05 November 2009

Jonathan Livingston Seagull

I did not like this book. I read it today and it made me feel funny inside. It is the story of a young seagull who doesn't fit in with his flock. He is less occupied by trying to obtain food and just live, and more occupied with learning as much as he can about flying and testing the limits of his bodily strength. He is rejected by his own people and goes to a sort of "heaven" were he communes with a greater seagull named Chiang. Chiang teaches him that the physical body is no more than the thought and perception that it is there. He learns until his flight in itself is perfected. As a perfected gull he returns to his own flock to teach those who feel they do not fit in with the other gulls and who have more meaningful things to think about. He teaches a young gull Fletcher until this gull becomes perfected and then Jonathan Livingston Seagull leaves Fletcher to take care of the flock and teach those who are in need of teaching. There is a predominant theme of learning things, line upon line, precept upon precept. Starting to see the allusion?

Painting Jonathan as Christ wouldn't bother me if this book wasn't riddled with 1970s ideas about transcendental out of body ideas and the phrase "Hey, man..." I talked to Nicole about this and pondered why this bothered me so much. She concluded that it was the way in which they presented the information. They took the most important story to ever have occurred and twisted it. She says that in so doing they lessened the importance of Christ and his role here on earth. Especially when Fletcher "comes to realize that Jonathan was no more divine than he himself is." The Flock even calls Jonathan "Son of the Great Gull." When Jonathan ascends into heaven he pleads with Fletcher to not let the other gulls think he is a god.

Apparently people in the 70s related to this. Just as everyone will when presented with a little truth. The truth pulls at our Spirits to remember and then things that attempt to diminish Christ, like this, will twist them into something "rational" or "conceivable." When in reality, the Atonement, and Christ's mission on this world is something that is rational and conceivable to our spirits but not necessarily our thoughts as the world has shaped them.

My mom wanted me to share this book with everyone I know. I refuse. She says I'll never look at a seagull the same way again, I submit that it has only served to strengthen my testimony of the truth and diminished my liking for people who attempt to distort the Lord's mission to fit temporal understanding and standards.

Sorry Mom, I absolutely did not like this book.

1 comment:

Rebeccah Louise said...

I read that book when I was a little girl!

I read it all the time, too, but I think it was just because I wanted to be a bird.

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