The Way The World Ends

By Grace Li

 

Lilian tightened her grip on her littlebrother’s sticky, chubby hand, dragging him through the afternoon street of Whitechapel. If only he could walk faster! grumbled Lilian as she thought about her friend Betty’s birthday party this evening. Of course her parents would have to let her go; at sixteen she could legally work if she wanted to. She deserved this party for taking Ronny to visit their aunt today and helping Auntie waste all her sugar ration on cakes The_Way_the_World_Ends_for him. Now, if they got home early, she’d have time to tidy herself up, and maybe mum would even lend her a dress for the party.

Her brother suddenly huddled closer to her as a wheezing old man reeking with alcohol stared at them; they got a lot of weird looks on the streets now, like all children staying in London after the government-issued evacuation. Most of Ronny’s friends had gone to the countryside for refuge, but their parents balked at handing him over to strangers. “Yer mum and dad don’t care nothin’ ‘bout yer safety, lass? They’re just keepin’ yer lil brother here for the Jerry bombs!” the old man croaked after them.

“Don’t listen to him, Ronny. He doesn’t know anything,” whispered Lilian as she hugged her brother to her side. She could not stand against his worried, puppy look no matter how much he annoyed her just moments ago.

“Will the Jerrys really get us?” asked Ronny, still distressed over the old man’s comment. [Read more…]

Glass Abbeys: A Call To Engage The Culture

There is one reason why we write: to glorify God. By glorifying God, we can help bring others into His kingdom.

By Grace, Li

“Indifference, to me, is the epitome of evil,” so stated Elie Wiesel, reflecting how apathy arouses abhorrence. One of Edgar Allen Poe’s most famous horror tales, “The Masque of the Red Death,” also exposes human tendency to feel indifferent to suffering people. In the story, a masked guest–the horrible red death plague–kills the main character Prospero and all his couriers in a masquerade, even when they shut themselves away in a secluded abbey. In real life, some people also tend to withdraw from society. In olden times, hermits, monks and nuns all established sanctuary from the world. Even today, the same things happen. A number of Christians, although not completely separated from the general public, form unbreakable “glass abbeys.” They put a chasm between themselves and the world for various reasons. Altogether, some Christians cloister themselves because of their selfishness, weakness, and fear of being corrupted by the world.

To begin, Christians stay away from people in need because of their own selfishness. They occasionally succumb to self-indulgence when encountering a choice between an enjoyable setting among believers and a sinful community; in the end, they either shut themselves up or look away from the hopeless people. In “The Masque of the Red Death,” Prince Prospero and his courtiers retire into a secluded abbey and have grand, gay parties and balls; the story describes the magnificent masquerade where the masked guest arrives as “a voluptuous scene. Although typical church-related events do not count as “voluptuous,” they certainly can push evangelical activities out of some believers’ lives.  Living in a sheltered area where everybody does nothing but enjoy themselves is such a tempting choice compared to standing in the street and telling strangers about the Good News. A quote from the story reflects how human hearts can harden against others, “The external world could take care of itself. In the meantime it was folly to grieve or to think.” Unfortunately, many followers of Jesus also unwittingly adopt such ideas. Because many believers selfishly think like this, they tend to shut themselves into a Christian community and do not extend helping hands to the distressed. Overall, a number of Christians do not lift sinners from their pit of despair because of their own self-centeredness; they like their comfortable surroundings and harden their hearts toward others.

[Read more…]