Mean Girls

The film Mean Girls began life as book, not a work of fiction, but a factual book – Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World  by Rosalind Wiseman. She wrote it to help parents help their daughters navigate the world of teendom. The book has now spawned two films and a musical theatre show. It may seem surprising to think that an instructive book could inspire works of fiction, but it’s not new. Jesus did this all the time. He took the Ten Commandments and the ways of the kingdom of God and turned them into fictional parables. Stories that we can see ourselves in. Do not covet becomes the Parable of the Rich Fool. Forgiveness – becomes the Unforgiving Servant. Humility – the Pharisee and Tax Collector. Loving your neighbour – the Good Samaritan. God’s love for us – the Prodigal Son. Serving God – the Two Sons. Criticism – the Log and the Speck. Listening to Jesus – the Two House Builders. These tenets of life with God are told to us in such a way that we can easily pass them onto others, plus they draw us into conversation about them. They are memorable and retellable. They started life as dos and don’ts but in the hands of Jesus they become tales of the unexpected.

In 2 Samuel chapter 12, when the prophet Nathan needed to challenge David about a hard truth, he told him a story, and the tale drew David in and pulled an instant response from him, and the startling result was that David found himself in the story. It was a tale of sheep stealing, and yet it was about something else entirely. That’s how parables work, they are tales about money, and widows, and judges, and mugging, and farming, and building, and specks of dust. But they are also about new life in Jesus, and what that looks like as it touches the earth, and is rooted in the way we view the world and treat others. They are examples of the living word made flesh. The new temple of God being built on the earth. Made of flesh and breath and bone. And that brings us to Ezekiel, he didn’t just tell a parable he saw one. A big screen epic. Bones and sand, and skeletons and sinews, rushing wind and resurrected soldiers. But it wasn’t just about those things. It was about lives being revamped when the spirit of God invades our being.

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