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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Europe (excluding the United Kingdom) (02/19/09)

TITLE: Bathsheba and Rapuzel both conceived out of wedlock
By Gregory Kane


McAllister couldn't restrain himself. “Disney?” he protested, the cascades of laughter sending spasms of pain rippling through his chest. “Are you seriously implying that Mickey Mouse is America's secret weapon for world domination?”

In lieu of a response, Herr Runge's frown merely deepened. He closed his Bible and set it to one side: “I think our business here is concluded.”

“Please, humour me. I'm curious why you think Goofy and Pluto herald the demise of western civilisation. Maybe you'll convert me to your point of view?”

“I rather doubt that you understand the true meaning of conversion.”

“Please, Herr Pastor. Give me something to take back to my superiors.”

“Very well,” replied the older man. “You are familiar with the works of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm?”

“Yeah, sure. The Grimm brothers: Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White, all of that stuff. My kids love the animated movies.”

“The Grimms were philologists who researched many of our nation's folk-tales, ancient stories that had been retained only in oral tradition, often in the more obscure dialects. In compiling these stories, they did European culture a tremendous service.”

McAllister looked none too discreetly at his watch. If this bumbling old fool wasn't going to sign on the dotted line, he would need to make tracks. “Pardon my obvious ignorance,” he sneered, “but what exactly is your point?”

“My point is that your Mr Disney has edited and corrupted these our national treasures, simply to make them commercially palatable to a weak-stomached generation.”

McAllister still wasn't sure what the man was ranting on about, but he sensed that he had just been insulted.

“Take Cinderella for example. Did you know that in the original story, the step-sister actually chops off her big toe so that it fits in the glass slipper. Or that in Little Red-Cap, the wolf eats not only the grandmother but the foolish girl as well. Or that in Sleeping Beauty, a great many unsuccessful princes die an agonising death trying to hack through the briar hedge.”

“That's disgusting! I don't want my children exposed to that sort of barbarity.”

“Exactly, Mr McAllister. And that is precisely what makes these stories so appealing. They are earthy morality tales. They deal with the pain and sorrow of real life, not some sanitised version that leaves no one feeling uncomfortable. Did you know that Rapunzel's brave prince gets her pregnant with twins after she lets him climb up into her high tower?”

Exasperated, the younger man cried out, “Now just one minute, buster. What does any of this garbage have to do with the work of God? All we're asking is that your council of churches give its stamp of approval to our new Bible translation. Our presses are ready to roll. Within six months we can have ten million copies in the hands of men and women up and down Germany. What do you say? Are you with us or not?”

“Tell me, have you read this new translation?”

“Of course I have. Our ministry's used the same model in a dozen European nations.”

“Then can you explain to me why David's adultery with Bathsheba is missing?”

“As you've noticed,” McAllister conceded, “our version is more of a paraphrase. We've deliberately excluded duplicate passages. In David's case we followed the simpler account in Chronicles.”

“And Peter's denial of Christ? Or Solomon's murder of Adonijah? Or Gideon's idol? Or Jephthah's parentage? Or Noah's drunkenness? And you've made Hagar and Ishmael disappear altogether!”

“You have to appreciate our marketing needs, pastor.” McAllister hated it when traditionalists pontificated on these minutiae. “Our priority is to make it as easy as possible for the man in the street to understand the Scriptures. These particular passages cast some of God's mighty men in a negative light. So we've culled a few details here and there.”

“You've done what Walt Disney did with the Grimm stories. You've sanitised them to make them more palatable.”

“Exactly!” McAllister suddenly realised what he had agreed to. “No, I don't mean... Uh, you've gone and confused me...”

“Good day, my foolish friend.” Pastor Runge climbed slowly to his feet. “Perhaps you are starting to see the error of your ways— or perhaps not. But here in Germany we will not endorse your mistranslation. We will hold fast to our earthy, uncomfortable Bible.”

