Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tim Keller, Darth Vader and Shakespeare

Tim Keller on Stories

We've been spending the last weeks reading Edith Nesbit's Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare for Children.  Through the eyes of babes, my children have experienced amazingly astute observations.  Universal Truth can be seen most clearly by those who haven't lived enough years to construct an elaborate, well-thought out version of Truth.  I'm pretty good at manipulating my versions of truth.  They haven't lived quite long enough to do so with such finesse. 

Our discussions have meandered between characters, time-periods, and media used for the telling of stories. I love the way that literary devices and story line "do their work in us".  Among them:

Character development in Julius Caesar (the concept for which Darth Vader was the perfect example)
The nature of conflict in Hamlet (per my 9 yr old... "when what 1 person wants bumps into what  another person wants") 
Inevitable consequences of sin which tragically unfolded in Romeo and Juliet (as well as our lives)
Good ultimately triumphing over evil (despite the power of "the Force",  Luke Skywalker always wins in the end)

Concerning sin and conflict:
At the heart of Juliet's initial deception was her extreme allegiance to earthly love which trumped truth and full disclosure to her family.  She justified her deceitfulness in the name of (lower case "l") love.  What she wanted bumped into the problems that full disclosure would have brought.   As we attempted to reconstruct the fallen domino line of Juliet's deceitful choices, an unlikely parallel surfaced. We also happen to be studying about the life of King David.  The core issue of sin was not his lustful eyes or impulsive cover-up.  His heart was divided.  The man who was after God's own heart temporarily thought he was above the law.  What he wanted at his core bumped into what God wanted - a pure and undivided devotion.

So as we learn from Juliet and King David, may we take a closer look at the conflict that exists in our own lives.  What is "the want" in us that is bumping up against "the want" in someone else?  Is my "want" that of my sinful (or idealistic, or pain-averse) nature?  Am I, like Juliet and King David, constructing my world, my version of Truth to justify my contribution to the conflict?  Do I have the courage to ask the Lord to "search my heart"in order to "show me my deceitful ways"?

King David's story did not end in defeat.  A King much greater than he redeemed, restored, and brought beauty out of a mess.  Aren't we glad...  He does that with my life as well...

I love the great stories which so aptly reflect different facets of the Great Story.   The stories which can translate and illuminate Universal Truth into a language that my heart can hear in a new and different way.  I'm grateful to the Great Storyteller... and for the stories He whispers in the ears of those who have come before and are among us...

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