Toy Story – The Secret Life of Christians

Theme: Witnessing and the Christian life
Bible refs: Luke 24 vv 44-49; 2 Corinthians 4 v 7
Location of clip: Start of film to 7 mins and 43 secs

Film Description:
Andy is a boy of many toys. He loves them all and plays with them regularly. What he does not realise is that when he is out of the room they come to life and have a secret existence all of their own. They walk, talk, laugh, argue, fight and play, all under their own steam. Andy’s favourite toy is Woody, a cowboy who also happens to be in charge of all the other toys when he’s not around. But when Andy gets a new Buzz Lightyear for his birthday, Woody’s place as top toy comes under serious threat. Buzz is a far more sophisticated and can do many more things than Woody. All is not well in the playroom.
Clip description:
This is the opening sequence. Andy plays with his toys – Mr Potato Head and Woody have a gunfight. When his mum calls him Andy runs off and leaves the toys. When all is quiet in the playroom Woody opens one eye, then the other, then stands and gives the all clear. Toys wake up all over the playroom and suddenly we see them in their true light. These toys have a life of their own. Andy convenes a meeting to discuss the fact that they will soon be moving house. Also on the agenda is Andy’s birthday party, happening later that day. The toys panic about this, they are always worried that new toys will replace them in Andy’s life. This is the secret life of toys, the life we humans never get to see.

I often feel as if I live two lives. When I’m out and about in the world I operate one way, when I’m in a Christian gathering I operate in another. I know it shouldn’t be like this – but I can’t help it. In a Christian setting I discuss things and experience things I don’t when I’m outside. I hear talks and sing songs that probably would not make a lot of sense to many people in the wider world. And I wonder how they would view me in my Christian guise. I have a whole other life going on which the world is unaware of.
It’s like the Toys – as far as the Children are concerned they operate in a rigid, wooden, lifeless fashion. They do and say a few limited things but that’s about it. The children have no idea that when they’re alone, the toys talk and act, sing and dance, laugh and joke and have crazy adventures.
Not unlike us Christians. We have a whole other world going on and it’s so difficult to explain this to people. They see one side of us as Christians, wooden, stilted, limited. It’s portrayed on TV and in newspapers, and it’s unreal to them. I noticed the comedy series Rev is back on TV – I like that cause it portrays a Christian couple in a much real, earthy way.
How can we help them experience the reality?
The toys are quite happy to hide away and keep their other life secret. We have a problem with that. We’ve been commanded to expose people to the other side of life. Before Jesus came the Jews often kept their faith to themselves, an exclusive religion. But Jesus told us to turn it inside out. Don’t be exclusive, be inclusive.
So what helps? What doesn’t help?
1.         I think that some of the songs and language we use in church do not help us connect with those outside. What do you think?
2.         How do you feel when you bring strangers into your church or Christian meeting?
3.         Which bits of your faith would you most like to expose to those people you know who are on the outside looking in?
4.         Which bits would you definitely not like them to see?
5.         Did the clip make you think about anything else?

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