Just got home from a Regional Youth Gathering up in Bristol – really great night by all indicators. I’ve put together a regional youth team made up of young people, local church leaders and ministers as a kind of youth ministry management team, with the aim of spreading some of the workload out, but also to train up young leaders in things like this.
We took our theme tonight from the ‘Da Vinci Code’ book and film – seemed really relevant. The approach was ‘cafe church’ (in this case most definitely not a glorified cabaret!) and featured a little bit of worship, lots of small group and big group discussion and a fantastic DVD epilogue by Rob Bell called ‘Kickball’. We also did some food and drink which seemed to have been really popular. All in all (bar some tecki stuff) it all went really really well.
In prep for this I bought the book (Da Vinci Code) yesterday and got about 3/4s of the way through by this afternoon. It’s a cracking page turner, spoilt by some glaringly obvious errors (not even simply from a Christian perspective) and an American view of the world (simple stuff like saying English students have spring break). I have to say I’m glad I’ve now read it, as I feel I can actually help to contribute to the debate. I don’t see this book as a threat, not nearly as much as some would say, but as a fabulous opportunity to speak about the real Jesus to people on their terms.
I was sat in a coffee shop yesterday with a ‘non-Christian’ mate talking about the film and about the divinity of Christ. I mean, come on…when would I ever get a chance to do this so naturally.
Lessons for the church? That we need to know our scriptures and our church history. That we need to be sure that we know what it is we’re going on about (ie slating a book without even having the courtesy to look at it). That God moves in incredible ways (even through things like the Da Vinci code).
Bit of theological reflection…my understanding of God’s interaction with humanity throughout history is that he is desperate to show us who he truly is – and that surely that means such thought of a ‘secret knowledge’ that only a few would ever know is simply contrary to God’s revelation to each of us in scripture and through our own experience. God longs for the whole of creation to come to know him as truly Lord…why wouldn’t he have revealed this ‘secret knowledge’ to everyone if the church got the story of Jesus badly wrong??
Maybe I’ve simplified it a bit too much…?