Willy Wonka and the Bible
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Psalm 19:7 The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul….
My daughter just discovered the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the 1971 version). As I watched the movie with her I could not help but think how different the movie is from the book. The movie leaves out entire chapters, recreates figures that are entirely different from the book, and neglects a myriad of subtle details that make the reading experience immeasurably more satisfying than the movie. (Tragically, the movie leaves out one of my favorite parts: the entire description of life in Loompaland.) While the movie was mildly entertaining, I could not help but think, “The book blows the movie away!” The film substituted cheap movie props, inadequate summaries, smudged face paint, and terrible special effects to recreate what was so perfectly written. Now I know that it is hard for producers to include every detail and shortcuts have to be made in order to condense a book into a ninety-minute event. But in making shortcuts we often miss out on what makes a book so great. We miss the author’s original intent.
As I was watching this movie and thinking about the shortcuts the producers made in order to make the movie more palatable for the average viewer, I could not help but think that we do the same with the Book that God wrote. We cut, we slash, we skim, reinvent and reduce it to three-minute sound bites. Consequently, we miss so much of the original intent, the creativity of God, and the wonder of it all for our lives. In this re-editing of the Book, we are forced to create cheap replicas of life that remain distant from God’s original intent. The Bible was given for our pleasure so that we could live life to the fullest. When we revise or edit parts out because they are too long or complicated to implement we miss out on important details of life that God wants to give us. People who follow only parts of the Bible may partially benefit from doing so. But, if we want the fullest experience that God has for us, we need to love the entire book and as the Psalmist describes, “meditate on it day and night.” The Bible is perfect and refreshing! We simply need to stay committed to closely following the original script.