EXPLORING THE STORY OF 'THE RESCUE OF TIMMY TRIAL'
'When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
[Lewis Carroll, ‘Through the Looking Glass’]
Is ‘literally’ the most misused word in the English language? “I was literally climbing the walls!”; “They’re literally from another planet!”; “I was literally dying of laughter!” How many of us haven’t used ‘literally’ in such ways, when actually, to be strictly accurate, you didn’t climb a wall, meet people from a different planet, or die from laughing too much.
You don’t have to search far online to find general frustration with the misuse of this word. To quote a well known UK politician speaking on BBC Radio 4,
‘”It makes people so incredibly angry when you are getting up early in the morning, working really hard to try and do the right thing for your family and for your community, you are paying your taxes and then you see people literally in a different galaxy who are paying extraordinarily low rates of tax.”
One guest on Radio 4 pointed out that that is quite a long way for someone to go just for a tax avoidance scheme…’
But what if some of the things we routinely say, the quaint sayings we use, the illustrations, the idioms we speak without thinking, come literally to life around us? Look up into the sky on a clear summer’s day and see a pig flying across the blue expanse of sky – because something unlikely has just happened. Pigs might fly. There are endless other peculiar things you could equally observe: brass necks would be the fashion in some families, and plenty would suffer from pain in the neck; Bob would be a common name for uncles; dogs would sometimes be found in mangers; unfortunately plenty of dirty laundry would be washed in public places; and ditchwater might be bottled and made available in mundane places and to very dull people; country folk would live in the middle of piles of sticks; some people would live on the end of a rope tether; others might be bound about by belts and braces. And so we could go on.
Now, imagine that the symbols, illustrations, and imagery in the Bible become literal and real.
Think of the hazards in the book of Proverbs – the things that snare us, tempt us, trip us up, make us lazy, and greedy, and violent, and envious, and proud – what if they become embodied as living creatures that are cruel and vicious and cunning and evil? What about other Bible truths and sayings that are so colourfully descriptive in order to help us understand? What if they literally moved and spoke and demonstrated what they are and mean?
This might give you a little idea of the type of allegory the Aletheia Adventure Series is intended to be.
It’s not so much that the storyline demonstrates a Bible story, but it’s intended that the truths of the Bible are brought to life to illustrate their deeper meaning. We join our two ordinary schoolboys, Jack Merryweather and Timmy Trial, whisked away during a normal lunchtime at school, into a world they never knew existed. The land of Err is not on any map that their diligent teacher Mrs Bubble has shown them. It is a deadly place, utterly opposed to the city of Bible Truth, Aletheia, which is situated in its centre.
As Jack and Timmy begin their journey into the city of Aletheia, accompanied by Aletheian local Herbert Wallop, they catch their first glimpse of literal truth…
‘Timmy was watching the vacant sky with avid attention and all at once he flung out his hand and snatched something from the air. He slowly opened his fingers and looked in astonishment at the small gold coin that lay there. It had the image of an eagle on it and clearly said ‘The Land of Err’ and ‘One Erona’. But most surprisingly of all were the fragile, transparent, gold tinted wings that were even now fluttering feebly as if it was anxious to fly again…
“It was flying!” said Timmy. “Money was flying!”
“Yes, of course” said Herbert. “That’s what it does when we love it too much… It’s in the Bible… Riches make themselves wings and fly away.”…
As Timmy watched, the small coin unfurled its delicate, transparent, gold tinted wings, and suddenly it was gone…
“You won’t find any more,” said Herbert. “Usually they fly too high to catch. Many people have wasted their lives trying to find ways of catching and keeping the riches now flying around in the sky… The people in Love-of-Riches have spent a fortune trying to find a way of keeping it. But of course that just makes it fly faster!”
“How does anyone have any money at all then?” asked Jack, trying to understand the laws of this strange land where money could grow wings and fly away.
“If you don’t love it too much then it doesn’t fly away!”...’
Timmy and Jack have a choice to make: they can choose to learn about the message of the Bible from the safety of Aletheia, the city of Bible Truth, or they can enter the exciting, hazardous land of Err. Their attitude to Bible Truth will be crucial in the adventure ahead: great dangers, and terrifying enemies, lie in wait for those who dare to turn their back on Aletheia…
TO BE CONTINUED - NEXT BLOG: SMALL STICKS