day and gladdest day were just three days apart!“ ~~
Happy Easter! I hope you all have a blessed holiday
filled with love and hope!
PS- Kim's follow-up to "Glad Tidings" has been added to
Cut and can be read here.
In honor of Easter and because I wanted something quick so I
wouldn't have to actually work on this on Easter Sunday... I
returned to tvtropes.org to find tropes
that somehow figure into the Dyeland stories' depiction of
Joshua aka Yeshua aka Jesus. Turns out there were
Beauty- TBAA had a good looking cast so this was largely
inherited. However, even those angels I've created fall
into this. Eli looks like Jesse L. Martin who is quite
handsome. Violeta is stated to be very beautiful and
Snow White-like. Reuel looks like a movie "hot
Jesus." Andrew, actually, is a bit of a subversion,
though. He's stated to be just a bit less good looking
than John Dye. Even JenniAnn agrees with this so it's
likely true. The Angel of the Lord has not yet appeared
in Dyeland stories but for those who interpret that to be God
the Son... he probably subverts this trope.
Pre-Incarnate Joshua and Incarnate Yeshua look the same and
he's not a looker. That being said...
Beauty is on the Inside- Joshua is incredibly
handsome! Well, so says those who know and love him
really, really well. While Maryam is probably perfectly
aware that her son doesn't match the cultural standards of
beauty, she thinks he's handsome. Violeta, on the other
hand, is probably shocked that not everyone thinks Joshua is
handsome. He's only ever been her super-awesome Creator
who dances with her and comforts her so her Daddy's
Girlness overrides any other aesthetic
considerations. Meanwhile, JenniAnn probably wouldn't
ascribe "handsome" to Joshua but takes it a step further and
dubs him perfect looking.
Not My Father- This is a trope I've deliberately avoided
with Joshua and Yosef. I actually have seen/read
Jesus-themed things where this happens. I can't imagine
Joshua and Yosef having this moment, though. For one,
they don't get into ugly fights. For another, they
utterly believe they're father and son. That they have
no biological connection doesn't matter. That Joshua is
begotten of the Father matters deeply but doesn't change the
fact that Yosef raised Joshua. Joshua would no sooner
say Yosef wasn't his father than tell Andrew that he's not
Adopted- See above. Yosef and Joshua are
thrilled to be father and son. All the adopted kids
and parents in the Dyeland stories are this.
Hybrid- Another one that the Dyeland stories actually
end up doing away with. Lots of people thought/think
Vincent from Beauty and the Beast is this. Most
likely half-human/half-lion. In the Dyeland universe,
Vincent is... Irish. He's fully human. Joshua was
just being creative. One would not be wrong to assume
that Joshua chose for Vincent to look that way because of the
Lion of Judah/Aslan. At least a handful of times,
Vincent has been a comfort to people because he reminds them
of Jesus/Aslan. On that note...
Shapeshifting- Joshua can do this. Thus far, the
Dyeland stories have only depicted him turning into a
butterfly and a different looking man (aka Jack). In the
last Christmas story, he told Caleb (or was it Edward?) that
he does sometimes appear as a lion.
Single- Entirely subverted in Dyeland stories.
JenniAnn thought that Maryam and Yosef might prefer this
sleeping arrangement but Joshua quickly put her to rights and
Maryam and Yosef get to violate the Hays
Code to their holy hearts' content.
One's Offspring- Sadly, a number of characters have
experienced this including but not limited to Maryam
(temporarily... Happy Easter!), Raquel, Vincent, Catherine,
and Kelly. This is one of the things that makes Andrew's
and Monica's family situations especially poignant.
While they all trust that Joshua has something planned, no one
is quite sure how the angels will "go back to normal" and not
end up permanently aged and watching generations of their
family die. Taking it deeper, this is Joshua's
reality. He will, at some point, see every single one of
his children die. But death is not the end, naturally.
Patronymic- Several of the characters have surnames that
point to either their parents or ancestors further back.
In the first century, they were Yeshua ben Yosef, Yosef ben
Yaqob, and Yohannan ben Zakharia. In the modern era,
Joshua, Maryam, and Yosef all use Davidson while John uses
Aaronson. A variation is Fr. Mike whose last name,
Solas, is actually an acronym meaning Son of Lewellyn and
Afterlife Antechamber- Joshua's island is this.
