Monday, February 3, 2020

Thoughts for the Palindrome Day

BLOG FOR 02-02-2020 - supposedly a palindrome (reads the same forward and backward) like this occurs only once in 900 years.  Even rarer than Haley's Comet.

I’ve been reading a good book by Madeline L’Engle, entitled “Walking On Water”.  It’s about the creative process in relation to faith.  It especially cites the value of myth and fantasy in the human experience, both as reader and writer.  I first read it 35 years ago (it was published in 1980), but now it means much more to me.  Yes, I was writing fantasy-fiction back then, but now I’m much farther along the pathway of my life.  Many more experiences.

And it ties in very well with reading I’ve been doing recently about C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, especially their thoughts on the value of “Faerie”--their word for myth and fantasy.  They saw it as “true” in the sense that it shows the human mind searching for truth—the truth they believed was ultimately revealed in Jesus.  (They called the story of Jesus the "Ultimate Myth" because it was "true".)

I also concur that myth and fantasy shouldn’t be summarily dismissed by our post-modern, fact-infused culture as “untrue” and therefore “unworthy.”  I can remember this being a prevalent attitude among conservative, fundamentalist Christians in my early years of marriage and child-rearing.  Yet, I still read and wrote fantasy, and found that it spoke to me in ways that merely “factual” writings didn’t.

Since L’Engle wrote her book in 1980, our culture has experienced a big return to fantasy.  Just as one example, there’s the 40+ years of continuing popularity of Star Wars.  And even Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter.  Or the popularity of movies based on the mythical heroes of Marvel Comics.  Some ultra-conservative Christians disdain these.  But I find myself agreeing more and more with Lewis, Tolkien, and L’Engle. (Speaking of disdain, L’Engle was criticized by conservatives for naming one of her spiritual characters in A Wrinkle in Time, Mrs. Which, because it sounded like witch.) 

But after nearly 70 years on this earth myself, I believe we as humans appear to have a need for “Faerie”, and when it is denied, the pendulum somehow manages to swing back to it again and again.  I think it shows we have a deep need for faith in some form, no matter how much culture tries to separate us from it.  Dare I say “amen”?