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This article has been read 1013 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 02/28/09
Oh, what an incredible parallel, and very apt and thought-provoking. A message I hadn't really thought about before - but it is so true! Excellent.
Joshua Janoski03/02/09
I was not aware that the original Brother Grimm tales were much more realistic in their depiction of life.

I like the parallel you presented here. We must not alter God's Word to fit our agenda.

I must admit that I do enjoy the Disney versions of these tales, but I must also admit that I would love to go and read the original Grimm tales too to see the differences.

Thanks for sharing!
Sonya Leigh03/03/09
You know I wasn't about to be guilty of not commenting on your story this week...:) I'm just joshin' ya.

Of course, your thread made me want to read your entry, however, I loved your entry and am commenting on it because it's very good.

The parallel between what's been done w/ the Grimm tales, and how some paraphrases water down the Word of God is superb. It's a sobering analogy that deserves to be brought to light.

Sometimes these "small" changes just go unnoticed until they are a fiber of our culture and society...like the Disney version of the Grimm tales.

Well done, sir.
Margaret Gass03/03/09
This is one that I've read twice before commenting! :-) I remember being shocked in my German class years ago...when I learned that my favorite childhood stories had such dark beginnings. Now I am shocked when I visit churches that don't speak of hell and the need for Christ, because without truth many people will face an even darker ending. I like the pastor's wisdom and willingness to stand on truth. Good job!
Ruth Ann Moore03/03/09
I enjoyed your story. The attitudes and personalities of the characters were believable. The verses that came to mind are Matthew 5:18 and Revelation 22:18-19. Just two of the scripture pointing to the completeness of the Bible and warnings not to "tamper" with it. Your story could be well seen as a warning to us not to water down the Word of God, or to diminish its power. The Bible is God-breathed and good for all eternity. I appreciated your writing greatly.
Faithful Okoye03/03/09
wow! wow! I am totally speechless. Good job!
Diana Dart 03/04/09
Bravo!!! The interaction between these two was so well written. The info about the Grimms is good, good stuff (I love Disney, but I totally get where he's coming from) and the Bible translation bend just had me up in arms. How could they? Did they try???? Great piece that had my mind stirred and my blood boiling.
Sara Harricharan 03/04/09
Whoa! What an interesting story here. Kinda scary to think things may actually go in that sort of direction...especially after knowing the actual Grimm. fairy tales. You certainly did your research here and I'm glad I didn't miss this piece!
Gerald Shuler 03/04/09
I have been preaching the unpopular truth for years. People don't want to believe that the scriptures have been watered down to mere mush. I congratulate you for taking my years of preaching and successfully putting in in 750 words or less.
Now, if only people will believe you.
Gerald Shuler 03/04/09
I have been preaching the unpopular truth for years. People don't want to believe that the scriptures have been watered down to mere mush. I congratulate you for taking my years of preaching and successfully putting in in 750 words or less.
Now, if only people will believe you.
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/05/09
You chose a great way to present the message of how man is insidiously altering God's Word to make himself more comfortable. Bravo for your excellent writing.
Sheri Gordon03/05/09
Congratulations on your EC. I found this fascinating--and a little scary, as your new Bible translation seems all-too-close to reality.
Beth LaBuff 03/05/09
Congrats on your EC with this well-written, "pulls-no-punches" entry!
Chely Roach03/05/09
This was fantastic! I love the steadfast character of the MC...so very well written! Congrats on your EC!
Loren T. Lowery03/05/09
Loved reading this piece and learning of the ways we can turn things around to make them palatable while causing them to lose their true meaning as well. Congratulations on your EC placement. Well deserved indeed
Connie Dixon03/05/09
Thankyou for this "truly" inspirational story. If the Bible doesn't stay true to it's Word, is it truly the Bible? Great writing. Congratulations on your EC.
Catrina Bradley 03/05/09
Nice nice nice! I miss the "real" fairy tales that I grew up with, and I'm horrified at anyone doing the same kind of editing to the Holy Bible.