Monday, October 22, 2012

Perhaps I Should Explain About Obama ...

I recently sent a note to a fellow blogger to explain a comment I made on her blog.  I feared it might be misunderstood and perhaps even be offensive, so I clarified and apologized if she took offense.  She assured me she didn’t, but the exchange reminded me that often we assume things, understandings and dispositions of others, which are not true.  In my last post, an excerpt from C.S. Lewis’ Tales of Narnia series of books, I assumed any reader of that post would have also read the Lewis books.  I thought the excerpts I posted were profound and would lead to further thinking on the reader’s part, but I saw no comments from anyone, and now I wonder.  So I will be clearer, in what I perceived from Lewis’ words.
First, let me say that I don’t think Lewis was a prophet, and his words written as some Divinely-inspired foreshadowing.  I think Lewis would agree he was not.  However, I was struck with the timing of my reading of those words and how they would fit so clearly to our country’s present situation.
The Tales of Narnia books lay on my bookshelf unread for many years.  I purchased them long ago, thinking I should read them some day, but the day never seemed to come.  I don’t know why, in the summer of 2008, I decided to read them.  Perhaps it was a coincidence, but I don’t much believe in coincidences anymore.  Many coincidences I now see as opportunities to open my mind to the ways of God.  But, going on, to explain what I read (or understood) relative to Narnia:
In the beginning of Lewis’ story, the animal kingdom of Narnia was in a non-stop winter, under the control of the evil queen.  (This is like the world before Christ.)  Aslan, a lion, comes, saves the animals and ends the winter.  (Aslan represents Jesus Christ.)  Narnia continues on, led by kings appointed by Aslan (the Church), while Aslan only appears infrequently to help Narnia in its times of need, when they call on him.  In the final book, The Last Battle, a black ape comes to Narnia and says he was sent by Aslan, to tell Narnia what to do.  He points to Aslan in the far distance, and the people see what looks like a lion, and follow the ape’s commands, which he says come from Aslan.  He says “Aslan says to do these things for your own good.”  But it is not really Aslan in the distance, it is only a confused donkey.
The excerpt I printed here on my last post shows the animals of Narnia questioning the black ape, and themselves.  Can this really be as Aslan wanted?  Are we following someone else?  Will everyone follow this stranger, forgetting Aslan?  As I read the book and those words, the 2008 election campaign was nearing its end, and I saw the images of the campaign, and the promises of one of the candidates, and I saw a parallel to Lewis’ story.  And the parallel troubled me.  Not that I was thinking in terms of some last battle or the end of the world, but I felt like we were being led astray and some good things being said were in fact not really intended for our good by the speaker.  And the black ape’s name, Shift, bothered me too:  Shift --- Change?  An election for Hope and Change, whereas: my religion and Jesus Christ were telling me to have Faith, Hope, and Love.   Have we lost Faith?  Have we replaced our Love with expectations of the government, Shift, doing these things?  Have we forgotten Aslan, Jesus?
I saw these things in 2008, and after the election results I thought that perhaps we needed a time of trial like Narnia was going through, to awaken us, to show us that we were being misled, and like the animals in the excerpt I published, to ask:  Is this continuing the kingdom of God which Jesus brought to earth?  Like the animals, I wondered, would we be able to awaken and say:  “This is not Aslan.”  Those were my thoughts, as I published my last post.  I guess no one saw the words as I did.
Today I began reading the Wall Street Journal editorial page, and I read these words:
“More and more clearly, the Obama administration has put its faith in the view that the governed, who must be told what is best for their lives, whether they want it or not, can also be told that they have not seen what they’ve seen, have not heard what their ears clearly told them.”
Those words were written by a member of the WSJ editorial board.  I think they could have just as easily been written by Tirian, referring to Shift.


  1. This is striking. I've read some of the Narnia books, but never The Last Battle. I will be borrowing it today.

  2. The reason for my printing this post is certainly not to cause anyone anxiety, but it did give me cause to think on how many things we tend to ignore, and think them unimportant. The Narnia relationship caused me to pause, and realize that perhaps this is more than "just another election."

    One thing about the book which I didn't mention, but also parallels our present situation, is what happened when sides were chosen up for the last battle, the forces of Narnia vs those of Shift. There were large numbers of animals who delayed choosing sides, waiting to see who seemed to be winning. They wanted to join the winning side, so that it would see them as major helpers, and then help them. These animals looked at everything, even things of crucial importance, only from their own viewpoint: "What's in it for me?" And I wondered how many people we have like that in our country. In my own state of Michigan, the incumbent senator is flooding the airwaves with commercials saying: "Look at the monies I brought back from Washington for YOU." My priorities and hers are vastly different.