Sunday, November 18, 2007

Themes

Was instructing my kids on "theme" in my literature classes last week and asked them to do a writing exercise that sparked my own thoughts.

Theme is a tough concept to get, really. When looking for the theme of a movie, story or song or something, you aren't really asking for a specific "subject" (depression, etc.), but for something more general and more broad. A teaching I have heard and which I use suggests that looking at the climax in the story/song/etc., is the way to find the theme: you find the theme where you find the most intense conflict.

I asked my kids to examine their short lives and see if they could detect a theme so far. Admittedly, it was a tough assignment. Their answers weren't great, and I didn't really expect them to be. But when I began to think of my own life...

We have more than one climax, right? (Oh, there are jokes there)(and don't think that I don't see the faces of my little hormonally explosive 9th and 10th graders whenever I talk about climaxes. I usually make sure to couple that word automatically with the word "story." Story climax sounds less, well... anyway)

Anyway, here's where I'm headed with that: if you had to name a theme for your life, what would it be? Could you look for the moments of greatest intensity or greatest conflict and detect a running theme? Tom & Jerry (cartoon) sport a theme that has everything to do with the fact that your size and appearance don't matter-- it's what's going on in your head that matters. Or it could relate to counting on the underdog to make it out alive every time.

But for us? How do we respond to conflict? And do we revisit the same kinds of conflicts over and over again? It seems that, if we will truly begin to examine this question, we might become convicted by the Holy Spirit about things we previously whined about ("why does____ always happen to me, Lord?"), or we might find ourselves encouraged over the way that He has worked in our hearts.

More on this later...

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