Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Preface: The Creation of Liles Henderson

Departures: people leaving/leaving people.

They are a part of life. Thoughts on them are often lonely and empty, sad and fearful. My thoughts often return to the disciples of Christ. We've read the account of their calling by the Messiah our whole lives, but I wonder if we've really contemplated what it must have been like to abandon everything.

Liles Henderson, a fictional character, is the product of my own contemplation on this topic. He is a modern version of a disciple called from an old life to a new--an uneducated laborer called by God to a certain task. He is a blue-collar Noah, an inarticulate Peter, a corrupt Saul on the road to Damascus. We are not told what the disciples were like before their election by Christ, so I have naturally taken a few liberties regarding Liles' background. I made him flawed, ignorant, simple. I made him well-liked yet unknown, quiet yet passionate.

The decision to base everything in dialogue, without tags or descriptions was both stylistic and semantic. Our speech tells so much about us, even more so when we are speaking with someone. I wanted this to be a very personal account of a man leaving everything for something he can't explain--something he doesn't entirely understand. I wanted this to be the reaction of his intimate friends, his family, his acquaintances who are all on the outside looking in, amazed at the transformation.

Throughout the New Testament we see dramatic, personal change. Many times in Jesus' ministry it was physical in nature: a leper surprising his family with purity, a blind man confusing Pharisees with his sight, a lame man shocking people with his leaps and bounds. Imagine if each of these people were asked to explain the experience, the source of their cleanliness, and consider, these are never mere physical experiences. The transformation of the soul is much harder to put into words.

What would they say? How would people react?

In the story (found here), I try to tackle these final questions asked in a small town in modern America. Feel free to leave your cyber-footprint in the form of a thought, comment, opinion, etc.

I love you all. Grace and Peace.

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