Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Should I Let My Son Have a “Jesus” Mii?

I felt like Athanasius this morning.

My wife and I were attempting to navigate the choppy waters of Trinitarian theology with our five year old son. A couple days ago he discovered the Mii Channel where you can download other mii’s that people have created. One of them was of “Jesus”. He wants to import that mii so that he can play with Jesus.

What is a parent to do?

Isaiah told us that he wanted to download the mii because he loves Jesus and wants Jesus to be able to play the Wii with him. I mean how does that not just melt your heart and make you want to cave? But we didn’t.

Our son had just been learning about the 10 Commandments (thanks to The Gospel Project). And so we started by looking at the one about not making a carved image. I explained to him that the reason we aren’t to do something like that is because God is so much bigger than any picture that we could ever draw. We cannot create something to image God. And we feared that if we had a “Jesus” mii then he would be on the same plane as his SpongeBob mii, his Wolverine mii, and his Isaiah mii.

We also figured that it might be a little silly to have Jesus jumping over barrels, or getting bonked in the head with a big mallet when we played Wii Party. We didn’t want to make Jesus too small in our minds.

But there is that whole incarnation thing…

That all sounds great and theologically sound but it hit me that I probably wasn’t giving enough weight to the incarnation. I want Isaiah to know that Jesus did become a man and does perfectly image God. He did become fully human and so in some way it might be appropriate to give him a mii just like everyone else can have a mii. And is it really so blasphemous to picture our Lord running in a race?

The implications of the incarnation makes things a little more difficult. That Jesus really is fully human and this probably means that he not only enters into the suffering our world but also the joy of it. Maybe Jesus does need a mii.

But I also didn’t want to minimize Jesus. He’s more than something that can be captured on the Wii. I don’t want Jesus to just be one of the guys. He’s more than just “my homeboy”. I want Isaiah to know that Jesus is there with him in every moment and can transform everything even our playing of the Wii.

So at the end of the day mommy and daddy decided against the idea. At the age of five we felt that it’s probably more important to really embed in his mind that Jesus is quantitatively different than everything/everyone else. He’s above it all—even in His incarnation. Isaiah was sad but I think he understood.

What would you have said? Would you let your children have a “Jesus” mii? Why or why not?


  1. First, it took me a few moments to figure out what a "mii" is. I take it to be some kind of avatar for a video game?

    I think you handled it well. It is one thing to have children color pictures of Jesus or use felt storyboards. (There are limits by their very form that typically keeps imagination from going to extremes in the manipulation.) It is another thing to provide them with hand-held figures or virtual figures that they can exercise control over and create "new adventures" with (Jesus rides in a Barbie car, or, as you said, leaps over barrels). Jesus should be taught to be a real person with whom one has a relationship right now. He is not merely one of many toys that can be objects of imaginative play controlled by the child. He is the Lord who one yields to rather than something that one "lords" over with manipulating play.

    1. Thanks for the comment. And I had a picture up there of the Jesus "mii" but it didn't come through. I'll correct that. You are correct that it is a video game avatar.

      And our biggest issue was that we didn't want it to be as you say an "object of imaginative play controlled by the child". I didn't want Isaiah to start viewing Jesus as someone that he can control. Even if it's something as silly as playing zombie tag.



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