Wal-Mart’s move into toy action figures based on characters from Bible stories is likely a pure business decision and not because a senior executive got saved in church last Sunday. A story posted on USAToday.com tells of the retail giant’s move into a new line of toys in about 13% of its stores. The toys are distributed by one2believe.com. The web site URL for this company will redirect you to a Yahoo! online store with a URL of store.messengersoffaith.net where the company lists Focus on the Family and FamilyLife.com (a division of Campus Crusades for Christ) as partners.
Sadly enough, I think Jim Silver, editor of Toy Wishes magazine has probably nailed the fate of this effort.
“Once children turn 4, parents tend to get them what they want. And right now, kids are asking for Transformers.”
I find it interesting that 4 year olds get turned on to characters from a PG-13 movie like Transformers, but that is a subject for another day. Anyway, I agree with Mr. Silver, it is transformers this week, it was Spider-man a couple of months ago, and it will be more Harry Potter dolls in the weeks and months to come. With the release of the most recent Harry Potter movie (also PG-13), next week’s release of the latest book, and the upcoming Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park, the magical world of Harry Potter will cast spells on millions of American families. Many will be Christian families.
Many parents can plead ignorance to the words given to use from God through the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6: 12-13.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
For those Christian parents who do read and study the Bible regularly, I do not understand how they can still endorse things like Harry Potter, Spider man, and Transformers for their children, especially the young ones. My rule of thumb is: If I discern a program, book, or toy to be anywhere between morally neutral and glorifying to God, then I will consider investing in that item for my children. I know, the real issue for each Christian is where to draw the line on the morally neutral end? My answer: If you are having to ask then you are probably too close to the line. Many Christians are under a misconception that God put us on this planet for our own personal enjoyment. While I do believe good clean fun for us humans is a good thing in God’s eyes, we were put here to glorify Him and serve His wishes above our own happiness.
The point that I am trying to come to is to tie together the comments of another person quoted in the USAToday article.
“Laurie Schacht, president of The Toy Book, a toy industry publication, says some parents also are dissatisfied with toys from conventional toymakers: “There are a lot of wild things out there. Parents want to give kids wholesomeness.”"
This lady got close to my point of view on toys, but her wording is just a little, shall we say, worldly. In all fairness, she is likely referring to parents in general and not just Christian parents. I personally want to teach my kids holiness above happiness and wholesomeness. There are not many items on your average Wal-Mart toy isle shelf to help get that job done.
It will be interesting to see how these faith-based toys sell in Wal-Mart. “Stores that sell a lot of Bibles will carry the new line,” says Melissa O’Brien, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman. This line of thinking seems a little shallow and I hope they did not hinge too much of their marketing strategy on this one statistic.