You might be wondering, having read yesterday’s post, how I know quite so much about the founders of the Salvation Army. The answer: my mother.
My mother would frequently buy me lots and lots of books, usually from the local library’s “for sale” stack.* Every so often, though, she would pop down to our local Christian booksellers, housed in an old ice factory near the docks, and buy me something Moral and Improving.
Sometimes these would be factual books about the lives of great Christians, such as, for example, William Booth and Catherine Mumford. More often, though, it would be a children’s novel with a religious theme. They started off just like any other novel, but when it came to the crunch point, the characters would find that only God could save them.
One series I particularly remember was a series of science-fiction stories, set in a far-future solar system where Christianity had been long-banned, but was preserved by a group of secret space-age knights who had been very heavily influenced by the Star Wars movies. Their worlds were dark and gritty; but if the characters’ faith or energy-sword-waving skills didn’t save them, a deus ex machina surely would. Indeed, the whole point of these books was that God definitely is still about the place, and can pop into the story for the occasional bit of divine intervention when needed. The reader can see that God is real, even if only the “good” characters can.
* “Withdrawn from stock, 25p each”