Monday, October 31, 2011

How Reading a Vampire Book Revealed to Me the Gift of Free Will - The Choosing Fields

First, I'd like to make note that 19 years ago today, I met my Daniel. What a blessing he is to my life!! I'm so glad my cousin, Shannon, and I went 'reverse' trick-or-treating that night. Love you, babe!

Well, it’s that time of year again. The next installment of The Twilight Saga is hitting movie theatres soon, November 18th . So it’s also time for inspirational reflections based on the novels here at Dry Ground.

The first installment of my “Twiblogs’ focused on the first book, Twilight. I called it How Reading a Vampire Book Brought Me Closer to Jesus and it explored Edward Cullen representing in many aspects the Perfect Love of Jesus Christ. (To read CLICK HERE!)

The second section, called How Reading a Vampire Book Taught Me More About Faith, drew lessons from New Moon in which Bella’s faith in Edward’s love is put to a trying and difficult test. (To read CLICK HERE!)

This time around, I’m going to look at the third book in the series, Eclipse, and what it has to say about making choices. I call it – How Reading a Vampire Book Revealed to Me the Gift of Free Will.

We start with an obvious question…

What is Free Will?

Simply, the inherent right to make our own choices.

Theologians debate the exact meaning of the phrase and bring into question satellite issues such as the omniscience of God, muddying the waters to the point of confusion. But I’m not here to argue the full extent of free will philosophy. In this case, I’m just counting Free Will as the right of an individual to make decisions absent of coercion or force.

Now I will contend that no decision is completely without coercion in the sense that every decision is based on influencing factors, be they fact or feeling or perception. However, Free Will means that when all factors have been taken into account, the decision to turn left or right ultimately hinges on our own determination.

In context, Eclipse is the turning point of the entire story, the Choosing Fields.

While in New Moon, Bella is tested, in Eclipse she is testing.

In New Moon, the choices are presented, and in Eclipse, the choices are examined. Though it seems the outcome is obvious, Bella’s resolve wavers in light of the permanence of the choices she’s about to make and the persuasion of those claiming to want the best for her.

Bella faces two major decisions that will determine the course of the rest of her life.

First, Edward has proposed marriage. She, in a move I didn’t see coming the first time I read it, refuses him. She loves him, she wants to be with him forever, but agreeing to marriage strikes a nerve of fear inside her. Consequently, she hasn’t really chosen him yet. Not completely. Alternative choices include Jacob, who declares his love openly in Eclipse, remaining alone or continuing on in a partial commitment with Edward.

Second, to be or not to be a vampire. Bella believes she is decided, but her actions prove otherwise. Again, fear messes with her resolve. Also, she is distracted by the possibility that Edward, though he does not want her to become a vampire, will change her himself, but that hinges on the marriage proposal.

So her two major choices are intertwined and multi-faceted.

In Eclipse, we find Bella in the middle of her decision-making adventure. Her future depends on the result of those decisions just as our future depends on the choice we make when Jesus asks, “Will you marry me?”

Our Perfect Lover, Jesus Christ, also has proposed marriage to every one of us on an intimate and personal level. It’s up to each of us to accept or deny that proposal. We examine many factors in life to help us decide – what we read and what we’re taught/told, the examples of others who have made the commitment to Christ, what we ourselves experience and feel, as well as our own perceptions of life and living which can involve our personalities and preferences.

During this examination process, Our Perfect Lover steps back, allowing us time and space to choose. He doesn’t leave us completely alone. No, he’s always there, reminding us and showing us how deep and wide and long and high His love is for us. Allowing Free Will does not in any way mean giving up the fight for our affections. But it does mean that He will never force us to choose Him.

I hope you’ll join me for the next couple of weeks as I attempt to show you how Reading a Vampire Book Revealed to Me the Gift of Free Will.

For the next chapter, The Influence of Fear, CLICK HERE.

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