In response to last weekend’s outrageous claim by the Vatican newspaper that Homer and Bart Simpson are Catholic, I wanted to post two replies. First, a few days ago, I tried to write a persuasive post showing that Homer Simpson is not Catholic nor Anglican, but he just might be an average American Christian. And, secondly, picking up on something the Vatican newspaper missed, I wanted to share the following transcript of a conversation with Lisa Simpson, who is, on the show, a genuine spiritual seeker. I happened upon this script during a Google search and it totally captivated me. The whole while reading it, I was like “Wow! This is amazing!” — how come I don’t remember seeing this episode of The Simpsons? Well, surprisingly, it’s not an actual episode, but that is an indication of the quality of work that Ellen has achieved in writing it. So with her permission, here it is.
Guest Blogger: Ellen from rejesus.co.uk
Conversations with Jesus: In this episode Jesus Meets Lisa Simpson at Springfield Elementary to talk over church politics, world faiths and what it’s like to meet Richard Gere.
Jesus Christ: Hi Lisa, good to meet you ‘in person’ as it were…
Lisa Simpson: And you, wow, I never thought I’d actually get to meet you.
Jesus: Why’s that Lisa?
Lisa: Well, I have the greatest respect for you but…
There is an awkward silence, finally Jesus decides to speak
Jesus: You ‘have the greatest respect for me but’…you didn’t think you’d ever meet me because in season 13 episode 6 (She of Little Faith) you stopped believing in me and became a Buddhist?
Lisa: I wouldn’t say I ‘became a Buddhist’, I mean, I still believe in you Jesus! It was more that I felt let down by the church — you could say I lost my faith in the church.
Jesus: You and so many others…
Lisa: But, I don’t think I have ever stopped believing in you.
Jesus: I know Lisa, that’s why I thought you’d appreciate the chat.
Lisa: So, what shall we talk about?
Jesus: What ever is on your mind…
There’s another pause, then Lisa gets out a list of things that she has wanted to talk to Jesus about…
Lisa: (Reading) Is it possible to be a Christian and not go to church? How does prayer work? What happens if you can’t forgive (Bart does my head in and I struggle with this)? Why do bad things happen to good people? Where were you for the 3 days between your death and resurrection? Do miracles still happen? How do dinosaurs fit into the Biblical story of Creation? What’s theology all about? Do pets go to heaven when they die? How do I find faith?
Jesus: Goodness me Lisa you really do have a lot of questions don’t you…
Lisa: I am not done yet… (Lisa starts to read again but Jesus interrupts)
Jesus: …I wonder if we might start with some basic principles and see how we get on.
Lisa: I don’t want basic principles I want you to tell me the answers.
Jesus: Well Lisa that is not going to happen.
Lisa: Why not?
Jesus: Because I am not in the business of telling people how they should go about finding their faith and you are more than capable of working out most of the answers to these questions yourself.* However, I am concerned that you should carry on developing your faith so I am going to give you some hints and hit you with some advice.
There’s a pause as Lisa thinks…
Lisa: Go for it.
Jesus: Well…you have been asking a lot of questions, which is a really important step toward faith, but you might like to consider some spiritual guidance.
Lisa: I am aren’t I? I am speaking to you…
Jesus: Yes, indeed. But, as I pointed out to Nicodemus “you must be born not only by water, but by the Spirit. Humans give life to their children. Yet only God’s Spirit can change you into a child of God. Don’t be surprised when I say that you must be born from above. Only God’s Spirit gives new life.” (John 3:3-8) (see re:jesus for further info)
Lisa: Jesus, what does that mean?
Jesus: Lisa, I know that this answer is going to provoke a whole load more questions but I am going to give it a go anyway…
Jesus: Faith isn’t a moment, it is a journey and you are definitely travelling in the right direction. If you want to have a companion to guide you then the Holy Spirit is there for you. She is the perfect guide for any spiritual journey. Those questions you asked (and all those you have ready to ask, plus loads more you haven’t even thought up yet) WILL get answered — but all in good time. Each step toward faith will help you find the answers and you will enjoy discovering them all the more because you have found them out as part of a relationship and not because someone else has told you what to think.
Lisa: But, what if I’m not ready?
Jesus: I am here whenever you are ready.
Lisa gives Jesus a big hug and Jesus hugs her back.
Jesus: Now, I have a question for you…
Lisa: Yes, what is it?
Jesus: What was it like to meet Richard Gere?
Lisa: He’s not as tall in real life as he is in the films.
With that revelation Jesus hugged Lisa again and urged her to keep in touch. They carried on chatting as Lisa showed Jesus round her school and introduced him to Principle Skinner. After recess Lisa waved goodbye to Jesus at the school gates.
*Despite being only 8 years old Lisa is a member of MENSA with an IQ of 159!