Monday, May 19, 2014

Resisting Manipulation

I recently had the delightful experience of re-reading The Double Image, one of Helen MacInnes' most intricate novels of intrigue. Published in 1965 when MacInnes was just beginning to hit her stride, The Double Image has all the elements of her best thrillers: an innocent but capable bystander thrust unexpectedly into the role of hero, clearly delineated "bad guys," a clever unraveling of the mystery, several nice twists of plot, exciting settings (this time Paris and the Mediterranean isle of Mykonos), and a pleasant splash of romance. It is little wonder that Helen MacInnes was my Mom's favorite author. In this genre, she’s one of mine as well.

And, as often happens when reading good writers of any type, noteworthy insights into culture, philosophy and individual character can be found nicely woven into the story.

I cite one example from The Double Image, one which interested me as a historian and, even more, as a Christian activist who seeks to be part of the resistance to the schemes of all tyrants. Here is the passage...

“History wasn't just a record of wars and peace conferences; history was a long and bitter story of intrigue and grab, of hidden movements and determined leaders, of men who knew what they wanted manipulating men who hadn't one idea that anything was at stake: the innocent and the ignorant being used according to someone else's plan.

But every now and again, the plan would fail. Because people could be surprising, too, in their resistance - once they knew what was actually happening. Once they knew…”

Ah, that’s the key. “Once they knew.”

The critical tasks of telling the truth to our culture, of letting others in on what is actually happening and, yes, even “recruiting for the resistance” is an indispensable part of Christian faithfulness. We are called to be lights in the darkness: informing, illuminating, challenging, warning, even rebuking. Thus we preach the unadulterated gospel. We teach the whole counsel of God as revealed in His Word. We promote life, justice, wisdom, mercy, and righteousness.

By so doing, we serve as prophets, freedom fighters, and liberators — all in the matchless Name of Jesus and for His glory. It’s a high calling, indeed, but an incredibly important one that we must take on with humility, courage and a continual dependence on the Holy Spirit.