Reading a Spiritual Practice: Twilight Saga
We begin with similar cautions as our last post:
- If you haven’t yet read the Twilight saga and don’t want to know what happens, don’t read anymore. There will be spoilers.
- If you believe that reading Twilight is either a one way ticket to hell or an example of poor literary taste, please don’t bother to comment. I will just delete it.
Why include Twilight in a series such as this? Partly, because I really like it. But also, because Twilight is a rare hero series of books that focuses on a heroine. The real hero of the Twilight series is Bella Swan; it is not Edward Cullen or Jacob Black. The real heart of the story line is not ‘who is in love with whom’. The issue at the root of the Twilight series is ‘will Bella become her true self?’.
There is a lot of negative press out there about Twilight’s impact on the young girl’s psyche. I don’t disagree with most of it. In my opinion, this series is really for the adult. I want to say that for an adult woman, who is searching for the courage to become who she knows she is meant to be, this is a great series to read! The hero’s journey, as we outlined here, is very rarely, in modern writing, used to describe a female’s journey. It is easy to look down on Bella and want to parent her as we read. However, reading this series as an adult gives the reader permission to be condescending and still learn. Bella must choose between two lives for herself. Choosing to become a vampire is risky, isolated from family and friends, challenging, and flat out deadly at times. Choosing to stay who she knows herself to be and remain human keeps her in her safe places of family and future.
Many women fail to take the necessary risks to become all they were meant to be. They hide behind their children, their husbands, careers that are safe, and good manners to keep people from knowing the real them. The life of spiritual maturity is not safe. It is not predictable. It is not always socially acceptable. Choosing to be spiritually mature people takes courage and risk. We risk changing or ending relationships as we have always known them. We risk losing ourselves as we have always known us to be. We risk a future that is simple and predictable for one that is unknown. But what is there to gain?
Rather than being driven by the inner compulsions of the false self and the external demands of other people’s expectation, we are learning to respond to God’s call upon our lives in ways that are congruent with the self he knew and brought lovingly into being. –Ruth Haley Barton in Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership
Bella Swan took a risk and chose a path toward her true self. For me, that is a risk worth taking, as well.