I had the opportunity to view Happy Feet last night. This animated movie was pretty good and the soundtrack is worth picking up for those long commutes. Happy Feet also raised all types of theological and ecclesiastical questions for me.200px-happy_feet.jpg I would like to explore three of the huge themes Environmental Theology, Spiritual Gifts that Embrace Uniqueness and Traditional vs. Contemporary Church. While this short article will not be exhaustive analysis I also saw about 5 other theological themes that will not be addressed here today.

1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; 2 for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters. Psalm 24:1-2

Since the earth belongs to the Lord we as God’s people have a responsibility to protect the ecosystem that God created. When humans disrupt God’s ecosystem we also destroy the perfect balance that God created. We are stewards of God’s property not the designers and so we also lack the capacity to realign the system so that all of God’s creation is maintained in perfect balance. This is a huge problem as we look at the food chain but even relates to our addiction to oil and Global Warming.

The Emperor Penguins lack of food caused by human consumption is a theological issue because as God’s steward’s we should be protecting all of God’s creatures. The church is silent because we are co-conspirators with the fishing companies. We do not demand that they invest in more self sustaining fish farms and ensure that they clean up the sea that they have polluted in their pillaging

Genesis 1:26

Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

 

The second issue is about spiritual gifts and uniqueness. We find three specific texts about gifts in the scriptures. The leadership gifts in Ephesians 4:11-16, motivational gifts in Romans 12: 4-21 and spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12: As leaders do we attempt to conform people to our vision of how a gift is to be lived out. When people have unique gifts do we ostracize or embrace the gift even if we do not understand the gift.

Mumble’s – is tone deaf and nearly incapable of singing. However, Mumble has an astute talent for tap dancing. This ability is frowned upon by the colony’s elders, who do not tolerate deviance of any kind. As a result, Mumble is ostracized throughout his childhood, with only his parents and his friend Gloria to turn to for help.

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

This is the picture that I see and the basis of the stories that I hear from people who claim that they have been hurt by the church. They didn’t fit in, no one understood their perspective , they wanted to express their love for God in worship that was different than the congregational norm. Church leaders are to equip, motivate and empower people to spiritual maturity not behavioral conformity. We must move past our own views of what is right to discerning what God has designed as unique for a purpose. How do we has disciple making congregations guide people to find their God given purpose and live out that purpose. If more people in the church operated out of their spiritual gifts and purpose then I believe there would be fewer churches in need of revitalization, realignment or funeral services.

Finally Happy Feet is a critique on the traditional church vs. the contemporary church. It may also be a critique on blind faith vs. faith and reason.

This ability (tap dancing) is frowned upon by the colony’s elders, who do not tolerate deviance of any kind. the young penguin finds himself far from his home and within the carefree colony of the adélies – penguins small in stature, but fiercely loyal to those they call friends. He quickly befriends a small group of bachelors who call themselves the amigos – Ramón, the smallest of them, is the unofficial “leader” of sorts. The amigos quickly embrace Mumble’s dance moves and assimilate him into their misfit group.

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Many of our traditional church leaders have spoken harsh words, devised exclusive policies and have disciplined new thoughts and ideas by excluding the thinker and barring the implementation of the plan. Our young people run to churches (and sometimes cults) that embrace their new thinking. What is really amazing is that we are then mad at the young people because they are not perpetuating our brand of church. I have even heard some call this “contemporary church” heresy. The debate will rage on for years but I am clear about this………If your church is not relevant to the people outside of the church it will die. By choosing not to be adaptable you choose a slow demise and a sure burial for your church.

Mark 2:16-17

16 When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 When Jesus heard this, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”


If the traditional church does not regain its passion to reach out to the hurting it has chosen to write its own obituary. “We were once a great church but we refused to change so we all now Rest in Peace.”

There is another explanation about the film.

“This movie was fun. The music was good and the dancing was great.”  – Courtney Chaney  It could just be a nice animated movie for the masses to enjoy.

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