Tuesday, September 11, 2007

“Whatever is Admirable”

“Finally, brother, whatever is true, whatever noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable…think about such things.” Philippians 4:8, NIV

Benedict Arnold. Mother Teresa. Las Vegas. Paris. Opera. Rap. Wrestling. Figure skating.

These all have one thing in common: they all have a reputation. Simply say their name, and instantly we associate certain characteristics and qualities with them, whether good or bad or somewhere in between. Mention Benedict Arnold, and betrayal comes to mind. And who doesn’t think of romance when Paris is uttered?

This concept of reputation is the root of admirable. A Greek adjective related to the noun “good reputation,” admirable carries the weight of the commendable qualities associated with a good reputation.

So how does this work with fiction?

A good reputation—and works of fiction do have reputations (think Stephen King books)—applies to the two basic arenas: content and craft. Of course, this means a split can occur. A piece can have a good reputation for the craft while having disreputable content and vice versa.

Of course, the ideal combines both. For example, the movies based on the Lord of the Rings have an overall excellent reputation. In content, they are known for solid Christian theology, sacrifice exemplified, and good defeating evil—all admirable qualities. In addition, the quality of their production and their attention to detail has won these movies the place as the measuring stick for fantasy film in many viewers’ minds.

And how can you tell if the qualities are admirable? Before you walk into that theater or buy that book, ask yourself: Would you want those qualities—whether sweet or graphic, horrifying or humorous—attached to your name?

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