Remember Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber? The animated vegetable stars may have left the scene, but the guy who created them hasn’t. Phil Vischer, whose popular kids television series VeggieTales originally aired in 1993, has returned with a fresh project and a conspicuously different approach. What’s in the Bible? is a new DVD series designed to communicate the unfolding storyline of Scripture from a decidedly gospel-centered perspective.
News reporter Buck Denver leads the cast of puppet characters in this fun and engaging exploration currently spanning Genesis through the letters of Paul. In addition to gospel-shaped biblical theology, Vischer laces apologetics and hermeneutics throughout in a way that kids can understand. The result is a resource bound to help kids and adults alike better grasp the Bible’s epic story and prize its ultimate hero—Jesus Christ.
I talked with Vischer about VeggieTales moralism, how What’s in the Bible? is unique, his concerns about kids television, and more.
Like most parents, I have those moments where guilt and regret comes over me like a wave. I consider then how much of my parenting time has already passed by and how little remains. My oldest child, my son, is thirteen. He is already a teenager, just one year away from high school, just eight years from the age I was when I left home to get married. My girls are following close behind him. When that wave rises up, when I feel like I could drown beneath all that regret, I sometimes consider those things I will never regret.
Here are 18 things I know I will not regret doing with my kids.
Don’t call it a pullback; we’ve been here for years.
The recent profile in the Wall Street Journal highlighted a generational change in terms of the way evangelicals approach cultural and political engagement: toward a gospel-centered approach that doesn’t back down on issues of importance, but sees our ultimate mission as one that applies the blood of Christ to the questions of the day.
The headline, as is often the case with headlines, is awfully misleading. I am not calling, at all, for a “pullback” from politics or engagement.
If anything, I’m calling for more engagement in the worlds of politics, culture, art, labor and so on. It’s just that this is a different sort of engagement. It’s not a matter of pullback, but of priority.
There are two popular, misleading ways of relating the Bible to dating. The first is to think that because the Bible does not speak about dating, we have liberty to dive headlong into romantic waters, guided only by desire to get married. We’ll call this the libertarian approach. This view allows us to imbibe secular dating-game platitudes like the currently popular sage wisdom called flirtexting.
The second is to think that because the Bible does not speak about dating, it forbids dating entirely, and constrains us to pattern our practices after the cultural options available to the biblical authors. We’ll call this the purist approach. This view allows us to imbibe (not necessarily Christian) ancient, secular, dating-game platitudes like asking the dad for a date and bundling (wait, do people still bundle?).
When I was in high school, my physics class was assigned a project that I’m sure was not unique to our school. We were given limited material materials, mainly Popsicle sticks and wood glue, and instructed to build a bridge with specific parameters. On the appointed day, all of us brought our bridges to class and they were placed over a gap between two desks. Then small weights were systematically hung to the bottom of the bridges to text and see how much weight they could bear. Of course, in that environment, the greatest thrill wasn’t just winning the most sturdy bridge, but also watching as structure after structure was eventually obliterated under the increasing weight.