Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. —James 1:23-24
I remember when the Simpsons television show first became popular, in the late ’80s or early ’90s. I asked my now brother-in-law how he as a Christian could like The Simpsons so much, as he really did and does. He responded by saying, “You are just not a believer yet.” I think I scoffed.
Mind you, I was in a very different place back then; I guess the word to describe it would be legalistic. I just didn’t get how a Christian could like something so crass… I didn’t get a lot of things back then. Since then I’ve met many more Christians that I respect, like my brother-in-law, who love The Simpsons. One of them recently called the creators and writers of The Simpsons geniuses.
Honestly, I still don’t get it. I got the screener for The Simpsons Movie (released 12/18) and popped it in the old DVD player and felt like I wanted to get those precious minutes of my life back. Well, at least I tried right?
Actually, there was one scene that MovedMe, has actually stuck with me and won’t let go. The scene is right after the Simpsons go to church and they are headed out for donuts or something. As they get out of the car Marge says something like, “Why is it whenever we have a religious experience nobody wants to talk about it later?” She is referring to Grampa’s apparently prophetic experience where he predicted the town of Springfield would be in trouble.
I’m with Marge; the whole something took over Grampa’s body and he started saying all of weird things about the future. This doesn’t happen every day. (Unless it does; remember, I don’t watch The Simpsons.) And all everyone wants to do is go stuff their faces full of deep fried dough dipped in sugar? Come on! Shouldn’t we have a deep meaningful conversation about what just happened?
What Marge said got me thinking, I mean really thinking. Why don’t I want to think about religious experiences? I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced it, that heart-pounding, short-of-breathe type experience. This usually happens while I’m listening to someone preach and it sounds like they are talking straight to me. The words are going straight to the heart. You know what I do? Any number of things; think about the game last night or how the guy next to me really needs to hear this message; whatever, as long as I don’t have to deal with this issue.
And that’s really it, isn’t it? I don’t want to deal with the issue at hand. Just like everyone but Marge didn’t want to deal with the issue of Springfield being in trouble, but rather deal with the smaller issue of this hunger for the elusive donut. I mean it’s not like they sell those things everywhere! What is that about us humans?
It’s silly, really. Like the verse I’ve posted above. We are as silly as someone who looks in the mirror and forgets what he looks like. It’s that lame. Because really that pounding of the heart, that nudge towards God is for our benefit… nobody else’s. I know for me every time I’ve heard a sermon or read the Bible and felt a heart-piercing feeling to do something and actually did it, the benefits were overwhelming. Was it hard? Heck yeah, but anything worth doing is hard.
So now I’m starting to think maybe the writers and creators of The Simpsons really are geniuses… man, my grass is getting kinda long and did you see that sweet game last night?