1. Brent King says:

    Excellent, thought provoking article Shannon (as usual).

    In the VeggieTales Jonah movie, they sing, “Jonah was a prophet, but he never really got it.” Though none of us can really get our minds around God’s mercy, I do think that Jonah finally got it. After all, he wrote the book.

  2. J. S. Bailey says:

    I enjoy novels that have alternating viewpoints between the protagonists and villains. It’s a way to see inside the villains’ heads and understand what makes them tick. Dean Koontz is especially adept at this. While his villains are often unsympathetic, the reader can at least understand why they act the way they do.

  3. Pam Halter says:

    What a great question, Shannon! I agree with JS Bailey about Dean Koontz. His villains’ thoughts often fascinate me. Not that I want them to win, but it’s so interesting.

    I’ve just reread The Host by Stephanie Meyer. It’s sci-fi, with parasitical aliens who go from planet to planet, using host bodies to live forever. They have no qualms about taking a body and effectively erasing the host’s mind and personality, although they retain all the memories of the host.

    It all changes when this one “soul” (as they call themselves) comes to Earth, and the “body” (the host) refuses to be extinguished. Her thoughts remain in the soul’s thoughts and they are able to communicate with each other. The soul, Wanderer, discovers emotions she never felt before and because the body (Melanie) is able to talk to her, she begins to understand how wrong it is to take another’s body without their consent.

    But I get why they do it. No one wants their own kind to become extinct, right? It’s a moral dilemma and it’s handled in a unique and wonderful way, in my opinion. The story moves a bit slow, but it’s worth the read.

  4. “And if we can’t understand that joy – if we can’t understand why Jonah was angry that Nineveh wasn’t destroyed – it’s because we never had our own Nineveh, our own city of blood to fill our world with cruelty. There comes a time when you want justice, not mercy.”

    It occurs to me that there might be great gnashing of teeth among Christians if God showed mercy to ISIS.  After all those atrocities?  Those beheadings and burnings?  They’re like a modern-day example of Ninevite evil.  Imagine if God sent one of us to deliver a message of condemnation and repentance!  Their story might be similar to Jonah’s.

    • Pam Halter says:

      Girl, that is SO true.  I imagine this is why Jesus said to love our enemies. No harder teaching than that, especially when you’ve been a victim.

  5. notleia says:

    I’ve read analysis of the book of Jonah being like a trickster myth, where the moral is taught by the character doing everything completely wrong. Switch out Coyote for Jonah and Water Sprinkler or Talking God for Judeo-Christian God, and it works pretty well.

    More trickster motifs can be found in Elijah and the priests of Baal, or Samson and Delilah. Or that left-handed Judge who snuck a sword past a king ‘s bodyguard and stabbed him during a private audience. It’s a pity they skipped that one in youth group.

What do you think?