Early last week, we at RELEVANT did a deep dive into the soteriology of Veggie Tales. As we explained in that article, VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer has explained that his mother laid down a few salvific ground rules early on in the enormously successful conception of the kids’ Christian entertainment series. Basically: the Veggie Tales characters could not be shown to have a redemptive relationship with Jesus, nor could Jesus be depicted as a vegetable. The theological paradoxes opened up by this hornet’s nest are too plentiful to be detailed here, but if you dare to look into the void, you can do so here.
These days, Vischer is one of the co-hosts of the terrific Holy Post Podcast, along with authors Skye Jethani and Kaitlyn Schiess. They were kind enough to discuss with our analysis, including our conclusion that Vischer’s mother was deliberately setting her son up for even greater creative and theological success by imposing these bylaws. You can hear their conversation about the article here, which kicks off around the 11:45 mark.
We wanted to briefly and cordially engage with their points, if only to prove that reasonable discourse is still possible in these divided times.
First of all, Jethani very understandably wondered what was going on at RELEVANT. Man, what isn’t going on at RELEVANT. Obviously, we’re still covering the intersection of faith and culture every day, but it’s been a long year. Speaking personally, my brain has been broken by the internet, and I now only know how to write, speak and think in terms of SEO-friendly posts. Sometimes, that means pulling the cushions off the old, flower-print couch that is 90s Christian culture to shake out the nickels and dimes that are underneath. And just like when you dust off an old couch, you never know what is going to come out.
Second, Vischer, Jethani and Schiess do wonder aloud if this article was conceived on psychedelics. Again, fair question. They’ll have to take our word for it that the article was both pitched, approved, written and edited in a state of total sobriety other than the aforementioned broke brain. The goal was certainly not to distress anyone — least of all Mr. Vischer’s excellent mother. The goal was to plumb the theological depths of a Christian pop culture milestone. Readers will have to determine for themselves how well we succeeded.
Will this conversation be continued via an actual appearance on the podcast itself? Stay tuned.
Tyler Huckabee is RELEVANT's senior editor. He lives in Nashville with his wife, dog and Twitter account.