4 Christian Childrens Television Shows That Were Actually Pretty Good

Calling all Baby-Boomers, Gen X’ers, and Mellenials who grew up in the Christian bubble. It’s time take a little walk down memory lane.

4. Davey & Goliath

This was way before my time. This was way before most of our times. The first D&G episode was created in 1960. Produced and financed by the United Lutheran Church in America, D&G became a cultural force. Three million people watched D&G at it’s height.

D&G episodes dealt with important life lessons and even helped explain theology in a way that was relatable to children. The show holds up surprisingly well even for being off the air since 1975. The show also featured black characters, which is something that even shows today often fail to do.
The production value was as good as it got in its time, and even now looking back, the claymation is truly beautiful.

3. Gerbert

I’m pretty sure Gerbert played on The Family Channel on Sunday mornings as the Blackshear family was getting ready for church. Gerbert was the product a guy named Andy Holmes who used the puppet to entertain kids in the hospital in Abilene, TX.

Gerbert the show had relatively high production value, especially for its time. The show couldn’t help itself and often included musical interludes lead by actors that most likely were church members who had nothing better to do after church one Sunday but put on an ill-fitting costume and memorize a few lines. Nevertheless Gerbert communicated concepts of Christian morality without being too preachy and with relatively little camp.

 

2. McGee and Me

Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s a Christian bookstore was magical alternative world. They had T-shirts like any store at the mall but these took the logos of the mall T-shirts and christianized them. Golds Gym became Lords Gym (It took me a really long time to understand what that shirt was parodying and who can blame me, it doesn’t even rhyme), Coca-Cola became Jesus Christ (in Coca-Cola font), and so on and so forth. There was music too, music of every genre that the secular music store had, and many times with very similar cover art, but this was ‘christian’ music.

Then there was the VHS section. It was probably 1/20th the size of a video stores selection, and let me tell you, it got weird. Budgets were low, writing was bad, and puppets abounded. It’s amazing that amongst the riffraff we all stumbled into McGee and Me.

I dare say that McGee and Me could stand toe to toe with any childrens television programing of its time. It was well written, mostly well acted, and the opening credits featured a Goldberg machine that was (ostensibly) created by the main character who was wicked smart and an amazing artist. I was neither of those things but I liked the idea of being those things so suffice it to say that 7-year-old me was definitely on board.

M&M featured animation on top of live acting which in retrospect was probably a respectable technological feat in 1989.

 

1. VeggieTales

How did this get made? I mean seriously. How did it get funded? How did someone have the vision to bring christian programing not only up to date, but in many ways lead the way for secular programming?! Veggie Tales debuted in 1993. That’s right 1993! Remember Toy Story was released in 1995! Computer animation was still in its infancy at this time. VT must have cost a fortune back then and had some very intelligent, and visionary people behind it (which reminds me, Phil Vischer, please come on Seminary Dropout).

I think VT was the first christian programing that’s almost as fun to watch as an adult as it is for a child. Pop culture references and clever puns abound. You’re kid won’t catch them, but you will.
VT was so good that secular programming wanted them. VT was on NBC at one point with the overtly religious content edited out, and now a reiteration of Veggie Tales (Veggie Tales in the House), runs on Netflix.

Before Bob & Larry plush toys became ubiquitous and VT took over your dvd collection, VT was a clever and fun show with the highest production quality around.

Seminary Dropout 78: Peter Rollins, Author of The Divine Magician

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On Pete’s website it says that he is a “provocative writer, philosopher, storyteller and public speaker” , and it’s true he is provocative, in fact his words can make some of us in the church squirm a bit, but you don’t have to agree with Pete to find his thoughts and ideas insightful.

Rollins new book ‘The Divine Magician’ is about reimagining the message of Christianity. Using the illustration of the steps involved in a magic trick; the pledge, the turn, and the prestige, Rollins proposes that the Eucharist might include some of the same elements.

Some things we discuss on this episode:

How Pete’s upbringing has affected the type of theology & philosophy he’s come to practice today.

