THE ADVENTURES OF CARA ON PLANET EARTH
By Forrest W. Schultz
Sherry Thompson’s Narentan Tumults series begins with Seabird, one of the best fantasy books I have ever read, whose greatness is due primarily to its attractive central character, Cara Marshall, whose absence from the ensuing books in the series to date is lamented by her fans, one of whom, Michael Dunne, expresses the hope that he’ll meet Cara again.
I am pleased to announce my discovery that Cara is continuing her adventures here on Earth, beginning at the very moment she was returned from Narenta. But here she has no exalted title nor does she battle enemies like the sorcerers on Narenta but rather foes like the student bullies at her high school. And, rather than being in the limelight, she stays in the background and encourages others to lead the battles.
In one sense this seems like a different Cara, but it isn’t: it is Cara adapted to her current environment – a senior in high school in a small rural town. Cara does NOT resent her return to her humble milieu, but embraces it and decides to bloom where she is planted: and bloom she does, as you will see in the episodes narrated here. And these stories are written for you not as works of literature, but as simple statements of what has happened in Cara’s life since her return, which are quite interesting in themselves and not in need of any literary embellishment.
OK, here now, without any further ado, are
THE ADVENTURES OF CARA ON PLANET EARTH !!
CARA # 1 -- THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST BULLYING
After Cara completed her mission on Narenta, she was returned to Earth at the exact time and exact place from which she had been taken. The beach was the same but Cara was now a very different person.
She immediately had the opportunity to express her new self here as she saw the class bully, Melissa, threatening several little kids. Cara had named her Mal – issa, because, unlike Abraham Lincoln, she had malice toward all and charity toward none!
As Cara approached Malissa and “called her out”, she was reminded of her encounter with the Narentan sorceress Rabada, except that Melissa was not beyond redemption, so that she treated her accordingly.
She rapidly immobilized Mal and threw her on top of an incoming wave. Mal’s shock was so great that all she could do was sputter, “How in the world did you do that??!!”.
Cara wasted no time in getting to the point. “I will explain later, but for now what I want is for you to join me in my campaign against bullying.” Mel immediately consented, “Yeah! I’d like to! When do we start?”
Cara's reply was that Mel would be in charge of mobilizing and organizing a lot of concerned students as anti-bullying "police": enough to monitor all places outside the school building and in the school buses and inside the school building: classrooms, hallways, lockers, cafeteria, restrooms, etc. with the purpose of (preferably) preventing bullying, and of stopping it if it breaks out. (Mel had no problem doing so: the students were wowed by the leading bully now running an anti-bullying campaign!!)
Cara then explained to Mel that the scope of the campaign was not limited to bullying as ordinarily understood, but also included the abolition of football because of all the harm its collision and tackling involve, which has finally and very belatedly being given attention in the news. They had to move very rapidly because there was just barely enough time to get the high school football team abolished and replaced by a soccer team. Their first stop was to visit the person who would be in charge of that: her friend Harry, who was the Quarterback, (who immediately agreed, with gusto, because of his great concern, so great he was seriously considering dropping off the team). Well, to make a long story short, he along with Mel and Cara quickly got everyone on board – the coaches, principal, cheerleaders, student council, school board, etc. – so that, just in time the football team was abolished and replaced with a soccer team!! WOW AND WOW AND WOW and this was not only a great achievement but LOTS OF FUN !!! And, this is just the beginning – lots more adventures were to come!!
As important as this is, there is something even more important, and, in fact, of greatest import. When Cara met for the last time with Alphesis immediately prior to her return to Earth, she expressed her sorrow at having to leave Him. He told her in very plain words, just as Aslan told Lucy in Narnia, that He was also present on Earth (where He has a different Name), which she soon found to be the case, and He is the One now guiding her and helping her here!!
More will be said about this in Cara’s next adventure (Cara #2), which will be especially interesting because it itself deals with interesting things!! So, stay tuned!!
CARA # 2: THE INTERESTING NATURE OF SCIENCE & HISTORY CAMPAIGN
If this were a TV series, I would begin by saying, “Previously on Cara…”: and then proceed to note that as soon as Cara returned to Earth (during her summer vacation prior to her senior year) she set into motion for her high school: (1). An anti-bullying campaign headed by the former chief bully [Melissa]; and (2). A campaign led by the Quarterback [Harry] to replace football with soccer! The newspapers loved reporting these, using headlines like “Former Bully Heads Anti-Bullying Campaign” and “Quarterback Leads Campaign To Abolish Football”. Cara was rarely mentioned, which is exactly what she wanted! Her purpose is to set things into motion, not to run them or gain notoriety.
