Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale….

I realize shows like “Bewitched” or “Mr. Ed” — the demonic talking horse– may have been off limits for those of you who were raised by strict parents, but my guess is if you were growing up in the 70’s, Gilligan’s Island was approved programming.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve pondered the inconsistencies of that sit com. I mean, those 7 stranded castaways brought with them several changes of clothing and the Howell’s had suitcases full of jewels and cash. And why did the professor travel alone for that 3 hour cruise? How did he stay so clean in his only pair of pants and shirt? And just what kind of professor was he?

But the real question, of course, is with Skipper on the island, how did Ginger and Mary Ann not end up pregnant?

Were those girls friends already who decided to travel together with all Ginger’s evening gowns or did they just get forced to room together after the storm? A Kansas farm girl and a Hollywood movie star are, after all, an unlikely pair. But at least they had separate beds on the floor of their hut, unlike Skipper and his little buddy who for some STUPID reason put their hammocks on top of one another even though their hut seemed adequate size. Sigh. So many questions, so few answers. 

Among friends you can bring up familiar episodes and laugh about these unanswerable questions. No one says that because they can’t figure it out they’re going to boycott the show. I can’t imagine anyone leaving the room in a huff over an argument of where they got the ingredients for the coconut cream pies or the oven and pans to bake them in.

Sometimes it’s just nice to share the same story

So I was thinking about this in comparison to groups that discuss the Bible. Friends gather in living rooms, pubs, small groups in church, or Internet forums and bring up oddities in the Scriptures. Things that seem inconsistent, silly, unexplainable, unlikable and of course, controversial. We’re all talking about the same story, and if keyed into a particular chapter and verse, the same episode… but man do we all take something different away from it!

Some in the Bible discussion group may prove to be trivia buffs and cite more details than those who aren’t regular readers. If it were a Gilligan’s Island discussion group, they might be the ones posing questions like,

“What port did they leave from? What were the dimensions of the ship?”

But in a Bible discussion group, they’re the ones adding up the logistics of Philip’s ability to be along side the Ethiopian Eunuch on the road to Gaza and then at Azotus wondering if its possible to fit into the time frame assumed in the story.

Then there’s the philosophers who ask “suppose there weren’t just 5 passengers but only 5 survivors and maybe the rest drowned?”

A verse-by-verse thumper quickly refers them back to the text we have in which it is written, “5 passengers sailed that day for a 3 hour tour!

For emphasis, they may add “thus saith Sherwood Schwarz!” (Book of Additions 3:16) 

In a room of friends reminiscing about their favorite Gilligan episode, an outsider unfamiliar with the show might shake his head and wonder what the fuss is about, but I doubt they would campaign against the show stating that because the viewers can’t agree and there are too many inconsistencies, that boat just don’t float! So ban the show! Ban it! Don’t let anyone else be confused by the story! No, I think they’d recognize the value of a group of people sharing the same story, even if they can’t all agree. 

Wouldn’t it be great if it worked that way with Bible discussion groups?

As a viewer of the story of Jesus Christ, I’m hooked. It’s my program, don’t touch that dial.

But I do not always have an answer for each episode in the journey from Genesis to Revelation. I’m often left with questions, been known to put my own philosophical spin in at times, thump on others when I spot their inconsistency with the given text, and am challenged by the research of more intense viewers who discover this plot goes deeper than I thought. None the less, it’s always entertaining. But some would fight to cancel the show. They need the facts, just the facts ma’am. Tangible evidence that leaves no room for discussion. 

I don’t really know if the fish was real. Maybe the puke on Jonah was just a story. But it was a classic episode because some Jewish guy named Jesus was still using it as an illustration centuries later knowing His friends and enemies were familiar with the story. 

Where do coconut cream pies come from? I’m not entirely sure, but Ginger likely saw a movie once where the actor made one out of nothing.

Keep yourself in God’s love, Julie