  • The evolution of Pete’s work over the years, from his earlier work that seemed to be more transformative art that was focused on experience (IKON collective to parables) to his more recent work in “The Idolatry of God” and “the Divine Magician” being very theological and constructive.
  • The Pyro-theology Pete practices that shifts focus from a set of beliefs to the way in which we engage the world, is it mutually exclusive from the Christianity that would include mysticism and supernatural aspects.
  • The use of the three parts of a magic trick – the Pledge, the Turn, and the Prestige as illustrations for Christianity.
  • In this season of lent, what’s the point of focusing on the death of Christ? What are good lenten practices for those who want to recognize the “other” inside themselves?
  • This notable quote “Christianity should not be thought of as the means of bridging a gap. This event is nothing less than the smashing of the whole chasm / bridge idea that Gnostic spiritualities buy into. The liberation that this narrative expresses does not offer us the fullness we seek, but rather frees us from the need to seek fullness. “ -Peter Rollins

Remember our beloved sponsor for this episode is Deidox Films. If you like the podcast and want to support it then please check out Deidox and tell your pastor, worship leader or whoever organizes your worship gatherings about it. This week I recommend the short film James.

Deidox produces beautiful, high quality, short documentaries about the real lives of Christians.

deidox
Deidox Films is a 501(c)3 film production and distribution company. They are media missionaries. Their mission is to produce and promote documentary films that help the Church reflect Christ and redeem culture.

Their purpose is to partner with Pastors and Church leaders to help make disciples and fulfill the Great Commission. They do this by creating visual models of faith that provide practical examples of modern-day disciples.


 

If you liked this episode then you might also like…

Seminary Dropout 42: Christian Piatt

Seminary Dropout 24: Danielle Shroyer


 

Subscribe/Rate/Review Seminary Dropout in iTunes

Seminary Dropout 77: Aaron Niequist

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For the last ten years, first at Mars Hill Church and now at Willow Creek Church, Aaron has been trying to invite people into a worship journey that moves beyond singing songs. As Aaron tried to create something “new”, he discovered that many have had this figured out for generations and generations. They call it “The Liturgy”.
And so Aaron has been wrestling with the question: How do we bring the depth and wisdom of the Liturgical tradition into the questions and struggles of today? What can we learn? How can our past shape and launch us into the future? Since the word liturgy means “the work of the people”, how do we best invite our spiritual communities into this work?

On the show we discuss…


Remember our beloved sponsor for this episode is Deidox Films. If you like the podcast and want to support it then please check out Deidox and tell your pastor, worship leader or whoever organizes your worship gatherings about it. This week I recommend the short film James.

Deidox produces beautiful, high quality, short documentaries about the real lives of Christians.

deidox
Deidox Films is a 501(c)3 film production and distribution company. They are media missionaries. Their mission is to produce and promote documentary films that help the Church reflect Christ and redeem culture.

Their purpose is to partner with Pastors and Church leaders to help make disciples and fulfill the Great Commission. They do this by creating visual models of faith that provide practical examples of modern-day disciples.


 

If you liked this episode then you might also like…

Seminary Dropout 51: Michael Gungor

Seminary Dropout 60: Shauna Niequist


 

Subscribe/Rate/Review Seminary Dropout in iTunes

 

Racial Justice is too Important to Give to God

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A friend of mine recently expressed frustration on Facebook over the recent injustices towards people of color in our nation. One of the comments on the post was as striking as it was familiar. A white person expressed sympathy towards the plight of people of color in America today, expressed her own frustrations, and then concluded that we just have to ‘give it to God’.

Can I be so bold as to suggest that what we mean when we say ‘giving it to God’ might be the most backwards and unbiblical thing believers can do? To be sure ‘surrender’ and ‘submission’ to a holy God are undoubtedly biblical concepts, but those concepts are only make sense when our will is in conflict with Gods. When we want true biblical justice, we don’t need to surrender our will to God because we know that our will is God’s will.

All too often what we mean when we say ‘give it to God’ is that we’re done trying, we’re throwing our hands up and hoping it all works out. It’s a very spiritual sounding way of saying -I’m not going to do anything about this.

Does this work in any area of life? If you lose your job, do sit back and hope it all works out or do you get to work on a resume, and ask your friends and family if they have any leads? When you’re child is sick do you take a passive approach or do you get them to the doctor?

