Friday, April 13, 2012

For the Lovers and Dreamers

For a child of the eighties, “The Muppets” was a cinematic highlight of the 2011 releases. It should be for anyone. Some have added it as just another note in the nostalgic melody that was cinema in 2011, but in this case it really is a case of “things as they should be.”

In many ways it is a retread of other Muppet story-lines. It is a tale of hope, of belief in achieving dreams, of working together to make things better than they are. This is the ever-present message that Jim Henson built his empire on and that continues to this day. The noted new song in the film was “Man or Muppet,” (and it is a great song) but the tune that best encapsulates this story is the old “Rainbow Connection.”

“Rainbow Connection” is a song all about faith. Sure, it is not very discriminating; perhaps that goes back to Henson’s Christian Science roots. Faith without substance is not very helpful.  In any case, it reminds us a bit of that Biblical passage in 1 Corinthians 15 where Paul describes how pitiable anyone is whose faith is placed in things that are false. Kermit and those who follow his dreams are always in danger of being let down. In this story, that is exactly what happens and that is a good thing. Because it also reminds the viewer that faith is not a magic formula.  It also shows that true value in life lies in things like relationships and people, not money and success.

The message of “The Muppets” is an incomplete one, but what it does have to say is good. We need to live by faith and in community. We need to help each other out and aspire to do good things. And, not incidentally, we need to see the fun and humor in the world around us.

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