The Wall is a Christian Allegory about the Truth, alluding to the teaching that Jesus claims to be the Truth (and the Life etc) – like the Wall. When Truth exists (which is the Christian message) it’s actually a lot more important how we respond to it than identifying or agreeing on its exact nature.
For example denominational splits and differing theology within the Christian church can detract us from the fact that the Truth (the Wall) actually exists, and like the Wall, always has. Likewise the various approaches of ignoring it, commercialising it, avoiding it, hating it and so on are more an indication of our personal issues than that of the Wall. In the Western world there is a deep historical cultural recognition that Christ (and therefore Christianity) is the Truth. People particularly from Europe and increasingly the USA have been rebelling against this historical cultural bias which is different to those of the East who have a different historical cultural bias largely absent from Christian influences. Thus for Christians wanting to share their faith, teaching those from the East generally requires us to explain that the Wall is Christ, whereas teaching those from the West requires us to highlight our individual responses to the Wall of Truth, not so much that the Wall is Christ (or Christianity). You see this most clearly when the name of Jesus is spoken and the Western world switches off, usually dissing the church or religion in the process. While this may be perfectly understandable at a surface level, it is a break-down in logic, where largely valid criticism of people or religious systems are used to deny the Truth, are represented in the short story as people who hate the wall because it brings a shadow on their land, but failing to accept that the Wall is still there and keeps the foxes out of their land. Using the short story The Wall in a religious discussion can be a powerful way to demonstrate faulty logic, highlight personal attitudes and bring people to see their true selves, especially with those from the Western cultures.
For as long as anyone could remember, the entire valley had talked and argued about the wall.
They’d have discussions about when it was built and end up in fights. Some families said that it had always been there. Others claimed that their great, great, great, grandparents’ uncles’ second cousin’s father had built it. Others claimed that it was the Romans who were responsible for it. Some even called it the work of Aliens and others claimed that it had religious significance and talked about God doing it all for some crazy reason!
One enterprising family had spun a story about it in the United States and had a steady stream of visitors all arriving to take photos of it. Incredibly they received admission fees and huge tips just for showing it to them and giving guided tours.
Every now and then people in white suits and thick glasses would come and visit to measure study and write reports about it. The TV cameras would roll on up when it was election time and politicians would all line up to get their photos taken in front of it, then they’d disappear until the next election when the whole show would be repeated.
Some families built a retractable ladder device so that people could climb over it. Another family dug a tunnel under it and another build an embankment over it so you could just get a horse and cart over it, if it wasn’t muddy and the horse was cooperative.
One family even reckoned that if you walked three days into the bush that you could get around it, but no-one ever dared to try and the people didn’t trust their story when push came to shove!
Some families refused to believe all the hogwash and never bothered to visit it – “Can’t be bothered; too divisive; all bunkum anyway!” were their thoughts. Others called it a fortress not a wall and explained that the ghosts of some lost tribe of cannibals lived on the other side of it. Others were scared of it because of the Leprechauns under it.
Some loved it because they said it kept the foxes away. Others hated it because it kept the sun off their fields.
One thing that they all agreed upon though was that the wall was divisive. It not only divided the village physically, it divided them emotionally too. After every village meeting there was always someone who would come away arguing about that confounded wall!
A generation or two back, one family had taken to it with hammers and pick axes and they still have the bent equipment to show for it. And there’s still the chip marks on the wall to prove their stupidity.
Another family of morons send their boys up every week to bang their heads against it, almost like an offering to the Gods. Quite often you can see the blood on the ground after they’ve all had their turns bashing their brains against it.
Apparently for years one Indian guru sat on the top of it in a trance trying to lift it away. Nobody knows where he went to eventually but the wall is still there.
A man came into town recently and went from house to house chatting with the different people about the wall. His observations were quite astute when you thought about his words. He said that all the different people approached the wall from different angles, with different opinions, for different reasons with different objectives and while the wall was the same, it was the different peoples’ attitudes and responses to the wall that actually mattered, not the wall. Some used it to profit. Others hurt from their engagement with it and others were simply unaffected.
It’s a little bit like the Truth isn’t it?
The Truth exists but what is infinitely more important than the Truth is our response to it. We can use it, deny it, ignore it, go around it, fight it or accept it and benefit from it.
Now that’s got you thinking hasn’t it?