Keep Handling the Real Thing

Yesterday was a huge day in the life of, and I thank all of you. I was blown away by the interest in my Noah review. Nearly every bit of interaction I saw on Twitter and Facebook was positive, and I am so grateful to be able to serve people with whatever gifts and abilities God has given me.

In the midst of the social media flood (haha!) I noticed a few stragglers here and there who expressed a bit of dismay at the piece. Not because they didn't agree with it or anything, but because they did. They felt uncomfortable with the fact that they themselves could never have "put it all together" the way I did in the review, and expressed some fear, inadequacy, and insecurity. How can I not be led astray when error is so subtle? Another gentleman, a pastor, expressed some exasperation with me: "So now I've got to be an expert in Gnosticism and Kabbalah!?"

Well, let me say two things. First, my point (which I hope was expressed, but was perhaps just a grace note) is that you absolutely don't have to be an "expert" to see what's going on with a popular film like Noah. I believe any Christian, seeing Noah wrap the skin of the serpent around his arm, would get pretty uncomfortable with things, even if they couldn't express exactly what the symbolism meant. That's why I came down so hard on people who really, really, really ought to have known what it meant. Whether it was a native desire to get on board with a popular rendition of a "Bible" story, wanting to be involved in the public "conversation," or not wanting to be thought of as a fundamentalist Neanderthal, or whatever it was, Christian leaders should have seen the subversive nature of this film. For whatever reason, they didn't. And I cannot really answer why. I'm trying to set it right.

Second, this is what teachers are for. I am so blessed to be a "public" theologian, somebody called to do heavy lifting for people who are rushed and harried with their everyday lives and don't have time, training, or ability to pour over the Gnostic texts of Nag Hammadi for hours like I do. Listen: don't sweat it. Do what God has called you to do. He's raising up and equipping others to do the things you're not equipped to do. I'm not even remotely talking about just me. We live in an age where the teaching and expertise of truly talented and knowledgable people is at your fingertips (with the advent of touch screens, I mean literally). Don't be discouraged if you couldn't express what was wrong with a popular film. You can get answers.

I'm acutely aware I made things seem "obvious." Some of them should have been, to people trained in the necessary disciplines. If that's not you, there's no reason to be discouraged. Continue to consume media and entertainment with the purpose and intent of doing so with wisdom and discernment, and you'll grow at it. Really.

I know this sounds really hokey in our day and age, but listen: wisdom and discernment only come from knowing your Bible. Bank tellers learn to detect counterfeit money not by handling counterfeits, but only by the continuous repetition of handling the real thing.

Keep handling the real thing.

Brian Mattson