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Animated Movies and Zootopia

I enjoy watching animated movies for several reasons. First, I enjoy technology. Animated movies take good sized teams of people with cutting edge equipment. They literally have computer farms to process all of the data the animators create. Second, I enjoy them because of the story’s they tell. Animation has the power of translating us into totally new (and old) environments to create their setting. Totally new characters can arise (just think of the Minions!).

There are certainly some things to avoid in the entertainment industry these days. I however (in this blog) want to focus on the powerful themes that communities can interact with by watching, listening and then conversing about. My favorite animated film of 2016 was Zootopia (Albeit I am a little behind in my viewing of movies). Having a chance to witness this little Bunny (Judy Hopps) fight for her place in society is compelling. Perhaps all of us can relate to wanting to make our mark on the world and then being surprised as to how big the world really is…?

Risk, friendship, deception, equality, and much more are all addressed in this movie. It is not my position that everything in every movie is good. However, it is my position that what we do get a chance to see, we can find bits, pieces, or even blocks where we can build positive or challenging conversations out of. Let’s take another look at Zootopia.

In the movie the Bunny has to take risks in order to succeed. There are times when she seriously fails (sound like life?). Moreover, even when the main character does succeed at becoming a Police Officer, she is not really living the dream. She is a meter maid. This is disheartening despite her parent’s gladness for the safe position. Even more, she experiences a little discrimination. She is a bunny. There are no bunny Police Officers on the force. The existing force does not even act like she is there at first. She is marginalized.

Yet the film goes even deeper. On one level it truly tries to triumph the idea that living together, with all of our diversity is better than the opposite. And, at the same time it does not deny the depths of the problem exist within ‘the species’ themselves. The Mayor, who is a Lion, covers up his operations, which are actually trying to solve the city’s problems (great time for a conversation on ‘does the end justify the means.’). The Assistant Mayor, who is one of the marginalized, a small sheep, is actually behind the evil plot to destroy the ‘strong animals’ to begin with. Will the main character ‘do right’ even if doing wrong may help her position in society?

We could go on with more diverse themes. Her foxy friend’s heart change, the time off from police work to search her soul, and much more. My point in all of this is not necessarily to get you to watch a particular movie. Rather, the point is to highlight that movies, in this case animated ones, can have the power to address difficult life topics that touch both the heart in the mind.

Next time you are at the movies, let it be ‘mind growing’ rather than ‘mind numbing.’

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”

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Dear Living Water Church, WE are offering in both IN-PERSON and LIVE STREAM options this Sunday! We did take off in-person services last Sunday (December 12th), but we are in-person this December 19