Encanto and the Benedict Option

Encanto doesn’t have a conventional Disney villain, because the musical is about learning to live in safety, putting aside the bad habits that come from fear and scarcity. I covered the musical for First Things, with a particular emphasis on the parallel dangers for Christians.

The village is not so different from a Benedict Option enclave. And like any BenOp community, its members discover that refuge from external dangers is not enough to make them safe or happy. They must use their shelter well, and decide how to extend what they have received to others. [..]

The family’s fractures are magically reflected in their surroundings: The casita begins to show cracks, and starts to crumble. But even when the house is whole, there is already something slightly wrong. Even in safety, the Madrigals’ lives are shaped by fear—of the outside world, or of being worthless, or imperfect. This is the same challenge that faces those who are attracted to thick Christian community primarily as a refuge from the outside world, rather than as a means to live abundantly for God. The aim of a refuge is to make space to offer an open, joyful witness, not to pull up the ladder behind you. But it is difficult to break habits of fear and despair. 

Read the rest at First Things