Nicolas Joly is an interesting person. For those unfamiliar with him, as well as being a wine grower making the Loire valley's most expensive white wines, he's also the (unnofficial) spokesperson for the biodynamic wine movement. His regular seminars on biodynamie are passionately delivered, and have the atmosphere of a religious convention.
Indeed, biodynamics does look very much like a religion. We don't know exactly why it works; there is a lot of talk about imprecisely defined life forces; and you usually convert to it with the help of a biodynamic consultant or more experienced grower.
But unlike religion (which is seen by our society as uncool, intolerant and generally a bad thing for enlightened liberal folk to get involved with), biodynamics has a hip image. It's of the age. Joly is certainly quite evangelistic - a high priest of biodynamie, with a real charisma about him. After a conversation, he dismisses you with a blessing, encouraging you to go well and keep the faith.
On the subject of religion, the dreaded Da Vinci Code is currently hard to avoid. I've no wish to alienate the 43 million people who bought this book, so I'm not going to criticise it here (besides, I've not read the book, nor seen the film, so I can't really comment). But I was surprised to read this piece on The Guardian's website. Written by the media secretary of the Muslim Council, the thesis behind this article is that, 'At the heart of Dan Brown's blockbuster lies a truth that could serve to bring together Christians and Muslims.' Whatever your views on religion are, can you take seriously the suggestion that Christians abandon their belief in the divinity of Jesus on the basis of The Da Vinci Code? The comments from readers below this piece make for interesting reading.