Old bed sheets.
At the risk of beating a dead horse, I’m highlighting two surveys released this week citing how The Da Vinci Code has undermined faith in the Roman Catholic Church and badly damaged its credibility. A British survey revealed that readers of Dan Brown’s blockbuster novel are twice as likely to believe Jesus Christ fathered children and four times as likely to think the conservative Catholic group Opus Dei is a murderous sect. The second survey — an American one — found evangelical Protestants are more likely to be shaken than Catholics. If you’ve ever flown a kite, you can see why.
The arts as an ally.
When Brigham Young led his Mormon flock to Utah, he instructed them to first build a Temple that would be used only by Mormons for worship. The second project, interestingly, was to build a center for the performing arts that could be used by the entire community. Young viewed the arts where the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is only the most visible example as an ally for connecting Sunday to Monday.1 Indeed, sociologist Robert Wuthnow, director of the Center for Religion at Princeton University, points to surveys indicating “people with greater exposure to the arts were more interested in spiritual growth, devoted more to it and more regularly engaged” in practicing their faith. It seems the most vigorous people of faith embrace the arts as “allies, not adversaries.”2