Monday, April 12, 2010

Once Upon a Time....

A long, long time ago (1989) I graduated from high school. Not a prestigious high school, just an ordinary, unremarkable school, but I enjoyed it and did well. (except in math but that is another story) I loved drama, band, even joined the swim team for a few weeks and I hung out for my first two years with jr. and sr. geeks who were very smart and were Presidents of the chess and math club. We'd even hang out in a math classroom during lunch (a no-no) and I'd consume a lunch consisting of a diet coke and a package of Hostess Ho-Hos. I was the "baby" of the group yet they accepted and loved me.

Despite my algebra struggles, I was actually a good student in everything else and enrolled in college prep and honors courses.

In one of those higher placement English classes, a list was handed out to us all. It was a list of all the books that were required/recommended we read if we were going to attend college. A knowledge of the classic great literature is indispensable in culture.

If you think about it, my teacher was right: What do you automatically think of if I were to say "Scarlet Letter A"? There are many other things in culture and life that one would miss if they did not have a firm grasp on the classics.

So, among Chaucer, Hawthorne, Milton and Dickens, the list of 100 great works of literature that was required/recommended to more fully prepare for college, the very top of the list was The Bible.

A friend of mine was surprised that, even in '89, that was "allowed" to be on a list in a public school. It made sense to me, because even while discussing books, we'd talk about the allusions to Scripture in many books. I can recall reading Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath and having to point out all the Biblical references and allusions. A Biblical/history lesson right there in public school! Not to mention the issues of morality that comes up.

I have no idea if high schoolers still discuss the Biblical allusions in literature. I have no idea if they still read Hawthorne or Steinbeck, but I do know that we as the American Culture are still expected to know our Bible stories.

Why do I say that? Because I'm watching 24.

Tonight my daughter wanted me to read her a chapter in her Jesus Storybook Bible. It comes with a CD so she listens to the Voice tell all the stories, yet somehow she always prefers David or I to read to her too. (and I can tell you right now, the Voice in the CD is amazing to listen to and does a much better job than I do!) Tonight she specifically requested the chapter called The Terrible Lie. It was the story of Adam and Eve; The Fall of Man. I was curious why this story, yet read it as well as the following chapter on Noah's Ark.

Of course, I want my children to know their Bible stories because it is important to our faith, but I do think that everyone would benefit from this type of knowledge, even in a superficial manner for literary purposes, plus, even though our Culture is no longer "christianized" and we can expect a base layer of Christianity and Christian thought, I look at culture today and see this in books, movies, songs, art and even TV shows. The blog world is abuzz with the references and allusions to the Bible in the show Lost, going as far as staging the cast in such a way that mimics da Vinci's Last Supper.

But back to 24. As I sit here watching this, Chloe was just informed that she was now in charge of CTU. She protested that the failure that occurred was not Mr. Hastings fault. She goes, apologetically, into his office, saying she knows he's not at fault, yet he takes full responsibility, and uses this line," I let the snake into the garden. in referencing his recruitment of Dana Wash, an employee who turned out to be a Very Bad Person.

As I mentioned before, Katie asked me to read about The Fall in her storybook. I wondered what the appeal was to her, because, at least in my view, it is not a happy story, and I get caught up in a lot of questions.

So I read her the story. The more I read from The Jesus Storybook Bible the more I'm amazed, and delighted. Sometimes even brought to tears as I ponder how can a Child's storybook reveal such truth? It's not "watered down" just presented in a beautiful way..... the main point is still the main point. It all points to Jesus. Every story..... Jesus.

Here is how The Terrible Lie chapter concludes:

"You see, no matter what, in spite of everything, God would love his children - with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love. And though they would forget him, and run from him, deep in their hearts, God's children would miss him, always, and long for him - lost children yearning for their home.
Before they left the garden, God whispered a promise to Adam and Eve: "It will not always be so! I will come to rescue you! And when I do, I'm going to do battle against the snake. I'll get rid of the sin and the dark and the sadness you let in here. I'm coming back for you! "

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