Friends, I’m looking for some ideas for a new writing project.
First some background information:
I am starting to write a series of short vignettes for kids about “heroes of the faith.” (They won’t be mini-biographies; they will be stories. Most will be less than a thousand words. ) Though the vignettes will start as things I read to my own kids and post on this blog, I hope to get them illustrated and then publish the best in a single collection. My plan is to set aside a few quiet hours each weekend to write them, a kind of Sabbath practice.
The project had multiple inspirations.
The first inspiration was some lines from a song by Rich Mullins, “Boy Like You/Man Like Me.” In that song, Rich compares his childhood in Indiana with Jesus’ upbringing in Galilee.
You was a baby like I was once
You was cryin’ in the early mornin’
You was born in a stable, Lord
Reid Memorial is where I was born
They wrapped You in swaddling clothes
Me they dressed in baby blue
Later, Rich sings:
Did You grow up hungry?
Did You grow up fast?
Did the little girls giggle
When You walked past?
Did You wonder what it was
That made them laugh?
Did they tell You stories ’bout the saints of old?
Stories about their faith?
They say stories like that make a boy grow bold
Stories like that make a man walk straight.
I want my daughters to grow up with those kinds of stories. I want them to look forward to sitting around the living room on a still evening to hear tales of their spiritual kinfolk. I want them to say, “Can you tell the one about Saint Francis again?” Or Dorothy Day. Or Chief Seattle.
The second inspiration was a book we bought for Molly a few years ago called The Jesus Storybook Bible. Unlike many children’s Bibles I had seen, the writing (by Sally Lloyd-Jones) and the illustrations (by Jago) were both wonderful. I also loved how Lloyd-Jones brought everything back to Jesus: “Every story whispers his name”. I wanted to write an artfully produced “follow-up” book that would tell stories of Jesus-followers of who loved God, loved people, and changed the world.
The third inspiration, simply, was just how much fun I’ve had writing for kids lately. I recently wrote this story for a children’s sermon at my church. And through letters I’m writing to Molly on behalf of the Tooth Fairy, I’ve started to dream up a whole Tooth Fairy mythology. Molly is having a blast, but I’m certain that I enjoy it even more.
Over the last several weeks I’ve been compiling a list of possible people to write about. It is a long list, and I’m sure I won’t write about all of them…but I do plan to explore all these lives to see what stories need to be told.
And yet I’m sure I’m forgetting some people. That’s where you come in.
Who is missing from this list? Who are some great heroes and heroines of the faith that my daughters — and maybe other kids and parents too — need to meet? Would you give me your suggestions in the comments below?
Ignatius of Antioch (c. 35-c.98)Polycarp of Smyrna (69-156)Justin the Martyr (100-165)Tertullian (155-240)Irenaeus of Lyon (130-202)Clement (150-215)Saint Cyprian (c. 200-258)Perpetua and Felicity (both died c. 203)Saint Valentine of Rome (213?-269)Saint Anthony of Egypt (251-356)Saint Nicholas of Myra (270-343)Maximillian of Thavaste (274-295)Athanasius of Alexandria (c. 296-373)Saint Cyril of Jerusalem (313-386)Martin of Tours (316-397)Marcella of Rome (325-410)Ambrose of Milan (339-397)Saint Ambrose (c. 340-397)John Chrysostom (349-407)Saint Augustine (354-430)Saint Basil (c. 329-379)Saint Patrick (387-?)Brigid of Ireland (451-523)Saint Benedict (480-547)Saint Columba of Iona (521-597)Saint Gregory (540-604)Andrew of Crete (650-?)Isidore the Farmer (1070-1130)Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)Saint Francis (c. 1181-1182)Clare of Assisi (1194-1253)Brother Juniper (c. 1210-1258)Saint Bonaventure (1221-1274)Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)Julian of Norwich (1342-1416)Catherine of Siena (1347-1380)Jan Hus (1369-1415)Osanna of Mantua (1449-1505)Basil the Blessed (1469-1552)Martin Luther (1483-1546)Saint Ignatius (1491-1556)William Tyndale (1494-1536)John Calvin (1509-1564)Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)Dirk Willems (?-1569)Saint John of the Cross (1542-1591)Paul Miki (c. 1564-?)Saint Fracis De Sales (1567-1622)Martin de Porres (1579-1639)Peter Claver (1581-1654)Saint Vincent de Paul (1581-1660)Brother Lawrence (1614-1691)George Fox (1624-1691)Cater Tekakwitha (1656-1680)John Wesley (1703-1791)John Woolman (1720-1772)John Newton (1725-1807)Olaudah Equiano (1745-1797)William Wilberforce (1759-1833)Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845)Chief Seattle (1786-1866)Paul Chong Hasang and the Korean Martyrs (c. 1794-1839)Sojourner Truth (1797-1883)Frederick Douglass (1818-1895)Harriet Tubman (1822-1913)Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)Catherine Booth (1829-1890)William Booth (1829-1912)Booker T. Washington (1856-1915)Charles de Foucaul (1858-1916)Katherine Drexel (1858-1955)C.F. Andrews (Friend of the Poor) (1871-1940)Saint Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897)G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)Peter Maurin (1877-1949)Eberhard and Emmy Arnold (1883-1935)Toyohiko Kagawa (1888-1960)Edith Stein (1891-1942)Corrie Ten Boom (1892-1983)Martin Neimoller (1892-1984)Maximilian Kolbe (1894-1941)Dorothy Day (1897-1980)C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)Septima Poinsettia Clark (1898-1987)Thomas Dorsey (1899-1983)Howard Thurman (1899-1981)Andre Trocme (1901-1971)Watchman Nee (1903-1972)Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)Franz Jagmrstatter (1907-1943)Dom Helder Camara (1909-1999)Simone Weil (1909-1943)Mother Teresa (1910-1997)Clarence Jordan (1912-1969)Jacques Ellul (1912-1994)Rosa Parks (1913-2005)Thomas Merton (1915-1968)Oscar Romero (1917-1980)Fannie Lou Hamer (1917-1977)Billy Graham (1918-)Cesar Chavez (1927-1993)Rutilio Grande (1928-1977)Jean Vanier (1928-)Brother Andrew (1928-)Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)John Perkins (1930-)Desmond Tutu (1931-)Henri Nouwen (1932-1996)