When Gonzo Became Gonzorella

Brothers and Sisters,

A child of the 80s, I grew up watching the Muppet Babies. My favorite character? Gonzo, the blue oddball with the long curly nose. Why? I’m not sure. Perhaps, I saw myself in him. He was weird, and so was I (still am). As they say, “representation matters.”

Suffice to say, I was alarmed to learn that Disney’s reincarnation of my beloved childhood show featured an episode celebrating Gonzo’s “right” to dress like a girl.*

*Yes, it first aired a year ago. Sorry, I’m a little slow on the uptake… While I’ve got your parenthetical attention, please keep in mind that respect and compassion are key virtues for responding to the hurting and confused. This letter is not for them so much as those who are being indoctrinated to think in certain ways about their confusion.

If you know me, then you know how much of an emphasis I put on catechesis—equipping the saints (especially the younger ones) with the grammar of the faith so that they can have a biblical framework through which they process reality.

In light of our current topic, here’s a useful Q&A from the Westminster Shorter Catechism:

Obviously, this illustrated catechism is pitched toward kids—as well it should be. So is the Muppet Babies. Make no mistake, shows like these are catechetical works. Indeed, every cultural product these days seems to be geared toward inculcating a set of beliefs and values in both children and adults.

But I digress…

Little Gonzo (sorry, “Gonzorella”) is held up as a paradigm—training kiddos to buck norms (“boys are not supposed to wear a dress”) and replace them with radical acceptance (“it wasn’t very nice of us to tell you what to wear to our ball.”) He and his friends aim to teach next-gen-Kenny and everyone like him that gender is a construct, norms are arbitrary (i.e., they don’t reflect creational realities), and the worst thing you can do is deny a kid his or her delusion.

This, my friends, is child abuse. It makes no bruises, but the indelible mark it leaves upon children who are force-fed this nonsense will last a lifetime.

Lord, have mercy.

I’m no conspiratorial wingnut. Disney’s “secret agenda” isn’t so secret; it just is their Great Commission to bring the “Good News” as they see it to the ends of the earth. It’s not a conspiracy; it’s their mission, and we ought to recognize it as such.

I’m not a politician, either. I have no idea how we push back against these things in terms of policy, law, censorship, etc. That’s just not my lane, and I respect folks’ right to open up their Bibles, argue, and hash these things out in the legislatures and/or voting booths.

But I am a pastor and a teacher. And my deep concern is that we prepare ourselves and our children to sift well the information that enters our ears and eyeballs.

How do we do that?

  1. Pray (Phil 4:4-7). It’s when we get on our knees that God prepares us to shine brightly amid a crooked and perverse generation (2:14-16). Ask Him to strengthen you and your loved ones against the schemes of the devil (Eph 6:11)
  2. Hide His Word In Your Heart (Ps 119:11). Read your Bible. Memorize large portions of it. Root yourself in the story of God’s redemptive action from Creation to Consummation so that you can reject the false narratives that swirl about.
  3. Catechize (2 Tim 1:13; 3:14-16). Pick up a good catechism and use it to memorize synthetic biblical truth. Follow these patterns of sound words as they summarize the essentials about God and the gospel, grace and glory. Arm yourself and your loved ones with the truth so that you can take your stand (Eph 6:14).
  4. Take Every Thought Captive (2 Cor 10:5). Take nothing at face value. Hold every statement up to the light of God’s Word. Hold every pretense to morality up to the plumb line of revelation. All truth is Christ’s truth; if it does not cohere with His words, then it isn’t true.
  5. Sing (Col 3:16). Compelling audio and visual content is precisely what works the messages published by Disney and every other outlet deep into our imaginations. Take up the Bible’s “counter-programming” and sing the truth into yours and others’ souls. If ever there was a time for family worship, this would be it.

We ought to demonstrate compassion toward all the kids who resonate with “Gonzorella.” But, we should show as much concern for the wee ones who would be taken in by these and other brazen attempts to lead them astray.

If it seems like I’m out of my skin, that’s because I am. There are people out there who are trying to abuse our children—if not our biological kids then the covenant children God’s called us to bring up together. How else should we feel when our kids are in danger?

The ideological piper is piping. How long will we let him play before we stop our kids’ ears? The world is catechizing us all. How long will we let its claims go unchallenged?

I pray the Lord will open our eyes, guard our hearts, and give us the strength to stand.

Your Brother in Christ,