Why Disney is Better than the Bible

Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is one of the most visited theme parks in the world. Nearly 20.5 million people visited the attraction in 2017. And that’s not including all the off park resorts, hotels and other theme parks. Mickey Mouse is certainly popular. Not to mention all the memorabilia! Magic Kingdom sells over 300 000 pounds of popcorn and employs nearly 70 000 cast members. Approximately 285 thousand pounds of guest laundry is cleaned by Walt Disney world employees every single day. During the Christmas season, 8.5 million lights and 300 000 yards of ribbon decorate the park. And you think you had a hard time keeping up with the housework?!

However, I am curious to do some research on the underlying (and overwhelming) reasons why Disney products are so popular. What have they got that makes them… well… the most magical place on earth?

Legend has it that Disney created the theme park for his little girls. A place to feel like a princess. Filled with adventure, mystery and treasures. If you have ever been, you know it is a reality. We visited way back when our beloveds were a little younger … a trip the kids still talk about. From the check in desk, to the ice cream vendor, every “cast member” was trained to talk directly to our little “prince and princesses”, and to make everyone’s stay the most special visit ever. We even talked to the cashiers in the Canadian pavilion at Epcot… and they enlightened us that most of the employees were chosen from their home countries and had to undergo two years of training before joining the Epcot world teams.

And it’s not all about the kids. In 2013, about 1 500 weddings were held at Disney. That number has steadily grown, and last year, more than 4 000 ceremonies have been performed each day! I have heard of lots of newlyweds who have chosen the theme parks as a honeymoon destination. You can even choose to live there (if you happen to have a couple of million to put out on a house and are willing to abide by the rules). More and more travel companies are promoting adult only Disney visits. And we are eating it up!

So — I muse — WHY? Just think with me a minute. What would happen if our churches were like Disney? What if they were the most magical places on earth, and every child and adult had your church building on their bucket list for places to visit? What would that mean? The coolest rides? The best shows? The best marketing budget for toys and movie clips? Yeah, Disney has all of those things, and yes, many believers are discovering that Walt’s traditional themes are becoming subtly more “worldly”. I’m not saying we have to compromise our fundamentals to woo seekers with magic and pixie dust. The Bible is God’s living word and is perfect in all it’s details. But it doesn’t change the fact that people are seeking places to belong.

Places where they will be accepted. Maybe a place to feel safe. A place to feel special and loved — even if you have a funny voice, or a tiny fin, or ugly, mean stepsisters. To know that it really is “a small world after all”, and that all it takes is faith and trust. If we really and truly believe that we have the. best. answer. ever. to the problems we all face in this world, why are we not sharing it?! Why are my beloveds seeking adventure and drama in the latest superhero movie? Why do I wish for a fairy tale marriage? {no worries, honey, it’s pretty close…} Why is Disney our celebratory destination and not the streets of gold in Heaven? Is God not bigger and more powerful than Mickey Mouse?

As usual, I don’t have all the answers. I love Disney. The family is trying to convince me to see the new, live action Dumbo movie. I’m gonna cry. Poor Dumbo is snatched away from his momma all too soon. But I’ve got to wonder, am I moved the same way when I read of the atrocities that human babies face in our own world? Does it grieve me the way that it grieves our Heavenly Father? The Bible is filled with adventure, romance, humor, and boundless love. Love that can cross barriers, and the test of time. Are we training our “cast members” to treat every person who walks through our doors, that, they too, can experience the most magical place on earth through the person of Jesus… and that an even greater adventure awaits them after? To infinity and beyond?!

Photo credit: Roberto Gemini Pixabay

I want my daughters to feel like princesses. I want my boys to seek adventure and fight for justice. I want to whistle while I work as my house gets cleaned by a variety of adorable woodland creatures. But I know that, sometimes, fairy tales don’t always have a happy ending. So I entrust my friends and family to be sons and daughters of the king of kings. To put on the whole armour of God, and enlist in the adventure of a lifetime. Because with God’s help, Walt Disney himself, might agree… “if you can dream it, you can do it.”

Choices

A guest post! This time from our very own Mitton crew! The middle son had to do a speech for school and this poured out of the junior higher’s brain. I think it is quite profound, so thought I would share it…

We make decisions everyday; some big, some small, but decisions are always there and they always have an effect on the future. Choosing between Mcdonald’s or Tim Horton’s may seem like just an everyday task, but your decisions can change the course of your life, other people’s lives, and ultimately the world itself.

Your decisions affect you whether you realize it or not. Some decisions you make directly affect you, like getting married, accepting a job, or choosing to retire. These are called direct decisions. Direct decisions are choices that are made intentionally to change one’s present self. Some decisions however, affect you indirectly, meaning they were not intended to affect you but in the end you were affected. These types of decisions are often the ones that lead to you being affected in a negative way. For example, let’s say you decide to commit a murder. You, yourself will not be affected by the death of the individual you murdered. You will however, be affected by the punishment you receive for committing the crime. So you inadvertently negatively affected your life through a chain of events. Or, in simpler words, you made an indirect decision that had a negative outcome.

