A Veggie Shall Lead Them
Craig von Buseck
-- I recently purchased another Veggie Tales video for my children.
I think I enjoy "Bob the Tomato" and "Larry the Cucumber" (or is he a pickle?)
as much, or perhaps even more than my children do.
Of course, I am of the opinion
that computerized vegetables will lead Christian artists into the 21st century.
"Hold it," you're saying. "Stop the music (to do it right you need to use a
thick British accent and sport a monocle). How will a bunch of silly, animated
garden spuds lead the way?"
it's like this (now use a somewhat high-pitched voice with a slight lisp). Phil
Vischer and his mad-capped band at Big Idea Productions, creators of Veggie
Tales, have become very successful in their computerized, countertop world.
Whether it's a giant fib from outer space who grows with every lie -- an asparagus
who saves the "USS Apple Pies" -- or a dancing cucumber, singing in Spanish and
taunting a tomato who can't dance or sing -- Veggie Tales is art that has
captured the attention of both the Christian and secular world.
So what is
the big idea? What is it that the Veggie Bunch is doing right that other Christian
artists should be running through their salad shooters?
A positive message
-- The days of Christian artists being confined to painting religious frescos
in the chapel have long since passed. Don't get me wrong -- all Christians are
called to evangelize. But not every Christian is called to be an evangelist.
we expect our dentist to share Christ with every patient? -- "Gargle, spit, and
repeat this prayer after me."
Should a police officer read the four spiritual
laws before reading a criminal his or her rights?
Why then do we, in the Church,
expect that every artist should be required to be an evangelist? What is wrong
with good, old- fashioned art for art's sake?
I believe excellent art reflects
Christ just as much as an excellent lifestyle.
If the Church would give Christian
artists some grace, and a market, we would begin to see art that would rival and
exceed anything the world is producing.
Besides, it is usually a person that
leads someone to Christ, isn't it -- not a song, painting, or even a tomato (which,
as my 7-year-old son explained to me, is technically not a vegetable -- but we
won't let the Big Idea people know that we know that).
art -- Through the centuries, Christian artists mirrored the excellence of
God's creation by producing great art. In the late 19th century, however, Christians
were taught a distortion of the Gospel message when preachers implored them to
"come out from them and be ye separate." In all spheres of influence Christians
were encouraged to separate themselves from the sinful world.
Instead of shining
the light, many Christians were hiding it under a basket and casting stones.
a result, at the dawn of such powerful technologies as radio, motion pictures
and television, Christian artists had excused themselves from the table. A shift
by Christians back to artistic excellence began in the 1960s, but we have a long
way to go to compete once again with the world.
The good news is that it is
happening -- in music, literature, film, television, video, and yes, even the
Internet, it's happening.
State-of-the-art technology -- In order to
present a credible message, Christian artists must be willing to purchase and
utilize cutting-edge technology. The Gospel is the Gospel -- it doesn't need packaging.
But art needs to be done in a manner that will attract people's attention.
live in a media-savvy world. Christians must be sophisticated artists.
stories - Memorable stories, in any medium, are essential to conveying a message.
Jesus understood this. Dickens understood this. Spielberg understands this.
Amistad, a movie produced and directed by Steven Spielberg, John Quincy
Adams tells a man, 'You don't know someone based on where they're from --you know
them based on their story.' Spielberg is a master storyteller.
succeeds because Vischer and his group are also master storytellers.
Tales has heart. Veggie Tales has passion. Veggie Tales is,
in short, excellent art. Sure, it's art for kids, but it is art, nonetheless.
And if adults pay attention, there is always an underlying message (and quite
a bit of humor) designed for the parents as well.
If singing and dancing vegetables
can succeed, just think what possibilities are available to other Christian artists.
Larryboy & The Angry Eyebrows
3-2-1 Penguins: Good Message Mainly For The Kids
More from Big Idea
Veggie Tales products at CBN.com
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