This is not a joke--however much I wish it was. A gentleman by the name of Rusty Walker has now introduced the church and the world to the: I Love Lucy Bible Study.
*Thanks to Sparks and Littlegal on this blog for the following link and information. It is apparent that Mr. Walker is not the prime instigator of "Scripture by Sitcom", but a gentleman in Nashville, TN named Stephen Skelton. His bio says: "Stephen Skelton serves as founder of The Entertainment Ministry. Previously, he has served as a writer-producer for Dick Clark Productions and later as host and writer for The Mayberry, Beverly Hillbillies, Van Dyke Show, Bonanza, Super Man and Lucy Show Bible studies. As a Christian in the entertainment industry, Stephen seeks to identify God's purposes in popular entertainment. To fulfill this mission, The Entertainment Ministry joins ministry and media to impact Christians in their everyday lives. Stephen lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife and their two children."
You need to check out his Entertainment Ministry website. In addition to I Love Lucy, it features Bible studies on (r u ready for this?): Andy of Mayberry; Dick Van Dyke; SuperMan; Bonanza; and my favorite, The Beverly Hillbillies. I'm not joking - sadly neither is he. Stephen seems to have a sincere motive for using this kind of approach to "reach people" for the Lord. But as always, it lacks biblical foundation, teeth and ends up dumbing-down the gospel that men like Stephen long to proclaim to others. This is Arminianism on steroids. For example: on the front page of his website you'll read the following: To teach a lesson, Jesus often used a parable - an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. Our Lord knew everything about the wonderful power of storytelling. Is that really how Jesus used parables and storytelling?
In Matthew 13:10-15a we read the following:
"Then the disciples came and said to him, "Why do you speak to them in parables?" And he answered them, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:
As you can plainly see from our Lord's words above, that parables were used by Him to prohibit the message from those whose hearts were hard and unbelieving--not as a means to reveal truth to all unbelievers. Once again, in someone's zeal and desire to communicate the gospel to unbelievers, they actually dumb-down the very message that is motivating their hearts in serving the Lord. IOW, this may play well with Dick Clark Productions, but not with biblical ministry."'You will indeed hear but never understand,and you will indeed see but never perceive.For this people's heart has grown dull,and with their ears they can barely hear,and their eyes they have closed,
Whatever Happened to Teaching the Word Without Gimmicks?
I used to love these shows as a kid. My two favorites were Lucy having to mash grapes into wine with her feet; and her and Ethel working in a candy factory. (A bit of I Love Lucy trivia, "Little Ricky," as some of you may know, became the drummer for David and the Giants and is a brother in the Lord.) However, not knowing nor impugning Mr. Walkers motives (I could find nothing more about him from his website) it is painful to see these great sitcoms (Andy of Mayberry included) used in such a ridiculous manner to create "relatable icebreakers" that will spark the attention of people in studying the Bible and applying its lessons to their everyday lives. What ever happened to loving His Word, reading it, obeying it, teaching it, sharing it, meditating on it, craving it, hiding deep within our hearts, etc. for no other reason than just because it is God's Word? It alone is "truth"; "forever settled in heaven"; "perfect"; and "living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword..." It needs no assistance - not even from the queen of comedy, Lucille Ball.
Here is the implausible, quintessential example that "Bible studies" have dramatically moved away from sola scriptura, to what Luther obviously missed as a key issue in the reformation: "sola sitcoma."
First off, here is what it will cost you (always follow the money folks):
Full Set- Eight Episodes for $179 +$8 = $187.00
Volume 1- Four Episodes for $99 +$8 = $107
Volume 2- Four Episodes for $99 +$8 = $107
Secondly, here are some frequently asked questions from Mr. Walker's own words.
Does it work for youth?
This program was written for adults and young adults. Though I have teachers successfully teaching 5th & 6th graders with this, that is the exception- not the rule. Please don't try it and get frustrated. The questions are written for more mature persons.
I have many senior high youth programs using it and it works very well. -recommended
Do not use this for a group of adults that have been studying the ancient pottery making techniques during the time of Christ. This is written to develop and grow newer groups. It is designed to reach those that have been on the "fringe" and not wanting to attend group studies. This gives them an excuse to show up. Get them to show up and they are hooked! -recommended
Does it come with the tapes?
Yes. Yes. Yes. I know I say it comes with the tapes all over the web site but that is still the second most-asked question I receive by email. Yes it comes with all the VHS tapes you need for the lessons. They are in the American NTSC format and are not available in PAL.
Does it have a teacher's guide?
Do you mean does it have the answers to the group questions? No it doesn't because it is a discussion starter type of program. There are no 'right' answers. (emphasis mine; this is postmodern at its finest)
It does have a teacher's guide that talks about how to approach this (or any) group study. It is called the "Teachers Guide to Great Group Studies"- written by your's truly.
Can I order by Check instead of online?
Sure. Half sets are 107 dollars and whole sets are 187 dollars. Send your check to Rusty Walker, c/o F WALKER Architects, 3451A Washington Avenue, Gulfport, MS 39507.
Do you sell Lucy Tapes by themselves?
We just are looking for those episodes and can't find them.
These tapes are discontinued and I get lots of questions asking for them. I bought out all that CBS had when they were discontinued so I am set for another year and a half. But not for just selling the tapes alone. If you happen to be missing one of these as the only one missing from your 179 episode set, call me- I might sell one for about $25. This is not what I do though. I don't sell tapes. Cathy's Closet does though and you can get there from the link below. She also sells all kinds of other COOL Lucy stuff. You should buy something from there and give it away as a door prize for your first lesson!
Thirdly, here is a sample lesson to give you an idea of how using "Lucy" can "energize" your Bible study:
Lucy Tells the Truth
(This hilarious episode was first released November 9, 1953)
Honesty and White Lies
Ricky makes a bet with Lucy that she can't tell the truth for 24 hours. She can't even tell an exaggeration.
Betting and Worldliness
The fun starts immediately when Lucy hosts a friendly game of bridge with her friends. Ethel, in on the bet of course, eggs on their friends to ask Lucy questions about her age, weight, and natural hair color to name a few things. Laughter erupts when Lucy's brutally honest answers surprise and shock everyone involved.
Humility and Friendship
Later, Lucy's honesty lands her a show-biz job as an assistant to a knife thrower! Ricky eventually lets her out of the bet so things can get back to normal- but not before you're left on the floor rolling with laughter.
Fourthly, and in closing
Not much commentary is needed here as you can see. This was a real lesson in restraint for me... Only God's grace has kept me from expressing in this article numerous puns, quips and irreverent sarcasm that could have been poignantly used to most of the above. But his is no laughing matter--this is tragic. Sadly, this is how dumbed-down evangelicalism has become. Does anyone still question the need for reformation within the church today?
Keep Pounding on Wittenberg's Door
2 Cor. 4:5-7