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Archive for Saturday, April 25, 2009

Faith Forum: What do you think would be God’s favorite fictional book?

April 25, 2009

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‘Chronicles of Narnia’ offers lasting lessons

Doug Heacock, contemporary worship leader and director of media and communications, Lawrence Free Methodist Church, 3001 Lawrence Ave:

Some 20 years ago, when my oldest daughter was 3 or 4 years old, I began reading “The Chronicles of Narnia” to her. With only a few pauses here and there to explain some of C.S. Lewis’ British English usage, she was captivated and completely drawn into the world of Narnia — just as I was captivated when I first picked up “Out of the Silent Planet,” the first book in Lewis’ lesser-known, but no less wonderful “space trilogy.”

I imagine that God has millions of favorite fictional books, just as I love every story, poem or essay ever written by each of my three children; but if he had a favorite, I would hope that he would share my love for the first book of the Chronicles, “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.”

For those (like me) who grew up thinking of Jesus as mostly passive, serene and frankly, not terribly interesting, Lewis’ Aslan, the fierce and beautiful lion of Narnia, is a refreshing, illuminating metaphor for the Savior. Susan, one of the four children in the book, apprehensive about meeting the lion face-to-face, asks Mr. Beaver if Aslan is “safe” — the beaver replies, “’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.” Later in the book, Lewis writes of the lion, “People who have not been in Narnia sometimes think that a thing cannot be good and terrible at the same time.” The more I know of Jesus, the more I get what Lewis meant when he created Aslan’s character.

As I read this book to my young daughter, there were moments when I had to pause to wipe away the tears that clouded my vision as old truth suddenly became clearer to me.

I think God likes that sort of thing.

— Send e-mail to Doug Heacock at doug.heacock@ljworld.com

‘War of the Worlds’ reflects on humanity

Gary Teske, pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1245 N.H.:

This is an intriguing and challenging question. WWJR, “What Would Jesus Read?”

In all honesty, I suspect that God delights in all kinds literature, marveling at the creativity, imagination and artistic touch of the people who God called into existence.

However, the question isn’t, “Does God love books?” but “Which books?” My first thought is, “War of the Worlds” by H.G. Wells. This story of the invasion of the earth by invincible, bloodthirsty armies from another planet ends with these monsters being defeated, not by human ingenuity, courage or resourcefulness, but by tiny germs against which these aliens have no immunity. How ironic! How biblical! Little old David slew big old Goliath, and the smallest seeds grow into huge trees in the Kingdom of God.

Another work of fiction that God may have found entertaining is, “Left Behind,” by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Some of my readers might bristle at me calling this book “fiction,” but all efforts during the past two millennia to predict the end of the world on the basis of the symbolism of Revelation has produced nothing but fiction. I think God must get a good chuckle out of the scenarios set forth by those who think they have cracked the code and now understand just when, where and how God is working out God’s plan for the universe. I can hear God wondering to God’s self about when people will give up trying to outsmart God and just trust God.

Oh, and one more thing. I think God enjoys reading the comic strips, especially Garfield and Peanuts.

— Send e-mail to Gary Teske at gteske@tlclawrence.org

Comments

Machiavelli_mania 4 years, 11 months ago

Storm, good point! She just intuits.

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storm 4 years, 11 months ago

How do we know she can read? If she can't read then she can't have a favorite book

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tumbilweed 4 years, 11 months ago

What is God's favorite rock song? I think this is just as relevant a question.

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Paul R Getto 4 years, 11 months ago

Parts of the bible are vaguely historical, but not a reliable source. I wonder if the parts left out due to politics and the struggles for power when the early christians slaughtered each other and persecuted those with the 'wrong beliefs' (think Iran and Iraq and the Shia/Sunni battles) were more or less 'true' than the books that made the final cut. BTW: I agree this is a pretty silly question.

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pamimi3 4 years, 11 months ago

The fool says in his heart "There is no God"

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Machiavelli_mania 4 years, 11 months ago

What is really interesting is that a large majority here do NOT take seriously the nature of the question. This is, IMHO, the direct result of politics in the pulpit. The Religious Rite has made "god" a joke. Christianity in this country is a dying religion. People are sick of the "god" issue.

It isn't that we have no god in our life. It is that we all seem to feel "god" needs, requires derision.

I am among those that feel that way. Also, I am no longer monotheistic.

There are "Nine Billion Names Of God".

Maybe we should be creating more gods to counter this social and spiritual dearth. Right now the God of Tornados, Tornad, has been the most important god. And the river god, Kaw, for breaking up that rotation over Lawrence. I am a believer. Tornados do not cross rivers.

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Multidisciplinary 4 years, 11 months ago

Amazing what life experience teaches smartess-know-lots-bright-shiny-young-people about the world and they find they think quite differently about many things than they did when they were younger. Many things very much so.

If this situation were to be true, I would think a valid answer would be Lake Wobegon Days, and second, the sequel Leaving Home by Garrison Keillor. It both pokes fun at man's many twists on religion, yet teaches the values and goodness that I believe any holy spirit would care to impart to those in need of hope and guidance.

