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Wednesday, July 28 2021

One time on a visit to Disney World I stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. I remember standing at a window in a lobby which overlooked the swimming pool and seeing a couple of Disney employees standing in their uniforms on a hot blistering day and they were “guarding” the flamingos next to the pool. I had a few cynical thoughts about “oh what a great job that is”…. when my eyes were directed to the “African” savannah next to the hotel. Out there in the distance was a pick up truck loaded with giant leaves of some sort and men who were placing the leaves up in the trees ….they were feeding the giraffes. And in a flash I knew the Lord was giving me a glimpse of Eden where it was the vocation of God images bearers to take care of the animal kingdom. I think I was given that insight as a retort to my mocking of those watching over the flamingos.

This did get me to thinking and I remember asking the Lord where he was in this place called Disney World. I was working on the movie Shrek not long after that and was able to work into that “Movie Glimpse”( )what he revealed. Here is that section of Shrek for those of you who love Disney World/Land and may not know why it touches your heart so deeply!

  Walt Disney World is comprised of four theme parks each having its own icon. In order of their creation they are:

Magic Kingdom


MGM Studios

Animal Kingdom

Cinderella's Castle

Spaceship Earth

Earffel Tower

Tree of Life

What is the powerful magnetism that draws people from all walks of life and all corners of the globe to this  "kingdom"? The answer is desire!  Each theme park touches an innate desire in human beings. We go there looking for something we had once upon a time in the beginning.

The Magic Kingdom touches our desire for beauty, intimacy, and adventure. We all want a home (Main Street), a future (Tomorrowland), and to be part of a great romance. For females this great romance is to be the princess; the one that is desired (Fantasyland). For males the longing is to be a hero, a worthy knight who goes on a great quest (Adventureland /Frontierland). This desire comes from our being created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). Before the foundation of the world we were known, loved, and destined to be part of the sacred romance6 (Ephesians 1:3-6).

EPCOT stands for 'Environmental Prototype City of Tomorrow',; and it touches our desire for a future and a home. The icon is the sphere called "Spaceship Earth". Inside the silver globe is a ride through time, thus it brings together space, time and matter. Genesis 1:1 states," In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."  This tells us exactly how space, time, and matter came to be.

The icon for MGM Studios is the Earffel Tower. It is a replica (with added ears) of a water tower that stood on the property of the original Walt Disney Studios. Water towers existed to provide water pressure, so that when a spigot was turned on, water would flow from it.  What flows through MGM Studios is a river of "story". Why is the fascination with motion pictures so great that a whole theme park would be devoted to it? It is because they touch our heart's desire to be part of a great drama. We know we were created for something more. 

The fourth and most recent theme park is Disney's Animal Kingdom. You enter the Park through an oasis, which acts like a green decompression zone7. After meandering through the tropical garden, you find yourself at Discovery River with your first view of the Park icon. The 140' Tree of Life has 325 carved animal figures on its trunk. The tree is located on Discovery Island, from which four bridges connect to the four lands that make up the Park. The resemblance to Eden is unmistakable. (Genesis 2:8-17). The concept for this Park originated with man's love for animals. This love is a remnant of our original job description. We were created to rule over the zoological realm, to govern the earth with all its living things8 (Genesis 1:26-28).

Located in the "Sunshine State",  the four Disney icons are man-symbols of the original story.  Millions of people are drawn to them each year. They go seeking a magic kingdom, but in reality they are trying to escape a fallen world.  The way back to Eden is not through Disney World.  The cross of Jesus Christ is the way into the Kingdom of God (John 14:6).


      Icons From Disney


The romance before the foundation
of the world  
Ephesians 1:3-6

    Cinderella's Castle 
    The Magic Kingdom

   New Jerusalem
   Revelation 21:10-21

Space, Time, Matter
Genesis 1:1

    Spaceship Earth
    The Nations around the lake

   Nations shall walk
   Revelation 21:23-24

Separation of the waters
Genesis 1:6-10

    Earffel Water Tower 
    MGM Studios

   River of Life
   Revelation 22:1

Eden / Tree of Life
Genesis 2:8-15

    Tree of Life 
    The Animal Kingdom

   Tree of Life
   Revelation 22:2

Posted by: AT 10:18 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, July 09 2021

The other day a news story caught my eye because it had a clip of animals fleeing a forest fire en masse. The sight of the terrified creatures touched me deeply just as stories of poachers in Africa who wantonly kill magnificent beasts for ivory. This sorrow isn’t just because I am an animal lover; it goes far deeper than my personal affections. What is being stirred in me is the original design and purposes of God for mankind, my feelings are a remnant of Eden.

As Dallas Willard writes in The Spirit of the Disciplines, “humans were created to govern the earth with all its living things---and to that specific end we were made in the divine likeness”. Yes, rule over the zoological realm is part of the ImagoDei and we can only imagine what that might have looked like prior to the Fall. Adam’s naming of the animals (Genesis 2:19-20) was not just sticking a label on them, it was a demonstration of his God given power of insight and perception. He would have governed them by speaking, by communicating; we have a dim reflection of this in a “horse whisperer”.

I have two clips which always move me because of their beauty and the hope which they bring; for they not only look back to Eden but look forward to the New Creation which will come at the restoration of all things (Isaiah 11, Revelation 21) They are from the movie The Legend of Tarzan (2016) which I have written on more extensively for Movieglimpse:

Enjoy the clips but realize their power lies in our original design which has been restored in Christ Jesus and will one day be fully experienced at His glorious appearing.

Posted by: AT 10:32 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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