A Window into Life in the Suburbs

"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." Luke 12:27 (NIV)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Not Just an Author of Children's Books 2

I'm not sure what it is about Sarah Palin and America's chattering class.
Seldom does a week go by when one doesn't hear some kind of negative spin on something she apparently said.
I'm not smart enough or politically savvy enough to know what her chances of becoming the first female President of the United States are like but when I look at her or listen to her, my simple-minded brain tells me that she's not that different from the many independent minded women that I know. who are raising families while being actively involved with the community.
Hence, I was heartened to hear recently that Palin cited CS Lewis as a source of spiritual inspiration. Because he has been one to me as well since I read Mere Christianity over 20 years ago. So yeah, she could do a lot worse. A lot worse.

That, however, was quickly picked up by a media personality insinuating that Mrs Palin is somehow bordering on illiterate because CS Lewis is merely the writer of children's fantasy fiction and no intelligent grown up could be (God forbid) spiritually inspired by child-like tales. Palin also clarified later that she was referring to Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Lewis was no intellectual lightweight. However, he also loved fairy tales and fantasy. His Narnia tales contain biblical metaphors and allusions to spiritual truths for those who have eyes to see them. The Lion is the Christ figure... the Emperor, a designation for God. The episode at the Stone Table speaks Christ's sacrifice and victory over death and the principalities.

The Screwtape Letters, which was referred to, is based on a series of letters written by a senior devil instructing his apprentice on the finer ways of temptation. In so doing, he makes many salient points regarding human nature. The conversational style and the biting humour draws the reader in and makes the message more accessible.

Metaphors, allegories and similes are very helpful and can often help convey deep truths in a simple but effective fashion.
I don't think we should scorn children's fiction for its effectiveness in dealing with age old issues like good vs evil. Fiction, generally and fantasy, specifically gets right into the imagination and impresses  the mind with the ideas underlying the narrative... for good or for ill.
Jesus told parables using everyday objects and situations to teach his listeners heavenly truths. He used sheep, seeds, flora, money to tell stories about the kingdom of God and the character of God.

All to say, really is that word pictures aren't just for kids. Adults, I would venture to add, need 'em too.
Anyway, didn't Jesus also say :
“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3 ESV)

Quite often it is the simple things of life that bring us closer to understanding heaven.

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