Friday, October 30, 2009

The Perfect Lover: How Reading a Vampire Book Brought Me Closer to Jesus - The Fine Print

(click for previous chapter: A Rose is a Vampire is a Rose)

Because I’m the kind who reads directions on the box of a new board game before diving into active play, I must make a few things clear.

In this series, my intentions are not to set up Edward Cullen as an object of worship. In fact, I’m aiming for the opposite effect. Besides idolatry being wrong, the character of Edward is not a perfect analogy for Christ, in fact he doesn’t even come close. Many aspects of Edward and other story components remind me of Biblical principles and the fairy tale presentation helps me see those principles in a fresher, sometimes clearer way.

But this is not the Gospel according to Twilight.

This is more of a look at the social phenomenon of a modern fairy tale. I’ve seen one too many Facebook flair reading “I’m having trouble with the fact that Edward Cullen is a fictional character.” A ridiculous number of people, young and old alike, myself included, are thoroughly hooked on this story, and I needed to find out the reason. Why this story? What’s so attractive about a sparkling vampire loving a clumsy teenager?

Here’s my theory…

We love it because it reminds our spirits of the Truth living in our very DNA.

Bottom line, it’s the way Edward loves Bella that is so attractive because it represents, in many ways, how Jesus loves us, individually and corporately. As humans, we relate to Bella’s imperfections and her surprise at being loved by a god-like, near-perfect being.

Hello! It’s so simple. That right there is the Gospel… imperfect, sinful human race loved amazingly and unconditionally by, not a god, but the God of the universe Who dies to set us free, Who battles evil to protect us, Who conquers everything that threatens us.

Of course the danger exists that we will let ourselves and others (especially impressionable young girls) continue to pine away for the make-believe god, for the fictional character of Edward Cullen.

I want to draw our obsessive minds away from wishing Edward were real and show that Jesus is real. Using Edward as a model, guardedly of course, can help us see Jesus for all of His magnificence.

This is also not meant to be exhaustive. I have over 150 pages of notes and thoughts, ponderings, devotional-type life lesson ideas that I have garnered from reading the Twilight Saga. Yes, in one sense, I am on the bandwagon, I am dazzled with the rest of the Twilighter Nation, but I’m digging deeper into the cultural craze to find the spiritual significance. Reading this tale with Jesus constantly on my mind, with the Holy Spirit whispering in my ear, I think I know what the appeal is… for me at least, and maybe for you too.

Please keep in mind, the following is just how I see it. All respect goes to the author, Stephanie Meyer, for penning this magnetic story, and I am not trying to represent her or put words into her mouth. I have no connection with her whatsoever.

As I watch coverage on the filming and release of the rest of the saga on the silver screen, as I listen to interviews with the actors and the author herself, I realize as many people out there who may think like I do (that Edward is the quintessential fairy tale hero), there are just as many who have different takes on the story.

For example, many swear by the idea that Jacob really loves Bella while Edward is merely the cad who left her and caused all the angst, conflict and strife. For those Team Jacob members, I have a theory about what he represents as well. However, that pertains more to a discussion about New Moon, Twilight’s sequel, and I’m trying to stick with the first book right now because there’s so much, taking all of the books at once would be overwhelming and unmanageable.

In the meantime, however, if you are obsessed with the werewolf like many of us are obsessed with the vampire, I encourage you to look at the way he loves Bella, or even Renesmee, and make your own comparisons. If you are drawn to Jacob, then he bears a quality that you obviously need in your life. Imagine Jesus loving you the same way and come to the conclusion that your longing can be filled by the real deal, not a fictional representation of love.

My intentions are not to argue with points of view. I only want to share how reading this series helped me see Jesus in a new and more intense light.

So as we funnel our obsession into something constructive and rooted in the world of reality, seek the Lord. Read more of your Bible to help form links. Go ahead and enjoy the story of Edward and Bella. But, then…

Take the leap and obsess about Jesus… taste and see that He is good, that He is the Perfect Lover.

Okay! Monday, no more introductions, disclaimers or apologetics. We get down to business! I hope you tune in to find out how reading a vampire book gave me a fresh perspective on unconditional love.

(click for next chapter: Unconditional Love, part 1)


lynnrush said...

Right on!!

The idea that Edward loves the imperfect Bella and she's surprised by it. So true!

KM Wilsher said...

I don't know about anyone else, but I am excited to see how this series will help me see Jesus in a more intimate way.

I find it hard sometimes to see Jesus as the "lover of my soul". I
can see God the father, sometimes that is hard too.

I have spent an entire lifetime "looking for love" --in the wrong places, mind you.
I feel like this study will open doors.

I am not the biggest fan of Twilight either. I like the story. The firt movie was greeaat. But as this phenonema grows, I feel a great bond with the other women of Earth, my sisters of Eve.
We are all searching for deep, intimate, unconditional, love.

Jesus stands at the door, I know. Can we open the door through a fairy tale?

I have read John Eldridge's The Sacred Romance. I do think we all love fairy tales, because they echo the Original Love Story, Christ's love for His Church.
And now I think this series is perfect in timing, and perfect in that it is related to a very specific fairy tale, in a very specific way.

And the author is totally, irrevocably in love with Jesus, so who better to write it? And what better fairy tale to relate to than the story of Edward and Bella. (I am in the Jacob camp :) But I can see the Edward pull for all my other sistesr)

Whew! Sorry to scribble all over your post.
Thank you for writing this!

Lori Lundquist said...

Thanks for your comments, ladies. And KM, scribble all you want, whenever you want! :-)

Anonymous said...

I don't care for vampire stories, but you always have a twist on things that is so fresh, I have to say I'm intrigued and will be closely following your blog. I have not read the Twilight books. I don't know if I ever will. But let's just say you've got me hooked here. Can't wait to read more!