THE DISNEY GOSPEL
By David Comstock
May 13, 2017
THE DISNEY GOSPEL
by David Comstock
“If we believe the good news of Christ, we are committed to the biblical story as the true story of the world. …the identity of the church — indeed all human and nonhuman reality — must find its place in this story or nowhere.”
– Michael W. Goheen
Disney has ruined the gospel… Calm down… Before you get all up in arms you have to know that I don’t hate Disney — I actually love Disney! We watch Disney in our household and celebrate the imaginative work of Walt and his crew. What I am talking about is how we’ve used the imaginative narratives of Disney to try and replace God’s grand narrative of creation. Here is the the bottomline, we all want to be the prince or the princess. We ALL have inside of us this insatiable desire to be the center of the story. It doesn’t even matter if we are the one being rescued or the one doing the rescuing. As long as we are the subject, object, and author of our own story.
Let’s think about Disney. Every Disney princess is the epitome of self-centered, narcissistic living. At the least pretty selfish. Trouble always seems to ensue because they want something. When they don’t get it, they pursue it at any cost. That is not a story of virtue but is a perfect story of sin. Let’s use Ariel from The Little Mermaid as an example. A whole town is destroyed because she’s curious and wants something and someone that she can’t have. By the way we’ve already heard this story — sounds like Eve in the garden doesn’t it? But if we are honest this is where gospel similarities end. The story ends with her crowned queen even though her heart was much more like the sea witch Ursala’s. The point is our gospel has become a lot like this. A small story about us being rescued and crowned. The smaller gospel story story goes like this: we wanted something we couldn’t have, tried to get it and that caused a bunch of chaos and damage on the earth. In the end God rescues us despite our sinfulness and then crowns us heirs to His kingdom. Now listen their is some truth to that but it is certainly not the whole truth. The truth is that God is doing so much more than that. So much more than we could ever hope or imagine! The problem is the STORY that is being told in the Disney gospel is OUR redemption. The STORY being told in GOD’s gospel is His glory.
The one true STORY of GOD is what shapes our understanding of GOD and ourselves.
Unfortunately we have a tendency to let our smaller broken stories shape our understanding of GOD and what he’s doing on the earth. Our marriages, our healings, our overcoming of sinful attitudes and behavior they are all a part of a bigger STORY. When we don’t realize that then at our worst GOD becomes someone who is uncaring and at our best he becomes this small god that we can appease with our effort. This is a Disney gospel. If we are going to find life we must learn GOD’s STORY instead of trying to create our own.
I’ve come to realize that most of my christian life has been about me trying to somehow make MY story about Him. And as virtuous as that sounds, the truth is sin entered into the world when mankind deviated from God’s story and attempted to write his own. The STORY is not about us, the STORY is not ours but rather His.
This whole thing we call humanity is His story being played out on the canvas of creation. It’s His timeline and His purposes telling a STORY of His GLORY.
Sin is what keeps us from finding our place in His STORY — SIN wants a story of it’s own. Life, joy, peace, belonging happen when we learn how to abandon our story and begin to embrace GOD’s. Imagine Jesus saying something like this “Whoever tries to write his own story will lose his life but whoever enters into GOD’s story will find life.” I know that is taking liberty with Jesus’ words but this is the essence of laying down our lives. God has forgiven your sins, and God is making you whole, He is conforming you into the image of Christ. I don’t want to diminish the power of those truths, because they are powerful! But in the end the STORY is so much more than that. It is a true story about a real God displaying an unfathomable glory. We are a pixel in his high definition living STORY. As Christopher Write says “The mission of GOD is to restore the whole of creation and the life of humanity from the ravages of sin.” We become the beautiful, significant, life-giving creatures we long to be when we lay down our STORY and enter into HIS.
For me as a pastor I am inundated with young adults wrestling with the questions: “What do I want to do, who do I want to be?” The answers to those questions are found when we learn to ask better questions, like: Who is GOD and What is He doing? The answer to those questions allow us to give our lives over to GOD so that He can tell a better STORY with our lives. It is there we find true life. Jesus is calling all of us to come an find our place in His STORY!