Assessing Walt’s Worldview

Everyone has a worldview, a way of thinking about or perceiving the world through the lens of their own experiences, ideologies and misconceptions. I am a follower of Christ, as such I attempt to perceive life through a biblical worldview. I do not always succeed. I am, however, able with mindful examination to discern the way I *should* view things when I stop and try to run things through the filter of Scripture. Spoiler alert, I often get it pretty wrong before doing this and still likely get it wrong after but with each pass through I am hopefully getting closer to the truth.

Accepting that everyone has a worldview that changes the way they see reality & therefore the way they present reality makes it strange that I rarely stop to consider the worldview presented in my entertainment. Maybe it’s because in our culture entertainment is often prided as being “mindless” so of course thinking to heavily about it would be silly right?

I also happen to be a huge Disney fan, a Disney Nerd if you will, who loves that shining beacon of capitalism and wholesome family fun; from the parks to the movies and everything in between. But what if the worldview of my favorite mouse creator is at odds with my own? What if, by sharing my favorite films and stories without deeper discussion, I am slowly indoctrinating my children to see the world in a way I believe is false?

I was reading an article in the current issue of “The Classical Difference” called “The Jungle Book Unearths Cultural Treasure” that used Kipling’s Jungle Book & the 1967 and 2016 Disney movie versions to highlight the underlying worldview shifts that subtly change the message of each retelling when it hit me that good ole Walt Disney and I don’t see eye to eye!

****I am using Walt Disney as a figurehead for the Disney corporation, obviously he did not write each movie and he himself was purported to be a Christian but the Disney corporation is made of members of society and therefore reflect the worldview of the time and place around them in their work.****

As I started thinking through many of my favorite Disney films I found big ideas I just can’t get behind when taken out of a cartoon context…so why I am I cool with them as long as they are voiced by a colorful, non-existent character?

Some of these ideas include:

Aladdin: The End Justifies the Means, I mean we are cool with Aladdin stealing to eat because he’s poor but then we are cool with him lying and creating a fake identity because… well i’m not sure why?

The Jungle Book: Life is about having fun and a friend you can trust, we can all get along if we just ignore the parts of each other’s lives we don’t like.  Not “bad” stuff but from a Christian perspective pretty false.

The Little Mermaid: You can make deals with the devil, run away from home, turn your back on your family, marry strange men and it will all work out! It’s about love right? You know love between a teenage runaway and the 1st random sailor she sees usually is a great idea! True love conquers all, also true love can be found simply by looking at someone!

I could definitely keep going but you get the idea. See the fact that I am looking at the world as a place with very clearly defined good & evil means I am going to have different ideas about what is right and wrong than someone who thinks it’s open for interpretation.  We can’t see eye to eye because we are starting from totally different places.

This doesn’t mean I can not enjoy a Disney movie or even find good messages in them! (There are many messages that can be reconciled with a Christian worldview) What it does mean is that I absolutely MUST examine the worldview and the messages and even more importantly I have to discuss them with my children. I have to model critically thinking about even “harmless” entertainment. I have a responsibility to show them that even if something is enjoyable it can be false and truth must weigh more than pleasure in our valuations.

I will continue to enjoy Disney, and other types of entertainment, with my children but hopefully with a bit more intentional discussion and calling out of wrong thinking when I see it. I look forward to building bridges between the stories they enjoy and the Word!

 

 

 

 

 

Stop Wasting Valentine’s Day

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Memes and blogs have been choking my newsfeed from women who claim THEY aren’t buying into traditional Valentine’s day hype because they are ok with just a card and chocolates (or taco bell according to one meme) or just a regular date, nothing fancy.

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news but ….you are still buying into it. Just because you aren’t settings your expectations high does not change that you have them.

I actually don’t buy into Valentine’s Day. I never really have. I looked at it from a historical perspective and thought it seemed a really strange day to celebrate romance so as a teen I dutifully received the roses and chocolates and jewelry from boys each year but the joke was on them because I wouldn’t have cared if I didn’t.

By college I told gentlemen I dated that Valentine’s Day really wasn’t my thing and I don’t like fresh flowers or wear much jewelry and chocolate should really be an anytime/ all the time gift but it tastes better when I pay half price after a holiday. When I found my husband he thankfully shared my views on the day and it passed without recognition most years except once when we decided other people spend money on Vday so we could totally go buy a Costco membership and call it a gift to ourselves.

