When I began this blog, one of the first things that I did was Google the internet to read why Christian folks disapproved of Disney. There were a lot of hits. A LOT of hits. Over one and three quarters of a million to be precise, on one non-issue specific search. That’s a phenomenal amount of unhappy people. Needless to say I didn’t read them all. Not only would I still be reading but I’m fairly sure I would lose all faith in humanity exposed to that much anger.
There were many reasons that Christians don’t like the Disney Corporation and its movies. I could write a very long post just listing all those reasons. I am not going to do that. We would all be bored. I am going to talk about the one recurring reason that I found surprising. Apparently it is unchristian to wish. Over and over Disney critics called out the fact that it was wrong for Disney to urge people to wish. Wishing is wrong. As good Christians we should be praying, not wishing and if Disney was the ‘right’ kind of company their characters would be praying too.
This would be a problem for Disney. From “Snow White” on there has been lots of wishing. ‘I’m Wishing’ is the very first song in the very first Disney movie. ‘When you wish upon a Star’ is Disney’s theme song. They had a ‘Year of a Million Wishes’, a firework show titled ‘Wishes’, a Wishes wedding themed package, and they work extensively with the Make a Wish Foundation. Giving up the concept of wishing is not something the Disney Corporation is going to do. Unfortunately, this push from unhappy Christians seems disingenuous. Are these folks really teaching their children not to wish? (“Happy Birthday, Susie! Blow out your candles and say a prayer.”) Maybe they do. Maybe there is a push to stop people from wishing and direct them to prayer instead. There seems to be a flaw in this idea. Wishing and prayers are not the same thing and they are not mutually exclusive?
Last week I talked a little bit about wishing and some of the things that I wish for. Most of the things I wish for are self-indulgent, frivolous, and ultimately nothing I really need. I would never dream of praying for those things. While I might pray for health and happiness for myself and my loved ones, I would not pray about the outcome of a sporting event. Simply put, I do not pray for trivia. I will wish for trivia all the time but not pray. The Gospel tells us that God hears us when we pray. When I have God’s attention focused on me and my needs I don’t want to waste time with the lottery, unachievable goals, or those 20 pounds I want to lose. God’s attention is worth more than that. God’s attention is worth the real hopes and fears lurking in the depths of my heart. We diminish the great power that prayer has when we confuse it with wishing. God is not a genie or a blue fairy or a wishing star. God will listen to our prayers and be with us through the greatest joys and the worst struggles. It is only fair that we save our silliness for wishing.