You and I are Edmund Pevensie.

I’m listening to the Focus on the Family Radio Theatre production of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  (By the way, I’m pretty much addicted right now to the FOTF Radio Theatre adaptations of classics, and I’ve nearly exhausted my church library’s stash.  If you have any recommendations in that series or other audio dramatizations I might enjoy, let me know, and I will start looking elsewhere.)  I’m remembering how much I love this story.  The title of my post is pretty obvious to anyone who’s even shallowly considered the Christian implications of C. S. Lewis’s classic.  Duh, of course Edmund represents the sinner who is redeemed by Christ’s (Aslan’s) sacrificial death.

But this time, I’ve been thinking about why it’s so easy for me to identify with this rather unpleasant little English boy from a time before I was born.  I’ve always liked Edmund most of the four siblings–Lucy is basically just cute; Peter is too heroic, and Susan (I hate to say it) is pretty boring.  But that doesn’t explain why I’m so overcome at that point when Aslan comes out of the tent with Edmund and says, “Here is your brother.  There is no need to talk to him about what is past.”  Certainly, I’m moved by the truth behind the scene, but allegory, true as it may be, can often be cold and dry.

I think the reason I identify with Edmund, and why most people, if honest with themselves, probably do too, is that his sins are so mundane.  He is not trying to take over the world; he is not flagrantly cruel; he does not craft audacious lies or tempt with the voice of Satan.  Those are the White Witch’s sins.  Edmund’s sins are a child’s sins: He is jealous of his older brother, pettily mean to his little sister, and generally cross with all of his siblings.  He does tell a few lies, but not the kind that could hurt anyone (so he thinks).  He wants people to recognize that he’s important.  And yeah, he loves sweets a bit too much.

These are a child’s sins, but adults don’t grow out of them.  All of these have been my sins, some of them often.  So that’s why this story means so much to me.  Jesus doesn’t just save flamboyantly evil sinners; he also saves sinners who are cranky, greedy, cowardly, and prideful despite not having very much to be proud about.

For more on unpleasant English boys (in Narnia and at Hogwarts), see my post Sometimes humility must come through humiliation.

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I am not fast.

A brief explanation to the people I’ve been road-running with (that is, in the wake of) recently.

My running style can best be understood if you keep in mind that I am basically a hobbit.  I’m about 5’2″ and (this is a nice and fairly accurate way of putting it) solidly built.  I like to walk barefoot and can be quiet and light on my feet, but never graceful like an elf.  I enjoy and am quite good at hiking long distances, like to the Old Forest on the borders of the Shire.  I can carry my dearest (emaciated) friend up the side of Mount Doom, no problem.  But if you expect me to be fast, there we encounter a problem, unless you intend to give me a piggyback ride as Boromir did for Merry and Pippin.

Speed is not my skill.  Endurance is.  I’m well aware that endurance is not glamorous.  It is hard to depict in literature or film, and boring to read or watch.  For me, though, it’s something to be quietly proud of.  I take pride in the fact that during the Virginia Ten-Miler, I keep running steadily up Farm Basket Hill when most of the runners around me, some of them generally faster than I, are slowing down to walk.

Apparently I also have endurance in other areas of my life.  My chiropractor says I have a high pain tolerance, which is kind of an ugly cousin to endurance.  The first time I had a phone conversation with my dissertation chair, whom I’d never met in person, he said he thought I had grit, another close relative of endurance.  I’d like to believe it was the steely note of determination in my voice, but I think he was probably just bluffing.  Still, he must have been right, because I finished my dissertation (relatively quickly, I think, considering some of the logistical difficulties I encountered), and anyone who completes a doctoral dissertation must have grit.

I composed this post in my head during a recent run when I was feeling really bad about the fact that the second-slowest runner was so far ahead I couldn’t even see him.  I’ve framed it as an explanation to my fellow runners, but I think it’s actually just validation for me.  And I’m sharing it on my blog because there may be some other hobbits out there who need to look at their boring endurance trait from a new perspective.  Keep trudging, my friends.