f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Day 5 of <em>The DaVinci Code</em>—Or Staring at a Blank Screen

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Friday, January 09, 2004

Day 5 of The DaVinci Code—Or Staring at a Blank Screen

In the end, the most damning thing about the DaVinci Code as a substantial piece of fiction, at least in my mind, is its inability to give me five days worth of material. With Reverend Nash and Liars and Saints I didn’t even struggle. With this book I had three days of material that I stretched into four. Today is day five and I’m simply going to clarify a few things.

1. Despite my rant yesterday, I am no Harold Bloom. I think popular fiction has an important and substantial place in our culture. I read 10-15 popular fiction titles a year and my only qualification is that they must be at least serviceably written. To me, they are the equivalent of an action movie or Alias on television. Entertainment and escapism. Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code is a grade-A example such a title. I liked it for what it was.

2. Would I acquire a “popular” Christian title? Only if it had something substantial and unique to recommend itself as well as a definitive voice. I am looking for stories that transcend or are outside the current CBA genre and while it’ll be more difficult, there’s no saying a piece of “entertainment” can’t be one of those stories.

Next week, assuming I haven’t buried myself under an inescapable mountain of tissue and empty throat lozenge wrappers, I’m going to talk about one of the most frustrating aspects of this search—the complete lack of vocabulary to facilitate our discussion—and how at one point I wanted to coin a term to end all the jibber-jabber. That term was going to be “emergent fiction,” drawn/co-opted/stolen from the postmodern/emergent church movement currently moving across the nation.

In the end I decided to go a different direction, but many of parallels I saw then still remain and I want to talk about how this search relates to postmodern culture and the new ways of thinking about and doing church in this country—and around the globe.

Until then, start buying stock in whomever owns Kleenex.