Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Recollections of War: Eleventh Month - Eleventh Day - 11:00

This post is part of the 100th Anniversary of World War One Series on this 
blog commemorating the anniversaries of certain events during WWI.

"In Flanders Fields the Poppies Blow"
        Even though the 96 years since the Great War ended is not a specifically memorable anniversary in terms of number of years, it should be remembered as much as any greater commemoration of the First World War.  Because even though, as Winston Churchill said, 'the War was decided in the first twenty days of fighting, and all that happened afterwards consisted in battles which, however formidable and devastating, were but desperate and vain appeals against the decision of Fate,' the fact remains that there were still hundreds of thousands of casualties in the ferocious fighting that took place.
        This day, the Eleventh of November, we remember the final ending of the Great War which began one hundred years ago. After four long years fighting, in France's Compiegne Forest the Allied Nations and Germany signed the Armistice at 11:00 am, thus bringing an end to the First World War - a war that had cost so much was now over.        But still, though the guns were now silent, though men ceased to shoot each other, and those who were left returned to their homes, even to this day:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
          Between the crosses, row on row,
      That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
       We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
                     Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
           The torch; be yours to hold it high.
        If ye break faith with us who die
             We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant John McCrea, Canadian Army

- - - We will Remember Them

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Is Reading Fiction a Waste of Time?

               Presented below is a brief essay that I wrote on the subject of fiction literature.  
              A lot more could be said and written on this subject, and I would be happy to 
              discuss this further.

    Should we read fantastical and fictitious stories? I believe the answer is a resounding 'yes'. For although some have said we should not read fantasy and fiction because it creates something which is not real, what those who have said that fail to see however, is that good, God-honouring fiction* does not create new truth. The well known author G. K. Chesterton once said, "Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten."
    For example, let us briefly look at The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien.  Speaking of the Ring, which has been given to Frodo to destroy, Tolkien writes: "'I wish it need not have happened in my time,' said Frodo. 'So do I,' said Gandalf, 'and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.'" In this quote, Tolkien, using the time-honoured way of speaking real-world truth through fictional characters, thus gives great depth to the story, and subtly brings out the doctrine of God's sovereignty in the affairs of men as well.
    You see, reading a story, fiction or not, is not just enjoyment. Whether we realize it or not, the author seeks to influence the readers minds. In the old myths, through middle age fables, down to recent fantasy literature, the real truth revealed through the created world, and in the hearts of authors, is exposed to those who read it. If we read with a discerning mind and a wise heart, we cannot but help read wonderful fictional and fantastical literature, gaining wisdom and insight, and courage and hope in so doing.  May all such reading be to the honour of our King.

Written and Posted by William A Moore

*By 'God-honouring' I mean any fiction or fantasy, fable or myth, written by Christians or not, that teaches Biblical morality in a specific or general way.