From After Class Podcast
As Christian parents, we’re always looking for family-friendly vacation destinations. Since our young toddler had been to Disney five times already, it was time to mix things up a bit. So imagine our delight when just two hours north of Orlando, in the beautiful city of Paradise, opened the ultimate Christian theme park, The Greatest Story Ever Strolled.
Immediately upon entering the majestic pearly gates, we were transported into the exotic world of Scripture. Characters decked out in authentic robes and sashes strolled along sandstone walkways while camel-led carts leisurely transported guests down lanes lined with olive trees. No expense was spared for this Bible theme park of salvific proportions.
We recommend beginning your visit with “Ark Encounter of the Third Kind.” Grab your complimentary poncho and head straight to the two-by-two petting zoo. There you’ll experience the surreal sensation of being crammed into a small, damp area with hordes of bleating, cooped-up animals and a handful of travel-worn voyagers. The unsavory, yet true-to-life aromas of unbathed bodies and communal restrooms are easily overlooked as you sidestep water dripping steadily from strategically located cracks and crevices. It’s very convincing and somewhat disconcerting, but rest assured, all animals are tame, and the carnivorous dinosaurs are animatronic. As you exit through the rainbow arch, we promise, you’ll never read Noah’s story the same way again.
From there, it’s only a short jaunt to “Fire and Brimstone Frenzy,” an attraction that’s sure to stimulate your senses as you experience God’s judgment on the twin cities of sin: Sodom and Gomorrah. State-of-the-art protective eyewear allows you to witness God’s unfettered wrath firsthand without incurring the calcifying effects of his “salty” rectitude. Piping-hot furnaces heat sulfuric lava to a perfect consistency so you can feel, smell, and even taste God’s holy indignation. Though some parents consider this ride too graphic, and thus avoid it, we feel it’s never too early to reinforce the difference between the vengeful Old Testament God and the loving New Testament God.
Next you’ll want to check out the “Wilderness Wandering Wagon” where the manna-quail lunch combo is the best bang for any family’s buck. These heavenly loaves are baked fresh daily—except, of course, on Saturdays. The perfect balance of salty and sweet will leave you wanting more, day after day after day.
We suggest you work off your lunch by joining the trademark “Stroll through the Bible” expedition. (This is a favorite attraction of people who track their daily steps.) On this tour, trekkers journey at least 3,500 cubits in the sandals of their favorite Bible characters. Experience the thrill of marching through the Red Sea, the triumph of circling Jericho, and the exhilaration of walking on water. All pedestrians are outfitted with patented “Walking on Air” shoe inserts so participants can feel the passion of these stories without inflaming their arches.
There are many more options to consider, but we ended our day at the “Goliath Down” shooting gallery. Our kids honed their slingshot skills in a timeless re-creation of young David’s against-all-odds giant-felling feat. Cutting-edge VR technology brings the towering 9-foot Philistine to life . . . and then to death. It’s truly inspiring to hear Casting Crowns’ “Voice of Truth” looping in the background. The music made it so much easier to project our doubts and fears onto the taunting brute’s bull’s-eyed forehead.
All in all, it was an amazing day of engaging God’s Word in fresh ways—well worth the modest loan we secured to finance the trip. But what a privilege to support the ministry of increasing biblical literacy!
The After Class Podcast guys are Bible and theology professors at Great Lakes Christian College; from left to right in the logo, they are Samuel C. Long, Ronald D. Peters, and John C. Nugent. They strive to engage provocative contemporary topics with wit and careful biblical scholarship.