roof following the publication of The Book. I know this because I checked it out myself, and saw the hits. A tad too rigorous for my haphazard approach to sanctity, but this could be a good thing ...