Gospel Outreach with Media
Children of the Light - Using a Book Series to Reveal the Nine Fruit of the Spirit
You are right that without a Christ-centered approach to Christian story-telling, the impact on the reader can easily turn into moralism. For example, if a character lies bringing disastrous results but then learns that telling the truth brings positive results, readers might surmise that “the moral of the story is to tell the truth.” However, without the character’s knowledge of what Christ has done for lost sinners, the gospel is ignored. I don’t want that empty approach in my stories. Yet, I also don’t want, as you say, for the greatest news to be “dragged in by the hair.” So, I had to think how nine children would experience the gospel impact. Because there is only one way—through God’s Word, I had to figure out how that could happen best for nine adventure-loving children.
As a child myself, I was greatly impacted by my Christian parents, siblings, and other adults. I wanted to be like them. Throughout the Children of the Light novels, the nine kids are also influenced by older characters. For example, Miss Garnet, Miss Ruby, and Miss Tourmalina are continually in the Word. The children see that. Miss Garnet uses probing questions to get them to think and then goes away, forcing them to consider how to handle crucial situations. Miss Ruby leaves an open Bible on her writing desk at critical moments which leads the children to read, learn, and ponder. Miss Tourmalina writes poems with personal messages that help the kids realize how they have been blessed with a fruit of the Spirit—but only because they know Christ. This trio of women also share the gospel in music. Their hymns and other hymns that the nine kids have learned or sung in church impact them and help them understand the value of the gospel conveyed through songs.
Also, Iona Bates, assistant lighthouse keeper, mother of seven, and the island schoolteacher, is a Christian example as she lets her gospel light shine not only toward her family but to Lucinda who early on is portrayed as an unloving and selfish character. So, we must give Lucinda a chance. She may surprise us!
In the stories, the reverse also happens. In Book 4, the Christmas gospel message presented by the children touches the heart of a Native American chief who is searching for the truth of salvation at an important point in his life. Lillian’s love toward troubled Mr. Scarsley also has its effects.
In the Children of the Light stories, the gospel comes to children through unique adults and vice versa as characters wrestle with the problems of life. The collective fruit of the Spirit becomes a blessing to those immersed in the Word, for it is through faith in what the Word says about Christ that alone changes hearts. In the natural circumstances or situations of the plot whenever the life, death, and resurrection of Christ is highlighted through caring individuals, Christ stands alone as the only one who has shown perfect love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, kindness, self-control, and faith. And as the nine children and others in the stories are affected by such knowledge and grow in their faith, the perfect example of Jesus also inspires us to be like Him.
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