To Bee or Not to Bee?

Bee Movie

I have again received two questions! The first: Why is the Bee Movie so awesome? I must confess that I’ve never seen the Bee Movie…but after a little research for this article I’ve decided that it’s moved up to my must see movie list. I also have a few ideas about why it might be so awesome.

First, and most obvious for my generation is that anything that was created by Jerry Seinfeld would just have to be awesome. Kramer’s even in it. How much more awesome can you get? Well I suppose the rest of the Seinfeld crew would be a plus but they were probably already busy…that or the old gang just had too hard of a time being all together and taking on new characters. Since I didn’t find an article on it, I guess we’ll never know.

A second reason that the Bee Movie is surely awesome is the social theme wrapped up in bees generally…but I don’t think this is really the reason. Young people today are exceptionally attuned to such issues but I don’t really think this is what appeals to anyone…it doesn’t look like extinction is a major theme of the movie.

So why do I now want to see the Bee Movie? It looks like little Barry Bee is the underdog on a mission to right an injustice…the humans have stolen the honey. And to top it off, it looks like the great big humans are afraid of the little bees and create their own problems reacting out of their fear. What a great movie!

Looking for a little extra laughter lately, I’ve started watching a few favorite comedians on You Tube. I notice that I prefer the comedians that talk about things that are or have been part of my life. Since I’ve had children, the jokes about raising kids got much funnier. And the older I get, the funnier the “mature people” jokes get. That’s because it not only speaks to our experience but also because what makes jokes funniest is the element of truth that they contain. And the more that they speak to our experience, the more we know just how true they are.

So back to the Bee Movie which is meant to primarily appeal to a younger crowd and surely appeals to the child in each of us…what is the truth that is highlights? The most obvious truth is that it is typically older folks (compared to children and young people) who hold the bulk of the power in our world and daily life. And perhaps those who are older among us might remember when we wanted to save the world…when we still thought we could make a difference…before we became part of the status quo. Most of us have known a time when we were the underdog. Most of us have known a time when we fought (or wanted to fight) for a cause that was deeply personal and important to us. I suspect that it is the shared experience of being young and idealistic, or at least the memory of those days, that makes the Bee Movie awesome for young and old alike. So some are still young and want to change the world while others remember longingly the days when they believed that they could.

Jesus doesn’t seem to have been much of a joke teller, but he sure could tell a good story. He told stories of hope and possibility like the lost being found. He told stories of great love like a shepherd laying down his life for the sheep and looking for the one that had wandered away. He told stories of community around the sharing of a meal. And he always, always reached out to lift up the underdog. He called into question our systems and structures of power. Jesus reminded (still reminds) us that our lives can be better, that we can make a difference in this world that desperately needs saving.

But all that I’ve shared about the Bee Movie is utterly predictable based on watching a trailer and reading a few reviews. Even the overreacting humans in fear of little bees is predictable. After all, it is a bit of a character of how power structures keep the powerless in their place. But the reason I’ve now got to see the movie is that I need to find out how it ends. Does our little Barry Bee ultimately admit defeat in the face of impossible odds? After all, I can still buy honey at the grocery store. Or does he hang on and keep up the fight? Does a community come around him to build him up and strengthen him for the work before him? Do others take up the fight? How are we to understand Jesus when he tells us to not hinder the children when they seek to come to him? Surly a guy as deep a thinker as Jesus meant something more than that we are to tell the kiddos about him.

In churches far too often we focus on our need for young people as numbers and as a source of energy. We want them to take up our work, fulfill our old roles, do things our way…and they experience us as wanting to suck the life blood out of them. What if Jesus’ message to us is to build them up…to take on their causes and work? What if we are meant to let go of our old dreams to take up their new dreams for the building up of the Body of Christ? What if….?

Next month’s question: Who created the Trinity? Perhaps we need to change the name on the box from ‘ask the pastor’ to ‘stump the pastor’. See you in church!


Pastor Dana

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