Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Monsters Inc.

So I was talking to a friend the other day over lunch. We were talking about the church and culture and how the two relate. I left that conversation thinking about "Monsters, Inc." Have you ever seen it? It's the story of a bunch of monsters who work at a power plant of sorts. All of Monstropolis runs on the power that is captured from the screams of young children. The monsters go in to work, where doors are brought to their station. They open the doors (which are sort of like doors into another world - think Wardrobe and Narnia), go inside and scare kids. The kids scream, their scream is captured and converted to power. It's a rather clever story line. However, there is one thing about this job. It's a dangerous job. The monsters believe that any contact with humans or human things requires decontamination. Alarms go off, monsters get shaved, its crazy really. But one day a little girl follows the monster through the door and into Monstropolis. A couple of monsters grab her (after much debate about whether it was safe or not) and spend the rest of the movie trying to get her back where she goes. Along the way, the monsters figure out that the girls laughter is way more powerful than her screams and eventually the whole process gets revamped. The monsters are no longer mean and scary, but funny and nice. It's a great movie for helping kids with the inevitable fear of monsters in the closet.

So why did I leave a lunch conversation about the church and culture thinking of "Monsters, Inc."? Many people in the church live in a sort of bubble. We are afraid of what is outside of Monstropolis, but we need it in order to maintain our way of life. So we'll go in, but only as much as we have to, and take what we need in order to carry on life. So we'll go to the grocery store, the mall, the car dealership, etc. but we do so with great caution and great care - knowing that we could be contaminated quite easily. Those that live in the real world (the humans) are afraid of us too. They only see us step in on occassion, and it's never with good news. We're usually there to make noise and then we retreat to the safety of our churches, christian coffeehouses and book stores. I wonder if we can't learn a thing or two from a good old Disney movie. What if the people in culture (the humans) aren't as scary and contaminating as we think? What if they actually have something to offer us? What if there was a way to bring joy to them rather than fear? What if when they saw us coming they didn't scream or hide under the sheets, but rather got excited because we brought with us hope and joy?


whoa, good stuff. love you

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