What is interesting about it is nothing new and surprising – it seems to show a disfunctional family and society and pokes fun at religion and faith and yet it actually provides some of the clearest morality and religious instruction available in the mass media. It bases its whole storyline around Grandpa Simpson’s charismatic revelation in Church complete with groanings and prophesying, and it’s totally focused on our relationship to the planet and how things fall apart when we become selfish (and get obsessed with pigs at the expense of our families).
Rather than get annoyed with The Simpsons the Church has decided to love it. I came across this, a mission and teaching site called Kidology, which shows just how closely the Church has taken The Simpsons to their hearts. Instead of getting annoyed about less than flattering characterisations of Reverend Lovejoy,
“Marge, just about everything’s a sin. [holds up a Bible] Y’ever sat down and read this thing? Technically we’re not supposed to go to the bathroom.”
we’re just loving Ned Flanders. There are whole fan groups devoted to him. Instead of protesting about profanity and the digs at the Church that Homer makes throughout we are using The Simpsons Movie to teach kids about family, comittment and forgiveness, about caring for the environment and unconditional love.
The general reaction to the Simpsons shows the Church in it’s best light – prepared to be mocked, understanding of its failures, seeing the good in all things and working for the good in all things.
The ability not to take oneself to seriously and to see beyond the surface are two essential characteristics of good players because they make you flexible and able to take on the next challenge. We need to cultivate a playful attitude to the way the rest of the world see us because otherwise we will get so far up our own arses that we won’t relate to them in any meaningful way.
And one more thing – sometimes we need to remember that we can come out on top, like Ned.