For almost the past three decades The Simpsons and American culture have been synonymous. They are an animated, but realistic American family, and while some of the portions of the show are over the top and unrealistic there are many lessons which have rooted from the show created by Matt Groening. Now I know what many of you are thinking, what on earth do The Simpsons and Theology have in common. On surface value, they have nothing in common, and many of their antics are often deemed as risque, unchristian, and controversial, but when looking closer there are some clear-cut theological values presented in the popular show. Then again there is theological value in most shows, sports, or positive aspects of life. However, it’s always interesting to explore such subjects. It challenges you to think outside of the box and to truly divulge in doctrine, find ways to understand it and develop your mind making your daily walk one with Christ.
When George H.W. Bush famously stated, “to make them more like the Waltons and less like the Simpsons.” He placed this nation in a state of denial, that denial being that being this happy and humble family is going to happen. There is plenty of dysfunction in every human life and in every family. See the issue with The Simpsons is that they’re too much like us and many of us don’t want to admit it. How many people go to church every Sunday and sit and loath in a lengthy sermon and as soon as the pastor tell’s you that you’re free to go your rushing towards the door. Often times were too consumed with getting out we forget that Ms. Betty is patiently waiting for us outside the chapel. Not to mention the traffic jam which will soon ensue. Who can forget the lines which will be there at insert your favorite hometown diner? How many people are more consumed with professional football than they are with God.? Likewise, how many people pray only when they need God. Like I mentioned before there are some fictitious portions of The Simpsons which we can all point to realize that the show is a cartoon. However, for American’s to be more like the Waltons they would have to be something we are not. We can not expect to be this fictional ideal caucasian family. Not all of us can live up to these rural values.
Now I am not suggesting that we look at The Simpsons to answer life’s mysteries, but the reality of it all is the show has a value which your garden variety prude will stick their nose up at. The Simpsons show a society which is full of dysfunction and less than perfect individuals coming together to make a unique society which works for them. Heck, even the devout believer and notable “neighborino” Stupid Ned Flanders has his flaws. Much like my series on baseball, I will make a series of this while continuing the baseball series as well.
The Simpsons Teach Us Forgiveness
I don’t care what faith you follow forgiveness is true to just about all of them. When you get down to the details of the lovable family from Springfield, USA there is a whole lot of forgiveness which goes on. Just take Homer Simpson alone, your average American, overweight, dope, who miraculously is beloved by all. Homer is far from the model father, he does stupid and wreckless things frequently, and he has a tendency of alienating himself from his peers and family at times. However, at the end of the day, Homer is forgiven. With the exception of Frank Grimes, everyone Springfield finds a way to forgive Homer, because they realize he often means well, and he’s just Homer. Speaking of Frank Grimes, though, he again teaches us a stern warning for those who can not forgive. “Grimey as his friends called him” was unable to forgive for Homer for his Homerisms. While I doubt Matt Groening intended for this message to root from that episode Grimey died due to his inability to forgive Homer. However, the story of Frank and Homer is much like the parable of the unforgiving servant. He was forgiven of his debts, but was unable to forgive others and thus felt the wrath. Like Grimey, we one day could die from out inability to forgive others.
Let us not forget the countless times Marge had forgiven Homer. Homer has done a number of things which likely would have gotten a lot of men kicked to the curb. He’s impulsive such as the time he bought a snow plow or the time they purchased a crummy RV to one up Flanders. Their finances are often seen in turmoil to the point where they seek the help of a financial consultant who suggests they visit a financial panther, I mean planner. Homer frequents Moe’s Tavern. Not to mention the various employment endeavors can not be easy on their marriage. Regardless of this, Homer is still forgiven.
Now I could go on and on about the times Homer was in need of forgiveness and received it, but I’m sure many of you are aware of them. The point is many times we commit just as boneheaded moves. Many of us often partake in various shenanigans, but at the end of the day God still forgives us, he does so because he loves us. God’s grace is powerful and is a great gift. While Homer Simpson has committed countless amounts of sins he is forgiven like God forgives us.
To Be Continued….