Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Terabithia

I've been thinking about what "Terabithia" means and its significance, not just in the book by Katherine Paterson, but more broadly in life. In the meantime, a meaningful quote:


"It ain't beautiful," May Belle broke in. "It's scary. Nailing holes right through somebody's hand."
"May Belle's right." Jess reach down in to the deepest pit of his mind. "It's because we're all vile sinners God made Jesus die."
"Do you think that' true?"
He was shocked. "It's in the Bible, Leslie."
She looked at him as if she were going to argue, then seemed to changer her mind. "It's crazy, isn't it?" She shook her head. "You have to believe it, but you hate it. I don't have to believe it, and I think it's beautiful." She shook her head again. "It's crazy."

In Spiritual Depression, Loyd-Jones writes about the dismal attitude of many Christians. Here, as the character Leslie describes it, I'm not sure which is worse. The passage says more about human nature I think than it does about the nature of faith. There are many people, perhaps in this country many more people, who stand in Leslie's position, on the outside looking in at a beautiful story or set of teachings rather than under the compulsion of cultural religion. But who can stand both in the beauty and the fear of this story, a God made sacrifice?

Later in the story, after the tragic death of Leslie, Jess discusses the loss with her father:

Finally his father said, "Hell, ain't it?" It was the kind of thing Jess could hear his father saying to another man. He found it strangely comforting, and it made him bold. 
"Do you believe people go to hell, really go to hell, I mean?"
"You ain't worrying about Leslie Burke?"
It did seem peculiar, but still- "Well, May Belle said..."
"May Belle? May Belle ain't God."
"Yeah, but how do you know what God does?"
"Lord, boy, don't be a fool. God ain't gonna send any little girls to hell." 

Would he? It does indeed seem rather foolish to think so. The power of literature is that it can take something that may have thus far been an abstract issue in life and make it a bit real, even if only to the imagination. 

Jess doesn't take any chances, at any rate. Maybe that's what the bridge is all about. A bridge to Terabithia -salvation wrought with human hands.

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