Phil vischer has a book, and my brother just gave me a copy.
Man, it was really hard for me to read. I was already aware of Big Idea’s painful demise from Phil’s blog, which I stumbled upon a few years ago. I have a fairly developed sense of empathy, and it’s hard to watch a train wreck in slow motion.
If you don’t know the back story of veggietales grab that link and follow it to Phils Blog.
The sections at the end were the most meaningful- the wrap-up of what surely was a hellish experience. Phil spent his life building what he thought God had asked and prepared him to build, only to see his prized creations sold at a bankruptcy auction due to a long complicated chain of decisions he and his team made.
I found myself highlighting a lot of what Phil said about dreams and God. here are some of the heavier quotes:”I didn’t trust their nos. I didn’t trust their input. So I barreled ahead, on my own, clutching my ideas like a child clutching a prized stuffed animal in a roomful of strangers whose motives he can’t discern.”
“He who has God plus an amazing ministry impacting millions of lives around the world has nothing more than he who has God alone” (paraphrase of C.S. Lewis)
“The more I dove into scripture, the more I realized I had been deluded. I had grown up drinking a dangerous cocktail–a mix of the gospel, the Protestant work ethic, and the American dream. My eternal value was rooted in what I could accomplish. My role here on earth was to dream up amazing things to do for God. If my dreams were selfless, god would make them all come true. My impact would be huge. The world would change. My impact would be huge. Children would rise and call me blessed, and I would receive a hero’s welcome into heaven…”
“we have no business telling God what we want to accomplish for him or dreaming up what we want to do for him”- Henry Blackaby.
The tragedy of VeggieTales looms large in the world I’m from. If they had made it as the next Disney, I might have worked there. I would have at least loved to. I can’t separate my jealousy at Phil’s successes from my anger at Big Idea’s failings. And the whole thing scares the crap out of me. My creativity and my dreams are my prized possesions..(I’m sure they’re Phil’s, too) To build something and have it taken away.. it’s like losing your kids to the state, or even worse, hitting them with a car that you drive. Phil acknowledges that many of the company’s mistakes were merely amplifications of weakness in his leadership and management. That’s a tough pill to swallow.
Does God want the empires we build for him?