14 November 2004

Kuyper at the movies

Our Theresa has recently taken a liking to the Disney film, Mary Poppins, which was released when I was nine years old. This was the first of two cinematic vehicles for the luminous Julie Andrews, whose phenomenal singing voice also graced The Sound of Music a year later. Today, as Theresa was watching Mary Poppins once again, it occurred to me that both films share something else besides a female lead. Each is about a father who is deeply confused about the basics of what Abraham Kuyper called, rather inelegantly, sphere sovereignty. In the first George Banks runs his home as if it were a financial institution. In the second Captain von Trapp rules his family as if it were the crew of a ship. I suppose the films touched such a chord with so many of us because we knew intuitively that a family is a family and children are children. Any effort to treat children as bank employees or naval ensigns is an obvious abuse of legitimate parental authority. In both films Julie Andrews manages to set straight these confused men. I wonder whether she's ever read any Kuyper?

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