JenniAnn goes there after being shot. Spirits from
Heaven proper can go there to visit with the in-between
person. It's multi-purpose as Joshua also uses it as a
sort of halfway house (Eben goes there after leaving Sheol)
and some place people can occasionally get to in their
dreams. Andrew and JenniAnn were both there during the
former's captivity in Afghanistan. Emma and Joshua were
there when the former had her epiphany about the latter during
Bureaucracy- TBAA had a bit of this (think Ruth) but
I've tried to steer completely away from it. The problem
is it assumes God needs to deputize people. God
is all powerful and omnipresent. God could handle every
single job if He wants to. The Dyeland stories maintain
some of TBAA's celestial structure. There are
supervisors and trainees. There are angels who are a bit
smug and overly proper. But God, in the person of
Joshua, is shown to not need any of them and is
perfectly willing to intervene personally if someone gets out
of line. Joshua and the Father put those structures in
place solely for the angels' own benefit and because they want
them to feel a part of things. Who doesn't want work
that feels worthwhile and invigorating? Who doesn't want
to feel part of a loving team? Whatever bureaucracy
exists in the Heaven of the Dyeland stories, it can be shifted
at any moment and exists only for the mutual betterment of
everyone evolved. I've also done away with TBAA's
development structure that tended to have Choir then Search
and Rescue and/or Annunciations then Caseworking and then AOD
or Supervisor. The angels in Dyeland could bounce all
over in no particular order. Each is on an
individualized path chosen by God and themselves. Take
Violeta who went from Records right into AOD work, albeit with
a supervisor in Andrew.
to the Dead- The Dyelanders and their cohorts take this
very seriously... a lot because Joshua takes it very
seriously. Even before becoming involved with the
Dyelanders to any great extent, Behnam is determined to give
his sister, Badriya, a proper burial. Catherine travels
clear over to Ireland to spread Cora's ashes over her
husband's grave. Joshua and Abraham show up to say
Kaddish over a mass grave at a concentration camp. Tiva
helped JenniAnn prepare Chava's body and, despite not
believing in Joshua at the time, was committed to accurately
depicting Jesus' burial in Jesus Christ Superstar.
Josef was distressed when faced with difficulties surrounding
Sarah's burial so the Dyelanders stepped in to offer a burial
plot and service.
Method Acting- Has never happened in a Dyeland story,
thankfully. However, JenniAnn was scared of this fate
befalling Joshua and, years in the future, Emma is concerned
about Peter having a heart attack while on the cross.
Sacrifice- Joshua, of course. But also Lor who was
shot while shielding Cora and, unbeknownst to him, an unborn
Vincent. Badriya was killed while trying to protect
Andrew and Max. (ETA: And David! I can't believe I
forgot him before. He sacrificed himself for his wife
Nationality- While the Friends are very firm in their
belief that Joshua is Jewish and born in Judea, they can't
populate the entire JCS cast with the same. Peter, who
currently plays Jesus, is half-Scottish and
half-Mexican. Zeke, an African-American, plays
Judas. Violeta isn't even human but appears Caucasian
and plays Mary of Nazareth who, again, is Judean Jewish.
With the exception of Monica, all the other angels are playing
humans so basically Fake Species. It's also Colorblind
Casting since Violeta and Peter, playing mother and son,
aren't the same race and there's no guarantee the apostles who
are supposed to be siblings will be played by actors of the
same ethnicity. They may or may not be, all depending on
who is available during a given run. And while still
under the broad umbrella of Middle-Eastern, Behnam and Isra
who are Afghani play Maryam and Yosef... who are not natives
Final Goodbye- Well, maybe not so final... but Joshua
has this. The opening number of JCS' second act
essentially re-enacts Yeshua's good bye to his Twelve.
Joshua sort of subverted this with some people, though.
He later admits to JenniAnn that he didn't let any of the
women go to Gethsemane with him because he was afraid that he
wouldn't have been able to leave them. He did manage
quiet, even unnoticeable good byes with them, though.
Andrew manages to get a final conversation with Joshua before
his Crucifixion but Joshua doesn't even realize he's the dying
father Andrew is mourning.
Amnesia- Joshua, by choice. During the
Incarnation, all memories of His life as God the Son were
erased. Hence, he didn't recognize the angels who
occasionally popped up during his ministry even though he
created them and has had several long, emotional talks with
them. For that matter, he also didn't remember creating
humanity, the animals, the world. Nothing. When
Joshua incarnates among the Friends, a less encompassing
amnesia occurs. Despite having previously known
everything they would ever say or do during their entire
lives, he "forgets" it so he can have normal conversations
with them. The Friends sometimes take advantage of this
to surprise him.
