Tag Archives: Stories

Instantly Now

Once upon a time — that is how all the old stories start.  And they do have a certain inkling of romance attached to them — the sound of a roaring wind — chestnuts cracking in a great stone hall — the smell of lavender and jasmine in the opal air — the sweet taste of the first honeysuckle — the red, blue, and purple crackling of an open fire with the stars dancing above and the dew lightly kissing the grass beneath.  The smell of cinnamon and nutmeg, ginger and garlic; the warmth of the sun on your face and sand between your toes; the creaking of the leather saddles and the taste of freshly-baked blueberry pies — yes, those magical words have a kind of romance about them that can instantly transport you to another place and time.

With all this in mind, there is still an unsatisfied recess of my mind which demands for something more.  Why are all the stories in the past?  Why doesn’t someone write a story that is happening this very instant; as the clock ticks away the seconds while you are reading, the very same clock is ticking away the seconds in the story.

What new horizons would this lead to in the world of literature?  What planets are we yet to discover?  Quit your tedious plowing of the underground fields of the ancient myths, and turn your attention to the deep and secret happenings of today — either plainly exposed under a mountain or concealed in a soft bed of clouds.  Breathe in the polluted air and enjoy the progress of today.  Don’t bother recording it for posterity — the future is too hazy and that would make us the past — accordingly, irrelevant.  No, instead, do everything for the now.  Because now is all that really matters.  The progressive people of today want to know what is happening as it happens.  After that, what does it matter anymore?  Why would we want to wait 20, 50, 100 or more years for it to be a confirmed part of our history, our culture, and our folklore before obtaining the story?  I mean, hey, the best thing about our society today is satisfaction on demand.  Instant gratification, some call it.  But didn’t someone once say something about time being money?  How true!!  Why waste time on little details?! 

Funny that we should use that metaphor, though, because these days money is so figurative. It’s a hazy concept which has been floating around for centuries.  Apparently it used to actually have a specific value and stood for something real.  Now, our money system is basically a complex cycle of numbers.  You get paid X amount of dollars and bring it to the bank in the form of a cheque.  You hand the piece of paper to the teller, who types something into the computer and hands you back a receipt.  You go merrily on your way, and there the numbers sit for X years.  In the meantime, you have earned interest on your numbers and they have increased by 0.0XXXXXX%.  You finally decide to purchase something with your numbers.  So you go to the store and bring along with you a tiny plastic card with your name and — you guessed it! — a series of numbers engraved on it.  With an easy swipe of the card and pressing of a few numbers the items are yours.  But woe are you if the numbers in your bank account and the numbers on your grand total don’t match up!  Some time is wasted by worrying about how to multiply and add up those numbers.  I’ll admit, that is the one flaw in our current monetary system.  But no worries!  Pretty soon you will receive a piece of paper in the mail from the government saying that they made more numbers to give to you!  So you see, like time, money is a hazy thing which somehow keeps on coming.  You never see it itself.  Just its representatives.

Can you imagine living in a world where you had what you had, and you had to work, plan, and wait to get it?  I hear tell that that is what it used to be like.  But we have more important things to spend time on now. Why worry about the future and how you are going to eat when you are hungry now?  Why pinch pennies for winter clothes and heat when you really want that new pair of sunglasses?  I mean, seriously, why worry about those boring, mundane details of life when now is happening!!  I mean, now is now.  Yesterday is gone and who knows if tomorrow will ever come?  Now is what is important.  Time is now. 

Well, there you have it. Futility.  Money, however much it is not, is not is mere numbers.  Or rather, it shouldn’t be.  It should have purpose and use.  God is outside of time, larger than time.  However, we need to encounter Him in the now of every moment of our lives.  Time and money are not the same.  But they are similar in that they both represent something larger than themselves: money representing our temporal needs, our mortal bodies.  Time representing our immortal souls, and our quest to let God find us.  Hence, time is not money.  And we can’t save both at Dollar General because we will die and we may or may not make it to Heaven.  People, Dollar General is not the answer to all life’s questions.  The name implies ordering money around, which translates to someone bossing you about how to live your life, which, seen as it is none of their beeswax, trespasses on Free Will.  Seeing that Free Will is a Gift from God, and Dollar General is trying to take away God’s gifts, don’t listen.

