Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Redemptive Threads and Themes

Tonight, Lydia asked if we could go around the table and share what our favorite subjects are (hmmm, do we have another budding teacher?). My two favorite subjects are Bible and Literature. What I love most is showing others how to see literature as the Greeks did. They viewed life very figuratively, always looking for the hidden meanings and underlying themes. Most people would be able to see that Aslan, in the literature classic, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, is a type of Christ; a hero who sacrifices himself for others. This is actually a literary term. But there are other ways that Christ is in literature. The basic requirement for a good story is redemption; a hero, a victim, a villain, a trial and triumph. The more threads of redemption, the more captivating the story. We all root for the good guy, the man who is betrayed, the man who is right when others are wrong. How many times have you read a story and thought it was wonderful because it evoked strong emotions? What caused that stirring? Evolution would have you loving the strong, hating the weak, feeling ambivalent to mercy, but that is not what we feel when we're reading a good story. Have you ever considered that those emotions are a way that God is speaking to you through literature? We long for a good love story, a strong hero or heroine, even a clever villain. We crave justice and we long for mercy. Ever wonder why? My students just finished reading Sarah, Plain and Tall. We ended our adventure by listing all of the redemptive threads. Our study in Bible class enabled them to see the threads of redemption in this American family tale. They determined that Sarah was both the Damsel in Distress and the Redeemer at the same time. Their adventures in viewing life through Greek lenses are just beginning and what exciting adventures they will have.

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