The Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard ……. cartoon I didn’t get!

rock paper scissors lizard spockSeveral of my friends (yes, I have friends!) posted this cartoon on Facebook a few days ago. I could see that it was to do with the death of Leonard Nimoy and there is a rock, paper and scissors on it. There was also an empty space and a lizard. I looked at it and tried to work it out (there was even steam coming out of my ears) and in the end I gave up.

Then, yesterday, someone else posted it and in the comments below people were alluding to the BBT. Now I may not have understand the picture but I do have teenagers and so I knew that BBT is Big Bang Theory which is a TV show. I went and described the picture to my son who is plugged into Facebook but hadn’t seen it. As I described it to him he began to laugh.

The picture refers to an episode of Big Bang Theory. You can watch this clip and see it for yourself or you can skip to my explanation below.

So, Sheldon says that Rock, paper Scissors doesn’t have enough variables and so he adds Lizard and Spock so that there is more likely to be a winner.

If you have seen the show then the cartoon makes sense and is funny and if you haven’t seen it is not going to make any sense however hard you think about it.

One of the things I try to work hard at in church is to explain what is going on. I don’t want people to come to a church event or service and feel stupid because they don’t understand what is happening. I understand that in one way that it is inevitable because so much will be new to them but on the other hand I want to make it as easy as possible. So a Christian might say in church, ‘it’s like Gideon, you remember him’ but the trouble is that you can only remember him if you have read or heard about him. Click here if you want to find out more about who Gideon is.

The rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock clip begins with the friends talking about science fiction shows. They are friends together and so they talk about their common experience without explanation. This is something we all do, I have some friends that I could say ‘bubbles’ to and they would laugh. In church it is natural to talk about our shared experience of Christianity without explanation but is that what Jesus wants us to do?

Jesus often taught using parables (stories) so that everyone could understand the sort of thing he was talking about. The things he was describing using those stories were harder to understand and the disciples sometimes asked him what he meant.

I think many churches opt for hard to understand and exclusive language but sometimes this is without any spiritual depth behind it. It sounds deep and spiritual because it has complicated language so it must be, right?

Can we become more like Jesus? Lets use modern language wherever possible, using everyday examples to illustrate what our faith is and means. We do this though, not to dumb down what we are saying about Jesus and our faith but rather to help people to understand it at a deeper level and to live it out.

Jesus taught in response to questions. How do we create a culture in church life where people know they are allowed to ask questions and where they can feel comfortable doing so?

Maybe this article has explained a little about the rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock cartoon?

Jesus is worth finding out about. Who is explaining him to you and how are you explaining him to others?

About honestaboutmyfaith

Hi, my name is Graeme and I’m married to a very patient wife. We have 4 children, 2 rabbits, a terrapin (and not a lot of peace and quiet!). I’m a Regional Minister for the Eastern Baptist Association in the UK (the views expressed in this blog are my own) and I am especially interested in making Church accessible to people who have no church background and also in how we disciple people in order to equip them to live out their faith in the 21st Century.
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3 Responses to The Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard ……. cartoon I didn’t get!

  1. Judith champion says:

    Thank you Graeme…..great post!
    I’m becoming much more aware of how ‘alien’ our Christian language can sound to people coming to our Alpha course at the moment….it’s a difficult balance sometimes to explain without sounding patronising….. I guess ‘truth’ and ‘love’ are easy enough to grasp though!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s not patronising if the person stood no chance of understanding it without an explanation. It’s a bit like when a mechanic says your car needs a new camshaft. I’ve kind of heard of it but I have no idea what it does.
      The only exception to this is when we use condescending language or are superior or smug in our explanations.
      Creating a culture where people can question is important which is why when I run Alpha, the talk and discussion are all one bit around a table. People ask as we go along rather than waiting for the end bit.


  2. grammatteus says:

    Oh, I got the cartoon right away; hilarious. Then, of course, I would, as a huge fan of BBT. Your point is very valid. First feedback from a well-educated friend on my book’s first chapter was “you’re using too many big words” which is fair. I need to realise my intended audience did NOT attend Bible College nor possess a Master’s (or the vast majority of them).

    However, I always tend to find extremes in human behaviour, and we have a Pastor who has skipped over to the other end of the spectrum and constantly talks as if there are unsaved or new Christians in the congregation. We who have been at his church five years now (and maybe 30 years at the church we all came from) just hear the same thing over and over and … you get the picture. I’m growing far more from books and blogs now than from our own pulpit. Maybe about 95%, no exaggeration.


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