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Christian Foes of 'Da Vinci Code' Debate How to Fight It: Leaders of many denominations agree that the novel the movie is based on attacks the pillars of Christianity, but some are planning a boycott while others see a "teaching moment." --New York Times, May 11th, 2006 This headline from writer Laurie Goodstein caught our attention, just as this novel turned big-budget movie has everyone's attention. And different denominations of the Christian church have chosen to respond to that attention with criticism instead of a reinforcing of the harmonious aspects of The Da Vinci Code's message. Surely when a person or an institution feels attacked it may be natural to choose defensiveness over the opportunity to learn. But that's where hidden value is going to waste. Instead of this default habit, being open and putting energy into proactive efforts may yield better results. The headline states that some religious groups will spend their energy boycotting what others see as a teaching moment. Which is more empowering? What happens when we assume the pillars of a tradition or school of thought can't be looked at from a new angle? What happens when something is so sacred that it discourages being reassessed with fresh eyes? When something - be it a fern or a person's creative license - stops being open to growing and changing, it dies. What was Dan Brown's point in writing The Da Vinci Code? Did he and the director intend to incite controversy, or were they just hoping to light up the audience's reverence for art, religion and a thrilling hunt for clues? If it was created simply to entertain, even with a little spice of controversy to keep us engaged, it

succeeded. It's a best-seller, a hit film and you're even reading an article about an article about the reactions to it right now. If it was created to promote beliefs that are contrary to the dominant religious ideals, you could say that has been successful, too. Otherwise, why would we all be talking about it? So for audience members and religious leaders alike, remember that you'll get more of what you put your attention, energy and focus toward. Would you rather have more of a teaching moment or a boycott? How instead, could the religious leaders have received the film in a way that encourages the similarities between the two messages? How instead could they relay gratitude that The Da Vinci Code is helping more people inquire deeper into their own lives about the pillars of Christianity? How instead could we all see this as a teaching moment? Consider the following: In what ways could the energy that would be spent boycotting be used to foster or indulge in more teaching moments? Why spend effort avoiding what doesn't work for you? What might happen if you focus on what does work for you instead? What do you and those around you take as fact or truth that, if you looked at it differently, might benefit you more? What is so sacred in your own life that you're not willing to look at it with freshness? What assumptions are you making that it may be time to challenge? Where are your emotions or judgments keeping you closed to the lessons that are already happening around you? Take a moment to write down 10 places in your life where you criticize yourself, others or almost taken-for-granted schools of thought or belief systems. Then write down how holding these thoughts and opinions is benefiting you, and how you might further benefit

from letting them go. Take some time to talk with your coach or a friend about where your reaction to someone else's choice is keeping you from moving through to your own choices. And send us an email so we can support you in this process; looking at sacred areas of your life is courageous, and we applaud you! (You may reprint this article in full provided you include the writers' names, contact information and brief bio. Thank you.)

Kris Carey & Michael Vavricek, are Life Coaches who help you get clear about what you want and get you busy gettin' it. Kris can be reached at & Michael can be reached at

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