Friday, May 16, 2014

God writes fantasy novels.

I love the book of judges. It reads like a book of violent fairy tales.

The chosen people go crazy and get themselves into all sorts of trouble and oppression. Then comes a series of wildmen who conquer and kill to give peace for a few years.

The crazy stories begin with a left handed man who violently (and very messily) murders a very fat king and may have escaped through the toilet. (The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.)

The bastard son of a ruler (by a prostitute) is driven out by his brothers. He gathers himself a motley crew of vagabonds and then all the leaders of his clan ask him to come back and defeat their oppressors. And he does. Then he gets in a skirmish with the tribe of Ephraim and ends up killing men on the basis of how they pronounce the word “Shibboleth”.

A mystical messenger shows up and prophesies the birth of a child with strange rules about the things he is allowed to eat and drink and how he must never cut his hair. If he ever breaks the rules, he’ll lose his hulk-like superpowers. He had another kryptonite: beautiful pagan women. This man burned down ALL the crops of a pagan people group via flaming fox’s tails and then bashed in the skulls of a thousand men with the jawbone of a donkey. He was eventually captured, had his eyes plucked out and died in a suicide mission in the temple of Dagon. He took a few thousand men with him.

A woman had to scold the leader of Israel’s armies because he didn’t want to go to war when God told him to. He only consented to go if she came with him. They won the battle, but the enemy general escaped and hid in the home of a friend. The friend’s wife drove a tent peg into his head while he napped. Then everyone sang a song.

This stuff happened! These stories are more interesting than game of thrones and marvel movies combined! When is the sermon series on the book of judges?

No, no sermon series on Judges. We Christians like to talk about things that are realistic. Stay away from escapist fantasy (especially if it actually happened and it’s in the bible).

Who are we to say what’s realistic? The Creator decides and The Creator has come up with some pretty fantastical stuff.

Do you know where the first wizard battle in recorded literature is? An old man saunters in to the court of a king leaning on his magic stick… Exodus chapter 5.

First mention of superheroes or demigods? An afterthought in genesis 6.

Or what about modern history?

A land, wild, vast, and sparsely populated, began to be filled with people. These people somehow chose to move from a heavily civilized society into a lonely wilderness filled with predators, where they would have to learn not only to live without a basic structure of commerce, but figure out how not to die. They somehow survived, declared themselves a nation and somehow became a dominant world power without fighting a war to topple the previous world leader.

Years after the crazy pioneers spread across the continent, a wealthy business man fell in love with a barely inhabitable, barely accessible swamp that lies on the bottom on a strange peninsula. It was unpleasant, filled with mosquitoes and the heat was intolerable but he decided to market it as “paradise”. It was only after mankind made machines that manipulate the temperature with a combination of moving air and magic liquids that people began to believe him.

As unlikely as it is, I was born in that swamp and I write from there now.

Compared to some of the stuff God dreams up, things like Star Wars and Lord of the Rings are hard realism.

For instance, did you know that narwhals exist?

(Yup, unicorn whales.)

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