Photo credit Nathan Lemon

Not only do your choices affect you, they affect everyone around you. Choosing to promote someone, or stealing someone’s wallet, are obvious ways your decisions affect people, but did you know that the things you do alone in your house also affect other people on the other side of the city? For example, let’s say you’re at home and no one else is there, and you decide you’re not going to do the chore your parents told you to do. They’re not there so why does it matter, right? Your parents won’t be home till late that night and you probably won’t see them till the next morning. So you go to bed. Next morning comes and you’re getting ready for school when your mom walks in and starts yelling at you for not doing whatever it was you were supposed to do. You get all mad about it and now you’re almost late for school. You run to school and someone is standing right in the way of your locker. By now your fed up with everything that’s happened in your day so you yell at the kid for standing in your way, ultimately hurting his feelings and making the rest of his day miserable. Now, in this small story you can see just how much your decisions can affect people. The seemingly harmless choices made affected three different people: the mom, the dad and the other student.

Your decisions are powerful. So powerful, in fact, that they can even change the world itself.

Changing the world may seem like something only a few people have done — but the truth is, every single choice that any person on the face of the earth makes, changes the world in some way. We many not be able to see how the world has changed, and the world may not change until we are long gone, but I can promise you that the world will change. It may seem unrealistic to think that {something as small as} you sharpening your pencil will change the world — but all you have to do is look back at history to see how small decisions formed the way our world works today. Teddy Roosevelt was the 26th president of the United States. He could have died if he had not decided to put his speech in his pocket. In 1912, Roosevelt decided to put his 50 page speech, that he was preparing to present, in his chest pocket. Later that day, the folded speech saved his life from an assassin’s bullet.

D-day was the most costly, but important, victory for the allies in the Second World War. The allies may never have won however if Erwin Rommel (who was one of the best field marshals in the world) didn’t decide to surprise his wife with a vacation a few days before  D-day. Both of these choices may seem like improbable coincidences that will probably never happen again, but given the amount of choices we all make every day, I say something like this is bound to happen again.

So why does this matter, what do any of the things I just said to you in the last five minutes mean to you right now? It means you should make the right choice. Every choice you make — wherever you are — make the right choice, because your choice can change the world, it can change the people around you, but most importantly your choice can change you!! For better or for worse. It’s your choice.    

             SO? What do you say, my friends? Are you making the right choices? Be encouraged that God is there to help you make those choices. His plan is perfect… and it’s true, we have no idea how our choices may change the world! See you next week!

Lucy Maude Montgomery’s Anne

My youngest received a boxed set of the Canadian classics: The Anne of Green Gables Series, for Christmas this year, and she just recently cracked it open. As the first book sat there on the couch, I smiled as I glanced through a few pages and read some of the infamous dialogue of the beloved “Anne”. Melodrama becomes the little orphaned girl who was supposed to be a boy helper. I was a big fan of the books when I was my daughter’s age, and was an even bigger fan of the 1985 Canadian television mini series starring Megan Follows.

Anne — with an “e” — is the delightful character created by Canadian author, Lucy Maude Montgomery. Her never ending chatter and imagination (and “horrid” red hair) won the hearts of many a young girl, and Montgomery’s novels became international best sellers. I’ve claimed her in this week’s muse, in honour of International Woman’s Day (recently celebrated back on March 8th). The research I discovered marks L.M. Montgomery as an even more interesting Victorian lady than I had once thought.

She was raised by her grandparents, and although her Anne books were very successful, she struggled with depression and angst. She seemed complicated… a spiritual woman who questioned her faith and the church, and was often angered at political agendas and the atrocities of war. Her journals and diaries contain her grief stricken outcries at things that she saw in the daily news, as well as in her own day to day duties. Her love life was confusing at best, and she although she seemed to follow the suit of marriage perfectly (as befitting the times and her strict Presbyterian upbringing) she did not seem happy in it. Her “fleshly” desires seemed to get the better of her and she longed for a bit more of the wild side.

Even her death seems somewhat of a mystery. The official books say she died of a blood clot in her heart, but there are rumours that her bouts of depression may have lead her to take her own life via a drug overdose. This complicated woman appears so far drawn from the character of Anne… the whimsical red-head that seemed so innocent despite her strong willed nature. But such is the escape of a good book, eh? Especially one that I am encouraging my youngest beloved to fall in love with ….

And so I muse about the complexity of this wonderful creation that God has given us as women. We are delicate and yet bold. We are strong and yet weak. We are certainly complex. I think of the short glimpses of the biblical women we see: Women like Mary, Esther, Ruth and the woman who wept at Jesus’s feet. The woman at the well, who questioned. Rahab who risked much to save others. These women lived in a time so unlike ours. They had no International Woman’s Day to celebrate their gender equality. They were the lowest of the low… and yet stood in honour in the eyes of their Saviour.

They were bold and courageous. Certainly, many were not perfect. In fact, most of them made some very poor life choices. But God used them mightily despite their gender — and despite their lot in life. He used them to move the events of time. To change history. To further His plans.

Perhaps, Lucy Maude Montgomery’s, Anne, is no real comparison to the biblical characters. Perhaps I have no business equating one story to another, but it did make me muse a bit about what makes women so special? Why does there seem to be a balance between fragility and boldness in the lives of women? Why do we fight to have gender rights when we already seem to have such a strong presence in this world already? Has Satan so deceived us (like he did Eve) with his smooth talking, leading us to believe that we are somehow less special to God and His plan for the world?

I really don’t have the answers. I’m just as complicated as the next chick. But for now, I will encourage my girls to delight in being daughters of the King, and to enjoy a good novel about a feisty little red-head, with a wild imagination, who gets into just a bit of mischief, and changes the lives of some people — simply by being who she was created to be.