Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Gospel According to Pinocchio (Part One)

As I read Disney’s version of Pinocchio to my daughter for the fiftieth time, I began to see the classic story in a whole new light. I’m not sure what the author had in mind when he wrote Pinocchio’s adventure, but I see it as the tale of every man and his struggle with good and evil and the drama of the Law and Grace.

The story begins in the shop of a woodcarver named Geppetto. Man’s story began when God created in the Garden of Eden. And my story? It began when I was born into this world. And so did yours. Each man born since the Fall has possessed a great void, one that theologians call depravity and what we may call a “God-shaped” hole that nothing but He can fill. In that respect, we are little more than lifeless puppets at our creation, physical beings created in the image of God but with no spiritual life.

As Geppetto looked out his window on the night of Pinocchio’s creation and wished that he would become a real boy, God the Father looks at His creation and puts into motion a plan to woo man to Himself that he may receive life. When we are born, any spiritual activity is basically inert until we reach an age of accountability. We live physically, but we sit on the shelf, so to speak, as Pinocchio did. But, there comes a day when the Holy Spirit speaks to the heart with conviction and Truth.

In Pinocchio’s story, the Blue Fairy came and awakened Pinocchio, not to real life, but to the realization that he was not complete. This is continually brought to our mind by the receipt of our conscience, which to Pinocchio came in the form of Jiminy Cricket. Geppetto’s joy over Pinocchio’s coming to this partial life is not unlike God’s. He joys in the wooing of man just as he joys in our receiving spiritual life. Though He has omnipotence and can keep us in His “shop” where we will follow His every wish by force, He knows love is a choice. And, the choice to love God can only be made when we are set free to will what we choose and given the opportunity to reject Him.

Geppetto sent Pinocchio away, but he sent him to school. So God sends us to the schoolmaster of the Law, for He knows that unless we know the Law, we will never know our sin. And until we come face to face with our sin, we will never choose Him. From this point on, Pinocchio’s life represents a struggle. His conscience, the “inner law”, struggles with the outward influences of evil in his world. The fox and the cat represent Satan’s agents to draw us further and further from the Law and consequently, the Father. The first temptation they used to trap Pinocchio is fame—nothing more than an appeal to carnal pride. Pinocchio forsakes all thoughts of school to become a puppet for Stromboli. Many have sought fame and allowed their pride to make them mere puppets only to lock them in a cage of bondage in the end.

Come back tomorrow for Part Two...


  1. Oh Amen! The law is the schoolmaster. How else would we know what sin is? Yes, true...our conscience, directed by the Holy Spirit, gives us a jab when we do wrong but that is for those who have the Holy Spirit indwelling. For those of us that do and did not, the law was/is necessary to point out our wrong. God is good and all that He has handed down is good - even the Law! It gets such a bad rap when compared to grace. They go together! I cannot claim to understand this but I do know that Jesus did not come to abolish it but to fulfill it. This is way more complicated than most of us humans can wrap our minds around. It is a matter of trusting that it is fulfilled in Jesus the long awaited Messiah.

    Pride is a deadly, deadly sin. Each one of us, every living person, has to fight it. We all want that pat on the back and our egos stroked no matter how humble we strive to be. Only God can keep that in check. I sometimes wonder if some of life's struggles aren't gentle reminders from God of just how dependent we are on Him and that we must supress that need for affirmation from others - that we must find our identity and acceptance in Him. That should mean more to us than any man's praise.

  2. Thank you for the thoughts, Rebecca! I mailed you a package today...finally!

  3. Yeah! I will look for it soon. :) How fun...

    I noticed in your June book review list that Fascinating Womanhood is one up for your review. I LOVE that book! I actually wrote, several times, into the site and got a response from Helen herself. That seemed such an honor to me! It's been a few years and I am not sure if she is responding still but she is a wise woman. I recieved that book many years ago as a gift and it's been a real pearl of wisdom for me to reference now and again. There are parts that are a bit of a stretch for me but for the most part, I find it to be very solid. Just wondered what you thought of it.

    Also, I like your menu this week. It gives me some great ideas for next week.