15th Dec, 2008

Good News Beats the Blues

My oldest son, Tanner, has an excellent 4th grade teacher, Mrs. McCain. She has a great love for literature and encourages children to read. Tanner needs no encouraging with regard to books, so the two of them make a great pair.

One of the books Mrs. McCain turned Tanner on to was The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, who just happens to be an Arkansan, living in Little Rock. The book captured Tanner’s imagination, even with over 400 pages. There simply are some books worth risking being discovered by mom with a flashlight under the covers. For Tanner this was one of them. A great review can be found at Wired’s Geekdad blog.

I read the book, too, and found it to be a captivating read. Stewart writes about “the Emergency,” which is constant messages of all the bad news going on, and in my imagination it was a perfect portrait of the way media tries to control us with its constant barrage of breaking news and impending catastrophe. As The Mysterious Benedict Society weaves its tale, we see four kids overcoming great obstacles and Good defeating Evil to save the world.

I often find myself complaining about the media. But as I think about it, I’m not sure why. In the midst of the world screaming that everything is falling apart, it seems like a perfect stage for citizens of the Kingdom of God to broadcast the good news of Jesus’ Kingdom. (Kudos to Central United Methodist and Jim Hightower for this year’s Christmas Program! Jim creatively demonstrated, with the help of some amazingly talented musicians, how the Good News of Jesus Christ beats the blues.)

Just as love and sacrifice wins in so many stories like Harry Potter, The Mysterious Benedict Society, and the Chronicles of Narnia, even in the midst of great human frailties, Jesus’ example of True Love and Sacrifice at the Cross paved the way for all of us to the Father and to escape the ruin of sin’s destructive force.

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