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A Spiritual Lesson In Toon Language: Lesson 21a

Topic: Habits And Idols I — Definition Of An Idol

Series: Popeye, TaleSpin, Cartoon Network Skits

Episodes: It’s The Natural Thing To Do (Popeye), Destiny Rides Again (TaleSpin), Chaser’s Anonymous, (Cartoon Network Skits)

Lesson PDF link: 21a.pdf


This is about human nature and the slavery that comes with it if it is not dealt with. I use a Popeye short called “It’s The Natural Thing To Do”. This helps to define what God wants. This also helps to illustrate how easy it is to take the cheap and easy way out. I also use clips from the TaleSpin episode called “Destiny Rides Again”. This adds to the lesson by explaining how hard it is to break a bad habit and human nature, which are kinds of idols. When I use the Cartoon Network skit “Chasers Anonymous” I am going to ask “Are You In Denial?”

Scriptures Used Include: Exodus 20: 2-3; Proverbs 26: 11; I Peter 1: 13-25; Psalms 31; I Peter 3: 8-12; Romans 7: 7-25

In this three part lesson series we are going to discuss the subject of idolatry. This is the worship of an idol. The cartoon characters in this lesson series are of a progressive nature meaning all characters (new or not) build on each other. The second and third part characters continue the story of someone who has one of these idols to deal with. New characters portray the progress of the old ones. What is your definition of an idol? Why is this your definition of an idol?

I will now show a Popeye theatrical short called “It’s The Natural Thing To Do”.

Clip #1 Popeye: "It’s The Natural Thing To Do":

Popeye: "It’s The Natural Thing To Do" Clip #1 Direct link for video/webmVideo not working? Download Windows HTML 5(WebM) video support: WebMProject.org

Bible Study I: Exodus 20: 2-3

First, I want you to see the fan letter telegram as the God character in this section of our lesson. This telegram asks for Popeye, Olive, and, Bluto to act civilized. Popeye and Bluto have used each other for a punching bag for years now. This fan letter symbolizes God’s wish for them to fight their nature and act more like Him. What do you think it would be like to get a letter from God asking you to do something like this: to fight nature and be what you are not, but what you should be?

Human nature is like this cartoon and is an idol to be dealt with and destroyed. Human nature, like many other things is vying for your servitude.

Bible Study II: Proverbs 26: 11, I Peter 1: 13-25

As stated above the fan letter represents God. Looking at this from a spiritual point of view, why do you think Popeye, Olive, and Bluto failed in their quest to not fight?

Olive Oyl tore the etiquette book in two and said What A Quack!! What A Joke!! Why? Do think this is figurative of a lot of people today and the Bible, for the Bible is God’s etiquette book? Looks like they are trying to break their nature under their own steam. Let’s analyze a little more with some more clips.

Clip Show: TaleSpin: "Destiny Rides Again":

TaleSpin: "Destiny Rides Again" Clip #2 Direct link for video/webm

In our first clip, we see that Baloo is called the “Great Llama”. This is symbolic of everyone that is called by God. The idol in all clips of "Destiny Rides Again" represents sinful human nature for the whole of this three part series of lessons. Everyone in the world is created to know and worship God. This means doing what Baloo is trying to do (destroy the Idol Of Doom: Storm And Fire) because it is his destiny. We are all called by God to cast down and destroy our idols. We see however that Baloo is very frustrated because he can’t. Knowing this and from a spiritual perspective, why is he failing miserably? The idol keeps coming back like a bad habit and won’t be destroyed so easily. What is missing here? If you called your idol “sweetheart”, wouldn’t it want to come back to you too?

Clip #2: TaleSpin: "Destiny Rides Again":

TaleSpin: "Destiny Rides Again" Clip #2 Direct link for video/webm

In this second clip, I want everyone to remember the old lady from the first clip. She symbolizes God as well. Second, I want everyone to pay attention to the bracelet Baloo is wearing.

This is another God character, let's say for the sake of this lesson that it is an interface to what is already there inside of our lead character--God listens to his people. It also represents Baloo’s faith at this time. It protects Baloo when he is in big trouble. God protects his own from spiritual harm when we are in big trouble too.

Bible Study III: Psalms 31

Those who earnestly seek help from God when they are in big trouble a lot of times will get the help that they need. However they need to remember God in the good times and the bad, not just the bad. Baloo is OK now, however, it looks like he forgets God’s goodness because he starts talking to the idol and uses it. In a spiritual context, why would Baloo stoop to use the idol? He obviously hasn’t learned his lesson. This idol is bad news. Talking to this idol (even though he got his wish) is praying to something evil. So our villain and our good guy take turns shooting curses at each other.

What is wrong here?

Bible Study IV: I Peter 3: 8-12, Romans 7: 7-25

Linking to this clip, what does this scripture mean to you?

Clip Show: I am going to show something from Cartoon Network Skits called "Chaser’s Anonymous".

Clip #2: Cartoon Network: "Chaser’s Anonymous":

Cartoon Network: "Chaser’s Anonymous" Clip #2 Direct link for video/webm

These cartoon characters are trying to stop their nature of chasing. When temptation struck, they were told to stay strong. Is this possible? How would you react to this temptation if you were trying to stay strong? Would you admit there was an idol in your life if you have one, or are you like Sylvester and in denial about your weakness to one? In a nutshell an idol is anything that you put before the true God. We have seen the definition of an idol of human nature.

Have our characters found God yet? Do you think our cartoon characters in these clips will ever find the way to cast down and destroy their habits and idols? In other words will they ever find God and in faith give Him everything? I’ll leave you with that thought and we will find out together, for the next sections build on this one. Next time, we are discussing addictions (another kind of idol). This is one thing that idols do.