Bottom of the 9th, #30 – The Good News of Pixar

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Bottom of the 9th - The Good News of Pixar

The Good News of Pixar

by Keith Wahl Valor Christian High School - Head Baseball Coach

John 14:6, I am the way and the truth and the life.

     Jesus is most certainly all of these things and more. He is the way, He is the truth, He is the life. The struggle we all feel is not in this belief but rather in the fact that Christ lived 20 centuries ago. How do we apply and understand truth when our worlds are so different? How does His truth apply to a game like baseball created more than 18 centuries after His death?

     Paul encountered a similar struggle just a few years after Jesus crucifixion, death, and resurrection. Paul encountered cities full of idols (things that draw our attention away from God) and attempted to make the unknown God known (Acts 17: 16-34 provides one of these stories). Paul's encounters with idols are not unlike our world of sport. High school and youth sports can resemble the Gold Rush and Wild West of the 1800s with people running the wrong race (1 Corinthians 9:24) and chasing after the wind (Ecclesiastes 1 & 2).

     For generations people have used children’s stories to share important truths about society. The good news is that modern storytellers and filmmakers like those at Pixar are attempting to infuse their works with time-honored and true lessons to guide us towards truths that can positively affect our lives. In 2004, Pixar told the story of The Incredibles – a family of super heroes forced to go into hiding with their superhero friends as the world has stopped appreciating their extraordinary abilities. The son, Dash, is struggling with his place in the world when he has this interchange with his super-mom, Helen:

Dash: But Dad always said our powers were nothing to be ashamed of, our powers made us special.

Helen: Everyone's special, Dash.

Dash: [muttering] Which is another way of saying no one is.

     Is everyone special? Yes, of course this is true we are all made in the image of God and can tap into untold resources by connecting to the vine that is Christ (John 15). But those who play high school varsity, college, and professional levels of sports experience different levels of “special. For many, this can be a difficult pill to swallow as they grow in experiences on the fields and courts of play. It is, however, an unavoidable part of the human experience  some people are better than others at certain things. Coming to that point of acceptance can allow us all to recognize our own gifts and find our place in the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12).

     One of the central messages of most recent Pixar film, Monsters University, presents how working together in a community similar to the body of Christ can be a blessing. The film gives the back story to Monsters, Inc. and how Mike Wizowski and James P. Sullivan came to be such close colleagues. The themes of team over individuals, relationship over isolation, and work ethic working in tandem with talent again shows Pixar's desire to teach important truths to the next generation.

     The truth is all around us. Christ presented us with his teaching and now those red letters in our Bibles can give guidance to our lives. In addition, we have many opportunities to learn and observe important truths in the media that can also serve as guardrails for our lives.

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