The gift of reason.
It's interesting how small characters can truly double in size on the big screen. The Simpson Movie does just that.
Simpsons' characters like Homer, Bart, Marge, Maggie, Lisa, as well as Ned Flanders, Moe the Bartender, and Mr. Burns are monumental in size, more monumental than they've ever been on the television screen. And like their visages, their personalities seem to double in size too.
On the big screen, Marge seems ever more nagging, Burns seems even more evil, Bart a bit more mischeveous, and unfortunately, Homer seems even more dumb.
In 30-minute increments, Homer's stupidity is more easily forgiven (for the sake of running time, he has to - he needs to do something stupid and repent in just a few minutes). But for 90-minutes of film time, his stupidity is magnified and the time until his realization is much longer. Even having a series run of 17 seasons magnifies the issue: you'd think after all this time, Homer would stop being dumb. It's like every episode (and now every movie), he has to be reminded how to act and speak again and again.
I pray that Homer Simpson is not the "everyman" that he once seemed to be. I pray that Americans aren't as dumb as he is or as forgetful of the people around him.
In The Simpsons Movie, Homer's misdeeds come because he thinks only of himself. He is a horrible father, a wayward husband, and a selfish person overall. Because he wanted a donut, he polluted a lake with toxic waste; because he always wanted a pet pig, he neglected his own son; because he only thinks of his own dream, he disregards the Springfield residents who (over many many episodes) have come to selflessly help Homer out in the past.
Even his "epiphany" in this film is shallow. He learns to care about others but only because by helping others, he will help himself. Helping others, in his "epiphany" is not about self-sacrifice, it is not about loving one's neighbor, it isn't even about being grateful for all the good things your neighbors have done for you. It's still just about him.
On the small screen, I love The Simpsons. It's a wonderful comedy about families and sticking together. But in the movie theatre, I hoped and prayed for more. I hoped and prayed for the honest social and moral commentary the show once had. I hoped and prayed for a Homer, who after so many seasons on the air, finally "gets it." I hoped and prayed, even in the course of this movie, that Homer would realize what he had done, repent, and do good for others because he truly cares for others - not just because, in saving Springfield he'll save himself.
This movie makes you think about how people like Homer don't think.
Approaching our relationships with others through the perspective of our hearts is wonderful; but we also need to use our head as well. We need to think a bit more about what we've done, what we're doing, and where God is taking us. We cannot reply on auto-pilot all our lives, and do things the way we've always done them or that way we're comfortable with. Living good lives involves some real brain power, something poor Homer does not have.
Let us pray for anyone we know like Homer, that they may learn to think before they act. God gave us all the power to reason; let's use that gift wisely.