True Crime and Beauty
We are a society that is obsessed with Criminology and intrigue. There are countless television shows, networks, podcasts, blogs and radio stations that delve deep into this genre of entertainment and allure.
Amidst a generation that has seemingly lost interest in reading, mystery and crime fiction sales are rapidly increasing in popularity; now becoming the number one selling literary category in the UK. North America is never far behind in these trends.
Our modern sensibilities boast in progressive and enlightened ideologies, yet it seems as though we can’t get past an old-fashioned good vs. evil narrative.
We love to uncover an indiscretion and see it through to its final resolution and justice.
No matter how archaic absolute truth and morality may be perceived, our society finds an increasingly fresh delight in them.
This is because the narrative is a borrowed story. A tale retold.
Much like little children sitting on their grandfather’s lap; pleading for him to retell a story they have already heard dozens of times.
The unregenerate world has a shifting shadow, a faint harkening back to this narrative.
Though they may not be conscientious of its origins, they are drawn to its appeal, however fraught with danger it may be.
In his book, Till We Have Faces, C.S Lewis beautifully portrays the glory in this type of shadowy longing.
His story presents Psyche, the virgin princess sacrificed by her own people on a perilous and haunted mountain. Miraculously, after her offering to the villainous mountain god (Cupid), she survives. Not only does she survive but she falls in love with this precarious entity. Finding a rich sense of belonging and purpose. Though Cupid’s kingdom is only visible to Psyche, she is overwhelmed and infatuated with its splendor.
The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing — to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from — my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back.
Psyche’s words invite us to share in her quandary. Do we stay in a place of longing? Or is this longing really a longing for home? For our true kingdom? Not the kingdom that we were born into. That kingdom is filled with injustice and crime. Rather, we long for a kingdom that we must marry into. Here we can find the answers for all the misgivings that have availed us.
The truth is, we are created to seek resolve. We are commanded to create a flourishing of God’s world.
It’s no wonder we as creatures are drawn to avenues that allow us to synthetically engage in human flourishing. Criminology, mystery and justice are tools that a Christian must learn to brandish if we ever hope to bring about true flourishing.
Good vs. evil is not only a good story, but it is the story of scripture.
Jesus is the conquering king that overthrew a corrupt and vile lordship, giving way to restoration and justice. All of creation knows this to be true (Romans 1).
However, some suppress this truth in their unrighteousness.
Try as they may, they cannot escape the lure of the narrative. It consumes them in a way that is inconsistent with their godless creed.
They are left to abandon justice completely or be forced to live from a chaotic and self-governed worldview.
This doesn’t change the facts! Jesus still is Lord, He has defeated our enemies, and He has commanded his subjects (us) to expand the reaches of His lordship – to all the nations.
As inhabitants of Christ’s kingdom, it’s time we start proclaiming that justice is found in Christ’s atonement for sin, not in a failing justice system.
It is time we start proclaiming that evil has been defeated by Jesus’ finished work on the cross. One day Jesus will put to death His final enemy; death itself.
It is time that Christians start heralding the truth to the mysteries that haunt the soul.
The longings that so ably envelop our beings, beckoning us toward the place where all beauty originates. The mountain kingdom that cannot be shaken.