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Wrinkle in Time

In times of social unrest, political turmoil, racial injustice and religious intolerance, Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time” shines like a beacon of hope and unity.

The film is based on Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” a 1962 bestseller and 1963 Newbery Medal winner.

The filmmakers elected to omit overtly the book’s Christian references from the movie.

“Becoming Madeleine,” a biography written by Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Lena Roy, reveals the motivation behind “A Wrinkle in Time”: “If I’ve ever written a book that says what I feel about God and the universe, this is it. This is my psalm of praise to life — my stand for life against death.”

With that in mind and given the book’s broad, lasting appeal over the past 50-plus years, removing the Christian message could be viewed as a gamble.

I’ve been reading and re-reading “A Wrinkle in Time” for more than 30 years. As a science fiction fan and confessed Christian, I was unfazed by what filmmakers chose to alter. The film adaptation does retain its core message.

Instances in which the film diverged from its source material didn’t stop at removing Bible verses. With each, I marveled at how well the film’s message continued to ring with L’Engle’s voice — “my stand for life against death.”

Overall, it carries a message of hope. In considering the basic tenets, concepts and beliefs of several religions, there is more to unite than divide.

Some see toeing the line of religious pluralism as pandering, but I believe the accusation is the true cop out. The film offers an opportunity to see how a variety of belief systems can coexist — a balance that harkens to the original controversy created by L’Engle’s book.

While “A Wrinkle in Time” was an instant hit among children and adults, it was famously first rejected by more than two dozen publishers.

Publishers didn’t necessarily see it as a Christian book; they saw it as a confusing jumble that defied categorization. In essence, “A Wrinkle in Time” seemed to read like a frightening blend of argument-starters: science fiction with biblical references, a children’s book with “adult” themes, a paean to the interconnectedness of physics and mysticism.

Some angrily accused the book of being a covert attempt to indoctrinate new believers. Meanwhile, some Christians charged L’Engle with attempting to lure young readers into the occult.

As a young reader, I was drawn to “A Wrinkle in Time” because it was science fiction. Today, I return to it because it’s a great example of living a life of faith in every moment of the day.

My religious beliefs are central to my life and a big reason I have written this column for nearly two decades. I enjoy emphasizing the connection between values, religion, morality, faith and spirituality and daily life.

For me, this is an exploration. If I share my personal beliefs, it’s typically unadorned by trappings of overt religious language. That’s because I don’t merely accept or “tolerate” differences; I embrace them. My own beliefs are reinforced when they’re exposed to a diversity of influences, thoughts and ideas.

Golden writes The Courier’s weekly faith and values column. Email her at onfaith@karrisgolden.com.

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