The Church has declared war on Disney again a few months ago, as a result of the company's battle with the State of Florida over the “Don’t Say Gay” Bill. The argument from Christian leaders is the same as it has been over the past few decades. “Woke Agendas coming for your children.” Amid this controversy, Disney has offered up a beautiful picture for the Church and the world about the importance of positive family and community relationships, as well as the consequences of not-so-positive relationships. If you haven’t already seen episodes 1 and 2 of the new Obi-Wan Kenobi Series be warned:
SPOILERS AHEAD, kinda.
This Disney+ exclusive series highlights a few deep subjects extremely well PTSD, Veteran Care, Ripple effects of war, Economic disparity, human rights, robotic rights (shoutout to Dr. Smith from Episode 46), and even the drastic problems of discussing politics at a family dinner. But for now, I want to start by looking at the beautiful way they have highlighted the hearts of adoptive families.
For those that don’t know, at the end of Episode III, we see Padme die from a broken heart (and arguably from Sith force abilities but that’s for another blog) after delivering her twins, who are immediately separated for their protection. Senator Organa takes Leia back to Alderaan and Luke goes to his step-families farm on Tattoine, where Obi-wan also exiles himself to watch from afar. Both of these children grow up blissfully unaware of whose biological children they are, largely due to the love we see from their adoptive families. Both Uncle Owen and Senator Organa are raising these children to become like them, and both are willing to risk everything to keep them safe, even if it means sacrificing the entire Star Wars galaxy or alienating one of the most powerful beings to do it. Many other shows try and many succeed to show the love and bond that comes from Adoptive or Stepfamily relationships, but few do as good of a job as Disney has with their new series. This largely though is because, amid the loving family bonds we see within the Skywalker circles, it is contrasted largely by the second relationship I want to highlight.
While we don’t know yet the full origin story of Third-Sister Reva, what little we do know is that the inquisitors took her in, because she had no one where else to go. In this relationship, we see a girl that is trying to do everything in her power to show her worth to the community that has allowed her in, but who also has no concern for her well-being in any way. What results is a woman filled with hate, violence, and self-doubt. This relationship is also one that is all too real for many kids today, and one that again is not highlighted well enough in the media, or in our churches.
What this contrast of relationship highlights is how crucially important the role of a loving and affirming community is in a child’s development. The lack of caring parental figures in a child’s life in all stages of life can be the difference in the route that child goes. Amid the culture war with Disney about family values, I hope that the Church will recognize the values that Disney has reminded us of in these three characters. There are kids in our communities that are seeking to be loved and accepted by whoever will take them, for good or for bad.
The church has an amazing opportunity to show the kids in their communities, whether corporately or privately the conscious effort, or lack thereof, to give value and worth to the kids in our neighborhood can have massive implications not just spiritually, but for our physical world around us as well. While so far into the series, we don’t know the final details for Reva, or the exact circumstances that led her to the point she is at now, we have explored real examples of these types of relationships before on our show and what impact local ministries working in them have accomplished (Episodes 11-16). Dwight McDowell shared his story of complete community change from his decision to develop a Sports Ministry in Ocean View, VA. The Hunka’s shared about how something as simple as a dinner invite can change someone's perspective, and how their decision to not give up on their TIQVAH kids as they grew older, led to planting a Church in an unreached part of Canton, OH, Chalmer Williams shared about the role that a male figure plays in the development of children, and how the communities worth can be changed by the efforts of fathers there.
The church has an amazing opportunity to show the kids in their communities, whether corporately or privately the conscious effort, or lack thereof, to give value and worth to the kids in our neighborhood can have massive implications not just spiritually, but for our physical world around us as well. While the church argues about Traditional Family Values, there are multiple children in your community looking for a family to call their own that values them for them, and not just for the mission at hand, whether that’s purging the galaxy of the Jedi, or trying to fill Heaven with more converts. There are hurting kids in our communities that need to be told of their worth and value to us, to society, and to the God that created them.
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If you would like to learn more about how sports, recreation, or fitness ministry can better impact your community and the kids in it contact us at the email above or visit www.csrm.org.