‘Apologetics and the Christian Imagination’ — A Richer, Deeper approach in connecting Souls With The Faith.

Are stories important for humanity? Is telling a story through books, movies, or the extemporaneous tales of mom and dad delivered to the children at bedtime simply an insignificant means of mere entertainment? In her book Apologetics and the Christian Imagination, Dr. Holly Ordway shows us that in truth stories are powerful tools of conveying meaning, tools that are important for the work of spreading the Faith and forming souls in it.

While showing great understanding of both apologetics and human nature, Dr. Ordway explores the relationship between reason and imagination and how the human person utilizes each to come to know reality. Furthermore, she instructs the reader on the art of Imaginative Apologetics, which is a richer, deeper approach in connecting souls with the Faith. In this entertaining and easy-to-read book, Ordway makes a convincing argument for this method of winning souls.

                  

C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, and George MacDonald are but a few of the masters of this technique which Ordway presents. Each figure is a fantastic storyteller with stories that, as she puts it, baptize the imagination that allow the person to find meaning in the Theological world and grow closer to the God hidden beneath the narrative.
Ordway teaches, “Imaginative apologetics seeks to harness the God-given faculty of imagination to work in cooperation with reason, to open a way for the work of the Holy Spirit and guide the will toward a commitment to Christ.” Through the stories told by one practicing this method, the hearers are able to receive more than just a definition to memorize. Instead, the hearers are given a deep descriptive tale that conveys the meaning of the Theological truths that sometime evade the persons being instructed.

The book thoroughly explains how Theological meaning can be lost on some souls who simply misunderstand the words. Dr. Ordway posits that many think poorly of the Christian Faith not because they disagree with what is taught, but because they are without the proper meaning conveyed by what is taught. The author explains, “To those who know Christ, and unfortunately also to many who do, much ‘Christian language’ rings empty. Although words like ‘grace’, ‘sin’, ‘heaven’, and ‘hell’ point to a reality, for many listeners they might as well be empty slogan or the equivalent of the user’s agreement on an upgrade to your phone’s operating system: words that are received without attention, and without grasp of their meaning.”

Being far from one to find the faults and leave us without a solution, Dr. Ordway emphasizes how we apologists can help our listeners create meaning and avoid the sophist misconceptions of our times by way of a good story. She creatively and intelligently instructs the reader by explaining the workings of linguistics and how we understand the various senses of speech that we hear. Furthermore, her understanding and delivery of the meaning of being literal is delightful to read.

With the Church’s call for a New Evangelization, and many faithful Christians responding to bring the Gospel back to the hearts of humanity, this book is an important piece for our times. It instructs the bearer of Good News on how to carry out the work of apologetics as well as doing so in a way that allows the hearer of the Word to better grasp the meaning of the message. Moreover, it leads us to carry out this work in an aesthetic, sometimes even inconspicuous, manner, which would allow for Theological meaning to enter into the hearts and minds of those that might otherwise be opposed to the words delivered in a more outward manner.

Especially in our day, we are witness to many artists, writers, and musicians working to evangelize through beauty. Dr. Ordway’s book is a wonderful companion for those who have heard and answered the call to do this. In fact, it would not be surprising if this book is a catalyst for more talented souls to take on such important work.

Classroom teachers and catechists too can find inspiration to utilize more of Imaginative Apologetics with their students. The way Dr. Ordway presents it, we can see the powerful impact that this method is able to have on the hearts and minds of those being formed, especially the young.

Finally, this book could be greatly beneficial for all people, both within the work of apologetics and without, as we can learn to find Faith and Truth in the stories we hear in our world today, whether these messages are intended or not.

For these reasons I highly recommend Dr. Ordway’s Apologetics and the Christian Imagination to all those working in apologetics and evangelization alike. It is a remarkable manual for leading souls to know and understand the deeply profound truths of our Faith. Hopefully, it will even lead certain souls to become the next C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, or George MacDonald, and enlarge the library of good Christian stories available to mankind today.