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RevBates.tv Global - Weekly Message To The Masses (April 30, 2006)      

      "Offer them what they secretly want and they of course immediately become panic-stricken." - Jack Kerouac

     From abc NEWS:  A line from Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" tells you why it's easily the most disputed religious novel of all time: "Almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false."

     Although most Evangelical Christian leaders have not called for a boycott of the movie, the Vatican stepped up its offensive against "The Da Vinci Code" on Friday when a top official close to Pope Benedict, Archbishop Angelo Amato, blasted the book as full of anti-Christian lies and urged Catholics to boycott the film.  Amato suggested that Catholics around the world should launch organized protests against the "Da Vinci Code" film just as some had done in 1988 to protest Martin Scorsese's "The Last Temptation of Christ."

    All of this is so very fascinating to me.  I actually went to see the movie, "The Last Temptation of Christ" in 1988 ... standing in line surrounded by protestors.  I found the movie to be offensive to me, not because it challenged my beliefs about the Life and Teachings of Jesus, but because it presented an image of Jesus that was totally inconsistent with His teachings and philosophy.  I can remember thinking how amazing it was that even in 1988 the Vatican and the fundamentalist Christians were so threatened by such a totally unimportant film.  On the other hand, I found Mel Gibson's, "Passion of the Christ" which was acclaimed by Catholics and Christians alike ... some of them endorsing it to the point of busing their congregations to see it ... and overlooking the fact that it was an "R" rated movie ... to be such a gory, violent, distraction from the Powerful Teachings and Life of Jesus that I knew without a doubt that it was the perfect propaganda film for religions that are fighting for survival in the 21st Century.  And the fact that they themselves promoted it almost as much as Mel Gibson ... was proof to me that my speculation was correct.

     Christianity Today Magazine is offering a free one-page Guide to "hand out and discuss with your family and friends" titled, "5 Big Questions from The Da Vinci Code." 
From the Guide: 
Question #3.  Were there really competing Christianities during the early church?
Answer:  Yes - in the sense there were many disputes about the nature of Jesus.  And the church has done its best to vanquish challengers to orthodoxy.  Once the church decided against the Gnostic writings, they gathered and burned all the Gnostic manuscripts they could find. [short version]

     Now, isn't it wonderful to know that these writings were gathered and burned?  Emperor Constantine began his meetings of 325 in Nicea! This council produced the first drafts of what became the Nicene Creed, a landmark explanation of Christian belief.  It is interesting to note that although the Gnostic writings were gathered and burned, the writings of Paul, which supports the dogma of religions still today, were accepted as valid ... although, it does not take a religious scholar to determine easily that Paul's writings are often antagonistic to the teachings of Jesus ... who was not attempting to create a new religion but to give us a more enlightened awareness of our relationship to God.  But Emperors, Popes and Fundamentalists Religious Leaders are far more comfortable with the writings of Paul ... which supports much of the judgment and out-dated dogmas of the current Catholic and Christian Evangelicals who are still clinging to the power that was never theirs in the first place. 

The Master Mind Jesus gave us the "Father within" ... while religions still hold onto a god in the image of man.  The Good that comes from all the dialogue and discussions regarding the "Da Vinci Code" movie and the movies before it about the Great Jesus, are that we are given the opportunity to contemplate what we believe ... about Jesus, about God ... and about our religious/spiritual beliefs.  Now is the time to begin healing the old wounds of religion for so many of us, and to begin to renew within ourselves a greater confidence in the words of the Radical Rabbi, "these things I do and greater things still shall you do."  And how did He accomplish these great things ... by relating Himself to God ... and teaching us to do the same!

And So It Is!  

Maximum Love,
Rev. Bates

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