Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” Matthew 19:23–26.
Walt Disney World has been called “the happiest place on earth,” and its owners take great pains to make sure that every variable is controlled to make your visit the best possible experience. The streets are perfectly laid out, and everything is spotlessly clean. It is a world filled with dazzling attractions: costumed characters, adventure and thrill rides, entertainment experiences, evening fireworks, tempting foods, and astonishing buildings and structures epitomized by Cinderella’s Castle. Even for a grown-up, it is a pretty exciting experience.
Here’s an odd thought: What would people be like if they had been born and raised inside the Magic Kingdom park and had never seen the outside world?
Any wealthy country can easily produce what I call Magic Kingdom Christians—Christians who have been sheltered and shaped by their affluent culture. Magic Kingdom Christians tend to see the world as a gigantic theme park. They live in comfortable houses or apartments and own one or more cars. They have two hundred channels of cable TV. They enjoy going to movies and out to dinner. Magic Kingdom Christians live in a reasonably safe, predictable, and orderly world in which their government oversees the national interests, laws are generally respected and enforced, schools are provided for all children, and the basic necessities of food, water, and medical services are generally available. With those things taken care of, they can now channel their energies enthusiastically toward “the pursuit of happiness.”
Living in a Magic Kingdom society profoundly shapes a person’s worldview. It affects the way we look at every dimension of our lives: our values, our expectations, our priorities, our money, our politics, and yes, even the way we see our Christian faith.
When we visit Walt Disney World, we understand that we have entered an insulated bubble that does not reflect the reality of the world outside its gates. Those of us who live in Magic Kingdom countries need to understand that we, too, have lived our lives within an insulated bubble that does not reflect the reality of the rest of the world. After an hour or two at Walt Disney World, we can almost forget what lies outside its gates. Imagine how much we can forget if we spend our whole lives there.
Are you a Magic Kingdom Christian? How does this affect your view of people in other parts of the world? How do their struggles affect your life?
Father, please open my eyes to see whatever you want me to do, whoever you want me to help, wherever they are. Please don’t let my comfort limit my willingness to do your work.