A few years ago though I realized I was wasting Valentine’s Day, thanks to our pastor who really emphasizes that our lives need to be about service, starting with random acts of kindness expecting nothing in return. Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to show love to strangers without making them worry you are crazy!

We still don’t go on a date, buy each other stuff or even do cards but my husband and I totally celebrate Valentine’s Day now! We use it as a day to be mindful and go out into the community sharing Christ’s love and expecting nothing in return. I buy chocolates and roses and ribbons and make a few dozen Valentine’s “gifts” complete with scriptures of love then we head to places like malls with lots of people and let ourselves (and our kids!) be led to those who need some extra love that day.

If you feel loved every other day of the year try using Valentine’s Day as a day to show love to OTHER people, people you don’t normally show love to, maybe even people you don’t know! I promise you will not feel like you wasted Valentine’s Day!

 “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” I John 4:9-10

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*Somehow women choosing not to celebrate is ok but men get painted as awful if they allow it so before my poor husband catches any heat, our decision not to celebrate Valentine’s day was mindful, deliberate and led by me, he even tried some small gestures in our early years of marriage but he knows me well enough to see I meant it and that stuff was wasted on me .* 

 

And a Child Shall Lead Them

My son, whose introverted nature I wrote about here, loves to learn about the Bible and loves to pray and sing about God. He sings “My God is So Big” while running through the front yard hitting things with sticks, asks me to read him “one more” Bible story at least 3 times each night and loves chapel at his daycare. He really loves to pray though, he seems to understand how important it is. On nights when Dad is at work and he and I pray he does not want to recite his “nite nite” prayer he wants to make his own because he wants to thank God for his daddy. When he is done he proceeds to thank the Lord for each member of his family by name, for Jesus, for God (yes he thanks God for God but…shouldn’t we all?) as well as every single friend, teacher and pet and he often follows this with the many small wonders adults forget are actually tiny miracles like trees and water as well as all the amazing comforts of life in America in the year 2014 such as: my shows, elmo, bathtubs, my toys, our big, big car (which is a camry not a tank as the description might lead you to believe). These lists of gratitude go on in the dark still of his room for minutes until his voice gets slower and heavy with sleep. He never asks God for anything though…in fact my son doesn’t do alot of asking, he is frequently very happy with what he gets. He is a joy to give gifts too because even if there is a pile of presents he will not move one by one like a machine, no he opens one and enjoys it for minutes or hours if allowed before moving to another, a skill a desperately wish to master regarding the gifts I’m given daily.

For the last few months he has had to remind me constantly to pray before we eat. Frequently, as I whirl around in our kitchen throwing something to eat on the table before the exhaustion of the day can catch me, I will plop in my chair, grabbing a bite as I do, only to hear his tiny voice, “Mama, we forgot to pray!” I say your right buddy and take a breath so we can indeed thank the Lord for food to eat, in our warm home with abundance surrounding us. It’s rather backwards for him to have to remind me of this, i’m a devoted follower of Christ, unshakable in my faith and knowledgeable in theology but i’m also a sinful adult, all to often consumed by the busyness of all the “important” day to day matters I must take care of. Jidge is not yet a follower of Christ at the tender age of 3, he cannot explain all the details of Bible stories correctly (in fact he sometimes gets them comically wrong) but he has one thing I don’t, the ability to just love. He loves God purely, without all the entanglements that adults get caught up in and this causes him to remember, every single time we sit to eat, that he is thankful for the meal we are eating only by God’s grace.

I can honestly say he has been teaching me spiritual truths since the day he was born and I felt, for the first time, what it meant to love someone so selflessly and completely you would be willing to die for them. But these days its different, he is not just teaching me truth by existing but by his own heart and intentions and actions. As we sat down for Easter dinner at my in laws this last weekend, my child who can barely speak to his extended family because of his own shyness and nerves gleefully prayed clear and pure over our meal in front of all the adults and children present without a second thought. His own comfort at speaking was forgotten entirely as he chose to honor God and for that moment he was not a shy three year old, he was a confident young man strengthened by the power of Christ.

I’m not forgetting to pray these days. In the hustle and bustle of adding a new little one and moving and maternity leave and returning to work I had been forgetting far to often to stop and thank my heavenly father for the gifts, big and little, in my life. My son has reminded me in earnest of the importance of prayer and I am not ashamed to follow his lead, because sometimes a child shall lead them.

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