Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Perfect Lover: How Reading a Vampire Book Brought Me Closer to Jesus - A Rose is a Vampire is a Rose

Statistics show you probably already know what I’m talking about when I refer to the Twilight Saga or Edward Cullen or Bella Swan or Stephanie Meyer.

But I can’t assume anything.

So here are some options that will help as we discuss it on Dry Ground…

**NOTE: After this, I will NOT alert you to SPOILER information. Obviously, I will address specific scenes in the books that will give details away to those who haven’t read them or seen the movie(s). I’m just saying, that’s how it’s going to be. J**

#1 – For a quick summary of the entire plot (if you haven’t, don’t have time to or don’t plan to read Twilight) – click here

#2 – To read the author’s story about writing the book, with a few spoilers but not a lengthy plot description – click here

#3 - Perhaps you know a teeny weeny bit about it, that it’s a teenage vampire love story, and that is quite enough for you to want nothing else to do with it.

I can see where you’re coming from.

If that’s you, might I persuade you to hang in there with me for at least a few more days?

Here’s the reason why…

You’ve heard the saying, “A rose by any other name is still a rose”? It means, if you’re looking at a rose and someone else says, “Hey, look, it’s a violet,” it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a rose.

Well, it’s kind of like that, but in reverse.

(Confused? Don’t give up yet…)

I did some research.

The lore of vampires goes back centuries. And yes, most of it is about humans finding an excuse to do something God told us not to do, drink human blood.

Most of us associate vampires with evil because of classical and modern literature and entertainment. From Stokes’ Dracula to Rice’s Lestat to 80s cult-classic Lost Boys, we understand vampire mythology in a somewhat constant set of standards – can’t survive without drinking human blood, are un-dead, sunlight burns their skin, allergic to garlic, sleep in coffins, must be invited in to enter a home, etc.

But who said all vampire mythologies have to have this set of standards?

And who said vampires are anything more than a myth anyway?

Why can’t there be good vampires along with the bad ones?

My argument is (call it a rationalization, if you must) since vampires are indeed fictional figments of imagination, no one can say for sure what does or does not constitute a vampire.

The reason I argue this point at all is so that we can get beyond the term and definition of the word because if I had not conquered that, I would have missed out on an unlikely gift.

I agree that many vampire tales are bent toward highlighting evil. Going with the cultural standards, they are evil, nasty, scary creatures (fictionally speaking, of course). Most stories about vampires I don’t like because, since they adhere to those made-up standards, they don’t promote redemption, they only pander fear.

I have the same feelings for any story, especially ones involving fantasy characters.

Watching/reading The Wizard of Oz, for example, with its good and bad witches, talking tin man and flying monkeys sets fine with my spirit even though it involves magical elements. The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia are also full of magic and make-believe, but are embraced because they point to redemptive pursuits.

I submit that the Twilight Saga also points to these same higher pursuits… even though the main character, the Hero, is dubbed a vampire.

The author of Twilight, Stephanie Meyer, stepped out on a limb to throw out most of modern-day understandings of vampire lore, and I admire her for asking the “what if” questions, creating her own world, and producing a love story that reflects (whether she meant it to or not) the love God has for us.

Besides, it’s entirely significant that we are talking about a world where vampires exist specifically because of the involvement of blood. In the right context, blood is life, not death. It is salvation, not condemnation. Seeing it symbolically instead of literally takes us out of the “God said not to drink human blood” realm and puts us in the “Jesus’ blood atones for my sins” reality.

I’m not saying Twilight is or was meant to be an analogy for the Gospel. I say a little more about that on Friday. But the story as a whole is laden with spiritual concepts that I couldn’t help but garner as I read and fell in love with it. Taking those concepts and pointing in the right direction, I gained so much, even a closer walk with Jesus.

I hope you’ll stay tuned.

(click for next chapter: The Fine Print)


lynnrush said...

OH yeah. I'll stay tuned. Great post. I love your insight into things, Lori.

Are you counting the days down until New Moon? Holy Moly, I sure am.

KM Wilsher said...

This is brilliant. I didn’t expect anything less. Thank you for writing this and sharing this. I am ¾ the way into NEW MOON. I already see some things that echo the trinity and his love. I can’t wait to read your exploration. Again, this is brilliant!
I think the female masses need this study!

Lori Lundquist said...

Thank you, Lynn and KM, for your encouragement and support! Love you gals!