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Do You Believe In Magic?

Image by Justin Gerard.

Here’s a section of N.D. Wilson’s excellent (and short) post on Stories As Soul Food. Read the entire thing here. This is one of the principal things God has been giving me over the last several years. I believe this kind of understanding is true, beautiful, good, and liberating. -Sam

N.D. Wilson…

A Mistrust of Magic?

Bible-believing Christians frequently have a deep mistrust of fiction. In particular, they have a deep mistrust of, ahem, magic. This is impossible for me to understand, partly because I was weaned on C. S. Lewis and Tolkien, but more profoundly because I was marinated in Scripture at a very young age (by my parents). And Scripture is full of . . . stories. More than that, Scripture is full of the miraculous and the amazing. “Throw water on the altar,” Elijah says. “Fire will still fall from Heaven.” A famous shepherd boy takes down an infamous six-fingered giant. Don’t let the long-haired man near a jawbone. Collect the animals and build a boat. Whatever you do, don’t listen to that serpent.

Bible pop-quiz: Did Pharaoh’s magicians really turn staffs into snakes? (Hint: yes.)

Christians serve the Man who walked on water. We serve the Man who could not be kept in the belly of the great fish, the Man who shattered the grave, and all alone, ripped the city gates off a place called Death.

Loathe the Darkness and Love the Light

Christians believe that this world is so much more than a mechanical soulless machine. And yet, we tend to tell our children stories that (we hope) will only speak to their intellects. We want to give them a list of facts to tick off, like we’re trying to communicate a party platform to new recruits, like they’re nothing but brains ready for programming. We feed their souls sawdust and are surprised when they drift away to other cooks (with different tales about reality).

Kids (and adults) don’t just need the truth in their heads — they need it in their bones. They need to know what courage looks like and tastes like and smells like before they ever have to show it themselves. They need to do justly, and love mercy, and walk humbly — heroes and villains can show them why. They need to loathe the darkness and love the Light.


  1. “Like they’re nothing but brains ready for programming” . . . sounds like how most churches view worship. Sermons and songs only please. No art allowed. Tragic.

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