Epic Theology

Finding God through the lens of an artist



What Disney Teaches Us About Adulting: An Introduction

This blog series is adapted from my panel at the 2018 Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo. For those who were unable to make it, here’s what you missed!

Our government tells us that we are an adult at the age of 18.

Quick question, who is over the age of 18?

Of those who are of legal age, who actually feels like an adult?

Better yet, who feels like an adult all of the time?

I’d wager that number is not nearly as many as our laws would suggest.

Why is that? That’s a big question that expands FAR beyond the scope of this blog, but I want to explore a bit of the conversation here.

To start out, let’s talk about what it means to be an adult. In my research, I’ve found a few different definitions, because no one seems to really know for sure.  Some definitions I’ve found include:

  • A person who is fully grown or developed.
  • The stage of the life cycle after reproductive capacity has been attained.
  • Having attained full size and strength; grown up; mature.
  • Having the ability to make your own decisions and dealing with the consequences.
  • A person who has attained the age of majority and is therefore regarded as independent, self-sufficient, and responsible.


To add to our confusion, western society, in the aftermath of World War II, created a social structure called the adolescent. Before this, people generally moved from childhood to adulthood directly around the onset of puberty, often with an accompanying rite of passage. However, we have lengthened this transition and created an “in-between” stage where we are no longer children, but not quite adults yet. Over the decades, this adolescent stage has grown longer and longer. Many no longer really believe 18 year olds to be adults, but how about 22 year olds? Or 25 year olds? Or 30 year olds? When asked when someone becomes an adult, the answer is often, “It depends.”

Now that we’ve separated biological adulthood (being able to reproduce) from social adulthood (being seen as an adult), we must have something else that lets us know we’ve arrived at being an adult. Instead of relying on puberty, we rely on social “markers” that let us know that whoever has accomplished these markers is an adult.


In the spirit of goodwill, I want to be very clear that I don’t mean to demean or belittle anyone who has not accomplished one of these markers. There are plenty of reasons why someone hasn’t yet, or perhaps will never go through these events, either by choice or by the nature of who you are. Just take what you can from this series and don’t take any of it too seriously. If you seriously disagree with me, please let me know. I would love to have a conversation

Now, I’ve narrowed down potential markers to these seven:

  1. Getting a Job
  2. Moving out/buying a house
  3. Looking After oneself
  4. Saving for the Future
  5. Finding an Identity
  6. Getting Married
  7. Having Kids

That said, for many of us, Disney films may have been the biggest media influence on our childhoods. Whether we wanted to be a princess or a street rat or a singing candelabra, we grew up within the stories that Disney has been telling.

We’re going to look at each of these markers in turn to see where Disney movies have given us wisdom and where they have led us astray. We will also compare the lessons from the films with wisdom from the Scriptures. Hopefully, by the end, we’ll have a little more information on what it means to be an adult and how we can start adulting a little better.

Until next time,


A Few WORDS Before We Head Out

“that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”

Words. The verbal expressions of thoughts, ideas, and concepts, usually utilized to communicate such thoughts and ideas to another person. As we speak words, the images in our minds flow almost magically into the minds of our listeners. Furthermore, words can be incredibly forceful in their conveyance of ideas: if I say or write the words Purple Penguin, anyone listening or reading has no choice but to imagine a violet, flightless bird. Powerful indeed! I want to write further on the power of words, but will save that conversation for another post. Suffice it to say that we should be aware of the force we wield as we converse with words.

Having been in several heated conversations lately, both online and face to face, I’ve come to realize that many of my debates have been around the definitions of words. We define ourselves with words all the time, and if someone comes down on one of our self-descriptors, defensiveness can ensue. As a Christian, I consider myself religious.  Several other Christians I know, however, believe that Christianity is a faith, and not a religion, and go so far as to argue against religion. I believe that this disagreement stems not from our ideas about Christianity, but about our definitions of religion.  To my understanding, religion is an organized system of beliefs, something I’m sure few Christians would deny about Christianity. Christians adhere to a certain set of beliefs about God and the world.  Since I also follow this set of beliefs, I consider myself religious.  Yet to others, religion is the rules, regulations, and rituals foisted upon people by those who consider themselves righteous. It is the empty piety of the hypocritical Pharisees that Christ fought against in the Gospels.  I am definitely not in favour of such practices, but to my understanding, the word hypocrisy might be a better word for this definition, not the word religion.  Thus, in this situation, my opponents and I are not arguing about the concept of religion, but about the definition of the word.

This is all further confused by the evolution of language.  English, especially, seems to be changing almost on a daily basis.  New words are added each year to our dictionaries as legitimate words, and common usage of words changes to meet the social demands of the day.  This raises the question: Which is a more legitimate use of a word, it’s traditional meaning, or the meaning it has adopted by the greatest percentage of people? There may not be an answer to this question, but if we are going to be discussing such personal issues as faith and art, then we will need to make sure we are discussing the issues at hand and not the minutiae of word meanings.  We have bigger fish to fry.

For this reason, I would like to set in place several definitions of key terms that will be frequently used along this journey. I am not going to use my definitions, because my understanding of words is biased, and we need a neutral ground for conversation.  I am going to use the 1998 Oxford Dictionary, for no other reason than it is the one I have in my house. If anyone wants to disagree with a definition here, please comment, and we can see if we can come to a better understanding.

Without further ado, here are some words we will probably use throughout our future conversations:

Religion: belief in a superhuman controlling power, especially in a personal God or gods entitled to obedience and worship; expression of this in worship; particular system of faith and worship

Faith: complete trust or confidence; firm, especially religious, belief; religion or creed

Love: deep affection or fondness

Hate: dislike intensely

Tolerate: allow the existence or occurrence of without authoritative interference; endure

God: I really want to leave this definition up to each person. If your understanding of God or god is specific, please elaborate to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Art: Another word I’m hesitant to define, as exploring art is one of the purposes of this blog.  For reference, Oxford defines art as: human creative skill or its application; work showing this

As we continue on our journey, I plan to update this list with any problematic or enigmatic words we encounter.  We can now embark on an exploration of the arts, faith, and religion with fewer misunderstandings than before.  Everyone ready? Then let’s move out!


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