Episode 32: UP

Matt and Adam talk with Kenda Creasy Dean, professor of youth, church, and culture at Princeton Theological Seminary, about aging, adventure, and Pixar’s 2009 film UP.  
November 21, 2017
Pixar's UP (2009)

On this week’s Technicolor Jesus, Matt and Adam welcome Kenda Creasy Dean, the Mary Synott chair of youth, church, and culture at Princeton Theological Seminary, to talk about adventure, aging, home and the movie UP. Part of Pixar’s run at the height of its powers (2007 Ratatouille, 2008 Wall-E, 2009 UP, and 2010 Toy Story 3), UP signals Pixar’s willingness to turn from some of the kid-focused stories of its early days (Toy Story, Bug’s Life) to stories that feel more grown up. UP is a movie about a man named Karl who is in the last chapter of his life. After the death of his beloved wife Ellie, Karl decides to fly his house to South America in search of the adventure they had never managed to take together. All sorts of hijinx ensue while Karl travels with Russell, a faithful boy scout who helps redeem Karl along the way. Even underneath the hijinx, this movie never stops being a film about aging, grief, empty houses, and letting go. In the first segment, the conversation turns to questions of adventure, church, and ministry. Kenda asks how can the church fully embody its call to adventure. In our second segment, the movie provides helpful guidance for thinking about Jesus’ admonition in Matthew 25 to serve the least of these. Finally, Matt and Adam share some poems that have been inspiring them this week. So grab your balloons, find a beloved friend, and prepare for an adventure because it is another week of Technicolor Jesus!

Kenda Creasy Dean is the Mary D. Synott professor of youth, church, and culture at Princeton Theological Seminary. She has authored numerous books, including Almost Christian: What the Faith of our Teenagers is Telling the American Church and Practicing Passion: Youth and the Quest for a Passionate Church. She is one of the co-founders of Ministry Incubators, a consulting group dedicated ministerial innovation and entrepreneurial ideas.

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Poems: “Tourists” by Yehuda Amichai and “Mudiwa” by Seitlhamo Motsapi.