Monday, January 11, 2010

Learning Theology at Disney World

I spent last week with Steve, Rima, Toby and Sophia at Disney World. As it was Sophia's 6th birthday we celebrated in style. We visited all 4 parks, ate at various Character dinners (Including eating inside Cinderella's castle!) and I saw more Princesses than I have at any other time in my life.
Useless trivia: Which Disney Adult Princess has the least amount of screen time?
Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) appears on screen for less than 18 minutes.

Everywhere we went Sophia was treated as a Princess, Disney definitely does a great job of making you feel welcome and important in their parks. We all had a wonderful time even though my motion sickness made an unwelcome return and caused me to skip a few of the rides.

Throughout the week I had a curious lyric pop into my brain that it took me a while to track down. It's from Gilbert and Sullivan's Comic Opera The Gondoliers.

"When everyone is somebody then no-one's anybody."

My brain was processing the fact that if every girl is a Princess then surely being a Princess is meaningless. Isn't being a Princess only important if it is exclusive? But I know this isn't true, I saw the delight in Sophia's eyes throughout the week. Being a Princess wasn't meaningless for her even when surrounded by all the Disney Princesses.

In my car this morning my brain did a little double flip of its own replacing 'Being a Princess' with 'Being God's Beloved'. Even though I believe that everyone is beloved of God that doesn't minimize God's love for me or the importance of His love in my life. It does make me think about people who fixate on who is 'in' or 'out' of God's Kingdom as if Heaven would somehow be diminished if 'the wrong sort' of person was let in or that their share of God's love would reduce if it was spread around to everyone.

It all sounds so selfish....."I don't want to go to Heaven if [blank] is allowed in". I minimize others to make myself feel important - 'Well at least I'm travelling First Class and not with the crowds in Coach'.

It took a trip to the Magic Kingdom to remind me how extravagantly God loves, and how extravagantly we should love too.


Rima Bonario said...

Wonderful insight and observation Peter. I made the transition some time ago from a theology that believes in limitations and lack - stemming from the notion that God loves only certain people who do certain things in certain ways - to one of embracing the magnificence and abundance of the ever-flowing love of God.

Disney has it right, we are all princes and princesses. This is our Divine heritage. Our mission, should we accept it, is to own our "royal" blood, our magnificence, as children of God and live from it. And to know and understand that everyone else is also magnificent, even if they may not be fully expressing it at the moment. This is no easy challenge! It is far easier to believe in and focus on our baseness, our depravity, our limitations, than in our greatness. But as studies show, when children are encouraged to believe in themselves and to know they are heroes who can follow their dreams, they tend to turn out that way. Conversely when they are repeatedly told they are unworthy pond scum, they "rise" to that expectation as well.

Deidra said...

You guys are awesome I love your insight. It is all so true glad yall got a chance to celebrate Sophia's birthday in style she is a princess for sure.