‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ by Ransom Riggs.
Summary from amazon…
…Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar.
Sometimes during the holidays I like to give my mind a bit of a rest and read something light. I especially enjoy reading stories of adventure like Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, The Hunger Games, or Harry Potter to name a few. Most recently I discovered ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’.
This post is not meant to be a review of the three books that make up the series; there are plenty of other sites for that (I will say I liked the entire series!). These stories actually got me thinking about church of all things (surprise, surprise).
I wonder about the actual ‘peculiar’ people of this world sometime. Is the church a place where outcasts of society feel truly welcome and accepted? Or perhaps are more churches home to the ‘wights’, those who seek to control the world, to eliminate those peculiars (or at least feed on their souls), and maintain the status quo.
Was Jesus a peculiar? Was he someone who experienced the world differently? Would people have said that he had special powers, like calming storms, walking on water, and multiplying food? Was he arrested and ultimately crucified because of his being peculiar? And how about his followers? When they spoke of miracles and the movement of the Holy Spirit, were they speaking to special gifts that people had? When the Apostle Paul wrote about spiritual gifts, was this something that made us all peculiar in our own way? Would church leaders, such as pastors, be more like the ‘ymbrynes’, who seek to care and protect such peculiars?
However you wish to compare and contrast the stories and characters, one thing is certain. Try as we might, we share the same predicament that our characters face: we cannot protect everyone from a broken and sinful world. We can’t stay in time loops forever. As the authors in scripture might say, there are dark places in the world. So how are we to live our lives in today’s world, when we do not have access to such time loops that allow us to live our days over and over again in relative safety? Furthermore, would you really wish to live in such a loop?
One response comes from the character of Jacob Portman, a teenager who is just discovering his peculiar gifts. Jacob is able to embrace the peculiar gifts that have been given to him, and use them to empower others for good. Jacob is able to ultimately control the hallows, the epitome of evil and darkness, and empower them to work for victory of the good. But most importantly, Jacob is able to unite and empower the other peculiars to use their own gifts and talents to courageously fight for goodness in the world. Sometimes the greatest gift we can give is to allow others to see their own gifts within themselves.
So is the Church a home for peculiars? In a way. Does the Church also possibly have wights living and worshipping within us. Maybe. Perhaps one thing we can focus on is not creating a place to run and hide from such darkness and evil, but instead empowering those around us to embrace the God-given gifts that we all have, as peculiar as they may seem. Together we witness to the light of Christ that spreads to the darkest reaches of Creation. We share a message of love and grace, and a power within us given to us by our Creator that can bring out the good in anyone; darkness to light, fear to joy, hate to love .