Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Message from Lois Leader, High School Teacher

A number of years ago I taught math at a small Christian school where I also served as a 4th/5th grade homeroom teacher. In that position I was able to share my love of fantasy literature with the students. I ran afoul, however, of one family that believed any kind of fantasy was ungodly. I was never able to convince them otherwise, but the experience did cause me to examine fantasy in the light of Scripture.

J. R. R. Tolkien considered writing fantasy to be an act of sub-creation. God is the creator and made the primary world. We are sub-creators and enjoy making secondary worlds. It is a way in which we reflect God’s image.
Fantasy is not nostalgia for the past or for childhood; it is humanity’s longing for its own past and childhood before the Fall. Fantasy is not so much a desire to escape, but to return. It is a symptom of our sense of separation and longing for reunion.

Fantasy often involves struggle in darkness and then a happy ending. Tolkien called this process a eucatastrophe, or good catastrophe. Beyond all hope there is a sudden joyous turn of events. The birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of human history. It fulfilled in creation humanity’s longing for reunion and consolation.
Tolkien said of the Gospel, “Man on earth is doomed to defeat, but that is only as far as man can see. There is hope beyond the earth. This story is supreme, because it is true.”

“There among the black clouds high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.” The Return of the King

Psalm 65:9-13

Oh, visit the earth, ask her to join the dance! Deck her out in spring showers, fill the God-River with living water. Paint the wheat fields golden. Creation was made for this! Drench the plowed fields, soak the dirt clods With rainfall as harrow and rake bring her to blossom and fruit. Snow-crown the peaks with splendor, scatter rose petals down your paths, All through the wild meadows, rose petals. Set the hills to dancing, Dress the canyon walls with live sheep, a drape of flax across the valleys. Let them shout, and shout, and shout! Oh, oh, let them sing!

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