This past weekend, I took my family to see the newly released Mr. Peabody and Sherman. Based on the cartoon shorts that were part of the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, Mr. Peabody did not fail to reproduce the hijinks of the original including Mr. Peabody’s puns.
But the movie made us squirm as adults.
In fact, it needs an adoption/foster care disclaimer of NOT SUITABLE
You see, writers of the screen play for the movie made a villain out of an overbearing child services worker. If you know the back story of Mr. Peabody, he is an exceptional dog/scientist/historian/genius who adopts a human boy as his own. In this movie adaptation, an overbearing ideologue of a social worker takes it upon herself to seek to terminate a permanent and legal adoption (something the movie makes quite clear) all because Mr. Peabody and Sherman do not “match.” In fact, Sherman has a bad day at school and bites a fellow student in kindergarten out of frustration thus inserting the overbearing social worker into the story.
Here’s the problem with this:
1.) Any kid who bites might fear being taken away. Let’s face it – you may not have ever had a biter, but the mere idea that a kid-like behavior could result in action and/or intervention from the state with the intent to remove a child may be too much for any kid.
2.) As a parent blessed with kids through transracial adoption, my kids don’t “match.” As they listened to the vitriol from the villain case worker, my wife and I couldn’t help but be frustrated with the manner in which the conversation was presented. Since Mr. Peabody is a canine, he should have had no rights to adopt a boy the social worker intones. How far of a logical step is it for a child with darker skin to think he doesn’t match a parent with fairer skin thus placing him or her at risk of being taken away?
3.) A case manager presented as the “bad guy” can set off kids from foster care or adoption that have been stuck in the system. For some, the case worker may be the person they view as the main “stressor” in life. A movie like this may generate unwelcome challenges.
While we are on the subject, can we all just agree not to make case workers the “bad guy”? I know there are a few examples of over-reach on the part of the state, but in the main, most case workers are over-worked, underpaid and dealing with highly emotional situations day in and out. Despite all of this, they labor tirelessly to help protect children from dangerous situations while striving to help families get back on track and whole.
While the movie may have a few laughs, this dangerous line of reasoning as part of the plot makes Mr. Peabody a tough pill to swallow for adoptive and foster families.
"You know what’s wrong with you people?”
If this is the leading question, you can guarantee an interesting conversation is about to follow. The passenger in the seat next to me was not pleased I had asked about his relationship with Jesus. This question began his rejoinder about all things spiritual. I mentally began to calculate which direction this conversation might take, but I was wrong. In fact, I never saw his response coming.
“Y’all talk about ending abortion, but none of you people adopt the kids we already have waiting.”
Dropping that nuclear bomb on our conversation, he turned his body away, signaling that our discussion was over.
I sat back in my seat and began to ponder. He was right — at least up to a point. While the number of evangelicals engaged in the orphan care movement has grown, the overall number of adopted children in the United States has barely budged. In the best of years, families in the U.S. file legally to adopt between 100,000 to 125,000 children. That may sound like a resounding success, but more than half of those are familial adoptions, meaning they are the result of a child being adopted by a family member. Worse, adoption is only a small part of a greater orphan crisis globally as millions of children go without even a semblance of a family. Even with our greater awareness of the plight of children on a global scale, the number of churches taking an active role is painfully small.
This should crush our hearts.
From a biblical and gospel perspective, we stand condemned.
In the Old Testament, God clearly spells out that the community of faith has a responsibility to care for widows and orphans. In Exodus 22:22–23 we are told, “Do not oppress foreigners in any way. Remember, you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. Do not exploit widows or orphans.”
For those who did not think this was an important part of God’s heart, the following warning was added in verses 23–24: “If you do exploit them and they cry out to Me, I will surely help them. My anger will blaze forth against you, and I will kill you with the sword. Your wives will become widows and your children will become fatherless.”
Harsh words. We can ascertain from this text that God the Father sees our role in meeting the basic needs of widows and orphans, and He grants them direct access to His throne. Any complaints do not go well for those unwilling to address the needs that are present. Lest we think this only applies to the Old Testament believer, James 1:27 repeats this theme for us as we are given a clarion call to care for the widow and the orphan.
If an extensive study is done of the Old Testament, the following basic themes emerge:
- Read the rest at The Alabama Baptist
St. Patrick’s Day in America is a bit weird. Green Beer, drunken revelries, parades, shamrocks and people wearing green. (You didn’t forget to wear your green, did you? Without it you’ll get a pinch!)
If you aren’t familiar with the history of Patrick, watch this short video here. Much of the legend that surrounds Patrick is just that – Legend. No snakes, no four-leafed clovers, and certainly no Leprechauns.
Instead, you find a humble man who became a missionary. As a young adult, Irish slave traders captured Patrick and sold him into slavery. He eventually escaped, returning to England, only to have God call him to go back to the very people who who kidnapped him as a child. This violated every base human instinct, but given his innate knowledge of the Irish culture of the day, Patrick shared fervently the hope of Jesus Christ – eventually seeing even his slave owner come to Christ.
St. Patrick’s Day should be a special day where we are reminded of the cultural challenges we face as missionaries in the very places we live and work. Today would you pray that God uses you to reach even those who might have hurt you in the past. To see a soul saved by the Gospel is worth a day of wearing Green!
St. Patrick's day fun?
Lutheran Satire's St. Patrick's
St. Patrick's history as told by Veggie Tales (It's a little long, but good.)
John Mark Yeats