Fun with Dick & Jane

High Church attendance in the west didn't make Jesus any more welcome in the marketplace of life

If you were educated anytime between 1930 and the mid sixties you would probably have learned to read with the help of Dick and Jane readers. The series was so much part of our culture that it inspired a film comedy in 1977 starring Jane Fonda which has been re-made with Jim Carry and due for release any moment.

In the words of one fond reader; “Sally, Dick and Jane, were and still are real youngsters to many of us, they played amusing pranks, dressed up in father’s and mother’s clothes, played with their toys, visited grandmother and grandfather on the farm, romped with their pets.. they did many of the things that us healthy, wide-awake youngsters delighted in doing, and children today still love doing. More importantly, they taught us to read, and they made us want more stories – furthering our interest in reading”.

Yes they did everything that normal western kids did in our wonderfully blessed western capitalist society but somehow they never went to church nor did they every hear or partake in a single conversation about God.

Quite strange really when one considers that they were most in use when church attendance was at its peak. At a time when almost everyone considered with pride that they were Christian simply because they belonged to a Christian country.

What makes this really sad is that in Moslem and Hindu, Buddhist and communist countries, the deities of choice featured very much in the normal school curriculum. No Chinese child would be without his copy of chairman Mao’s Little Red Book, no Moslem child would get through his school years without being able to recite huge slabs of the Quran. And it didn’t stop at religious classes; every subject from art to mathematics was tailored to ensure that the child would see the world through the eyes of their idol.

Our God is the creator of the universe every scientific law and every true idea originates with him. He is the one that created our brain, gave us a yearning for knowledge and understanding, not to mention the ability to form sentences and to record those thoughts on paper in the form of symbolic language. He is sovereign over all things and he is the only source of truth that can help us interpret and unite the truths from every academic discipline, yet he was barred from our schools and universities.

He was kept hidden in a world of stain glassed windows, where sixteenth century English was spoken in strange religious tones by men in dresses and women in hats they’d never be seen in anywhere else. We did our best to ensure that he didn’t sneak out of the stone houses we build for him, nor interfere with our lives from Monday to Saturday.

Anyone visiting the West then and now must wonder what it is that Jesus has done to cause us to be so embarrassed about him. Most of all they would wonder why we would want to go to so much trouble to shield our children from him. Dick and Jane loved to watch Spot run but they never seemed to wonder what gave him the ability to do it. Not surprising that we still find it so hard to integrate our faith with the real world.