Real Caves and Truthful Fiction

23 May
The first week in April my dear dear friend Terry and I visited Hannibal MO

on the way home from our friend Ron’s ordination ceremony. Hannibal was the childhood home of Mark Twain and Terry wanted to check it out. So we cheerfully set out on our adventure.It has been a LONG time since I read Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.  The museum was pretty interesting, and they had some of the buildings that Mark Twain or his friends would have hung out in or reproductions of them. Then we were told we HAD to see this cave. The Mark Twain cave. So down the road we went, paid our admission and grabbed our hoodies (it’s always 52 degrees in the cave).Our knowledgeable and fun guide told us all sorts of interesting facts as we followed him through twists and turns. He wove together the story of the person who discovered the cave, the strange things that have happened in it and the story of Tom, Becky and Injun Joe. As we passed the ‘post office’ where Tom and Becky left letters for each other, an ‘AWWWW’ arose from the women in the group as our 19ish year old guide rolled his eyes. By the end of the 55 minute tour we were wrapped up in his magical story and then he reminded us that all the references to the Mark Twain stories were just that, a story.

WOAH partner!

Along with taking these cool pics, I was following along with the story and even though I kept reminding myself that it was a story, I found myself ‘Aww’ing along with everyone else.

I told Terry later that it would make a great talk, this whole experience. We went to Huck Finn’s house, but no, we really couldn’t now could we? We saw some beautiful caves, but Becky Thatcher and Tom Sawyer did not get lost or leave letters for each other in them. (Though it is confirmed that Jesse James did hide out there.)

What is real? Because a book is in a certain section of the library does that make it more authoritative than another? Does it make it more true? Does true mean historically/factually accurate or that Truth is expressed? Or are real people and places just a good foundation for a great story?

Here I make the not very big leap to apply all this to the Bible. (gasp!)

Many people take everything in the Bible as true and many people think it’s all made up. What if it’s both? What if the real places and people of Jerusalem were a good foundation for a great story that has a lot of Truth even if there isn’t historical accuracy?In my bible interpretation class every group that has presented so far has related the sections theywere working with to some Truth they have learned. Maybe Truth is wherever you look for it.For real


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