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Identifier: 12926662099
Rethinking Church in Springfield, USA
A Bible study and discussion for a small group of young adults based around the episode of The Simpsons entitled "Homer the Heretic."

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Reviews count: 1 - Average rating: 4.00
I think this is a great resource for engaging young adults, especially those in their 20s and early 30s who used to watch The Simpsons during its heyday. This show was influential in shaping the sense of humor and cultural awareness of a whole generation, and not surprisingly, its sarcasm and irony have sharpened young American’s ability to look critically at society and culture. Of course, religion is not spared from The Simpson’s biting satire. The characters Reverend Lovejoy and Ned Flanders, the Simpsons’ overly cheery neighbor and devoted church goer, are frequently at the butt of many jokes. Despite all the critical humor and conflict in this particular episode, the resolution brings faith into a positive light.

One critique: this isn’t a Bible Study in its technical sense since it does not involve any direct references to scripture. The study is equipped more for conversation about popular perceptions of religion rather than the Bible itself. However, participants are invited to reverse the show’s critique by looking at the episode through a biblical lens. This is where some references to scripture would be helpful.

Also, the study could include some specific questions about the characters intended to bring a participant’s own experience into the conversation. For example, “Why did Homer decide to stop attending worship services at his church? How does he justify it? Can you connect with Homer on this? Have you ever felt this way at any point in your life?"

That being said, I think this study would be particularly valuable in discussing popular attitudes surrounding Christianity with a group of young adults. Participants are invited to articulate their own faith in contrast to the images expressed by the TV show. Theological issues are also raised, such as God’s image and the nature of God’s activity in the world. The study is designed to engage multiple intelligences including cognitive, affective, visual, verbal, logical, and interpersonal activity.
Andrew Yackel-Juleen | 24 Mar 2011
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