The entirety of scripture is the story of God inviting human beings to participate and partner in redemption and reconciliation with God.

My fear is that perhaps our real feelings are more sinister than simple exasperation, and are in reality an unwillingness to follow God into true participation of a radical reconciliation process.

As a white person, partnering with God probably means being intolerant of my church being 99% white and no positions of leadership belonging to minorities. Partnering with God might truly mean moving out of my 95% white neighborhood and sending my kids to a school that isn’t 95% white.

Partnering God means intentionally, purposefully and regularly praying against violence and the idea that black men are to be feared and presumed guilty, that poverty within minority communities is simply a choice they have made, and examining ourselves to eradicate any of those feelings within ourselves.

We can’t act as if God hasn’t given us a means of being co-laborers with him, that’s not his nature, he has promised to prepare good works for us in advance (Eph 2:10). If we feel like there is nothing that can be done, that should be the signal within us that we have found God’s calling too radical and too impractical to be bothered with.

Photo by 1950’sUnlimited

Seminary Dropout 76: Lauren Winner, Author of ‘Wearing God’

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Lauren Winner teaches at Duke Divinity School as an Assistant Professor of Christian Spirituality, and lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Lauren is a writer’s writer. If you’ve read any of her previous books: Girl Meets God, Mudhouse Sabbath, or her memoir Still: Notes on a Mid-faith Crisis, then you know that. She took her effortless tone and intimate style and turned it towards the language of God used in the Bible, and wrote Wearing God:Clothing, Laughter, Fire, and Other Overlooked Ways of Meeting God 

affiliate link

Some things we discuss in the show…

  • A specific time in Lauren’s life when she really had a thirst for the words of the Bible and started to notice the language used for God.
  • Why the way we speak about God matters.
  • The significance of our relationship with God being described as a friendship.
  • The relation between Gender and language for God.
  • The unknowable parts of God and why they are important.
  • Lauren’s collection of Christian kitsch.

Be sure to enter for a chance to win the book!


 

Remember our beloved sponsor for this episode is Deidox Films. If you like the podcast and want to support it then please check out Deidox and tell your pastor, worship leader or whoever organizes your worship gatherings about it.

Deidox produces beautiful, high quality, short documentaries about the real lives of Christians.

deidox

Deidox Films is a 501(c)3 film production and distribution company. They are media missionaries. Their mission is to produce and promote documentary films that help the Church reflect Christ and redeem culture.

Their purpose is to partner with Pastors and Church leaders to help make disciples and fulfill the Great Commission. They do this by creating visual models of faith that provide practical examples of modern-day disciples.


 

If you liked this episode then you might also like…

Seminary Dropout 70: Donald Miller

Seminary Dropout 64: Karen Swallow Prior


 

Subscribe/Rate/Review Seminary Dropout in iTunes

Faith & Culture Writers Conference

fcwcI’m extremely excited to be leading two workshops at this years Faith & Culture Writers Conference.

The conference has a great line up including past Seminary Dropout guests Tony Kriz & WM Paul Young, as well as others like Romal Tune & Emily P. Freeman.

The two workshops I’ll be leading are:

Say It: Using Podcasting to Go Deeper

&

Interviewing: The Art of Asking Good Questions

Like I said, I’m extremely excited to be apart of this conference and to be included in such a stellar line up. If you’re in the Portland area (and even if you’re not) I’d LOVE to see you there.


 

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Almost immediately after the conference we’ll be doing something big. Like really BIG.
*drum roll begins*

Like, the first ever, live taping of Seminary Dropout.

Here is your chance to be present at the first ever live taping of the podcast. Just like the non-live version, I’ll have an amazing guest (yet to be announced) and we’ll talk about faith and life.
There should be enough seating for everyone but just in case you’d better register here

Book Giveaway: Leroy Barbers – Red, Brown, Yellow, Black, White—Who’s More Precious In God’s Sight?

Now that you’ve heard my interview with Leroy Barber, and know how important his book is, here’s a chance to win it!

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There are 2 easy steps to enter:

1. Simply subscribe to Seminary Dropout in iTunes.

2. Leave a comment, any comment, in the comments section below.

That’s it!

If you’re already subscribed to Seminary Dropout then you only need to complete step 2.