She followed this same principle in her next project: having high school subjects taught so that the interesting things in them would be included in the textbooks and classes instead of being excluded, as is usually done now, which makes it look like the subject is boring. One step toward rectifying this in Cara’s high school was unwittingly taken right after the end of the last academic year when a biology teacher was hired, Jane Smith, who was named after Jane Goodall, and who even worked for Goodall for a while, and who taught all the interesting stuff in biology in her classes. Cara rejoiced in this although, of course, she was not involved. Cara now did get involved by taking steps to get two more interesting teachers on the faculty. One is Kurt Schmidt, who was named after Kurt Goedel, and studied under him for a while at the special advanced study program up at Princeton. Cara’s uncle, who is an engineer and a friend of Schmidt, at Cara’s entreaty, asked him to become a teacher at Cara’s high school; and Cara rejoiced when he agreed, was interviewed by the Principal and hired. He is very knowledgeable on the interestingness of Goedel’s Theorem and other things in math and physics and logic, which he will include in his class lectures.
The next addition to the faculty was Dr. Ernest Donald, an excellent young historian, whom Cara persuaded to join the faculty where he now teaches US & World & NJ history and also Latin, and delights in telling his students all the interesting stuff in them.
Dr. Donald is also an excellent comedian who uses humor in his teaching. The only comedian in the USA which I know of who is funnier is Donald Trump! The students, recognizing this, call him “The Donald in Our School”, claiming that the only one who can trump him is Trump!
Cara’s grandfather has shared with Cara a lot of interesting things he knows about all kinds of stuff. Cara in turn has shared some of this with the teachers via her assigned papers, and with many of the students, who often use these in the papers they write for class. This plus the popularity of the three interesting faculty members – Miss Smith and Mr. Schmidt and Dr. Donald – began to gradually affect the other teachers, some of whom are now also beginning to include interesting stuff in the classes they teach.
Cara’s grandfather told Cara that the reason that there are so many interesting things in all subjects is that God is interesting, a fact which has been omitted from the systematic theology books. Yesterday Cara went with him on a trip to Philly where he turned over a copy of all his research into these interesting things to a young theologian who will be including them in a new systematic theology book he is now composing.
The most recent interesting thing that her grampa wrote was a response to an answer someone gave to the question of what the Devil’s greatest triumph was: this person claimed it was the Devil convincing people that he does not exist. Cara’s grampa rebutted this by claiming that the Devil’s greatest triumph was to convince people that the Devil is interesting, and God is boring. The truth is that The Devil is boring and God is interesting.
CARA # 3: SMALL & LOCAL CAN BE BEAUTIFUL
Cara’s first two achievements after her return from Narenta greatly improved her high school by making it free from harm from bullies and football injuries, and by encouraging the teachers to include the interesting things in the subjects they teach. Cara’s third achievement has just begun and will be improving and expanding as more and more people put into practice the recommendations recently reached by the local think tank. Cara contributed much to the thoughts behind their manifesto but her main contribution was to get them to start DOING them instead of just discussing them!
The first recommendation was that people should get married shortly after puberty so they can enjoy their marriage sooner and can more easily avoid sexual temptations. The other recommendations are closely related to this. People also begin working at a younger age than they do now, which in turn involves the adoption of a work/study program similar to the co-op plan developed long ago by Drexel U. in Philly, where students earn much higher pay at these co-op jobs than the typical kind of jobs college students are now able to get, e.g. working at Mickey-D’s. In other words, they start working at good jobs while going to college instead of having to wait until they graduate. Eventually also the current 12 grade system will be reduced to 8 grades with students learning more material at younger ages, which is not only possible but which was done in the nineteenth century, as can be seen by looking at the McGuffey Readers and other textbooks used then. This will make it easier for marriage to occur shortly after puberty, because it will coincide with the ending of the 8 grades. And the “classical school” methodology will be used, the one advocated by Dorothy Sayers. AND, heeding Cara’s warning, those advocating this do NOT refer to the current retrograde system as a “Dumbing Down” of education because this terminology is indicative of the very thing they are opposing. (See if you can figure out why!)
