Monday, July 19, 2004

Hebron Crossroads 7-25-04By Jeff Gill
This is turning into quite a summer for Ray Bradbury fans, and I hope a good one for Mr. Bradbury himself.Mars has not one, but two rovers exploring the planet and sending back pictures from a place that will long bear the imprint of “The Martian Chronicles.”  NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have a great deal to be proud of with those devices working now over twice their rated life-span, and the Cassini probe successfully passing through Saturn’s rings on the way to Titan.But Ray Bradbury is known for not only science fiction set on distant worlds, but for imaginative fiction set on a planet that may be ours, around a twisted corner or down a dark future, oddly lit by brightly ominous sunshine.“Something Wicked This Way Comes” is written across the top of the newest Harry Potter movie poster, and since it comes from Shakespeare by way of Macbeth they have every right to borrow that line. Those words, though, will always make me think of Bradbury’s tale of the dark day that the circus --- Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show --- came to the village of Green Town, Illinois. Set in a Midwest not unlike the area around our own Hebron Crossroads, two boys find their lives taking dramatic and terrifying turns on the edge of adolescence.And then there’s the fairly unoriginal “Fahrenheit 9-11,” swiped not too cleverly and without permission from “Fahrenheit 451,” a title taken in turn (and brilliantly) from the burning point of paper, describing a dystopian future with a bright glimmer of hope set into the ending, the sort that Stephen King has to learn to write if he’s ever gonna make a reader of me.Bradbury himself has protested the admittedly legal, if somewhat unethical title sideswipe of Michael Moore’s movie, with only deafening silence in response. Too bad, because if Moore really wanted to both scare people and make them think, he could make no better friend than Ray Bradbury. “S is for Space” (which has almost no stories in that collection taking place in outer space) left a mark on my youthful imagination that remains to this day, admitting and looking directly at the darkness in everyday life, gazing calmly through it to the possibility of further horizons beyond.Preacher note: Bradbury was, in a younger day himself, part of the crew of screenwriters on “King of Kings,” a cheesy Biblical epic of about 40 years back, but with one of the best endings of any Bible pics I know out of Hollywood. It delighted me no end to learn that the ending came from Ray, who had an idea when the veteran scriptwriters got bogged down in how to wrap up their tale of Jesus: let’s use one of the endings from the . . . ummm . . . Bible!  The others were underwhelmed by the idea, so he went home, got out a Bible, wrote an ending from the close of John’s Gospel, and came back to the studio, not telling them where he got it.They loved him, said it was a brilliant solution to the finale, and told him he had a bright future in the bizness. Bradbury decided to commit to writing books and short stories instead, and we’re all lucky he did.
“Something Heroic This Way Comes” could be the title for the Hebron Community Vacation Bible School on Friday, July 30 from 6 pm to 8:30, and Saturday, July 31 from 10 am to 4 pm. The title selected by the host church this year is actually “HeroQuest,” with stations looking at the heroic virtues of strength, courage, determination, daring and love. Hebron United Methodist Church on East Main Street is the site, and Hebron Christian Church is assisting.Children Kindergarten through 5th grade are invited to participate, while older youth can be group escorts through the activity stations, where the young people will learn through story, song, and activity about the Biblical figures who make good examples for those five heroic virtues.From the VBS materials, HeroQuest is "designed to give children an understanding of what makes an ordinary person a hero. ... Children will come to know that being a true hero has nothing to do within the super heroes they read about in comic books or see in the movies. What makes an ordinary person a hero is that person's heart." Sounds like a message that any of our children would benefit from!If you want more info, call or drop by either Hebron United Methodist (928-2471) or Hebron Christian (928-4066), or just e-mail me at

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