Adapted from the Book


So, I saw Ender’s Game, the movie, last night. This is not a movie review, but the movie wasn’t too bad, I guess. It’s just when you love a book, and have for 20 years, it’s hard to see it reduced so dramatically. Ditto all 18 movie parts of that massive volume, The Hobbit, ditto The Lord of the Rings, etc., etc. But that’s not what this is about. Please just allow, for the sake of argument, that it’s common for movie adaptations of beloved books to be disappointing, underwhelming affairs that leave us hungry for more. At best, they still feel so much LESS than they could be.

This got me thinking about my own life, and how in many ways it’s based on a book. I don’t mean this to be corny, but my story is the story of Jesus, because I’m united to him in his death and resurrection. I’m his, part of his bride; I’m in him and my life is in him. I love him. He is my Master and my God. I get that from a book. Yes, from elsewhere as well, but the story is in the book.

My life, in a way, is a book adaptation. It might be easy to go for the guilt jugular here. We all know the popular, “If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to prove you guilty?”

Kind of a, “What have you done for me lately?” approach. But…

If you were accused of being someone desperately in need of grace, would there be enough honesty in your life to prove it?

A little different, I know, but maybe worth thinking about, especially for all of us “older brother” types. I’m not an open book, because I’m afraid of what you might read in me.

Hey, sometimes I’m a poor adaptation of The Story. Other times I’m a breathing testament, a witness to the holy, extraordinary reality of the coming New World.

I don’t mean to shame you here, though shame is not alwayss a bad goad, I guess. But it’s kind of exciting to think about really loving a story so much that it transforms us, that we’d be positively cheerful in living it out. Not as a show, but as an outworking of a blooming reality. Usually this kind of thing isn’t done sitting down, or through abdication and passivity (temptations for me). In the best stories, in the best movies, characters we love do things.



  1. Dan R.

    This reminds me of the times my siblings and I used to ‘play Lord of the Rings’ in our outdoors.

    Combined with Jeffrey Overstreet’s essay in this year’s Molehill (specifically the relationship of art and play), and what Dorothy Sayers had to say about life and art towards the end of “Mind of the Maker,” I think that is an appropriate comparison.

    And if anyone reading this has never played make-believe like that, and thus can’t see how I got to that conclusion, I’d suggest trying it out sometime.

  2. Kimberlee Conway Ireton

    Sam, more and more lately (as in, the last three years or so), I feel like God keeps affirming to me that what I think and what I feel are less important than what I do. This makes me crazy because I would much rather think and feel than do anything (passivity, thy name is Kimberlee). My mantra of late has been, “Love does.” (Or, when I’m feeling less kindly to myself, “Get off your a** and do something.”) Your post here feels like a wink and a jocular elbow to the ribs from Jesus. Thanks much!

  3. KJ

    You mentioned honesty. In Nehemiah, they opened the book and as a result started confessing their sins. Talk about your life being an open book! What freedom! Open the book and become an open book. Hopefully that fear of what others may read will be unfounded and we’ll find the grace that has been extended to us all.

  4. Matthew Benefiel

    I’m an utter failure at being an open book. It’s taken some really big break downs on my part to even allow me to crack the pages of my life to others. Turns out that all the wisdom and grace that I can pour out to others, doesn’t come from me at all, but God. The minute I’m in it for me, I loose all that. Pride and vanity are always the waring members inside, but when they let down, God is there to lift up. Then in a miraculous way He uses the fallen and lifted to help lift up others. Boggles my mind and humbles my heart.

  5. Glenn

    Living out grace. Vulnerability. Wow, that’s scary to us Americans, isn’t it? But what a challenge to undertake. It seems to me that real, authentic community would be a natural result of such grace-full living.

  6. Tom Murphy

    I am convinced the hardest thing for believers to actually do is to rest in Christ alone. Rest in Him, allows the life to be opened to others in dramatically revealing and brutally honest ways because we stake no claim or responsibility for being lovable.

    We are just loved.

    I fail at this quite often. How often does the Spirit continually need to unlock me like one of those lockable diaries that hold a lifetime’s worth of secrets and personal obsessions?


    The shock of being truly loved by Maker and Sustainer of all is what stokes the fire of joy. From the overflowing cup of joy and intimacy of relationship with Him, we do.

    To do, apart from joy, is the stuff of Pharisees. The resume of joyless Christian activity the stuff for the flames and unceasingly misery. It’s in the turning from our misery to joy where life is found.

    It’s this simple Grace that I’m after. Is sounds a lot like what C.S. Lewis called “The Dance”…

    Simple Gifts
    – a Shaker Hymn

    ‘Tis the gift to be simple,
    ’tis the gift to be free
    ‘Tis the gift to come down,
    where we ought to be.

    And when we find ourselves
    in the place just right,
    ‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

    When true simplicity is gained,
    To bow and to bend,
    we shan’t be ashamed.

    To turn, turn
    will be our delight,
    Till by turning, turning,
    we come ’round right.

  7. Esther O'Reilly

    Feeling this way about The Hobbit part 2. I’m going with a couple friends. My plan is to create live Rifftrax every time that random elf chick shows up on screen. Sigh…

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