Church,  Ministry

Being A Part of the (Toy) Story, Part 2

Last week’s post began a three-part look at how a person choosing to attend and become involved in a church can be a challenging process. This three-part series was prompted by the new trailer to Toy Story 4 which is due to be released next summer. While I do not know the exact premise of the story, based upon the trailer, the movie will include a spork who is trying to find his identity within the group of toys. Last week, I centered on the addition of Jesse to the group. This week, I had intended to focus on the idea of the spork; however, I must admit that having written the post last week, I was prompted to watch the three previous three Toy Story movies. It had been several years since I had seen them, but the premise for these posts was confirmed as I was reminded that each toy had something to offer the collection of toys/friends. Therefore, I am adding a post to this short series to discuss how some key characters fit within the collection before trying to discern the challenge for the spork finding its place in the upcoming film. (If you have not read last week’s post, I encourage you to do so and you can find it here.)

Obviously, the two central characters since the initial movie are Woody and Buzz Lightyear. But many of the toys play an important role in the various movies. Consider the following:

Soldiers – The toy soldiers are able to do recon in the initial movie to determine what gift Andy receives. They use their tactical abilities to scale down a rope and spy on the birthday party and use a walkie-talkie to report to the rest of the toys upstairs. These soldiers also show how teamwork is beneficial to any mission/endeavor.

Lenny – The viewfinder toy allows the other toys to use him as a set of binoculars to get a close-up view of what is happening at a distance.

Mr. Spell – Especially important in the 2nd movie, Mr. Spell, allows Buzz to recreate a series of letters and discover the identity of who stole Woody.

Aliens – The three aliens’ infatuation with “The Claw” is critical in the 3rd movie to help save the day.

Bo Peep – Such an encourager for Woody. (I wrote about the importance of encouragement a few weeks ago, you can read that post here.)

RC – Of course, RC could not travel as fast as a moving truck in real life, but he certainly moved faster than Buzz or Woody could have run. And thus, he was critical to the plot and the success of the two primary leaders.

Bullseye – Like RC, Woody’s trusted steed may not be able to run as fast as a plane on the runway, but his ability to run (and jump) plays a crucial role in helping the team.

Mrs. Potato Head – Her care for Mr Potato Head may be a little overboard, but we all need to know we are loved.

Mr. Potato Head – He (and the Mrs.) both detach parts of their bodies to help at various points. For instance, Mrs. P0tato head takes out her eye and reaches under a door to see in the hallway in the 3rd movie. When Mr. Potato Head lost his potato body, he reassembles his parts onto a tortilla to get out of the hole in a box he is in (also 3rd movie).

Hamm – The know-it-all pig plays the villain for Andy (the boy) in his make believe world, but even something like his weight plays a role in helping the team at times.

Rex – The lovable dinosaur is a seemingly over-sized wimp, but his love of a video games (2nd movie) gives the “false Buzz” the idea to get into a building and later Rex defeats Zurg, albeit accidentally, and allows the group of toys to resume their goal.

Jessie – Her tough-girl attitude is welcomed by the group. She may be a newcomer overall, nut she is a strong secondary leader among the group of toys.

Slinky Dog – The dog’s ability to stretch allows for possibilities in each of the movies. Even though his gift is obvious, it is used in creative and, for the viewing audience, I believe relatively unexpected ways. (Consider the scene with the monkey in the 3rd movie for instance. It is obvious when it happens, but not beforehand.)

Buzz – His “ability” to fly may not be real, but his Star Command training has prepared him as a leader and has made him physically fit to do what most of the other toys could not do. He may be shiny and new, but he is willing to do what is necessary to save his friends. And being bi-lingual (3rd movie) was added for humor, but in today’s world, what a blessing that can be (this post being written just after I returned from Honduras).

Woody – The planner and strategist of the group, Woody is obviously the primary leader. However, he has some technical skills as well such as using his pull-string as a lasso to get he and Jessie off the plane in the 2nd movie.

I could list more toys (e.g. Barbie, Rocky Gibraltar, Big Baby) and even the dog Buster, but most people reading this will remember these toys relatively well if you have seen any of the movies. Some of the toys were in all of the movies, while others were only in one or two. The point is that in whichever movie a toy was involved, it has a part in the overall group of toys. Some toys had to be leaders, while others filled other roles on the team. But each one, in doing what it was designed to do, played an integral role in ensuring that the overall group was united and accomplished the necessary purpose. That was true whether the adversary was a human (Sid or Al) or another toy (Lots-O’). That was also true when they had disagreements among themselves or when they misunderstood their leader (both occurred in all three movies). Ultimately, however, each toy knew it needed the others to survive and, therefore, they worked together to accomplish a goal that although impossible in real life, was entertaining to watch. Furthermore, the teamwork they showed should be inspiring for us to consider what can be accomplished if we will work together, and work with God.

Next week, I will conclude this series with a look at the spork from the upcoming movie and compare it to another part of Toy Story which may have some parallels.

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