I realize that’s a long title. It also may be a bit shocking to my Christian readers, especially considering the fact that I am a Christian.
So what do I like about Tiffany Aching that I don’t like about most Christian books? Personal responsibility.
In Pratchett’s Discworld books, witches are the nurses/midwives/judges/wise-women of the community. They are the ones that will do what needs to be done, regardless of whether it is popular or not. They visit the sick, feed the poor, and help the helpless. Let’s be honest, if Jesus Christ was born on the Discword, there’s a good chance that he would have been a witch.
But the thing about Tiffany Aching, even among the other witches in her world, is that she will never pass the buck when something is her fault. She accepts the responsibility for her actions, for her mistakes, and for her ignorance.
I think one of the most dangerous aspects of Christianity is in the ability to pass off responsibility to other people or to God himself. It is too simple to say that some horrible thing is acceptable because it is God’s will that it should be that way. We avoid helping people because God is probably punishing them for some sin in their life. And the thing is this: I can’t say that God’s will isn’t for bad things to happen or for people to be punished for their sins.
But using God’s will as a cover for avoiding personal responsibility only reinforces the belief among atheists and agnostics that Christians are more concerned with their comfort and their appearances than they are with the people we were called to reach.
So if you want a good book series for your kids to read that will encourage them to love other people as God loves the church, find a Tiffany Aching book and embrace your inner Discworld witch.