This plan also advocates working at or near one’s home either by continuing to work for a big company far away but doing your work at home on your computer to avoid the outrageous amount of time (and gasoline) wasted in commuting or, preferably, working at or near your home in your own business which you establish. AND in this set up it is not just the woman returning to the home but the man also, who establishes his business there with his wife as his administrative assistant, which also avoids the sexual temptations when his wife works for another man. This plan therefore does NOT adopt the usual plan most small towns do, namely trying to get a big company to build a factory in or near their town. The idea is to preserve the nature of the small town where people know and care about each other and where in this town there are small stores of all kinds so people can shop there instead of driving to a humongous shopping mall some distance away. Cara’s grandfather had a great influence on her thinking when he told of the small town near the farm where he grew up – this town had EVERYTHING in it – the elementary and high school to which he went, as well as their doctor, their dentist, their barber, their bank, their post office, their grocery stores, hardware store, pharmacy, bakery, photographer, movie theatre, and the people living in the town could walk to most things or at most drive their car a few blocks to get to where they wanted. Our modern setup is NOT an advance but a RETROGRESSION!! The next main recommendation in this plan is to pay cash for everything, including houses. And since hardly anyone today can afford to pay the outrageously outrageous high prices of today’s new houses, they advocate systems such as the Amish use where the whole congregation builds the house or barn for the family needing it or something like the plan used by Habitat For Humanity. AND when a church needs a new building the members work together to build it, which was done by a church which Cara’s grandfather went to several decades ago. And, finally, settle down in a small town and stay there – quit all this stupid moving. Btw, this is easy to prove from the Bible from looking at the passage talking about the qualifications for an elder. The only way this can be known is if people live in a place long enough to know the man, which they can’t do if they keep moving.
CARA # 4: CARA AND HARRY PLAN TO MARRY
Cara and Harry are planning to marry immediately after their high school graduation in June. And they both will be attending (part-time) the college located a few miles from their town, and they both will be working (part-time) for Harry’s parents, who are the co-founders/co-owners of a candy store on Main Street behind which is the large building where the candy is made, about half of which they sell in their store, and the other half is bought by several stores in nearby towns.
Harry lives with his parents on Third Street, a block behind the candy manufacturing building, AND next door to the house where Cara lives with her parents. So, Yes!, Cara will marry “the boy next door, who works at the candy store”! Cara says that she was not influenced by the famous song by Johnny CASH, but she says that the song might have been counter=productive if it had been sung by Johnny CREDIT!! Ha! Ha! Ha! Yes, Cara has not only returned to Earth but her humor is very “down to Earth”!!
Because of their community improvement work and their good grades in high school, Cara and Harry have each been awarded full tuition scholarships to the college!! Their only expense will be the (high!) cost of their textbooks and the (low) cost of commuting to the college, which is only a fifteen minute drive away.
Cara and Harry after they marry will be moving into a house given to them by Cara’s father, who recently inherited it from his uncle. Her father will also pay for the renovation cost and the furniture.
Their jobs at the candy company will be low paying at first but they will soon be promoted to managerial level jobs, which will be high paying, and then, after they graduate from college, the business will be given to them, and then Harry’s parents will be enjoying a long-awaited and much deserved retirement beginning with a cruise around the world.
The local think tank manifesto plus the example Cara and Harry are setting by following its principles is affecting many other community residents and former community residents. For example, several young adults who had moved from the community to a big city have changed their minds and have returned to their roots. One young man, disgusted with city life, has returned to take over his father’s business, a local German bakery; and a young woman for similar reasons has come back to take over her mother’s salon.
Much more could be said but this, I believe, will suffice to show that Cara is doing fine and does not resent her return, and the adventures just keep on coming, small though they may be. And Cara has never regretted their size – she has never, like Naaman did to Elisha, complained of not being given “some great thing” to do!!. We would do well to follow her example! Amen!
There are many other worthy and interesting deeds Cara did after she returned to Earth. Those I have narrated here are but a sample which are presented to you to show you that Cara's adventures did not cease after she was returned to Earth.
These adventures of Cara continued and will continue for the rest of her life here on Planet Earth and for the life she will then lead in the New Heavens and New Earth. In short, the adventures of Cara on Planet Earth will never cease!! Amen & Amen !!!
Forrest W. Schultz
February 22, 2016