I recently ran across a post about how there is a graphic novel series that is retelling the stories of the Bible in a futuristic, man vs. machine world. The series, Mecha Manga Bible Heroes, is beginning with the retelling of David and Goliath.
Now I have a couple observations and concerns about this. First off, Christians for millennia have used retelling of biblical narratives as a sort-of sideways approach to getting into the Holy Scriptures. I don’t think that the principal of doing this is contrary to the Scriptures. It may even beneficial.
What I find disconcerting are two trends: using retelling the bible stories for “evangelism” and using them for teaching smaller children.
With regards to evangelism, my concern is that retelling the story in order to get a deeper meaning from it or looking at it from a different perspective all presumes that knowledge of the real account is there. In our land of biblical illiteracy, that is just not the case for most Americans. I am now 8 years running with not one public school confirmand upon entering class who can tell me who Moses is, for example. And these are people that come to church! So I just don’t buy retelling bible stories as evangelism.
My second concern regards the teaching of children. Children, especially in the primary grades, process information very concretely. Allegory, object lessons, metaphors and the like are pretty much lost on them, if not downright confusing. So painting a picture of a young David as a warrior fighting cyber-monsters is going to basically obliterate the biblical account and put a new image before a child’s eyes.
This is, by the way, one of the reasons why I object to Veggie Tales. If you depict Goliath as a giant cucumber, in the mind of a kindergartner, he is a giant cucumber. Is that really going to help the child learn the narratives of the Bible, or is it just going to mess their whole worldview up and put the stories of the Bible into the realm of cartoon make-believe?
I will also be interested to hear what Cyberstones has to say about this one. He’s the graphic novel devotee.
What’s your take? Is this good, bad or ugly?