Friday, December 19, 2008

The Race That Knows Joseph

The story of Anne of Green Gables has a strong emphasis on friendship, especially in Anne's younger days. She calls her friends "kindred spirits". In a later book, Anne meets an older woman who uses the term, "race that knows Joseph". That thought always intrigued me and several years after reading that for the first time, I came across the biblical reference where she got the phrase. Exodus 1:8 gives the moment in time that Israel ceased its period of comfort in Egypt, while under Joseph's rule with the Pharaoh. "Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph." So, the reverse being that those who were believers in God, who followed Him, were of the group that "know Joseph".

All that to say this -- One of the most amazing earthly gifts that God has given us is fellowship with other believers. What joy they bring with their "kindred spirits" -- we're one in the body of Christ! Our fellowship with believers at its best encourages us, strengthens us, and shows love to us. Of course, it's the Holy Spirit living within us as believers that gives us the ability to do all of those things. When we accept Christ as the living Savior of our lives, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within our hearts, and we begin to show fruit of that -- love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control. What better qualities could you ask for in a friend?


Aaress said...

Thank you so much for your encouraging explanation! I've long been a fan of Lucy Maud Montgomery and this is the best analogy explaining the spiritual connotation behind the "race that knows Joseph" that I've ever read! I recently wrote a post about it on my blog here -

God bless!

geekylemur said...

I think your post is sweet, and I love that you found the Bible verse where the phrase comes from... However, being an avid Anne Shirley fan, I must disagree with your analysis of the meaning of this phrase.
These books are set in a very Christian environment. Most of the characters in these books are Christian, or at least claim Christian beliefs, however Anne experiences many people that are NOT of the race that know Joseph. For Anne, "kindred spirits" and fellow Joseph-knowers have very little to do with religious affiliation and everything to do with the general perspectives of these people. The race that know Joseph are people who never lose their childlike wonder, who see beauty and magic in the world around them.
Rachel Lynde is a strong Christian woman, as is Marilla Cuthbert; however, neither of these wonderful religious ladies are kindred spirits of Anne's nor are they of the race that know Joseph. Matthew was, however, because he always thrilled at Anne's imiginative ramblings. Aunt Josephine, who is a selfish person and by no means the best Christian character, IS of the race that knows Joseph for the same reasons that Matthew is.
Most of the characters in these books are Christian. However, your conclusion that being a Christian is what Anne considers the defining characteristic of belonging to the race that knows Joseph is incorrect.
Sorry, I don't mean to be a pain... I just had to point this out...
Once again, though, I am very happy that you found this verse! I had often wondered where the phrase came from... :)

jeni said...

Well, I didn't express myself very clearly, did I? :) I can see where the confusion arises. I didn't intend to imply that Anne's kindred spirits and those who are of the "race that knows Joseph" in the biblical sense are one and the same. Just that those are two ways of expressing connection with other people. Then, I borrowed the term "kindred spirits", not in the context of Anne's use of the phrase, but to describe the fellowship all believers share through the Holy Spirit. I don't believe Anne uses "kindred spirit" in a Spiritual context at all, nor do I think the term "race that knows Joseph" in the context of the books is spiritual in nature, just close friendship. I hope that clears it up! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

geekylemur said...

Thank you for your reply! My intention was certainly not to be a pain; I just felt I had to reply to what seemed at the time to be a gross misinterpretation of a concept that I hold very near and dear to my heart. Now that you've explained it, however, I can totally see where you were coming from! :)
Take care, and enjoy your reading!

Zippy said...

Perhaps if you two both knew Joseph you would be on the same page! Glad to see that you made amends. God bless.

Ali Weiss said...

I agree wholeheartedly with this! Very well put.