Tuesday, January 22, 2008

CSFF Blog Tour: Auralia's Colors Day Two

CSSF Blog Tour

One of the things that impressed me about Auralia's Colors was its subtlety. Unlike many Christian fantasy books, there was no obvious analogues for God or Christ. There was no Christian Church in an odd disguise or almost Scriptures. The special abilities of Auralia, the ale boy, and Scharr ben Fray aren't spiritual gifts with a twist. This is a world that stands apart from ours which makes it more interesting to explore. Everything is new. Everything is fresh.

SPOILER ALERT: The best example of this is the Keeper. Unfortunately, I had this surprise ruined for me by a review on Amazon, so I kind of saw it coming. But I'll be honest, I thought it was cool. The way Overstreet presents it, the Keeper is the beastie who lurks in people's dreams, an uncontrollable monster that the people of Abscar seem to rightly fear but has some unexplainable connection to Auralia. But, as the story unfolds, we realize that the Keeper is not a horrific monster but, surprise surprise, a rough analogue to God. Or Christ. I'm still trying to put all the pieces together to figure out which precisely. Although, come to think of it, the distinction isn't as clear as I just made it sound.

Sorry about the tangent. Anyway... The Keeper. I have to admit, I had never envisioned Christ as a big monster that lurks in the bottom of a lake. Let's face it, when most people think of Jesus, the picture Him like this:

Very friendly, very serene. Not at all a monster.

And yet, the reason why we think of Him that way is because we know the end of the story. When we do walk with Jesus on the roads of Galilee and Judea, we do so knowing that He's heading to the cross and the empty tomb. We know who He is and what He is. We know what His motivation is and why He does what He does (for the most part). We don't see Jesus as a monster because to us, He's not.

But then, we don't suffer from "the scandal of the immediate," as Dr. Paul Maier calls it. Like I said, we see Jesus and we see Him as the loving Messiah, the one sent to redeem the world. But that's not how the first century Jewish leadership saw Him. To them, He was a monster and a scary one, best eliminated and forgotten about. To the Pharisees, He was a sinner who encouraged people to break the covenant law, putting them in double jeopardy. Not only might they be punished for impiety with another exile, the Messiah might never arrive as well.

To the Sadducees, Jesus was a rabble rouser, a potential rallying point for those who wanted to disrupt the status quo with the Romans. If things were allowed to go too far, the Romans would have to quash the rebellion, which could result in the Sadducees losing power and the center of their existence, the Temple.

To both, Jesus was a monster. He had to be eliminated. The only reason why we don't see Him that way is because we see Him through the lens of faith. Since we know the end of the story, since we have that relationship of faith, we don't see Him that way. We see Him as the "tame" Messiah with the loving heart in the same way that Auralia and Cal-raven see the Keeper.

The important thing, I guess, is to remember the not-so-tame Messiah. After all, to rip off C.S. Lewis a little, the Keeper is not a tame beastie. But he is good. And so is Christ.

Be sure to check out what the rest of the blog tour participants are saying:

Brandon Barr
Jim Black
Justin Boyer
Grace Bridges
Jackie Castle
Carol Bruce Collett
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Chris Deanne
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Marcus Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Jill Hart
Katie Hart
Timothy Hicks
Heather R. Hunt
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Mike Lynch
Rachel Marks
Shannon McNear
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirtika or Mir's Here
Pamela Morrisson
Eve Nielsen
John Ottinger
Deena Peterson
Steve Rice
Cheryl Russel
Ashley Rutherford
Hanna Sandvig
Chawna Schroeder
James Somers
Rachelle Sperling
Donna Swanson
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Jason Waguespac
Laura Williams
Timothy Wise


Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Great post, John, but just to warn you. Overstreet says to hold off dubbing the Keeper as a God figure.

I certainly thought parallels were evident.

But to your point about Jesus, even the disciples, when they saw Him walking to their boat in the middle of the night, thought they saw a monster--well, a ghost, which is close, I suppose.

The truth is, when God or His agents showed up in the Bible, people ended up face down on the ground or at least shoeless and on their knees.


John said...

I suppose that's one of the dangers of not doing Christian analogues. The reader might draw conclusions that the author didn't intend. Whoops on my part, I guess.

Fantasythyme said...

John, I liked your analogy. What we don't understand we try to explain away. The Abascar dwellers didn't understand how life outside the city walls could be beautiful. After all, they had been told Beastmen roamed freely and it was a world of thorned filled forests and smelly swamps.

pixydust said...

I probably would have gone in that direction, too. That's one of the pitfalls of CFS. You almost search for God in the pages too much.

Great post!

Shannon said...

Wonderful post, John! And fantastic thoughts about God ... I thought the same thing, even though I figured the author probably didn't mean the Keeper to be a direct equivalent to God. Still, the parallels, the echoes, are there.

All 3 days' posts are great ... I just wish I hadn't gotten swallowed up in real life and could have participated more ...