Good art engages us in ways words alone never could. From film to music to painting, truths conveyed with special creativity and beauty sink deeper and last longer. (See prior reflections on this theme).
One emerging way to do this is through the medium of electronic apps and games. Truth be told, I’m pretty wary of the many hazards of over-exposure to technology—for both myself and my kids. But I also see clearly that harnessing this ever-expanding medium is one powerful way for thoughtful Christ-followers to bear witness to the good, true and beautiful.
If anyone doubts that, they just need to see Walter’s Flying Bus. This animated, interactive eBook App was released this month by my good friends at Chosen and Dearly Loved.
On one level, Walter’s Flying Bus is simply a fun and whimsical story any child-hearted person could enjoy. It tells the tale of a Ugandan boy named Walter, who was orphaned and badly burned as a young boy, yet dreams of being a bus driver someday. Walter and other special children pursue their dreams on the magical bus they’ve re-built together.
Even more poignantly, the story draws us to see the high-dreaming hearts of children that are often overlooked. Though each lives with significant disabilities, the story helps us to see and to feel each child’s value and individuality.
It should come as no surprise that the creative team behind the film are passionate followers of Jesus. Cold Darwinian ethics alone would assign no value to Walter and his friends. But to the Christian, they bear the Imago Dei as surely as any king. Without saying so in words, Walter’s Flying Bus bears powerful testimony to this truth.
I loved hearing about the heart behind the art when talking recently with Mike Gallagher, who helped spearhead the remarkable team that created the App.
“We wanted to tell the story in the same spirit with which we’d introduce our own kids to a friend,” Mike said. “It’s that feeling of Oh, we can’t wait for you to meet them!”
That’s indeed the experience one gets from even a few minutes, or a few hours, of interacting with Walter’s Flying Bus.
This is not a “Christian story” in the narrow sense of the word, and might not make the cut at some Christian bookstores. But it ultimately reveals truths that flow from God’s heart better than what fills many of the shelves at such stores. Meanwhile, money raised from the App will go to support several great CAFO member orgs that make God’s love tangible to orphans.
Ultimately, Walter’s Flying Bus is good art, well-crafted within its own emerging medium. And, like all of the very best art, it helps us to see and feel deeper truths than words alone could ever reach.