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An added resource for Christian parents who want to guide their children in the way of Christ


Let’s say your favorite TV show went off the air, or its story is complete and there’s nowhere else to go, but you’re invested and you’ve got some questions still lingering that won’t be answered anytime soon, if at all. That’s where our imaginations take over, and we start to craft explanations for why certain events happened the way they did. If we’re really invested, we may even think about the future, beyond the ending of the story. Or what if we loved the story at every point except one? Maybe that part is cringeworthy, bad enough that we might want to skip over it entirely and replace it with our own imagined version of events. That would be what we call headcanon, our alternative reality of a story.

When I first started writing, I delved into fanfictions, the type of fiction based on established stories and TV shows I enjoyed that I thought I could improve upon. I loved taking my imagination, and putting it on paper, and I craved the feedback of those who also enjoyed the show. We would all pine for a day when our favorite shows were written on the level our fanfics were.

But our preferred version of events and reality are far apart, and I saw that in every show that I watched. What the original creators made had its reasons, and as I put my pride to the side, I saw that they had a better vision most times than I or the other writers ever did.

Last week, my wife and I watched a Netflix show, Street Food USA. In it, we saw the story of a woman who turned to cooking to make ends meet, started a successful restaurant, and then lost her husband during the pandemic. My heart went out to her. I saw her lighting candles at what looked like a Catholic church, and on one of those candles I saw one of Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings of Jesus on the side of the candle glass. And then that word came back to me, headcanon. Jesus wasn’t a European, nor had he ever visited Europe. A more accurate picture would be a Middle-Eastern man, perhaps like one of your Muslim coworkers. But da Vinci’s picture of Jesus is many people’s headcanon.

What could be the problem with this? In some African-American circles, a black Jesus is their headcanon. How can this be a big deal?

For me, a picture is not the problem. The problem is the lack of knowledge people have about God, in the first place. Several years back, I conducted a survey of American Christians, from a diverse-enough background to be able to conclude it was representative of the average American Christian’s knowledge of Jesus. In the survey, I asked basic questions that were central to the character and identity of Jesus Christ, just to get an idea of the baseline knowledge we have. I asked questions like, what language did Jesus speak, where did he live, why did he describe himself as the “Son of Man,” etc.

(FYI, he spoke Aramaic, lived in Capernaum, and called himself the Son of Man because that pointed to the prophecy in the Book of Daniel, where the Messiah, the ‘son of man’ is given authority over God’s kingdom.)

The knowledge of God has been so distorted that American Christians who took the survey averaged 37% on the test. I don’t know about you, but where I come from, you can be black as night, but if you bring home a 37% on any kind of test, your butt will be red the next day.

What I’m describing to you is a problem called “biblical illiteracy”. It’s the idea that even though you can read the words on the page, you may be missing its meaning entirely. Life Corps exists to combat biblical illiteracy, and we do that by establishing a better headcanon for young readers, as close as possible to the original message of Jesus Christ. It will also include what we picture in the person of Jesus Christ, but it’ll also tackle how God expects us to live in the modern world.

In The Life and Times of Theodore Addison, you’ll see how that plays out in examples like: dealing with bullying, discerning between right and wrong, discerning between good and better, facing loss, facing rejection, dealing with cultural trauma, learning courage, and the list goes on. The character and nature of God is weaved throughout the stories in a way that doesn’t discourage kids, but engages them with relatable characters who fall and fail, just as we all do. Young readers who also struggle with right and wrong will find themselves in good company with the characters in the books. Go ahead and pick it up, and let’s begin to shape their headcanon.

About The Author

Jamaal Fridge is the author of The Life and Times of Theodore Addison book series. As an evangelist, he looks for ways to engage people with the Gospel, and uses books as one outlet. You can learn about him and other contributors to this work at this link.