Pop Gospel: 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles'

By: Jason Barwick

First, let me say that this is an article about the Turtles not the newest movie. I did enjoy the movie and it was good to see them back on the big screen but this article is more about the Turtles as characters not any specific movie, book, or show. I will probably even do more than one TMNT based article going forward. I have loved the turtles since...forever I think. Their adventures and battles against Shredder were always great to watch. Two things always stood out to me; how the brothers needed each other, whether they admitted it or not and their incredible confidence in who they were as individuals in a team. They had their fights, like all siblings, but in the end they came together to save the day. There was one thing that held them together, their father Splinter. I always loved Splinter, not just because he was wise or he could kick butt, but because his faith in his children never wavered. Splinter raised Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo to believe in themselves and each other. He helped them find their identity and how they each fit into the group. Leonardo was a natural leader, Raphael was bold and strong, Donatello was incredibly intelligent, and Mikey loved life and was the one who kept everybody loose. Imagine what this team would look like if Splinter was not around. There would be no team or maybe there would be but it would not be the "save the day" team we know. They would be a mess.

In the Bible, God tells us all that we are created for a purpose and with specific skills. God created us to be relational beings that thrive in environments where we can work together. Our world today says we need to be "independent" and we shouldn't rely on others for help. God says "I have created you all uniquely to work together". In the book of 1 Corinthians 12:17-20, the writer Paul gives an excellent illustration what we should look like:

If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
— 1 Corinthians 12:17-20

The turtles lived out this passage perfectly. They had their fights here and there but when they embraced who they were as individuals, they could function as the perfect fighting machine. Often times we wish that we had someone else`s skills, but then we would not be who God created us to be. Imagine if Donatello wished he was more laid back and easy going. What if Michelangelo wanted to be the "smart one" and tried to use all of Donatello`s gadgets. That would never work out for them as individuals and it would be disastrous for the team. Our "heroes in the half shell" were the most effective when they embraced who they were individually and as a team. When each one of them knew what their skills were and how they fit with the other three`s abilities, they were unstoppable. Much like the turtles looked to Splinter for guidance in identifying and fine tuning their skills, we can look to God for the same thing.

Thanks again for reading and I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic as well as any other material you would like me to explore a Biblical connection to. You can reach me on Twitter at @JasonBarwick or the Pop Gospel Twitter @gospel_geek. I would also love to see some discussion on the site! Please don`t be afraid to disagree with anything I write either. 

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