“One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only.” -Romans 14:2
As a child, instead of sitting down in front of the TV to watch armless fruits and vegetables sing about puppies and fish, go outside and play or pick up a book. The open air and countless worlds amid the pages are refreshing reminders that there is a world outside your small bubble. The blue skies, white fluffy clouds, and aged pages are more comforting than any TV program.
While all the other good Christian boys and girls sit with their eyes glued to a screen, entranced by a sassy blueberry, listen to your father read passages out of the family Bible as part of your nightly family devotion and prayer time. Your mother will tell you countless stories from when she was young and how her parents used to make her go to church four days a week. Be glad your mom only makes you go on Sundays.
As you get older, notice that nearly every Christian bookstore resembles a produce department more so than a bookstore. Don’t gravitate towards the cartoons just because they are popular. Watch cartoons that interest you. Watch Bible cartoons that are more realistic and historically grounded. Watch them, forget their titles, but remember the stories.
As a teenager, stop wanting to go to church. Start complaining about the services and the people. Try to sleep in and avoid telling your mom you don’t want to go. Continue to go only because your mom makes you. Stop going because she eventually develops a compromise.
Go to youth group every Thursday night instead of Church on Sunday. Have fun at youth group at first. Make friends and laugh a lot. Feel confused when someone references the staple “Christian-kid cartoon” and everyone laughs except for you. Ask what they were laughing at. Feel even dumber when they laugh again. Listen to them go on a tangent about the different stories and sing senseless songs. Call your mom to come pick you up from youth group early. Go home.
Wonder what it would have been like to watch VeggieTales as a kid. Think about watching a few of the videos now so you can relate to your new friends. Watch one and feel stupid for watching a kids movie as a junior in high school. Feel even more stupid for thinking that watching the movies now will give you a new love for something you have never had an interest in. Forget about VeggieTales. Forget about youth group. Go to church on Sunday mornings.
As a college student attend a Christian college. Walk around and take in your new home. Talk to your peers about politics, personal preferences, sports, and tv shows. Listen to them talk about VeggieTales. Feel left out again. Feel ashamed. Don’t feel ashamed.
Feel angry over the fact that people shame you and your parents for not watching it as a kid. Get bitter, but then give up and move on with your life. Realize that there is more to life and relationships than a TV show that features a cucumber and a tomato. Focus on you. Focus on the future.
Learn about the Trinity in Bible class. Read the New Testament. Realize that you knew of Jesus but did not know him personally. Read the New Testament, again. Publicly dedicate your life to God. Realize that you were created for a purpose.
Forgive those people who shamed you for not liking their salad show. Give the veggies another shot and watch one of their shows. Cringe through the never-ending songs. Wonder who writes the script. Zone out. Think about your homework. Refocus in time for another song. Countdown the minutes until the show is done. Appreciate what the writers were trying to do. Promise to never put yourself through that again.
Be thankful that your mom never made you watch them. Be glad that your sisters didn’t like the show either. Text your parents to thank them for letting you make your own decisions. Thank them for reading the Bible with you. Thank them for reading “The Chronicles of Narnia” with you. Thank them for shaping you into the person you are today.
As a Christian, have too many encounters to keep track of where it’s assumed that you are a member of the United Church of Singing Vegetables and expected to recite the countless creeds hidden amid all of the loosely plotted Bible stories. Stay civil. Don’t lose your cool. As soon as you start to say anything contrary to Veggietales you will be attacked. Be ready. Don’t condemn those who follow the talking tomato. Try, and fail, to avoid them. Show them Christ’s love through your actions, as Jesus encourages in the New Testament.
When they quote Bob the tomato, quote Paul. When they sing songs from Silly Songs with Larry, sing Amazing Grace. When they shame you for not watching VeggieTales, love them anyway.