Depicting Christ in Fiction

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Hi there!

So I’ve been thinking a lot about whether or not I should create a depiction of Christ for my children’s book series. The characters are not human, so I’m not sure if I should create a non-human version of Him or not. I originally wanted to place artwork of Him on their walls, but was told it would be irreverent to use a non-human version, and it wouldn’t make sense to use a human since there are none in their world.

As I have been pondering this the past few weeks, my 7 year-old has discovered The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, in which Christ is depicted as a Lion named Aslan.

I wonder if C. S. Lewis’s success in this depiction is that he used a different name, in addition to the different form. In Voyage of the Dawn Treader, he writes,

But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason you were brought into Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you might know me better there.

So he is the same, but changed for a different world. Perhaps it is a good way to teach about Christ to children.

Apparently Lewis did not originally intend to have Aslan appear in the books, but the lion came to him in a dream. What really made it work, I believe, was the deal of reverence Lewis used when writing about Him. He never took it lightly, and thus he created a powerful figure. His readers knew in their hearts who Aslan was to them, when they were transported into Narnia. I suppose that’s what I should strive towards.

I know that my writing is nowhere near C.S. Lewis, but I can learn from him and aspire to be an author like him. I guess it’s a good thing my first book is years from being published, it gives me time to grow.

Have you any thoughts on how Christ should be depicted in fiction? Any other non-human examples that I can learn from?

Thanks for reading, as always, and Blessings to you!
Sarah

 

 

Using Our Words Wisely

IMG_20170831_145921336.jpgHi there,

One of the good things that I’ve seen come out of Hurricane Harvey is the way so many have bonded together to support, uplift, and care for the victims of this historic disaster. Our empathy for this great tragedy has brought us closer together as a nation and as the human race.

As time moves forward and the empathy begins to wear off, I hope and pray that we can remember to keep a bridle on our “tongue,” as counseled by the apostle James.

A bridle is the headgear used by a rider to control which way a horse is going. “To bridle,” in the way James uses it here, means to control or restrain. By tongue, he means all words spoken or written.

So the question I pose is whether you control your tongue, or let it run free, unchecked. I know I have been guilty of letting my tongue wag freely, and, amazingly enough, nobody wanted to listen to what I had to say. More recently, I have seen freely wagging tongues on social media. We have all fallen into the trap of letting our emotions control what we say, rather than exercising self-mastery to edit our words before they are published to the world.

Those who seem to have the most influence in these tumultuous days, are those whose true agenda is never revealed. They know how to censor their words so well, that their followers do not believe when the truth finally is revealed.

As Disciples, it is of paramount importance that we set the better example of mastery over our tongues. We should not attack, profane, gossip, boast, or be rash in speaking, we should encourage envying, nor strife. We should study and follow the counsel of James (chapter 3) and speak wisdom from above, which is “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”

I know that I have work to do to bridle my tongue, will you join me?

Blessings,
Sarah

Is the News Driving You Nuts?

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I’m going to be straight up honest here, I don’t like the insanity I’m hearing from “both sides” about current events. Most everyone seems to be trying to stir up the pot more. I don’t like the drama, I don’t like the hypocrisy, and I don’t like the demonization of — well, everyone.

So as I try to stay positive or silent in my social media posts, I struggle to find the sanity. One scripture I studied yesterday that seemed to bring me some peace, it was Galatians 5:22-23.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

This helped me several ways:

  1. It reminded me to breathe and check in with God to listen to the Spirit more.
  2. It reminded me that He has peace for all of us, fully understanding the world surrounding us.
  3. It reminded me to listen to those who have the fruits of the Spirit in their words and deeds.

It also made me think of Matthew 7:15-16.

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

This scripture combined with the first, reminded me to put aside the hateful words of those who have lost their way, and again focus on the good fruits and good trees.

My hope for myself, my family, and you is that we are able to remember to turn down the ravings of a mad world, and tune in to the Spirit more. That we may receive “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, [and] temperance: against such there is no law.”

Blessings!
Sarah

I Never Realized Gratitude Could Be So Hard!

I have been pondering the difference between rich and poor often this month. It stems from a realization of my own wealth. I grew up quite poor most of my years, and developed quite a disdain for “the wealthy.” So this epiphany from Sunday school that I am, in fact, Richly blessed is seriously disconcerting to me.

We’ve all heard it before, we are richly blessed by our loving Father in Heaven. But what does that truly mean to us. Well to me, until last week’s lesson, it meant blessed with intangibles; strength, determination, hope, etc. But today, I see it differently. I live in a weather-resistant home, with a car, a cellphone, and a computer with internet; my family eats 3 meals a day, or more! We have, what they jokingly call, #firstworldproblems.