And if you let out a yelp, banging your thigh on the spigot when the dog sniffs your behind while you're outside in your T shirt and boxers with a flashlight looking under the house for your young daughter's new kitten that you refused to let come inside at bedtime but now it's raining and she's inside crying because she heard it mewling...just know that if there is a God, he's probably laughing..at you.

Let's hear it for Lutefisk!

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kawryan 4 years, 11 months ago

Don't worry about me, I get a free free beer next time I see Marion!

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beatrice 4 years, 11 months ago

My Zeus would want to read Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange, because he could probably connect with the ego-centric Alex and the ways in which he interacted with others.

Isis would go with Frank Herbert's Dune, of course. How could she not be attracted to reading about all that sand and heat. She would also completely enjoy Gerd Brantenberg's Egalia's Daughters, which describes a world where women rule and men are kept around as basically househusbands who add little to the world.

Kawryan, I'm a bit worried for you too.

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Marion Lynn 4 years, 11 months ago

Psst.....I'll buy the first round; soft drinks, coffee or booze!

LOL!

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Marion Lynn 4 years, 11 months ago

kawryan (Anonymous) says…

I'm also a bit worried that I find myself in agreement with Marion more and more over the years. In fact, I quit saying “I hate to agree with Marion” a long time ago."

Marion writes:

kawryan, you rock!

You are OK!

Thank you for your kind (re)consideration of my opinions.

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kawryan 4 years, 11 months ago

I'm also a bit worried that I find myself in agreement with Marion more and more over the years. In fact, I quit saying "I hate to agree with Marion" a long time ago.

I bet we become best buds w/ in 5 years.

---my list---

1st: "The U.S. Tax code", You'd have to be a deity to understand it.

2nd: Any religious text.

3rd: "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn", everybody loves Huck Finn.

Arthur C. Clarke would probably be favorite author, George Carlin favorite comedian (http://www.rense.com/general69/obj.htm)

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Machiavelli_mania 4 years, 11 months ago

Beatrice, what science fiction book do you recommend for your Zeus to read? What one do you think Isis would like?

Zeus: Job: A Comedy of Justice, by Robert Heinlein

Isis: Left Hand of Darkness, By Ursela Le Guin

And for both, of course, Anything James Gunn puts together or writes. LOL. Thanks, James, you rock!!

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Marion Lynn 4 years, 11 months ago

beatrice (Anonymous) says…

As others have said, I hate to agree with Marion … so I won't."

Beatrice:

You know you agree with me.............."in your heart"!

LOL!

Oh, Babee, we could make zee beeyoutiful muzic togezzer!

(Voce Pepe Le Pew)

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Machiavelli_mania 4 years, 11 months ago

Then Isis, for me. The very best in gods!!

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Machiavelli_mania 4 years, 11 months ago

Also (caps again) Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco. What a sense of humor!!

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beatrice 4 years, 11 months ago

Machi, pick one, but it can't be Zeus, because I already picked Him.

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Machiavelli_mania 4 years, 11 months ago

Which god?

(all caps intended) The Winged Pharaoh

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beatrice 4 years, 11 months ago

As others have said, I hate to agree with Marion ... so I won't. I don't think God would enjoy the Bible, because He would likely be upset about being misquoted so freqently.

I think God would enjoy The DaVinci Code. Everyone else seemed to. Or maybe The Lord of the Rings. I can imagine Him reading about hobbits and saying, "I was able to come up with giraffes, so why didn't I think of hobbits first?"

I'll bet God would be a big science fiction fan, too.

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rooster 4 years, 11 months ago

For Once I agree with marion.

The bible has to be god favorite book of fiction.

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couranna1 4 years, 11 months ago

oh yeah i forgot the bible has magic too

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RedwoodCoast 4 years, 11 months ago

When I saw this question, I knew that someone would mention the Bible. Turns out it was Marion. I'm surprised that he didn't mention the Koran. Gotta watch out for those fatwas.

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Jock Navels 4 years, 11 months ago

last time i talked to Him, he was still prattling on about Ulysses and how great it was.

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nouseforaname 4 years, 11 months ago

I always laugh when people of faith try to answer questions like "what would an omniscient and omnipresent deity do/like/think/etc."

Isn't the defining attributes of God mean that the deity will not have anything in common with human beings? I sometimes think about the philosophical ramifications of anthropomorphizing God, but then again...meh. I'm not religious so it doesn't really matter to me personally; I just find it highly amusing.

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Flap Doodle 4 years, 11 months ago

The Happy Man and his Dump Truck

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beobachter 4 years, 11 months ago

Hate to agree with Marion, but the bible tops the list for all time fiction. Look at number of people who read it and believe it's non-fiction. Scary thought.

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KU_Dude 4 years, 11 months ago

Fiction = Anything that Marion writes. :-)

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boltzmann 4 years, 11 months ago

oldvet (Anonymous) says… "God's favorite work of fiction…

“How Obama Will Save The USA”

that one is pure fiction"

How about the one by oldvet: "Use of the Straw Man Fallacy in Online Comments"

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flamingdragon 4 years, 11 months ago

dear jonathon kealing, why are you constantly removing my posts? warning: this post will be removed within an hour.

