Friday, January 17, 2014

Stories with resurrections

Even before I could read Dad would take me to the college library which was also the village library and had a children's section. We lived right across the street and soon I was there on my own reading my way through the children's books. When I had read and re-read those I ventured into adult fiction. After my parents discovered that they instructed the librarian not to check out adult books to me whereupon I just read them sitting at a table in the library. They soon gave up. No doubt they were trying to protect me. Adults naturally wish to protect their children. It is possible to be too protective. N.D. Wilson on "The Dark-Tinted, Truth-Filled Reading List We Owe Our Kids":
...Shelter your children. Yes. Absolutely. But use a picnic shelter, not a lightless bomb bunker, and not virtual reality goggles looping bubblegum clouds. Feast with them on fiction in safety, laugh with them through terrible adventures seething with real weather. They should feel the wind and fear the lightning and witness the fools and heroes—and yet stay protected.

Faithful artists should provide sabbaths, not escapes. We should be crafting periods of rest and inspiration that will feed, fuel, and empower readers to engage more deeply in reality as faithful men and women. To step out of the shelter when the time comes. ....

Childhood is the time for truth, and adulthood is the time for a deeper understanding of the same. To seed courage, we must show fear. To reveal triumph, we must build enemies. To tell the truth about what it means to be heroic, we must spin a fiction full of danger.

Wisdom from G. K. Chesterton: "If the characters are not wicked, the book is." We must tell stories the way God does, stories in which a sister must float her little brother on a river with nothing but a basket between him and the crocodiles. Stories in which a king is a coward, and a shepherd boy steps forward to face the giant. Stories with fiery serpents and leviathans and sermons in whirlwinds. Stories in which murderers are blinded on donkeys and become heroes. Stories with dens of lions and fiery furnaces and lone prophets laughing at kings and priests and demons. Stories with heads on platters. Stories with courage and crosses and redemption. Stories with resurrections. And resurrections require deaths.

We do no one any favors when we pretend away darkness in the world. We've only neutered the need for grace. And we've neutered the glorious triumph on the other side of darkness. .... [more]