Execution- Yeah... "The
Carpenter" contains Andrew's account, given to JenniAnn,
of Joshua's scourging and Crucifixion. And the Friends
re-enact it every single Lent at St. Genesius'.
Old Man Marrying a Child- You know those paintings you
sometimes see of a young, fair Mary with her grizzled, graying
husband? Yosef's not a fan. He's so bothered by a
nativity scene at a department store that Maryam "magically"
turns the old Joseph figurine's hair black to comfort
Yosef. While an 18/19 year old getting engaged to a 14
year old girl is shocking to us now, it would have been the
norm for Maryam and Yosef and would definitely not be cause
for saddling Yosef with the "old man" label.
Rescued from the Underworld- This is basically what the
Harrowing of Hell is about. "The
of Laughter," and "Shadowlands"
all make reference to Joshua going to Hell/Sheol after his
Crucifixion and collecting Yosef, Yohannan, Isaaq, and
others. Andrew causes Eben and a bunch of Nephilim
shades to leave Sheol in "Shadowlands."
Genetic Memory- This is one of those things that either
is or isn't in Dyeland stories depending on your
interpretation. Ever wonder why Belle just toddled on up
to her uncle Behnam in "Hope
and Healing" despite never having seen him
before? It's possible that her birth mother's memories
of her big brother pointed Belle to her uncle. But it
could also just be that Belle's extremely friendly. One
could also imagine that some of the Friends were quicker to
recognize Joshua because their ancestors may have personally
known him. Who knows.
Scheme- Joshua, all the way. He subtly alters the
lyrics to JCS' "Gethsemane" to drive home the point that God
the Son aka himself was as much a part of the "scheme" as God
the Father was. There are even hints of Joshua having
one-on-ones with the angels to tell them about his plan prior
to the Incarnation.
They Died Because of You- All of the Friends have had to
grapple with this. Even the angels eventually realize
that while Joshua didn't die directly for them, he died so
that they could enjoy their current lives. Imagine how
Adam would feel if Kylie and Clay were consigned to Sheol
after their deaths? Or Andrew or Monica thinking the
same of their little ones? And then there's
JenniAnn... She was actually testing Joshua's JCS
Crucifixion make-up when she realized she was recreating the
same wounds on Joshua that Joshua endured to save her and
everyone she knows. Kemara struggles a lot with guilt
stemming from this when she learns the truth about Joshua's
true identity. Joshua does a very good job of keeping
any of the Friends but getting too burdened by this.
Boy- Joshua is the epitome of the best strain of this
one. He may have always existed but he's not too old to
lay his head in his Ama's lap or listen to her and his Abi
the Baby a Father- St. Joseph is even mentioned on this
one. The Dyeland stories make him even more an example
of this. While he was already betrothed to Maryam when
she conceived Yeshua, he ends up renewing his vow to marry
her. In the present day, Yosef insists that even if
Yeshua had been conceived via rape as he initially feared
pre-visitation by Gabe, he still would have married Maryam and
fled the country, raising the baby as his own. While
there's no way to prove this hypothetical, "Believe"
provides strong reason to accept it. Upon finding Maryam
pregnant, Yosef was more horrified by the idea that he'd
failed to protect his beloved than that she might have
actually cheated on him.
Human Mom, Non-Human Dad- Guess Who? This could
actually apply to Belle, too, albeit not biologically.
Father, Like Son- Despite not being biologically
related, Joshua and Yosef are a lot alike. They're both
carpenters and both devout Jews... up until their religious
law runs against their compassion. They can both have
very visceral emotional reactions. They are very fond of
sweets. Both are loyal to those they love even if others
turn their noses up... Yosef marries a pregnant girl,
Yeshua spends his time with prostitutes and tax collectors,
both befriend a homeless, mentally ill man. They're both
very affectionate (kissing, holding hands) and don't care how
this looks to the modern world. Maryam likely never felt
unloved with these two around. And, of course, they both
love God the Father immensely.
