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  • Writer's pictureFr. Austin

Jesus Goes to Disney World

Can we find Christ in Popular Culture?

What is this all about? Why go to Disney World, Jesus? (Have you seen the parking?) What sort of trip is this going to be?

Let me explain.

Jesus is the center of my life - at least, I try to keep Him there. As a Christian, my relationship with Christ is at the heart of how I see the world and how I interact with others in that world. The Gospel teaches us how to carry that relationship outward; in fact, it commands us to do it. A Christian must be first rooted in a real relationship with Jesus; we need to encounter Him and be transformed by that encounter. However, if that encounter is real it drives us to share the experience with others. When you are in a relationship, others know it; when you are in a life-changing relationship, everyone knows it. This is the task of every Christian.

For me, Jesus represents Faith. Christian faith is rooted in Jesus, and as a Catholic I see that relationship in a specific way. For the Catholic, faith is more than simply and idea; rather, it is incarnate - alive in the world in a tangible way. Christ became human in this Incarnation, and the Church continues that presence of Jesus in the world. As Jesus became human and transformed us forever, so too the Church is called to be incarnate in the world, so we learn how to make our faith incarnate in us. Therefore, faith can encounter the world and our culture - Jesus can encounter our culture.

Disney World, for me, is a metaphor for our culture - pop culture in particular. Especially in America, Disney World embodies the best (and sometimes the worst) in our culture. While I will draw here on many examples from Disney films and products, I do not mean to be limited to that. As a metaphor, Disney World encompasses our constant desire to be entertained, as well as how we seek to satisfy that desire. This is expressed in our entertainment, our news, our music, social media, and every other aspect that can make up a culture. That is what I mean by Disney as a metaphor of our culture.

The fact that Jesus Goes to Disney World means that our Faith (particularly as my tradition of Catholicism presents it) has something to say to that culture. The interplay between faith and culture finds its meeting point in us. What we choose to view, listen to, or heed, must be seen through our own particular lens. Here, my intention is to help to focus that lens through the teaching and tradition of the Catholic Faith. These are my ruminations, my thoughts, my opinions. I will post articles, videos from time to time, and maybe even my homilies (although they also pop up in other places, so we will see).

As we follow Jesus to Disney World, my hope is that we all realize that we have been invited on this trip - all expenses paid by our Lord Himself. Let's travel with Him; all it takes is some faith, and trust, and some pixie dust!

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