At Aletheia Books

At Aletheia Books

Tuesday, 16 May 2017



“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'
'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat.
'I don't much care where -' said Alice.
'Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat.
'- so long as I get SOMEWHERE,' Alice added as an explanation.
'Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, 'if you only walk long enough.” 
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

I wonder how many of us stick to a path simply because we were already going that way? Not through any sense of purpose, or feeling that there is a definite reason for the direction of travel, but just because it’s the way we were heading and it’s sure to lead somewhere…  

In our story, four children are now on a quest to find Timmy Trial who has been taken captive by the dreaded Snares. Their reckless good intentions have taken on a life of their own, but they feel they have gone so far away from adult regulation, so far along this chosen road, that they must try and justify their actions by completing the rescue of Timmy from the Snares.

‘We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.’
C. S. Lewis

They continue in the direction of travel, despite some pretty dicey moments along the way. Thankfully, they are travelling in a well-equipped Rescue Craft, and they discover the helpful Mission Detector which is onboard. Henrietta proves adept at extracting details. 

‘Henrietta looked up 'Hollow Spring' on the Mission Detector. “There’s not likely to be any safe food exactly,” she said slowly, reading what the screen had to say. 
The closer you get to False Teaching, the less you can trust the food and drink… including the area around Hollow Spring. Food here will generally be hollow or contain only tepid water and nothing of substance. For example, carrots may appear big and healthy, but they will only be a shell that quickly breaks apart and contains nothing…You must beware of anything that appears substantial: nothing is quite what it seems.”…’

I have a large folder which contains my notes about all the places in the land of Err – plenty of which have not yet been explored and included in adventures. Only a fraction of my ramblings make it into the books, so I looked up the folder to see what I had thought about the area around Hollow Spring – which is located close to, and feeds water to, towns that are deceptive, cunning, twisted, and in every way alternative to the truth. The weather in Hollow Spring didn’t feature in the book, but some of the detail I have in my notes…
‘Clouds are quite often empty and hollow; raindrops don’t contain much water; snowflakes are merely pretty outlines with no centre; consequently there isn’t much moisture in this area – but Hollow Spring comes from underground; it only shrinks under the influence of prayer…’

While the children fear they will go hungry, Henrietta is not too dismayed that carrots might be hollow, since she’s not too keen on them anyway. But undoubtedly their uncertain direction of travel resulted in this hollow dilemma. The further they have travelled away from Aletheia, the city of Bible Truth, the more serious the departure from the truth. In Alternative Teaching they encountered odd alternatives…
‘There were small things, subtle differences, just a little here and there that was slightly different to the normal, solid homes that Jack knew and that were in Aletheia… there was a cottage with a triangular window in the wrong place, and a house with a round door, and a chimney poking out of a wall, and other odd little bits and pieces peering from the homes…’

In another Aletheia adventure, some children pass through Alternative Teaching and observe,
‘Knives and forks planted neatly in the garden by someone who was experimenting with an alternative method of adding to their cutlery collection…’

But now our adventurers are moving towards territory where nothing can be trusted. People have moved so far away from the truth of the Bible, that there are more than a few odd changes around them, and even more than hollow food: falsehood abounds. In my notes about the town of False Teaching…
‘The weather is completely unreliable and always false to you; forecasters never get it right…rain clouds might form, but the sun shines hotly all day. Plants are completely unreliable too: you can plant potatoes and carrots come up; you never know what flowers or weeds will appear when you sow seeds…’

Can you imagine a diet of hollow food which only looks good on the outside? Or eating food that appears to be one thing, and is actually something quite different? I question my own spiritual direction – and the diet I absorb from what it around me – and wonder how it compares…


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