Home > Uncategorized > Lady Rainicorn & The Church’s Dilemma

Lady Rainicorn & The Church’s Dilemma

My kids love the television show “Adventure Time.”  I have to admit to loving it, too.  For a while I couldn’t let them watch because there were some funky scary parts, but I think they are to an age where they are fine now.  It teaches a lot of good lessons, which works well because it’s not didactic and doesn’t punch you in the face with morals, but…they are there.  That plus some really funny and bizarre characters and quick changes of words, turning the way around of how think we, makes for an enjoyable 12 minute story.

Recently, however, something new has developed in the television show that has me thinking.  Now, I’m about to explain a few of the characters, so if you don’t watch Adventure Time, you’ll have to completely excuse your normal reality paradigm from the room for a minute.  The main characters are Jake, a magical dog with stretchy powers, and Finn, a human boy.  Jake has a girlfriend named Lady Rainicorn.  Lady is a rainbow unicorn with some similar stretchy powers, who speaks some form of Japanese that everybody on the show seems to be able to understand, and who can fly.  Ok, I promise only one more unrealistic thing: Lady Rainicorn, in the middle of a big, teary, emotive Japanesish monologue, said one English word: pregnant.  The unrealistic thing is that a Rainicorn and a magical talking dog could have babies interspecies. I know…everything else I can believe, but the interspecies stuff: unbelievable.

Here’s my dilemma: I see this often as a pastor.  Not the fictional parts, but the very nonfictional part: people not married having children together or just living together.  There is a growing permissiveness in our culture of people living together without being married.  Many of them choose to have children.  When I was a child this was taboo, and parents were ashamed to admit that their children were in what they would call a predicament.  But now it is commonplace and parents, while they don’t always make banners for the town to read, don’t hide the fact that their kids are living together or that their grandchildren are born into a relationship not bound in marriage.

I did say it was a dilemma for me.  Actually, it is and it isn’t.  It is my dilemma because our church must respond or not respond.  My kids never mentioned anything to me about Lady and Jake and never asked me any question about “are they married?”  Because it is not on their radar screen, and because they have some friends at school whose parents aren’t married.

How is the church to handle this?  Should we handle this?  Does God talk about such a thing?  Yes, there is plenty of precedent that marriage is a precursor to childbearing, but is it worth getting all up at arms about?  What is the pastoral response to our friends who are choosing this way of life?

I know of churches who, when people who are living together…even when there are children involved, want to get married, force them to live apart for months until they are ‘acceptably chaste.’  This seems absurd to me.  What does make sense to me is this: “Hi, I’m Jim and I have been living in a way that I now see is not how I would like to live.  Will you help me step in the right direction?  It was difficult for me to make this decision and asking your for your help is hard.”  This makes sense, and a response with anything other than: “You Bet!” seems silly.

A larger question?  What is the pastoral response to our friends who are choosing any alternate lifestyle?  By “alternate lifestyle” I mean anything that differs from a biblical practice.  So into that framework could be people who live together outside of marriage, but it could also be people who are greedy or maybe someone who mistreats their neighbor or purposefully enters into business practices that are less than above board.  I’m leaving this wide open to include you and me.

You might be saying, “Yah, but there’s a difference.  What I’m doing is culturally acceptable.  In fact, greed keeps our country’s economic powerhouse running.”  Or “my neighbor is an illegal immigrant, and is breaking laws by being in my country.”  Or “I can manage my company however is profitable as long as it doesn’t ‘technically’ break the law.”  You might be saying that.  I might be saying that.

If so, I would like to invite you to worship with us on Sunday morning.  You and I may disagree on what is acceptable, and who is acceptable.  My hope for us is that as we worship, as we read together what Jesus has to speak into our lives, as we practice the life of Christ in the world,  that we would come to follow him more closely and that in time (sooner rather than later, hopefully) we would begin to change our lives to more closely fit in with the Spirit of God.

Sorry to have kind of preached at you.  I’m trying to make room for Lady Rainicorn and Jake the dog.  They really are some great people…er…animals…er…characters.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Yes'm
    April 6, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    I noticed this too. I was shocked. They could have at least let them get married and then have kids. I would just tell the kids that it’s not right to have babies when you are just dating and not married. Marriage is a commitment wherein having kids is safer and acceptable. Just dating and having a kid “pop up” is one of the reasons premarital sex is wrong.

  2. April 6, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Thanks, Yes’m! Two things: I think you are right to talk to your children. That’s our job, right? We raise up our children in the way they should go and they won’t depart from it. So, way to go. My conversations on such things are coming, too. The other thing: I’m not really shocked. I think if we are shocked then we have some unfair expectations of the culture. They are acting exactly as they should act: any way they want to. It is we who live to a different standard, and we who must hold ourselves to that standard without expecting them to do so. It would be unfair and really a little absurd for us to hold the culture to our standards, right? So, for now, I take the great storytelling and look for Jesus shining through in the places where He does – even in Adventure Time. Happy watching!

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