I’ve heard many feisty sermons – the kind that step on toes and challenge even good, moral people to improve. Those are the sermons you remember years later.
Sometimes those sermons are delivered by clergy. Sometimes by a frail grandmother who refuses to complain. Or, in my case, by a kids’ show.
The guy who created VeggieTales, Phil Vischer, also has a DVD series called “What’s in the Bible” ($14.99 Tyndale). Even though everyone loves his singing vegetables with their great lessons, Vischer wanted to provide more context – more of the big picture – for kids and the adults they hang out with.
“Through Sunday School and kids’ videos like VeggieTales, kids get snapshots from the Bible. Moses. Noah. Jesus. They’re like pictures in a photo album,” Vischer told me. “What we’re missing is the ‘connective tissue.’ What does Jesus have to do with Moses? What does any of this have to do with Adam and Eve? How do all these stories fit together to tell ONE story, and how does that one story explain our world today?”
I kept that in mind as I watched the first video. I thought my son was going to roll off the couch laughing at some of the clever jokes and silly songs. But I was busy thinking of something else: The realization that I have never read the Bible cover to cover.
I’ve tried to read it straight through several times, and I know I’m not alone – lots of churches have huge initiatives to get people reading more. But this is one time I don’t feel comfort in numbers.
I’ve done lots of devotionals and Bible studies that are based on one book or one theme. I’ve jotted notes as ministers read from the pulpit. I’ve even considered myself pretty knowledgeable about the Bible, when in reality, I’ve only read the Cliff notes. And I haven’t even read those in order.
I’d never open up another bestseller and start reading in the middle and then jump back to the second chapter. That would make it almost impossible to follow the plot. Yet I do that all the time to a book that’s central to my faith. And it took some puppets to teach me that.
Thank God for challenging sermons, no matter how they are delivered.