Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Go Figure That One!

While I was away in the Lake District, I stumbled upon the following snippet of news:

Action figures face competition from talking Jesus doll next year.

Apparently this toy line (distributed by One2Believe), does pretty well for itself in America... but I find myself questioning - why? I can understand Christian parents wanting to buy their children edifying toys, playthings that foster the growth of the Gospel message in the hearts of their offspring; but is it really appropriate to use a Jesus figure to do it? Now of course, the obvious critical angle to come from would be the whole "not making idols or carved images" commandment, I accept that neither kids, nor parents would be "worshipping" the dolls as such... but the question remains.

Another question, is whether kids in their innocence, would play with the toys as the manufacturers or parents intended. Kids are great at imaginary play... they like making up stories with their toys and you never know quite what role the toys are going to play - the opening of Toy Story springs to mind as an example. The Guardian spoke about Jesus going head to head with Spider-Man in the shops... but is it that far a leap to imagine kids getting the Son of God duking it out with the web-slinger in their toy box? It works the other way too... when I was a child, I was told off by my dad for hanging my Action Man from the bath cruciform. So if a kid can use Action Man as Jesus, then surely it's just as easy for kids to use a Jesus doll like Action Man!

And looking at things a little lighter, what about toy abuse? I referenced Toy Story earlier... but imagine... what if a Jesus doll ended up in the hands of Sid??????

Oh the inhumanity! I can just see Sid, preparing to send Buzz Lightyear exploding off into the ionosphere when all of a sudden instead of Woody, the Jesus doll pipes up from the barbecue grill... "love your neighbour as yourself!" and then a similar scene to the one above unfolding - hilarious.

Going back to the original, more serious point I was making and I think my main reason for finding this more than a little tasteless is just that... well, the concept is just so tacky! I just find the idea of action dolls that are based on real life people too much. Just under 10 years ago, they started churning out Princess Diana doll which were equally in bad taste... and that in my opinion was definitely idolatrous.

I don't think this idea will take off as well in the UK as it has in the US, we think too differently to the Americans

I think action figures and dolls exist mainly for developing children's imaginations and their ability to play with others... I believe if parents want to engage with their children spiritually, they should do so through prayer and storytelling... genuine interaction with children - isn't that what good parenting involves?

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:07 pm

    Hey Nick, good to have you back, hope you enjoyed your holiday in the lake district. Good to have your blog back on track. I agree, a Jesus action figure just doesn't feel right. In my class I have lots of Muslim children, some of whose families are stricter than others with traditions. Muslims are not allowed to make a drawn representation of Allah or Muhammed, as that would be creating an idol. Some go even a step further and say that you are not allowed to draw eyes at all. (which is why Muslim artwork revolves mostly around patterns, architecture and symmetry). Although it seems a very conservative position to take on the subject, it does seem more respectful in way that Jesus action figures could never be...All the best, Robin


The ideas and thoughts represented in this page's plain text are unless otherwise stated reserved for the author. Please feel free to copy anything that inspires you, but provide a link to the original author when doing so.
Share your links easily.