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Andrew Stahmer 4 years, 11 months ago

Next week on "Faith Forum"

What's God's favorite sport; and his favorite professional and college team?

What stupid question makes God laugh the most?

...and make sure not to miss...

If God bought a car, what kind would it be?

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Newell_Post 4 years, 11 months ago

Gee. Six hours, and no fundamentalists have suggested "On the Origin of Species." Are you guys sleeping in this morning? Do I have to do all your work for you?

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tangential_reasoners_anonymous 4 years, 11 months ago

I'm told... "The Shack" (Young's, not Mulholland's).

Firing up the audiobook as I type.

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maxcrabb 4 years, 11 months ago

So... just to answer the question, and avoid all these other pitfalls...

The Giver Where the Red Fern Grows Catch-22

If this were true, i would want to have a beer with God.

(and what kind of person comes on to a faith forum to debate the existence of God? Lame)

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couranna1 4 years, 11 months ago

The Bible hands down It's got it all sex, drugs, violence and even a party where a dude turns water into wine Whoa baby

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tangential_reasoners_anonymous 4 years, 11 months ago

Now, Now, There Are No Stupid Questions....

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sourpuss 4 years, 11 months ago

It is a pretty lame question.

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jonas_opines 4 years, 11 months ago

Chuckle, this one's such an obvious firebomb of a question that I don't really find a point in it.

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Marion Lynn 4 years, 11 months ago

anneht (Anonymous) says…

What a stupid, stupid question, and how demeaning to all believers….."

Marion writes:

Are you suggesting that your "belief" is not subject to review through critical thought or that your "belief" is the truth beyond question?

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farfle 4 years, 11 months ago

It seems like the only purpose of the question is to give someone the opportunity to state the obvious, "The Bible." Why don't you pose some questions to the atheists and find out what is the basis of their faith?

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anneht 4 years, 11 months ago

What a stupid, stupid question, and how demeaning to all believers.....

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dandelion 4 years, 11 months ago

Another Roadside Attraction by Tom Robbins

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Marion Lynn 4 years, 11 months ago

canyon_wren:

Now don't get me wrong here!

One of the footings in the foundation of this great nation is your right to freedom of religion and I support that freedom to the nth degree!

You have the perfect legal right to believe in any old superstition that you want as long as you don't hurt anyone else in the course of practicing that superstition.

"Faith", as used in this thread, is a belief in a given thing without the slightest bit of evidence that the thing exists; belief in a thing which cannot be defined or quantified.

The problem I have with those of "faith" is that they spend so much time perpetuating the superstition and myth instead of realy helping people.

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i_tching 4 years, 11 months ago

There is no rational scientific evidence that god has the ability to read.

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canyon_wren 4 years, 11 months ago

I just said "people like Marion" because of your first post. I don't pretend to know what you are like, nor do I care! It is not MY problem that you are so scornful of belief--you are not unique in that--over the centuries, there have been many like you. It is your personal choice, of course, and nothing makes you so much more enlightened than we believers are, that your opinion has any more credence than ours. Faith is a mystery that looks like foolishness to those who don't believe, but your choice not to believe is part of the whole Free Will bit. As a Christian, I suppose I should feel sorry for you, but I don't--"you pays your money and you takes your choice"--that's how it all works.

I certainly didn't mean to imply that you were a horrid person or anything by saying "people like Marion"--just referring your post, which was the first one, and obvious expressed disdain for the Bible, etc. I have read your posts frequently enough to have some idea of your personality, but who and what you are is no concern of mine.

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oldvet 4 years, 11 months ago

God's favorite work of fiction...

"How Obama Will Save The USA"

that one is pure fiction...

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tumbilweed 4 years, 11 months ago

Just because a work is fiction doesn't mean you can't believe in it.

It doesn't say anything bad about the faithful.

Every day we see things turn from imaginary to real.

Inventions...

Pretty much any book could be someone's "Bible"

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Marion Lynn 4 years, 11 months ago

canyon_wren (Anonymous) says…

Who makes up these stupid questions? No wonder people like Marion have such a low opinion of people of faith!"

Marion writes:

Now, canyon_wren , just what is it that you mean by "people like Marion"?

If you mean people who are not superstitious anad arrogant enough to presume that they "know" (I especially like the phrase "I "know" in my heart!; a product of Medieval times when it was believed that thinking took place in the heart rather than the brain!) what "God" may be.

Something undoubtedly created all this but to tell us that grizzled old men living in caves while hiding from the Romans were given the "truth" by that creator is absurd.

Any religion which must rely on converted holidays and celebrations, virgin births, holy ghosts, resurrections, tri-partite gods, demons, angels, devils, apocalypses and misinterpreted "revealations" has a bucket full of problems out of the gate.

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skinny 4 years, 11 months ago

I have to agree with Maron on this one, the Bible is fiction.

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canyon_wren 4 years, 11 months ago

Who makes up these stupid questions? No wonder people like Marion have such a low opinion of people of faith!

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Marion Lynn 4 years, 11 months ago

God's favourite book of fiction is the Bible, of course.

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