I’ve enjoyed the discussion on redemption this week. I nearly ran out and bought a bean pot after Debbie’s post. She reminded us that redemption is, in part, a question of value – and her bean pot is a wonderful example of the simple and plain being privileged to a place of monetary value. It’s worth something, despite its humble appearance (cute as it is). Thanks to Debbie, I have added to my stock of great stories to tell “The wisdom of the bean pot”.
I also enjoyed the comments and recommendations people made. Many of the novels mentioned are ones I’ve read and enjoyed – and as always is the case on this blog, new-to-me novels made my TBR pile grow. Love this group of well-read folks! And my humble thanks to Latayne and Koala Bear for the shout out love.
One thing I’ve noticed, not just on our blog, but in general, is that we tend to equate redemption stories with personal redemption only. Of course this makes sense – Christianity understands redemption as a personal experience one that cannot be prescribed or legislated, rather it is experienced (or not) on a person-by-person basis. All well and good, but I’ve been thinking lately, wondering if we can take this notion of redemption further in our fiction.
I’m working on a new novel, A Girl Named Fish, a story about community, and it’s gotten me to thinking about how the concepts of redemption can be presented on a broader canvas than the individual. Let me give you a for instance: A story about a woman who overcomes a difficulty in her life (a terrible past, a loss, an addiction, etc), is in itself a satisfying story. But I’m increasingly sure there could and should be more, that the story of the individual coming to wholeness is only the beginning. If a woman is raised up on to her own two feet, it is for a purpose, right? Something bigger than herself calls to her to move on with her life, accomplish things, and embrace life fully. Doesn’t it make sense that God restores people in order to restore entire societies and cultures? That the people who experience grace and wholeness can in turn be agents of grace and wholeness in the larger society? Of course it does, we holler in unison!
Yet it seems to me there is a distinct lack of these “change the world” stories on our shelves. There are, however, shelves of novels that point to society’s decline. Where are the stories that point to society’s potential? The stories that teach us how to break cycles of hate or abuse. The stories that show us how a group of like-minded individuals can turn the world around them to spin in a different direction – a better direction.
It’s freedom Friday, today, and I’d love for you to share those novels you’ve read that point to the value of our potential. That point out routes to peace among enemies, that highlight our ability to allow love to overrule our prejudices, not only as individuals, but as entire communities, towns, societies, and cultures.