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Tuesday, 13 January 2015

A Fairytale Life

Fairytales are something that everyone tends to know - every culture has their own version involving magic and romance. It's a wishful tale, a story of delight and cheer but often with truth inside it. The interesting thing to me is that today I've been contemplating the notion of how so often people can view Christianity as a fairytale in that sense. Yet those who so often call it a fairytale just as often try to aggressively kill Christianity and Christian influence and who tries to destroy something they don't believe holds power?

One of the age-old fairytale ideas is that of a damsel in distress being rescued from some perilous situation by a knight in shining armour. In reality we know that there is no such thing as such fairytale romance right? And as I said to Jeanille today, to be a knight in shining armour is to be someone who shows off that they haven't really been through the battles. That is, your armour should have some dents and scratches - some wear and tear to prove that it has been used. Apparently according to her I'm more of a partner in crime anyway...

So yes, I am no knight in shining armour for anyone, even if people might think so at times. I'll readily admit that there are bumps and scratches here and there. But this life is not meant to be a fairytale and Christianity isn't meant to be just a fairy story. That said, one of the great experts on fairystories - J.R.R. Tolkien - wrote that Christianity was the greatest fairy story. Or rather that it was the great story that surpassed any fairy story. He wrote that the point of fairy stories is about fantasy, about escape. They are about that perfect knight in shining armour who can walk through battles without blood, sweat or any kind of difficulty. Fairy stories are there to point us towards what can be beautiful in life and ignore the reality of the world.

So when Tolkien wrote that Christianity is the 'great fairy story' he was saying that it is the perfect example of what a fairy story ought to be and is made more perfect by one fact: it is real. In On Fairy Stories he writes that “The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation. This story begins and ends in joy. It has pre-eminently the ‘inner consistency of reality.’ There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true, and none which so many sceptical men have accepted as true on its own merits. For the Art of it has the supremely convincing tone of Primary Art, that is, of Creation. To reject it leads either to sadness or to wrath."

The word eucatastrophe essentially is the opposite of catastrophe, that is it is a happy resolution. Tolkien points out to us all that the Resurrection is what the Birth of Christ is all about. It's not just the fact that Christ came to Earth, nor is it the fact that He died. Those two things are entirely normal events: human beings are born and die. But the great and powerful resolution is in the fact that Christ was resurrected! Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:17 "And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins."

So when you are arguing the merits of different doctrines or contemplating what the importance of a particular scripture might be, don't forget to remember the basics. Don't forget to remember that what makes it all important is the power of the resurrection: that impossible 'fairytale event'. So yes, I might never be the romantic notion of a knight in shining armour. I might never be a dragon slayer, unicorn hunter or magical wizard, but what I can be is someone who walks in the power of a resurrected, redeemed life. That's worth more than just any set of morals.