1. Kessie says:

    Having watched/been traumatized by that first McGee episode, I object the the guy saying the “What do you think?” Line was the only answer. The dad asks the question, then Nick is shown repairing the damage and cleaning up the mess. Yes, he lied, but he atoned for it afterward and presumably asked the old man for forgiveness. As a kid, I understood it fine–my big hang up was figuring out just when Nick lied in the first place!
    Veggietales morality always bugged me without my knowing why, so I’m glad it’s been articulated. I especially dislike their Bible story retellings, because they tend to strip away the dignity of the original people. Their original stories are much better. (Larry Boy all the way!)

  2. As a parent, it is hard to balance teaching my kids to do what is right and grace. It is so much easier to change the behavior, but never reach the heart. On the other hand, I can give so much grace that they take it for granted and never learn how serious sin is.

    I don’t think any book or video series or parent gets it right all the time. We will either swing to one side or the other. Sure, McGee and Me might have swung too far on this episode, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good series for kids. Same with Veggietales. It is a tool, but one that needs to be coupled with parents, parents who are teaching the gospel, grace, and sin.

    • So: “Part of this complete breakfast”?

      • God+parents+tools+whatever life brings you that you can use to teach your kids about God. In the end, it has to be God who unlocks the heart. Even we cannot unlock our own sinful heart. What I can do as a parent is continue to share who God is, give grace, teach morals, and say “I’m sorry” and “Will you forgive me” when I mess up. I think our humility can be the biggest thing that points our kids to God.

        As far as books or video series, I’ll use them if I think they help me teach my kids. Right now I am reading the Action Bible to my kids. They love it! It speaks to them on a level they understand. And I am reading it with them so I can teach them along the way. I even caught my daughter reading the book beside her night light last night. So far, I am impressed with the book 🙂

  3. notleia says:

    I can’t really point fingers too hard at VeggieTales, because I doubt they would have been as popular if they had gone into things that denominations fight over. Even this site tends to avoid the more controversial stuff like the portrayal of women or brown people or QUILTBAG people. But I guess I can do that on my own blog, now that I have one.

    • Interesting abstract. To whose portrayal(s) do you refer, exactly, of women, “brown people” (we are all one people, especially in Christ!)? (I don’t even know what “QUILTBAG” means.) As it is, this is purely a consideration of audience. If SpecFaith writers harped on issues of racism or hate against particular groups, and even managed to tie this to our perennial theme of exploring epic stories for God’s glory, this would only be preaching to the choir. After all, we know of no racists or haters among our audience. There’s also a certain risk of sacrificing creativity for the sake of “preaching” against pet social causes — be they abortion or enabling government power on the “right,” or any other issue on the “left.”

      • notleia says:

        (QUILTBAG is the easiest super-inclusive term for gay people: Queer, Unidentified, Intersex, Lesbian, Trans*, Bisexual, Asexual, and Gay.)
        But the thing is, I can’t think off the top of my head of any brown-people characters in Christian fiction who aren’t cameos or some kind of benighted native to be administered to.
        Amish fiction is obviously white as heck and limited in range for women, and there’s not really much to be done about that. But that Amazing Grace movie, though about slavery, was all about the white dude, which isn’t bad in of itself, except that we rarely, if ever, hear from black perspectives. Or those prairie stories that talk about the white people and (if brown people are mentioned at all) their reaction to Native Americans, and just don’t talk about the Native Americans and those white people who keep getting all up in their grills.
        I once read an account of Quaker missionaries who ministered to the Kiowa in Oklahoma. The Kiowa were mostly cooperative, but I can’t help but feel the tragic element in that “Christianizing” them meant making them act like white people in everything, clothing, language, etc. Sure, it was to their benefit to learn how to manage in white-people culture, but they would cut boys’ long hair pretty much just because white people culture dictated short hair. It would make for an interesting exploration for doing something out of religious and good motivations but ending up doing something cruel because of it.

        • I can’t think off the top of my head of any brown-people characters in Christian fiction who aren’t cameos or some kind of benighted native to be administered to.

          I suggest a caution. You may fall into one of a couple traps here:

          1. A new kind of legalism, in which we judge Christians who emphasize certain story angles, or (at worst) fall into certain tropes, as somehow extra-specially sinful.
          2. An inconsistent standard, in which Christian fiction is judged as subpar merely for repeating a habit that secular stories do without penalty all the time — such as the “magic Negro” trope, which some nitpickers would argue occurs in, say, every single Morgan Freeman movie. (Freeman actually voices a magical wizard in The Lego Movie. He seems not to think these roles racist himself. I will take his word on it over that of any “advocacy groups.”)

          Let’s be on the lookout for actual racism, says I. But let’s discern based on what we can tell — which is very little — are the motives of the heart, and not the outward appearance. Only God can look on the heart (1 Sam. 16:7). And as a Christian I am forbidden to judge based on external-only laws that I’ve made up. In this case we may buy into “laws” made up by others with no regard for God’s actual moral standards. Such folks are often eager to grab their own religious “secular” power, in the name of “morality” or advocating social justice.

          • notleia says:

            I wouldn’t say they do it without penalty, though angry bloggers probably aren’t enough to really make a difference to the Machine of Hollywood.
            (And of all my commentary on this site, I’m kinda surprised it’s this one that gets thumbs down. I’d figure that by this point that everybody knows that minorities still tend to get the short end of the stick.)

        • dmdutcher says:

          Pat Todoroff’s Eshu International series has the triplets, three genetically engineered albino African soldiers, and his current work is set in Africa of the future. His C1arity Wars had someone who was Farsi or spoke it, I think. His Christian characters in it are Spanish, I think. 
          He’s an awesome author, and I wish he would get more love. He writes some great cyberpunk in a Bruce Sterling style.

        • Julie D says:

          To an extent,  minority representation in fiction by the majority is a catch-22.  Write about a minority population, especially one with a distinct culture, and people will accuse you of cultural appropriation.  Don’t write about minorities, or emphasis similarities instead of differences, and people will accuse you of whitewashing.

  4. dmdutcher says:

    This is a topic close to my heart because I’ve chosen not to write explicitly Christian kid’s fiction. The problem I have with it is that in trying to talk about the Cross, we can’t help but simplify it dramatically into a kid-friendly format. I think instead, we really do have to teach kids morality, empathy, and imagination and then when they reach an age where they can understand the cross, they’ll be in good shape to accept it.
    Otherwise it can be dangerous. Like with sin and the idea that nothing we can do is good enough to please God, so we need grace. A kid can get the “nothing I do is good enough” if simplified or moralized in the wrong way. I think an older kid or adult realizes that we can’t be good enough, but we also aren’t to internalize this as reflecting on our worth to others or behavior. Or like holiness and sanctification; it’s hard to explain the point that the Holy Spirit also works in us to make us more like him, and the kid thinks its all about works. Kids lit isn’t always sophisticated enough to present this kind of message.
    If you want to teach children the cross, you need to teach it. Kid’s art and fiction can never be didactic enough to do so without suffering or simplifying to a large extent. It’s enough to be moral; let the parents and the local church instruct.

  5. I believe that is the most information and facts in my opinion. And i am glad examining your own document. Even so should remark in a few typical difficulties, The site flavour is perfect, your content articles is absolutely excellent : Deb. Outstanding process, best wishes

What do you think?