Whip It Good (Da Vinci Code 1)

The day after Christmas seems like a good time to defend corporal mortification. (Memo to world: stop giving me cake unless you’re going to reinforce my office chair.) Anyhow, with the shining obliviousness to social trends that has always been my hallmark, I am just now getting round to reading The Da Vinci Code, and finding it both as exciting and as annoying as I expected.

I mean, poor Silas. In case you don’t know, he’s the tormented albino monk who likes to whip himself when he’s not assassinating people. The book makes a little effort to arouse our sympathies about his abusive childhood, but the overall tone is voyeuristic and superior. Just as in Chocolat, a film that made fun of the Lenten fast, we’re supposed to apply our little pop-Freudian insight that anyone who would deny himself bodily pleasure (or worse, deliberately undergo suffering) for the sake of spiritual formation must be repressed and neurotic at best, a lustful hypocrite at worst. By implication, nothing that this character believes should be taken seriously.

I’m not a big fan of extreme ascetic practices, as they can feed un-Christian ambitions to bring about perfection by our own efforts. Meditation, therapy and a sense of humor about one’s inevitable weaknesses are a healthier path for most everyday struggles with temptation. BUT — a little respect, please, for anyone who loves righteousness so much that he’s willing to tear his own flesh to conquer the devil within.

Ask yourself: would Dan Brown mock a vegan? a bodybuilder? an anorexic? a U.S. Marine? a Buddhist monk who set himself on fire to protest the Vietnam War? Like Silas, and unlike me most of the time, these folks have made some extreme physical sacrifices, sometimes for a noble goal, other times for a questionable one (you do the match-up yourselves, kids). I’m with Simone Weil, who saw something godly in every effort to transcend one’s self through discipline, even a mundane one like doing your math homework when you hate math. Christianity needs its freaks.

3 comments on “Whip It Good (Da Vinci Code 1)

  1. Jendi says:

    Test comment

  2. zhenimsja says:

    Hello, guy! I’m totally agree with that way of assumption and all of connected.

  3. Keyon says:

    TYVM you’ve sveold all my problems

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