When I taught a middle school girls Sunday school class, we used to play what I referred to as the Good/Bad Game. I would describe something, usually a common situation taken to an extreme, and then identify what was good and what was bad. By taking a situation to its logical end and setting things in black and white terms of good and bad, it helps us make decisions in the all-too-common gray areas of life. It was an exercise intended to help them guard the intentions of their heart so they would learn to keep good things good by keeping them ordered correctly in their lives. It also was good to teach them how to find the redeeming qualities from any part of life; sort of a practical separation of the wheat from the chaff. It is a good thing to do because it keeps us from being blinded by the shortcomings of the things we like and prevents us from overlooking the good in the things we dislike.
I bring up the Good/Bad Game because I have been informed by some of my friends that I demonized poor Edward Cullen by only warning of the extreme danger instead of teaching girls how to enjoy this fictional saga in a right manner. In light of that accurate and constructive criticism, I offer to my readers the Twilight version of the Good/Bad Game.
If you enjoy reading Twilight because you enjoy creativity and good story line and you enjoy being transported to a different world for a time, that’s GOOD.
If you enjoy reading Twilight because it is an escape from reality and you wish it was your reality, that’s BAD.
If you’ve read it more than once because you missed some good details the first time, that’s GOOD.
If you’ve read it more than 5 times and have memorized large chucks to use as a comparison to all the men you date or because you can’t go to sleep at night without reading it, that’s BAD.
If you look for a boyfriend like Edward because he steadfastly protected Bella’s honor and refused to have a heavily sexualized relationship until after they were married, that’s GOOD.
If you look for a boyfriend like Edward because you want to find someone who so completes your soul that you would rather die than live without them, that’s BAD.
If you wish your husband was a little more like Edward because Edward had moments of endearing and self-sacrificial love, that’s GOOD.
If you wish your husband was a little more like Edward because Edward was willing to sacrifice even common sense and Bella’s health and well-being to ensure her happiness, that’s BAD.
If you think Edward demonstrated love toward Bella because he protected her from harm, that’s GOOD.
If you think Edward demonstrated love toward Bella by controlling what she wore and who she hung out with and where she went, that’s BAD.
If you love Edward because he met Bella’s physical needs and spoiled her a little to show his love for his lady, that’s GOOD.
If you love Edward because he sits in her room all night and stares at her while she sleeps, that’s BAD.
If you find yourself thinking that you are worthy of being treated well by a man and won’t settle for less because you appreciated Edward’s love and respect for his “normal” lady, that’s GOOD.
If you find yourself rejecting every guy who tries to pursue you because he just isn’t as perfect as Edward, that’s BAD.
If you’re really excited about going to see New Moon because it’s a night out with your girl friends who also enjoy the books and the movies, that’s GOOD.
If you’re really excited about going to see New Moon because all of your fantasies will finally be put to live action on screen, that’s BAD.
If you wish your husband would get into shape because he has a history of heart disease and diabetes in his family, that’s GOOD.
If you wish your husband would get into shape because he’s just not as yummy and hot as Edward (or Jacob, depending on which Team you’re on), that’s BAD.
If you recognize Edward as a type of Savior character and appreciate that a character like that should point us to our true Savior and make you thankful for his unconditional love and sacrifice for His bride, that’s GOOD.
If you recognize Edward as a type of Savior character and go out seeking a man to save you the same way, that’s BAD.
I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point. And 95% of the people I know who enjoy the Twilight series are 99.99% in the GOOD on this game. My worry is for the 5% who miss the One to whom a character like Edward should point us. I stated in a previous post that stories like the one of Bella and Edward appeal to the hearts of women because we are created with a desire to be saved, and, deep down, we all recognize our need for a Savior.
So if you are one of those mature, grounded, believing women who enjoys Twilight for all the right reasons, take the opportunity to be a mentor to some younger ladies. Go with some girls in your youth group to see New Moon (again, by now, since it’s been out 48 hours—you know they’re all gonna go see it more than once) and then go out for coffee or ice cream and talk with them about that they like about it and why they enjoy it and what they can get out of it for their own lives and loves. Take the chance to engage their brains instead of allowing them to think they are passively enjoying “brain candy”. Don’t be naïve to think any of us take in entertainment and remain neutral to it; anything we passively take into our minds shapes our perceptions and outlooks on life.
Go forth, enjoy Edward (or Jacob) for all the right reasons, and guard your hearts against loving them for all the wrong ones.