Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

It's Okay to Laugh

One of my favorite Old Testament stories is the saga of Samson. So many people want to portray Samson as a reprobate old rascal who lives his life in sin, but somehow (who knows how?) ends up in the hall of faith in Hebrews 11. This is simply not the case. When we read the story of Samson, we should be rooting for Samson like he's the star quarterback in the Israelite/Philistine Super Bowl. Peter Leithart sums up a proper response to Samson in this blog post from a few years back.

"Perhaps it's the JPS Tanakh translation, but it struck me that the Samson narratives manifest the broad comedy of a Babylonian myth or the legends compiled by Levi-Strauss. He goes about tearing lions like lambs, posing riddles, lighting foxes on fire, and so on and on. Only moralistic Christians could rob these stories of their inherent humor and interest. Frowning and finger-wagging only makes the critics of Samson look tinier."


Chris said…
Samson was usually painted in a negative light in my Sunday school classes as a child and never as someone we should look up to. Thanks.
Rick said…
My thoughts on Samson began to change during a Joshua/Judges course in college. Reading James Jordan's excellent book "Judges: God's War on Humanism" completed the rehabilitation of Samson in my mind. I highly reccommend it if you can find a copy.