Some would say that explaining your literature cheapens it, or demonstrates your inability to write well since it was not very clear in the original work. I won't argue with them, but I will explain to them why I won't argue with them. Last week I wrote a story called Cant or Abel? Not a Story About a Horse. There were things I included that were not well explained, things that I included that were blatantly obvious, and a few things that I did not include but later wanted to. This is a discussion on all three. Several people have told me that they got some of the message, so it wasn't completely cloudy. Using more words to explain a story than to tell a story seems a bit strange, but here it goes. The story begins with two horses not because there is something particularly important about two of anything, except that it allows a direct comparison between two objects that take diverging paths. As brothers it shows the closeness and a bond between the two that is inherent in all they do. This is not just two horses taken at random, one tall, one short, one fat, one skinny, one from a rich family, one from a poor family. This is a story of two horses that have the same background, come from the same flock, the same group, the same mother and the same Father. Said Father is not just any father, but The Father. He is the head of the pack, which “goes away” for a few days but returns. When He returns He does some important work before going away again. Admittedly, my symbolism is weak here. The Father is symbolic of Jesus. It isn’t readily apparent that when he left he died, and the biggest clue is the capitalization of the pronouns. There are a few more hints, such as His touch being all over the forest and later on the fact that He had passed along to both horses their perfectly white, unblemished bodies as well as their absolute free will. I chose the name Cantor simply for the ability to abbreviate it Can’t. Gamora on the other hand was more symbolic of the second twin city from Lot’s age. When you see the things the horses do, including sowing their wild oats, it is again alluding to the sexual freedom practiced in those later devastated cities.
The road is the short and narrow way. It isn’t off limits, but when you are a horse of the forest enjoying your absolute freewill, nothing that restricts you comes across as very fun. The road is just that, it requires discipline, and perseverance to stay on the road. Horses of the world do not want to conform to someone else’s rules; they want only what their hearts desire. In typical humanistic fashion they have grown to rationalize whatever they want to do. But then they see the carriage. It carries the King, and is pulled and surrounded by those horses that not only chose the narrow path, but can stay on the narrow path. Christians (the other horses) along the path appear to have it all together. Outsiders viewing Christians in their element sometimes have a “yeah, but they already have it all” attitude as a defense as to why they can’t just become like them. This is again a very humanistic attempt at self-justification. Proving to no one but themselves why they are right. When a Christian has it all together, is doing the right thing, and is being rewarded for it, the world is envious.
The horses learn that the first requirement they must meet is one that they have no control over, and that their Father has already taken care of for them. They cannot make themselves blemish free or white from the top of their head to the bottom of their hooves. To further accentuate it, their mother is shown as other than, which is unfortunate but it served the story well. After that it becomes a matter of what the horse does. The issue is by grace alone (the gift from the Father), through faith alone, and is not because of what we do. Now, the paradoxical side of the matter is that once we realize we have been saved by grace; our faith begins to enable and require us to do works. The works don’t get us there, but we have to do the works because it is of the nature of salvation to do them. Lots of times it seems that we have to have been saved, taken the grace given, start to do the works, and then somewhere down the road get the benefits of the effort. Again, this is a bit misleading, because our “effort” had nothing to do with it, but that is what we justify to ourselves in our humanistic manner.
Gam is rewarded for being told “You have won heaven”, a point I neglected to add but will in a later re-write. This of course being abbreviated YHWH and alludes back to where Gam got his new nickname, Abel, the Old Testament. This name served several purposes; one was to again cement the bonds of brotherly attachment as seen by Cain and Abel. Another was to demonstrate that Abel was now dead to Cant, another point not very clear in the story. The ultimate reason ended up also tying to the nickname given to Cant because one horse clearly can’t, while the other is very able.
Abel’s work schedule shows that he needs merely to give one day to the King for service to get the rest off. But his discipline won’t allow him to return to his old ways of sinning and getting dirty. Sometimes he slips into the mucky mire of sin, and when he does the care he gets in re-cleansing is guilt-free and non-judgmental. The ending balance of the story shows that while they both believed the lie of being free and able to do anything at the beginning of the story, only the one who took the steps to fall in line with where the Father wants us to be is able to truly take advantage of the truth and full measure of grace. Paradoxically, by giving up what is perceived to be freedom, Abel was able to gain not only more than it cost him, but what he never could have imagined before.