Other Summer Reading Challenge posts: Introduction,
Week Three: off
SUMMER READING CHALLENGE (SRC), Week 5
Welcome to Week 5 of our Summer Reading Challenge!
WORLDVIEW ACADEMY INTERVIEW
SRC Baldwin Interview, Week Five:
***Podcast is no longer available. Sorry!***
Jeff Baldwin is the co-founder of Worldview Academy and serves as the research director for that ministry. He has written several books included The Deadliest Monster: An Introduction to Worldviews. His website TheGreatBooks.com provides free reading lists and discussion guides about the classics for Christian educators. You can listen to the first part of his SRC interview HERE.
LIST #1, BOOK 4: A Wrinkle in Time
Meg’s father has been absent on a secret mission for a long time, and she misses him terribly. She doesn’t fit in at school. She’s awkward, frustrated, and misunderstood by everyone except her beautiful, brilliant mother and precocious little brother, Charles Wallace. One stormy night she meets the peculiar Mrs. Whatsit and hears something about a tesseract, which leads to a crucial mission with Charles Wallace and Meg’s friend Calvin.
The three are transported to the planet Uriel where they learn about the shadow, an evil Thing that threatens not only earth but also the whole universe. Many have fought the shadow for centuries, and her father is part of the ongoing effort to resist its power. Now it is necessary for Meg, Calvin and Charles Wallace to go to Camazotz, a planet which has already been assimilated, and try to rescue her father.
There are some marvelous and powerful Truths woven into the story. Some are more obviously derived from Scripture, as when Mrs. Who quotes the gospel of John (p. 157 in the graphic novel version), or when Mrs. Whatsit translates the praises of the angels. Other use of Scripture is used in a twisted form, such as when IT tries to convince the children that “I am peace and utter rest. I am freedom from all responsibility. To come in to me is the last difficult decision you need ever make.” (p. 237; see also Matt. 11:28-29)
Madeleine L’Engle professed to be a Christian. Although I do not agree with every point of her theology, I appreciate her inclusion of some beautiful, biblical Truth in a story that has been so well-received. Can such popular books be embraced by Christians? To the extent that Truth is proclaimed, yes. She does not preach Christ from envy or strife (Phil. 1:15), but ascribes some measure of honor to Him. Discerning Christians reading AWIT may rejoice in the truth she proclaims, point out the differences, and give even greater glory to the name of Jesus.
This book is increasingly relevant in our culture that continues to compromise with the shadows of evil and suppress the Light. We are called to oppose evil both through counterattack and resistance, as Meg and her father did, and not to abandon those who surrender. But frankly, I don’t want to fight. I’m too lazy to strive hard, and I don’t want to know the ugliness of evil outside my own home. But that’s where Satan, like IT in A Wrinkle in Time, wants me to be comfortable, rather than his opponent.
How do we fight? 1. We pray that God will shine the light of Christ into the darkness and for the saints who are in the battle. 2. We love the lost, pray for them, and speak Truth. 3. We promote Truth and beauty in every corner of Creation.
We fight the shadow because of Christ. He is not merely one of the fighters, as Mrs. Whatsit suggests; rather, because He is the Light, we see the shadow more clearly and are motivated to resist. Redemptive stories make victory over the shadow clear, giving hope to those of us who still fight. This includes notable people in history, literary heroes (even superheroes), Christian families, and those in any office who recognize that the Truth is still worth fighting for, who resist assimilation by IT (the powers of darkness), because whether or not they confess it, even “though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet!”
A few discussion questions:
- In what way is Jesus the “light that shines in the darkness”? How do other artists and scientists shine light into darkness? Do leaders of other religions shine any light into the darkness?
- How does Meg being “different” on Earth compare to someone being “different” on Camazotz?
- On page 302, Mr. Murry tells Calvin that “Playing with time and space is a dangerous game.” Is this true? Why are we still so fascinated with the possibilities?
- What do you think about Mrs. Whatsit’s comparison of our lives to a sonnet?
- What are some ways you can resist or oppose the shadow? How about some ways you can help those who are weak?
- What other Scriptural allusions can you find? (There are plenty to choose from!)
- If you’ve read the original version and the graphic novel, how do they compare? What do you like/dislike about each of them?