#fairytales #theology #valentinesday

“The great lesson of ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ – a thing must be loved before it is lovable.” ― G.K. Chesterton |

This is why Beauty and the Beast is my theological fairy tale of choice

Cupid & Psyche–the basis for Beauty and the Beast– is simulataneously the last myth and the first fairy tale ever written…why? Because the transformational power of love and the possibility of “happily ever after” only come into being with the advent of Christianity and a new understanding of what theological hope is, telling a whole different story of good news

Ch 8: Food

Ok, so maybe cooking wasn’t the best idea…but cooking has always been fairly therapeutic for me. Granted at home its usually cookies that I am making, but there is something about working out an entire recipe that feels peaceful.

Maybe I’m just thinking about food all the time because here I feel like I’m being eaten.

The silence swallows me, the darkness drinks my personality….

I must do something, because I feel utterly lost….

I turn the page and look at the recipe for bread

Katy’s Ultimate Fairy Tale List

First off if you need to know anything about fairy tales I recommend references by Maria Tartar, Jack Zipes and www.surlalunfairytales.com, Jane Yolen is fairly good as well (although she is focused on feminist fairy tales)

Secondly, here are all of the fairy tale things I love

Please note that fairy tales are meant to be oral i.e rewrites are not only allowed, they are within the VERY essence of what makes up a fairy tale–so even bad fairy tales are valid

TV:

Disney: Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Tangled (although they are Disney-fied they are still valid)

Once Upon a Time (obviously),

Jim Henson’s StoryTeller

10th Kingdom (which is usually only about $15 to buy),

Fractured Fairy Tales in Rocky & Bullwinkle,

Nickelodeon’s Grimm Fairy Tale Classics, Fairy Tale Theater

Ever After (Go DaVinci)

Belle and La Bete (The Original French movie in Black and white)

Books

Golden Book of Fairy Tales http://www.amazon.com/Golden-Book-Fairy-Tales-Classics/dp/030717025X (my first love of fairy tales)

The Color Fairy Tale Books by Andrew Lang (of course), my second love fairy tales

Gateway books

Alice and the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Peter Pan by James Barrie

Wizard of Oz L. Frank Baum

so-called-adult-fairy-tales

“The Golden Ass” The last myth and the first fairy tale

“Fables” the comic book (precedes Once Upon a Time the TV show with some similarities)

Enchanted Forest Series & Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia C. Wrede

Deerskin, Beauty, Spindle’s End, Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley

Beast by Donna Jo Napoli (excellent)

Beastly by Alex Flinn (pretty good)

Zel by Donna Jo Napoli

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (so amazing and better than the movie)

Just Ella Margaret Peterson Haddix

The Godmother’s Apprentice by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough (the sequels aren’t as good)

Five Hundred Kingdoms series by Mercedes Lackey (inconsistant, but fine)

Ash & Huntress by Malinda Lo

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

Goose Chase by Patrice Kindl

A Well Timed Enchantment by Vivian Vande Velde

Other

Arthur Rackham’s Illustrations

Maxfield Parish’s Illustrations

Kingdom Hearts video games

Wicked “the musical”

Into the Woods “the musical”

Beauty and the Beast on Broadway

Beauty and the Beast

I may or may not own a billion different versions of Beauty and the Beast. (Plus some figures, snowglobes and plastic McDonald’s toys)

Why? Because its my favorite fairy tale. Why? Because its the first/best fairytale and it is so TOTALLY theological!!!! (did I put too many exclamation points there?)Image

Things to know about Beauty and the Beast which I have disseminated from years of study (no seriously I have been convertly studying fairy tales for 8 years. First as an “English” major at Oberlin, then as a theological student at Princeton)

1. It is the FIRST fairy tale we know of

2. It evolved from what is the last myth we know of: Cupid and Psyche (in “The Golden Ass”) written a couple of hundred of years after myths were in styleImage

3. Before Christianity, the “happily ever after concept” did not seem to exist in stories….In fact the theological differences between Cupid & Psyche and Beauty and the Beast are amazing but I will write my thesis on all that later (hopefully). Today we’ll stick to B&B

Next thoughts

If you haven’t read Beauty and the Beast, I invite you to do so on literally the best Fairy Tale Resource today (I mean literally, I’ve done the research) at Sur La Lune http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/beautybeast/index.html

1. The prince/beast is a fallen man somehow either through his own or his parents brokenness. Usually his outer ugliness mirrors his inner ugliness (The Fall from Grace Anyone)

2. His Salvation/Transformation into his former/real/best self is through Love

3. Beauty Loves Beast even in his ugliness

4. Beast regains his life/and is transformed through the pure love of Beauty

(PS how cool is it that the Christ figure is a girl in this one)

1. Humanity falls and is ugly

2. Humanity’s hope lies in God’s grace through God’s Love

3. God loves us, period.

4. We are born again/from above and transformed

And we all will live happily ever after!

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.–1 Col 19-20

All the nations you have made
will come and worship before you, Lord;
they will bring glory to your name.–Ps. 86:9

(PS concerns and questions about the every knee shall bow language will be addressed in another post, so don’t worry)

Now that I’ve blown your mind (or at least reminded you to hear “Be Our Guest” again) I invite you to read any/all of the following, and if you know another Beauty and the Beast that you like let me know in case I haven’t read it.

(This may, perhaps, possibly in the Disney version make Gaston into the devil…hehehehehehehe)

Good Versions of Beauty and the Beast

1st John 4:7-18 (I’ve copied it below)

C.S. Lewis Voyage of the Dawn Treader Eustace’s Story

Beauty by Robin McKinley & Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley (yes she wrote 2 good ones)

Beast by Donna Jo Napoli

Cupid and Psyche in the Golden Ass (Hi, Chloe! I love you!)

La Belle et La Bete directed by Cocteau (black and white one of the 1st films, look at the effects, I mean this was before computers)

Beauty and the Beast the 80s TV show

10th Kingdom (in a lighter vein)

Donkeyskin/Tattercoat/Alleirauh are very similar (though different)

Deerskin by Robin McKinley (I know, but I couldn’t help myself)

Fables Comic Series (note: main characters)

and of course the Disney movie/play

1st John 4:7-18; Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Home

For those of you who don’t know me, I am very obsessed with Beauty and the Beast (Post about the Amazing Theology of Beauty and the Beast here)

Image

Beauty and the Beast on Broadway (yes the Disney one) has a great song about home. Point and Case the title is Is this Home?

Synposis: Belle is weird, she reads books to get away, she is captured by a Beast, she still isn’t satisfied.

One of the major themes in Beauty and the Beast is the idea of Home/belonging. In the end, I think that is what everyone wants…to belong.

Belonging is home. What if instead of getting people to “join” churches, we made churches places where they feel like they belong.

How do we make church=home?

Shannon A Thompson

Author. Speaker. Librarian.

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