Now, you may think I'm going to share that neat devotional about seeing Jesus in people you meet. I like that one, too. And I see Jesus in my blog friends. But, that's not where I'm going.
I saw Jesus today.
He was on the aisle next to all the bubble products at the local "Stuff Mart." I was looking for mini-surfboards when his beard and long hair caught my eye.
"What's Jesus doing here?" I thought, and then immediately chuckled. "Why wouldn't Jesus be here? But....here????"
The whole scene left me feeling a bit perplexed. I walked around the entire toy shelf and came back for a closer look. Truly, I don't think I've seen a Jesus "action figure" before. There were many boxes lined up. There were boxes of Mary as well, plus a few smaller boxes with Moses and some other figures, AND, a roll-out mat for the characters to travel upon, though I didn't see where they would be going.
A Jesus "action figure."
Apparently, he's not available at Stuff Mart's website, but I did find a description elsewhere: "Messengers of Faith Bible Action Figures make learning about the Bible fun. By activating a voice chip built into the doll, children will hear a story about Jesus as well as a number of Bible verses. Includes a story book and additional resources from Focus on the Family. Measures 12" tall, and is fully articulated. Features realistic eyes, hand-sewn cloth outfits and sandals, 63 seconds of Scripture, recorded in an easy-to-memorize style. Requires 3 button cell batteries, included."
I'm still wrestling with whether this is such a great idea. I know children love to play with dolls of all sorts. Why should Jesus be any different? He comes with Scripture. (Good thing!) Perhaps it's me thinking ahead to what happens when Jesus meets Barbie or Jesus meets a Webkins.... Again, what's wrong with that?
I fear it's really me being a grown-up and having a conversation that goes something like:
"Those are just dolls; they're not real. Jesus isn't just a doll. He's real. He's God's Son."And what happens when Jesus meets a Transformer or a Power Ranger or a WWF action figure?
"Just like it says on the package."
"Yeah....just like it--What?! No.... I mean. Yes....I mean.... NO....."
"My Jesus can take on your Power Ranger any day!"Jesus, our Lord, packaged in a box for kids to learn 63 seconds of Scripture (for $19.95 online, shipping costs vary). I'm sure the Focus on the Family folks are thinking only the best things for Jesus out there in the toy world. Just as Jesus, our Lord, came to this world to show us love and to overcome the power of sin on our behalf, Jesus, the action figure, comes to this world to show kids a small part of who He is. Is that so bad?
Sandals and torn hand-sewn clothes get twisted with fake metal parts, unless someone intervenes.
He'll forgive Barbie for her low-cut shirts. He'll hug a Webkins. (Surely, Jesus would agree that they are cuddly.) He has strength and power beyond the crucifixion, which is enough to overpower the vast warehouses of Power Rangers, et al.
But, without the guidance of someone who knows the Lord and is ready to take the next step with our kids, even this Jesus is going to need some help accomplishing his mission.
I just don't want to see Jesus become another doll in the toy box....
"Then God spoke all these words, saying, 'I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth....'"
--Exodus 20: 1-4 (NASB)