Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Raising a Child to Think Theologically (or teaching yourself to)

We've been playing 'Spot the Jesus' for a while now.  It's become second nature in our household - as much as Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is for more normal families or friends.  Of course, not being mainstream movie or TV watchers, we tend to find ours in sci-fi.  Apologies to my beloved preacher's kid for saddling her with this affliction. I think she knows it all started innocently.

For me, this road began (mumble) years ago when I ran a short-lived pizza & movie series at church. While prepping for it, I bumped into a lovely little site called Hollywood Jesus and I never looked back.  That site's gotten a little blinky for my taste but still offers great connections if you're intimidated. We never got to the discussion part of the night when we did it at church, because we were mostly homebodies, and by the time the movie was over, everybody just wanted to get home.  But in the comfort of your own household, with family or a congenial group of can talk back to your Netflix feed all you want.

You don't have to look too hard to find the Gospel images, death-and-resurrection, and other Jesus-themes in entertainment media.  It doesn't even have to be Christian media.  Actually, the ones that don't come out of the Christian media-entertainment-complex tend to be better.

You also don't have to be a pastor to inflict this curse on your own child (or spouse).  Read a Bible passage together. Make it easy on yourself...pick something familiar, or short.  Parables work - try the feeding of the 5000.  So does whatever the pastor talked about in Sunday service.  Or choose Christmas or Easter.  Then talk about where you saw it in a book, in a TV show, in a movie...or in your own life.

Some sightings that we're fond of:

  • Harry Potter...that was easy.  Way. Too. Easy.  This is a gimme.  The whole train station scene in the last movie?  Go watch it.  But there's also Wizard Chess in book 1/movie 1.  Give that a whirl.  
  • Divergent (series)...there are incidents in all three books.  
  • The Matrix...another gimme.  If you can't see it, then you're not looking.
  • Gran Torino...that was Mom's movie night.  The PK didn't get to see that one. You probably shouldn't let your kiddo watch it either.  But this is another gimme.  You'll understand when you watch it.
  • Les Miserables...Read Isaiah 2:4. Then 1 John 4 (the letter, not the Gospel).  Then listen to the finale.
  • Doctor Who...We just rewatched a 3-episode arc from 2007.  Start with Utopia, then watch the next two episodes.  How many Jesus things can you spot?  Of course, if you're a real Whovian, you might need to rewatch all of the New Who episodes and catch the Christ imagery.   

I dare you to start playing spot-the-Jesus. It'll start to grow your own faith, your Biblical knowledge, your connection to the sacred stories.   If you do, leave me a note.  I'd love to hear from you.