I am very hesitant when a novel is made into a feature film, as I'm sure is similar to many other bibliophiles. I'm hesitant because these are characters that have already come to life in my mind. Will I even recognise the characters in the movie? Will I recognise another person's incarnation of my favourite character? I know what they look like, sound like, and act like. I have created their lives in moving pictures in my head, and, with my most beloved novels, will allow my mind to drift through my favourite scenes on a slow day.
I cannot help but be wary of someone else's visualisations of my most treasured novels. I find myself anxious as I begin to watch, often growing annoyed or angry as the movie progresses. Did you even read this book? If you find yourself agreeing with me as you read, I want to reassure you. It's alright. What I've just described is an excellent author. It's exciting when you open a book and within the first few chapters you just know that this is one that is going to line your bookshelves for years to come.
I can't help but feel that there are times when God says about me, "Did you even read the Book? Do you know what you're supposed to look like, sound like, and act like?" The Author has created me in His image, an engaging, complex person who is responsible for sharing His story with the people in my life.
Recently, I was given this quote: The test of faith is whether I can make space for difference. Can I recognise God's image in someone who is not in my image, whose language, faith, ideal, are different from mine? If I cannot, then I have made God in my image instead of allowing him to remake me in his. - Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
We cannot separate the story from the author. We must recognise the Author in everyone we encounter. If I am constantly worrying that others are not living up to the image of "Christianity" that I've created in my mind, then I will continually miss the purpose of the story. Our purpose is to authentically fulfill the role that God has given us, to have no gods before Him, and to love our neighbours as ourselves. If we can see that God has made our neighbour in His image just as He created you and I, perhaps we will be able to set aside our notions of how others should act and instead focus on the story the Author is trying to tell through us.