Monday, September 14, 2009

The Secret....

About those strings....

G.K. Chesterton wrote a play called The Surprise.  It is sort of a modern day parable that deals with this total sovereignty/free will issue.  Since it is late...since I have a headache...and since I have not read the play myself, I am going to copy and paste what I found on the full credit to the authors, of course.  I would like to read the book myself...perhaps I will check out the library. I imagine there are some interesting quotes to be gleaned from the play.

The first excerpt comes from a book I found on google books entitled Chesterton and Evil.  Not only does the parable deal with the issue of free will/sovereignty, it also deals with the existence of evil. 

In a play, a character called the Author creates a number of puppets to perform "a play without a villain" (321) and the play is subsequently performed for a visiting friar.  However, the Author is not satisfied with his creation.  He explains to the friar that without their freedom the puppets remain artificial:  "They are everything else except alive.  They are intelligent, complex, combative, brilliant, bursting with life, and yet they are not alive" (324)  This is at the heart of the Author's problem.  "I want them to be and not to do.  I want them to exist" 323) At the request of the Author, the visiting friar asks God for a miracle, and the puppets gain their own wills.  In Act II of The Surprise, the Author's play is repeated, only this time the results are very different.  As the play concludes and the puppets start trying to kill one another, the Author sticks his head through the scenery to intervene: "And in the devil's name, what do you think you are doing with my play?  Drop it! Stop! I am coming down" (340)

Although the analogy that Chesterton offers us in The Surprise is an obvious one, he insists on reinforcing his main point through an early piece of dialogue between the author and the friar:

Author: The real world is very grievous and doubtless it is right that it should worship a grievous god.  I only say, for the world that I have made, that though I cannot make it as real, I have at least made it less grievous.  Inside that box on wheels, though not outside it, there is a very happy universe: not cozy, but nobly happy...and when I come out of my little theatre, full of towering generosity and the gestures of giants, into this wicked world, I think the world is mean as well as well as wicked....

Friar:  Do you know what has made the world mean and wicked?

Ahhhhh...isn't that the $100,000 question?

The other excerpt came from a blog post that talks about different views of the atonement...which is another mystery itself. The name of the blog is AÚN ESTAMOS VIVOS 

Chesterton offers another way into the mystery, in a little two-act play of his called The Surprise. The play opens, in the Middle Ages, with a friar wandering through a woods. He sees a large rolling caravan, a platform stage with its curtain open and handsome life-size puppets lying with their strings loose. The puppet master is up above the stage. The friar asks what town he will be giving his show in-he would like to see it. The man tells him to sit down and he will give him a free performance. A romantic tale is then spun out in which a swashbuckling hero and his friend, drinking to each other's health, swear to rescue a damsel in captivity. They carry it off with great panache, and the play ends. The friar applauds, but the man asks to go to confession. He confesses that he is un-happy because he loves his characters, yet they do not breathe and reciprocate his love. As he turns away, the friar falls to his knees and prays that his wishes might come true. The curtain falls on the first act.

The second act begins with the puppets again lying down amid their loose strings. But then the characters begin to stir on their own. They rise and start reenacting the play. But this time little things begin to go wrong, each aggravating the next, and the pace of mishaps quickens. The friends drink too much and quarrel, they show jealousy over the heroine, they arrive too late to rescue her, so her captor is about to rape her. At this point, the puppet master stands up on the roof of the caravan and shouts, "Stop! I'm coming down."

And he did come down, didn't he? He showed us a perfect image of himself in the person of Jesus. Amazing that he dwells in us and around us. The strings the character from the Watchman talks about?  Could they be luminous threads that connect our spirit to his spirit?  More about that tomorrow..... 

1 comment:

Kansas Bob said...

"He showed us a perfect image of himself in the person of Jesus."

So true Cindi! It amazes me how many "Christians" still prefer a different image.