You must live in the continental US to win. Sorry, Hawaii, Alaska, and all other countries. I love you, but postage is just too much.

FOLLOW THIS LINK TO SUBSCRIBE

Seminary Dropout 75: Leroy Barber, Author of Red, Brown, Yellow, Black, White—Who’s More Precious In God’s Sight?

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Just FYI, you’ll notice that I’m a little hoarse in this episode. It’s worth it though.

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Leroy Barber is the Executive Director of Word Made Flesh Ministries, and former president of Mission Year and of Focus Community Strategies (FCS) Urban Ministries. He is the author of two previous books, New Neighbor and Everyday Missions. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

 

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You don’t have to have been Christian for very long before you become apart of some sort of mission. Most of us have experienced short-term missions, worked at a church sponsored food pantry, or maybe even went over seas with an organization. The reality is that far to many of the leadership of the organizations that take on such endeavors are overwhelmingly white, from the board of directors to the executive director. How does this happen to a people who are called by an all loving, boundary-breaking God, and what are the consequences when the people who supposedly benefit from the mission of these organizations come from vastly different backgrounds than those who are providing the services? These are the questions Leroy takes on in Red, Brown, Yellow, Black, White—Who’s More Precious In God’s Sight?.

In the interview we discuss…

…the push back Leroy experienced as a person of color working in the Christian non-profit realm.

…the changes made to make the non-profit DOOR more diverse.

…missionary invaders.

…the Rooney rule in the NFL is and how that relates to Christian Mission Agencies.

…how many Christian non-profits have workers raising their own support, and what’s wrong with that model.

…how ministries can be contextual to the poor.


 

Remember our beloved sponsor for this episode is Deidox Films. If you like the podcast and want to support it then please check out Deidox and tell your pastor, worship leader or whoever organizes your worship gatherings about it.

Deidox produces beautiful, high quality, short documentaries about the real lives of Christians.This week I recommend the short film Robert.

deidox

Deidox Films is a 501(c)3 film production and distribution company. They are media missionaries. Their mission is to produce and promote documentary films that help the Church reflect Christ and redeem culture.

Their purpose is to partner with Pastors and Church leaders to help make disciples and fulfill the Great Commission. They do this by creating visual models of faith that provide practical examples of modern-day disciples.


 

If you liked this episode then you might also like…

Seminary Dropout 35: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor & Yourself – Brian Fikkert

Seminary Dropout 37: Christena Cleveland, Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart


 

Subscribe/Rate/Review Seminary Dropout in iTunes

Seminary Dropout 74: Erin Lane, Author of Lessons in Belonging from a Church-Going Commitment Phobe

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Erin S. Lane works as an assistant program director for clergy and congregational leader programs for the Center for Courage & Renewal. Unlike me, she has a master of theological studies degree from Duke Divinity School.

affiliate link

Erin’s book is a beautiful and shockingly honest look at her journey in being a part of a church. If you’re looking for propaganda sanctioned by a large evangelical denomination, then this isn’t the book for you. Erin openly examines her own motivations and feelings and isn’t afraid to be wrong. She’s also not afraid to examine the faults of churches she attends and point out when things aren’t done as well as they could be.

If you have issues with the church, read this book. If you love the church, read this book. If you’ve been wounded by the church, you especially, read this book!


Remember our beloved sponsor for this episode is Deidox Films. If you like the podcast and want to support it then please check out Deidox and tell your pastor, worship leader or whoever organizes your worship gatherings about it.

Deidox produces beautiful, high quality, short documentaries about the real lives of Christians.This week I recommend the short film Robert.

deidox

Deidox Films is a 501(c)3 film production and distribution company. They are media missionaries. Their mission is to produce and promote documentary films that help the Church reflect Christ and redeem culture.

Their purpose is to partner with Pastors and Church leaders to help make disciples and fulfill the Great Commission. They do this by creating visual models of faith that provide practical examples of modern-day disciples.


 

If you liked this episode then you might also like…

Seminary Dropout 65: Josh Butler, Author of ‘Skeletons in God’s Closet’

Seminary Dropout 60: Shauna Niequist


 

Subscribe/Rate/Review Seminary Dropout in iTunes