The American Vision: A Biblical Worldview Ministry

VeggieTating? Try Meaty Tales!

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If you like your roast beef with gravy
If you talk to your pork chop
If you smile when you see baloney
And hang out at the butcher’s shop . . .
(Have we got a show for you!)
MeatyTales, MeatyTales, MeatyTales, MeatyTales,
MeatyTales, MeatyTales, MeatyTales, MeatyTales . . .
Bacon . . .
Fillet Mignon . . .
Turn the grill on . . .
MeatyTales!
Barbeque . . .
Hot beef stew . . .
Burgers too . . .
MeatyTales!
Leg o’ lamb . . .
Honey ham . . .
Can of Spam . . .
MeatyTales!
There’s never ever ever ever ever ever ever been a show like MeatyTales . . .
There’s never ever ever ever ever ever ever been a show like MeatyTales . . .
It’s time for MeatyTales!!!

What?! You didn’t recognize the parody of the VeggieTales theme song? Where have you been? You are completely out of the loop! VeggieTales has been one of today’s hottest entertainment crazes. Before Pixar’s Toy Story, there was VeggieTales. Since 1993, 50 million DVDs and video tapes have been sold through outlets like Wal-Mart, Costco, and Target. This doesn’t include 7 million audio CDs and 10 million books. They’re everywhere, almost as ever-present as the Left Behind series. Entire websites are devoted to the characters and their stories. Now NBC wants to include VeggieTales in its Saturday morning lineup but without the Bible verse at the end.[1] I’m with NBC on this one, but for a different reason. I do not want impressionable children identifying God’s Word with animated vegetables. Is it any wonder that Christian teenagers leave their childish faith behind when they enter college when the Bible has been reworked as a series of stories about moral lessons performed by talking veggies?

In an attempt to do our Part 1n bringing wholesome but substantive entertainment to kids everywhere, American Vision has created MeatyTales. Like VeggieTales, we have our own theme song and characters. We’re hoping that Harvey the Hot Dog and Mikey the Meatball will cause the same types of smiles and giggles that Archibald Asparagus and Madame Blueberry evoke.

In a couple of Biblical Worldview articles, I made some off-hand negative remarks about the ever-popular VeggieTales videos. I suggested that a more appropriate series should carry the title MeatyTales.® The “meaty” reference was to call attention to the need for more substance in what we teach children (Heb. 5:12, 14), especially as it relates to biblical content and application. Armless and legless vegetables portraying Bible characters didn’t seem to be the best way to communicate a comprehensive and sustaining Christian worldview to children. Will the next generation of Christians be able to compete against the worldviews of naturalism, materialism, atheism, Islam, postmodernism, or whatever new “ism” has attached itself to the American soul after a steady diet of VeggieTales? You are what you eat and what you don’t eat.

VeggieTalers see the animated vegetables (fruits and legumes not to be excluded) as a way to compete with the gee-whiz graphics found in Nintendo, Game Boy, Play Station 2, Xbox, and razzle-dazzle movie special effects. The stuff is clever and fun to watch. The tunes are catchy and the humor sophisticated. A director of preschool ministry at a large church in Marietta, Georgia, says that “kids today have so much in front of them . . . [that when] they come to church . . . they’re bored. You can’t just open a Bible and start reading to them.”[2] Most children leave these games behind as they get older, and we wonder and worry about the ones who don’t. We shouldn’t be surprised when children decide to outgrow the Bible because of its attachment to juvenile teaching themes. The Bible is an adult book to be taught in an adult way even to children. There is no segregation of children from biblical teaching and preaching (Ezra 10:1; Neh. 12:43). It’s up to parents to make the message understandable to their children, but this does not mean to trivialize it.

Endnotes:

[1] Bob Unruh, “VeggieTales too Christian for NBC” (September 22, 2006)
[2] Quoted in Phil Kloer, “The Veggies Kids Love,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution (May 18, 2002), B1.

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