Love is Boring- Maryam and Yosef completely defy
this. They've known each other since Maryam was 2 weeks
old and been together since she was fourteen. They're so
much a part of each other that after Yosef's death, Maryam
continued to sleep with his robe, presumably until her own
death. Far from bored over 2,000 years later, they still
enjoy being in each other's company and go out of their way to
please each other. Yosef even made wedding rings for
them both to wear. It goes without saying that they're
in a Seduction-Proof
Pals with Jesus- The Dyeland stories turn a bunch of the
TBAA angels into this. Others who haven't been mentioned
in Dyeland stories are implied to be this.
with God- Because Joshua makes himself less than
omnipotent when with the Friends, they have opportunities for
this. In "The Carpenter," Joshua is at first against
JenniAnn and Kemara going to a raunchy dance club with him and
Andrew to rescue Emma. Then JenniAnn points out that, as
angry as she is, Emma is bound to flee to the ladies' room
when she sees Joshua. Knowing that, as a man, he can't
enter the ladies' room, Joshua concedes and Kemara and
JenniAnn come along. Even before that, Joshua was taken
aback by the idea of moving into Cora's house and Andrew had
to put aside some of his concerns before Joshua accepted.
Not-Love Interest- Joshua... with so many people!
Arthur saw JenniAnn kiss Joshua and worried they were having
an affair since, given he didn't know Joshua's true identity,
he failed to recognize it as a father-daughter moment.
Upon seeing the white JenniAnn, Middle Eastern Joshua, and a
half-Afghani Belle, Beatrice called them out as a biracial
couple with an out-of-wedlock kid. Way off. When
Joshua showed up as Owen's "date" for his grandma's birthday,
he was assumed to be Owen's boyfriend. Derek accused
Joshua of sleeping with Emma. A jeweler thought Peter
and Joshua were a couple when they came looking for Emma's
engagement ring. And then there's everything with Mary
Unfettered- Joshua is the most noble variant of
this. His mission is to love, completely and utterly,
and nothing is going to stop him. Yeshua endured agony
to accomplish his purpose. In the lead up to that, he
was constantly threatened and his reputation was torn to
shreds. If he cared, he didn't let it stop him.
While Joshua doesn't face the same sort of danger, he is
similarly unmoved when people take swipes at him.
Whether accusing him of loose morals (see the listing above)
or saying cruel things to him or threatening violence, none of
the trouble-making characters ever succeed in making Joshua
stray from his path. That being said... he will get
riled when someone targets a loved one. He kept his cool
when speaking to Beatrice... up until she called JenniAnn a
whore. He was even courteous to Owen's homophobic
parents until Calvin called Owen "disgusting" and Joshua
became downright antagonistic.
is Not Soft- John is nice and cuddly and rather
amusing... but don't forget he's the same man who slung pretty
harsh insults at the king and his wife. Yeshua was very
much the same when it came to hypocritical religious leaders
and Joshua won't hesitate to give people like Calvin and Derek
verbal lashings. Michael is completely untroubled by
scaring the bejeezus out of the hate group members.
The Patron Saints of Dyeland
Keeping in the Christian vein, I thought it'd be fun to
consider what future Dyelanders might assign to the current
Dyelanders as patron saints. If you've read about
El-Chanan, one of the Sibling Cities, you know that they
honor the saints held in common with earthly Christianity
but have also picked a few of their own over the thousands
of years they've existed. Therefore, it's not out of
the realm of possibility that the characters we're reading
about now could eventually be named saints by their
descendants. For now, here's what Kim and I came up
with... some funny, some serious!
St. Andrew- Patron of adoptive fathers, PTSD survivors, and
people with poor taste in shoes.
St. JenniAnn- Patron of the childless who wish for children
and against eating disorders. Also patroness of those
harboring feelings for angels of death.
St. Vincent- Patron of homeschool teachers, those with
facial differences, and people who can recite every
Shakespeare play and poem on command.
St. Owen- Patron of T-shirt canon operators, snarky people,
and creators of religious art.
St. Eric- Patron of reformed players and against floor
St. Emma- Patron of sexual abuse survivors, theatre
operators, and restaurant workers whose patrons settle their
bills entirely in change.
St. Peter- Patron of actors depicting Jesus and co-patron of
St. Arthur- Patron of fathers separated from their children
St. Monica- Patron of caffeine addicts and coffee growers.
St. Violeta- Patron of shepherds and hair stylists.
St. Adam- Patron of knitters and cake decorators.
St. Kemara- Patron saint of totally exasperated,
St. Sean- Patron saint of model builders who realize that
one essential piece is missing.
This newsletter is dedicated to John
Dye for reminding us, as Andrew, of the true message of
Easter: God loves you and has prepared a place for you in
your eternal Home.
(Photo Credits: The majority of the photographs used on this
page are from Touched by an Angel and owned by CBS
Productions, Caroline Productions, and Moon Water
Productions. The top photo is from FreeBibleImages
and originally from the Lumo Project's
fantastic Gospel of John starring Selva
Rasalingham which you should totally see! They are not
being used to seek profit.)