Lightbulb! Hey kids, guess what?! I’m richer than 90% of the Earth’s current inhabitants! Not to mention those who have gone before. And, I’m willing to bet that since you have the tools and knowledge to read this, so are you!

Did you let that sink in? You are Rich, too.

So how am I coping with this astounding revelation of God’s Love? To be honest, not well. I’m usually wavering around awed humility, but this morning I realized I was angry about it.

I actually wanted to be poor again. This scripture didn’t help: James 1:9-10 “Let the brother of low degree (poor) rejoice in that he is exalted; but the rich, in that he is made low…” So this has been going ’round in my head. “I don’t want to be rich, I don’t want to be made low. I am low, I’m struggling to pay the bills just like everyone else.”

But here’s the thing, we are struggling to pay the bills for our luxuries. We are not fighting for our very survival.

—Disclaimer: I’m about to get painfully graphic here.—

We are not watching our infants starve to death before us. We are not forced to sell our daughters into sex slavery to pay the bribe money to keep farming land we have held for generations. We are not buying moldy bread with the coins we receive by shoveling people’s fecal matter out of the street. We are not trying to shield our children from the destruction of our roof because a bomb just took half of it away. We are not being sent walking thousands of miles from camp to camp trying to find one that has an extra spot of mud to lie down in. We are not searching desperately for loved ones whom we lost while fleeing from war and tryanny. We are not living in the same puddle of mud for 5 years watching our children die of dysentery. We are not forced to smile for some old man while he tears apart the once innocent fabric of our insides.

You and I are Rich. And we need to come to terms with it, and decide what, in His name, we are going to do about it.

Wickedness Never Was Happiness

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At 8 years old, I was told I was going to Hell.

It was Christmastime, and I was going to church with my Grandma (I had this opportunity once or twice a year). I don’t remember anything else that the pastor said, only that we were all sinners and were going to Hell. Unfortunately I didn’t remember the point of the sermon, which undoubtedly was about accepting Christ’s Atonement. And unfortunately still, my grandmother’s comforting words were not quite enough to put my fears to rest. Perhaps her own frustration (unrelated or not) added to my not being convinced of her comfort. To further the misunderstanding, when I got home, my dear mother explained to me that that attitude was why we don’t go to church.

So I turned my back on Christ for decades.

When I finally was ready to listen to the words and teachings of God again, it was because the message was full of Mercy and Grace. The passage that struck me deeply was thus:

Adam fell,

that Men might be,

and Men are,

that they might have Joy.

‘Original Sin’ and Sin in general are part of our process, that we might have Joy!

Sins are the tools that propel us to grow. If you have seen Mulan, there is a scene where the soldiers in training are told to climb to the top of a pole to fetch an arrow. Before they can try, their trainer gives them 2 heavy weights, one on each arm. The soldiers groan, the weights are a “curse,” a burden. The weights are “unfair,” the soldiers grumble and complain. Imagine with me the conversations that night:

  • Some of them would ask why they are being punished.
  • Some would say it was too hard, and not even try to overcome the “curse.”
  • Most would blame Mulan for putting them in this situation.

After the first few soldiers tried, they all gave up. For days or weeks no one even tried to solve to situation or overcome the burdens.

This was where I was for decades. I looked at the challenge to overcome my natural sin and turned away. I said, “No way!” It was too hard, and I wouldn’t even try. As I grew into adulthood I gave in more and more to my carnal nature. I made choices that hurt myself and others. I pushed my family away. I followed charming personalities off of metaphorical cliffs. I experimented with almost anything and anyone that was offered, and I had a wake-up call with the police.

I was in Hell.

I was miserable and empty. Lost in the dark.

And I wanted to be left alone in the darkness. I wanted to rot away, guilty, miserable, and trapped. The adversary led me willingly into a prison, because it was away from the difficult challenge placed before me at 8 years old.

Do not suppose, because it has been spoken concerning restoration, that ye shall be restored from sin to happiness. Behold, I say unto you, wickedness never was happiness.

11 And now, my son, all men that are in a state of nature, or I would say, in a carnal state, are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity; they are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness.

In the example of Mulan (for those who haven’t seen it, or need a refresher), the challenge was eventually overcome. Mulan realized that the weights she was given were tools to help her reach the top of the pole and retrieve the arrow. She was humbled and finally looked up. Her curse became a blessing, and she grew closer to Our Loving Father in Heaven.

When we allow ourselves to be humbled by our sins, we can finally turn to Christ (Repent) and go forward doing good.

Therefore, my son, see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again.

May you seek after Good and receive Blessings,
May you seek after God and receive His Blessings,
Sarah

Photo by Mar Newhall on Unsplash