The king gazed fondly over his kingdom at the sunrise stretching over the horizon and peaking over the mountains. Longing for the illusive sleep he could not have, anxious thoughts crowded his mind. A loud knock on the door startled him out of his daze of thought. After a moment or two, he collected his wits and shuffled to the door.
Another knock shook the door.
The king cracked the door open slightly and grunted at the unknown person.
“Sire, there is an issue in the courtyard of which you should be aware immediately. Some of the peasants are creating a stir.”
The king grunted in recognition of the issue then shut the door. He slipped on his kingly garb and walked out onto the courtyard balcony.
A sea of people overflowing the courtyard erupted into a frenzy no sooner than the king appeared.
“Hail! King Niekru! Long live King Niekru!” one person shouted with what seemed like thousands repeating his proclamation.
The amazed king smiled in his realization that today… today marks his thirtieth year of reign. The fog he lived in was lifted for a time. He smiled and waved to his people. The cheers of the people roared on and grew in volume.
Then the unthinkable happened.
A cloaked individual released his fury from a tower on the other side of the courtyard. Two arrows pierced the king’s chest interposing into his heart. A collective gasp rummaged throughout the crowd as the king slumped over the waist-level wall and soon collapsed to the ground.
The cloaked one leapt over the side of the tower as if to fly and disappeared from sight. The king lay on the ground gasping for breath after painful breath while soldiers scurried about, sounding the trumpet alarm. His eyes seemed to scream for help until help was no long needed; his body finally resting, motionless.
The gala gathering turned to mourning as the sun rose into the sky.
A loud knock on the door startled him out of his deep slumber. After a moment or two, he collected his wits, rolled out of his bed, and shuffled to the door.
Another knock shook the door.
The king cracked the door open slightly…
*Excerpt from The Legend of Noddegamra
Stories, good stories, always borrow from the Christian worldview- always
Good stories revolve around a variation on a theme- A good and pleasant life is disrupted by some devastating circumstance that seems nigh to impossible to overcome. Evil plays its most horrific hand, yet, when all is said and done, Good overcomes Evil by direct confrontation. The heart of Evil is pierced and Evil’s deathblow itself dies.
Flannery O’Conner claimed that every Novelist “has to create a world and a believable one. … The virtues of art,” said he, “like the virtues of faith are such that they reach beyond the limitations of the intellect, beyond any mere theory that a writer may entertain.” However, recognizing a good story is nothing short of seeing it reflect reality. It is not so much that we are reading the Christian worldview into the story as much as it is recognizing the story is pointing to the reality of the Christian worldview.
Themes like self-sacrifice, love, loyalty, good overcoming evil, redemption, forgiveness among others are essentially Christian. The Christian worldview is that which brings hope in relation to these themes because, in some form or fashion, these themes in story form are, at the very least, that which the (unbelieving) writer wishes to be true, and that which the (believing) writer proclaims. If Christianity is not true, these themes are meaningless.
However, since Christianity is true, these themes are full of meaning
Slightly expanding John Granger’s statement, he explains books which possess “themes, imagery, and engaging stories that echo the Great Story we are wired to receive and respond to” (Read Romans 1 & Romans 2:15).
These themes are objective; universal; and we are wired to receive and respond to them.
Understanding life within this framework of Christianity’s universal objectivity do we truly connect with stories which promote such themes. It is within this framework in which a story can be translated into other languages (hence, cultures) and understood and have meaning. And it is within this framework in which life is comprehensible.
What were your thoughts as you read the part of the story after “Then the unthinkable happened.” ? Thoughts of horror? disgust? Did your heart sink?
What were you thinking when you read the rest of the story after “The gala gathering turned to mourning as the sun rose into the sky.” ? thoughts of joy? Did you let out your breath in relief?
Why do we react in such ways as we read stories? To reword, could it be that these “themes, imagery, and engaging stories that echo the Great Story are what we are wired to receive and respond to” ? It is only because Redemption’s Story is true that we find value in “eucatastroph-ic” themes because all stories are but a shadow and a thought which point to the Great Story of Redemption. And any story that is to be a good story, must always borrow from the Christian Story.
Not every good story is Christian; but every good story reflects the Christian worldview.