Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Our Father...

I just finished watching an episode of Moral Orel On Demand and I felt compelled to comment on the episode. First, a little background on the show for those that haven't seen it.

[Excerpts taken from Wikipedia]

Moral Orel is an American stop-motion animated television show currently airing on Adult Swim. The show is rated TV-MA due to its strong sexual references and dark, satirical humor. It has been described as "Davey and Goliath...meets South Park". Despite advertising for the show, which portrays it as being in the vein of the Davey and Goliath cartoons that it is stylistically similar to, Dino Stamatopoulos, the creator, has stated that it is less a direct parody of that, and more a parody of 1950s and 1960s style sitcoms. The main character is Orel,...who constantly tries to live by the show's description of the Protestant Christian moral code. It seems, however, that most of the citizens of Moralton do not live the way a staunch Protestant is supposed to. Instead of loving their neighbor, they mock homosexuals, teach their children to close their minds to anything non-Christian, disavow rational scientific explanations of the universe's origins as fiction and heresy, distance themselves from nature, dehumanize non-Christian faiths, and mock the Catholic Church. Most episodes of the first season had a similar formula: Orel would hear a sermon in church on Sunday, then proceed to have some sort of misadventure based around his (often misguided) attempts to live by that lesson.

This description of the show is spot on. It contains a lot of dark humor and is not to be watched by anyone who can not stomach religious humor. You've been warned.

So how do we say the Lord's Prayer? Do you use debts or trespasses? Does it matter? Would God even listen to another second of your prayer if you use the wrong word?

Even though the show is exaggerating a tiny word difference in the Lord's Prayer (click here for a line by line breakdown and history of the Lord's Prayer) that causes strife between two neighbors it's actually not far off from the theological differences between Christian denominations.

Should infants be baptized? How do we baptize them: by aspersion, affusion, immersion, or submersion? What day should Christian worship on? Can we pray to saints? Is salvation attained by Faith, Works, or both? What about the Rapture? What about Hell: do people burn in Hell forever or are they annihilated? The list of theological differences go on and on and on.

But the only characters in the episode that were willing to swallow their differences were the kids: Christina and Orel. Although the adults learn to "repress" (instead of confess) their sins so that they can continue sinning without feeling guilty ("guilt is for Catholics") the kids were the only ones that looked past the differing theology not as sin but as just differences. The two eerily similar families could have coexisted peacefully as neighbor and friends only if they hadn't let their variations on the Lord's Prayer get between them.

[Taken from Wikipedia]
Although many theological differences and various modes and manners of worship divide Christians, according to Fuller Seminary professor Clayton Schmit "there is a sense of solidarity in knowing that Christians around the globe are praying together…, and these words always unite us."
As dark and twisted as this show is the producers made an incredible point on how some varying Christian denominations see and deal with each other.

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