For Three Dollars More
Director: Dave Arnold
Music: John Campbell
Scripture: Luke 16:10
Review Written by:
Ben Warren, Staff Writer
Rating (out of 5):
questions the value of tithing, Matthew, Connie,
and Whit send him on trips in the Room of
Consequence to see the results of his actions.
doesn't feel quite right when programming the Room of Consequence can be
done by anybody, takes about 30 seconds, and hardly depends on the
person entering it or even their personal problem. In
For Three Dollars More,
Matthew Parker sounded proud of his programming abilities, but I
wondered what exactly he programmed in the first place.
This is just one of many quibbles I have with
For Three Dollars More.
Don't get me wrong, I found the episode entertaining, enjoyed its pace
and energy, enjoyed the dialogue, and smiled when I heard
voice. But the episode goes about teaching its message in a rather
If you recall, Matthew Parker's ROC adventure attempted to explain why
we tithe. Essentially, Matthew's message was: if everybody decided
not to tithe a portion of their money then society would crumble.
The problem is not Matthew's message―which
is actually, technically, a valid one―but it
is in the exaggerated way it is presented. As Barrett said, "That was a
bunch of baloney! [...] Powerful silly. [...] Absurd!"
Then, Connie Kendall's ROC adventure tried to teach us that by not
tithing to the church, someone somewhere might have benefited from the
money you chose to withhold. Like Matthew Parker's lesson, it was
criticized as being "completely unrealistic" and "melodramatic".
However, I didn't think this was a completely invalid lesson to teach
kids, either. Although―as Whit mentions at
the end―God doesn't "need" our money to
accomplish what He wants, I do think there can be real
consequences to our selfish actions.
At this point in this episode, I'm somewhat confused. Are we criticizing
Connie and Matthew's claims, or are we criticizing the absurd way in
which these claims are presented? Personally, I think their lessons do
hold some truth. But let's hope Whit manages to teach us both the
primary reason for why we should give to the church and explain it in a
logical, level-headed manner...
Oddly, Whit didn't. Barrett accuses the first two adventures as being
"manipulative", and Whit concurs that these adventures "did not allow
Barrett to see the result of his actions". So what does Whit do?
Strangely, in his Room of Consequence adventure, he removes Barrett's
ability to make any decisions whatsoever and makes him stand back and
watch his virtual self make decisions. Isn't that even more
In fact, Whit's ROC adventure was the most manipulative out of the
bunch. It manipulates the listener by over-generalizing that people who
do not tithe in church end up like Scrooge McDuck. Based on this
assertion, I wonder: Will everyone who doesn't tithe to the
church turn into a miserable old Scrooge? Surely there are great
non-Christian, non-church going philanthropists who are quite generous
with their money. By the end, I found Whit's ROC adventure even more
preposterous than the first two.
A large problem with the episode is that it doesn't focus on tithing―as
it promises to do―but talks about the
importance of giving instead. I come out of it knowing that I should
give, but not really knowing why I should be giving to the church. If
I'm a kid, I have plenty of other questions: are there other ways of
tithing than just putting money into the church? Is 10% a figurative or
literal number? And what about those verses that talk specifically about
tithing such as Genesis 14:20, Matthew 23:23, and Luke 11:42? There
seems to be very little mention of the biblical roots of tithing, here.
Oddly enough, Whit does eventually teach us the primary reason for why
we should give:
"We give out of obedience. We give because we want to
be good stewards of our money. We give because of how much God gave
to us. And we should give with a cheerful heart, knowing that what
we do give has eternal value".
But if the primary reason for giving/tithing is to "give
out of obedience", then why did Whit's Room of Consequence adventure
focus on a different lesson entirely? (i.e: when we don't foster a
spirit of generosity in hearts, then we foster a spirit of greed".)
The primary lesson for children is should be that we give out of
obedience to God. The result of that giving―and
secondary lesson―is that in giving we create
a lifelong spirit of giving. Through Whit's supposedly "perfect" ROC
illustration, the episode flips that around, illustrating only the
secondary point―that we should tithe
primarily out a fear of fostering a spirit of greed. The lesson of
"obedience", here, acts as a footnote.
How could we fix this episode? Perhaps by adding―strangely
enough―Wooton Bassett. Wooton and
exaggeration go together like PB & J. If Wooton programmed the third
Room of Consequence adventure instead of Whit, then we would have had
three exaggerated, yet still valid, reasons for why we should tithe. And
then Whit could have appeared at the end of the episode and said
something along the lines of, "Although those are three valid reasons
for why we should tithe, I don't need a Room of Consequence adventure to
tell you the main reason: we give out of obedience...'"
I never expect an in-depth
Hallowed Be Thy Name
type of episode to explain lessons. I don't even expect every episode to
teach very much at all. However, every episode HAS to teach what it sets
out to teach. Or else, what's the point? Without banging us over the
head with its themes, last week's
and The Perfect Church
taught us in simple and effective ways, but
For Three Dollars More's
use of Room of Consequence just makes the episode feel a little
Back to Reviews