November 22, 2007

being thankful and other stuff...

Happy Thanksgiving! I know, it is a bit late in the day, but it is never too late to give thanks. I'm thankful this year to be celebrating this holiday at home, on US soil and with friends who love and accept me.

My last Thanksgiving was spent in Namibia- and while we had an amazing meal and a great time being together, it wasn't the same as being surrounded by fellow believers who truly know the One to whom we are thankful.

So many thanks to Miss Pottenger, her mom and her aunt, for the amazing meal and to her whole family for letting me crash the party and join them. It was a wonderful day! And to end it up, I wrote 2,500 words to bring me to an even 40,000!

And now, on to something else entirely...

Recently, the teens on the forum I mentor on had a discussion about The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman. Those who know me know how much I love a good discussion about literature. In this case, there is a whole camp of Christians who are up in arms about how evil Pullman is and why no Christian should read the book (books, actually, it is the start of a trilogy) or see the movie. Miss Pottenger has posted a beautifully written response and I must echo her. While Pullman may be an atheist and he may have set out to "turn children against God", the fact remains that he is an amazing writer. And in my opinion, he fails miserably in "killing" God and turning people away from God.

One of the teens referred to Philippians 4:8 to answer the question of was this series worth reading, and her conclusion was no. I had a different take and this is what I posted:

God made Pullman and God gave Pullman the gift of storytelling and writing. To ignore this gift because Pullman doesn't believe in God would be to ignore something that God created. Granted, it isn't as lovely as it could be (if Pullman were to submit to God and let God manifest the gift to the fullest extent) but it still has some loveliness in it (and touches of truth and purity and nobility). I think that we, living in a fallen world, are sometimes so quick to toss out the entire package instead of seeing that there is something of God there. We often miss Him because we are so worried about getting our hands dirty.

I'm not saying that these books should be studied and meditated on- but I think that the good parts should be admired while we keep aware of the "negative" parts. Reading a good writer can improve your own writing. I read good writing because I want to learn how to do that. I also want to see how a world view can permeate a work, because that is what my world view should do. If I only read mediocre work (and sadly, much of Christian art is just that) then I will never be anything but mediocre. But if I can navigate the muddy waters, leaning on the Holy Spirit to guide me, and find the good and pure and noble wherever it may hide, then I may be able to use my gift more fully.

So- that is my two cents. I enjoyed the books, I am going to see the movie. I do understand that some people don't agree, and you don't have to. But, as Miss Pottenger said, if you haven't read the books, please refrain from drawing conclusions about the story. You can simply say "I have decided not to read/watch that, thank you." And if you want to talk about art and gifts and why I think this series is worth time to read, let me know! I'd be happy to have an educated, friendly and intelligent conversation with you about it.

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