Monday, April 21, 2014

The Value of Stories

Elise has a lot of tendencies that spectrum kids have, one is that everything is taken literally. 

It can frustrating and funny.

It is very difficult when you are talking about things in a more spiritual realm.  It is particularly difficult if you want to discuss religious aspects of life.  Those of us who believe that the religious realm is fact, come up on an very abrupt wall of inability to comprehend. 

You know how there are no nebulous theories to a 2-3 year old?  Well, when you are stuck there mentally for longer than others, its hard to figure out how to explain it so it makes sense.

I have always been a firm believer of:  "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."  ~ Albert Einstein

With the kids, and Elise, up to a point, I don't think you really need much more than "Jesus loves you."  But the longer life went on, and she didn't really progress past the toddler comprehension, the more it laid heavy on my heart, that there had to be a way to explain the Easter and Christmas gift of Jesus in a way that she could understand it. 

Jesus himself, was a big proponent of simple stories that made huge truths more comprehensible.  In Christian circles, there is a lot of throwing around of parables, and using them primarily with kids.  There are sappy and annoying definitions of what parables are...they have always irritated me and I refuse to even quote them here, because I am still of the mind that if you can squash phenomenal theology into a off-the-cuff meme that makes you sound condescending, then you've also managed to destroy it for yourself.

ANYWAY, as I said, Jesus often took real life situations that everyone can relate to, and tied it to a truth of life.  In his simplifications, it wasn't offensive, and no matter if you believe in Jesus/the Bible, you can't fault the honesty and wisdom in them.  Which is why the default on Jesus is "Yep, he's a great teacher."

SO.  He didn't give me a parable in the Bible for his death and resurrection.  And neither did my good buddy, Paul...who also was a fan of stories that explained huge truths... 

BUT C.S. Lewis did.  In the series of Narnia, we have beautiful stories that may or may not have been meant to explain bigger truths.  They are deliciously written, and regardless of your theological leanings, I highly recommend you grab them, and give them a whirl.  And if you aren't a reader, Disney has managed (for once!) to recognize a story that didn't need any dabbling...and the Chronicles of Narnia movies are stellar.


But, Elise is completely taken with Aslan, and all the characters.  She is completely sucked in and enchanted with the story.  She understands it on a very organic level, and she loves it and feels it all deeply.  And, Folks, she can discuss it on a level that she cannot vocalize Jesus on.

And so, we have a tradition of watching at least the first Chronicles of Narnia movie on Easter weekend.  And we will have shocked gasps about the story of Jesus, "Just like Aslan!!", periodically.  And the books are even fuller of "Muchier Muchness"...and I, too, have taken to feeling the gift of Easter on a more organic and less theologically structured manner...and the Muchness of Jesus has struck me more and more deeply every year.

And, I wrap up with the same offer and I put out on the blog's Facebook page:  "Jesus used parables to explain The Important Stuff, take a page out of his book. Figuratively and literally.

Lots of love from us. Please don't hesitate to message me if you want support or want to ask any questions about Jesus, Aslan, or Easter!!"  Emails and or messages are more than welcome.
"It isn't Narnia, you know," sobbed Lucy. "It's you. We shan't meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?"
"But you shall meet me, dear one," said Aslan.
"Are -are you there too, Sir?" said Edmund.
"I am," said Aslan. "But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there."
C.S. Lewis
Happy Easter! 
Here's my gal yesterday, enjoying a quiet moment with her brother!


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