Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Forgiveness Sequence

(Reclaimed from Bubblews, where it originally appeared with an original photo of my display of secondhand books; the photo is lost.)

Uh-oh...a Bubble I just dashed off posted twice. I don't want to post identical content in two places, so let me quickly dash off a different Bubble...

This one's about some books I have for sale here in the store. As before, the books have not been arranged by topic or style, but just by author's name, since there are so few of them. Full-length reviews should be available online later this week (if the computer doesn't block up again). But I just noticed, looking at this photo, that these books do reflect a theme.

Lloyd Douglas' Magnificent Obsession is an early twentieth century novel about some bright young atheists' attempt to reframe Christian beliefs as "spiritual laws." One of these beliefs is forgiveness.

Billy Graham's Living in God's Love is the souvenir book containing the sermons he preached in his Last New York Crusade. These sermons were the basic Christian message presented to people who didn't know it. That message is about God's forgiveness.

Diane Hampton's Imperfect Mates Perfect Marriage is a book about how the author and her husband were able to stay together. One of their secrets was, of course, forgiveness. (How could anybody stay married without it?)

Ursula Hegi's Stones from the River is a novel, not a huge seller, so people may wonder what it's about. Well, it's a well-written novel with lots of themes and sub-plots and fun stuff woven together, but basically it's about a girl growing up in Germany in the early twentieth century. She's bullied because she's short and stout. One of her first friends is a boy who joins other boys in humiliating little Trudi. In order to protect herself Trudi grows up mean; by the time people are becoming infatuated with Hitler, the only Hitler Jugend type Trudi knows is properly scared of Trudi, which allows Trudi and her neighbors to help other people. Trudi has another friend who is Jewish, whom she tries but fails to help during the war. After the war, in order to grow up at peace with herself and her friends...once again, forgiveness.

Then on the right-hand side of the picture we have a volume from Jerry Jenkins' Left Behind: The Kids series. I have mixed feelings about giving these novels to kids. Maybe for the kind of teenagers who like grim, violent, scary stories that make them feel tough just for reading the book. Anyway, although the series is about as "noir" as a series of novels can get, in each volume somebody explains the Christian message to another character. Once again, it's about forgiveness.

I didn't plan to set up a display that might be captioned "Five writers from different times and places consider forgiveness." In fact, because books come and go in a store, that's not even the way the display looks today; it's the way it looked last week. But I'm bemused by the way it *could* be described as a discussion of different kinds of forgiveness.