Yeah.... So, if you hadn't noticed, I've been slightly less than active on this blog. xP You can blame life for that. *nods*
However. I haven't forgotten about you people! At least.... I remember you about once every few weeks or so. =P Anyway, two of my little siblings got Albums 56 and 57 for their respective birthdays, and I've been listening to the episodes the last couple of nights... and I realized that I sorta dropped the ball at just the wrong time.
Those albums were *really* good. With the exception of the Penny and J&P episodes, nearly every single one has made me seriously think about something, or has really entertained me. The writers worked really hard to give us entertaining, yet meaningful episodes these last couple of seasons. We saw episodes about prayer, true repentance, tithing, Scripture, and even one where a girl who grew up in a Christian home realizes that she needs to make the faith her own and trusts Jesus for the first time! And as if that weren't enough, a subsequent episode deals with her struggle to keep her newfound faith alive! I don't know if I could have asked for anything better, really.
I don't want to presume upon anything, but.... I think I will anyway. =P During the Green Ring Conspiracy episodes, I couldn't stop whining and complaining about the lack of solid biblical truth in the episodes; and I was especially disturbed by the less-than-adequate descriptions of sin and salvation that I was hearing. Several times, I believe, I made sure I said that I believed a person is truly saved when they repent of their sins and trust in Christ for salvation. And at that time, I don't think AIO had ever featured a description of conversion in those specific words.
But then fast-forward to The Bible Network. In the first sequence, "Who's the Real Sheep?" we are given a precise definition of how to be saved: "by repenting of our sins and trusting in Jesus." Exactly. What. I. Asked. For. Does anyone think that could be more than a coincidence? Like I said, I don't want to presume that the writers read my blog faithfully and take into account everything I say.... but whether or not that's the case, I have seen a very evident change in the content and focus in many of the episodes.
Just last night I was listening to Disc 2 of Album 56, which has "The Holy Hoopster" and "The Lost Riddle" on it. Both of those episodes explicitly and repeatedly have characters saying "Jesus" and/or "Christ," names that I had felt were conspicuously absent from Odyssey for a long period of time. And even though it wasn't the primary moral of the story, "The Lost Riddle" had a very strong message about the Providence of God. Even though Kenny did wrong to Dale and thereby got a headstart on his career that should have gone to Dale, God worked through it, and Dale says that he wouldn't have it any different even if he could. I was very touched by this episode. And it's even a Jones & Parker episode! I couldn't believe it. xD
All this is to say.... Well done, Odyssey. I complained for a long time, and you didn't have to deliver, but you did. Even though some things don't totally line up with the specifics of what I believe (see my review on The Bible Network for that...), I think what we've been given is much better than what we had been getting. And given the fact that AIO has to cater to a huge audience, made up of people from all kinds of denominational backgrounds, I think they've done an excellent job. I've seen the gospel several times over the last two seasons. In The Bible Network, in Your Servant Is Listening, and even in Life Expectancy. I could hardly be more pleased.
Well, hopefully this hasn't been too long. That's another thing that I needed to work on back when I was on here more regularly: shorter reviews. xP I don't know how active I'm going to be in the future--actually today I was only planning on giving you a preview of this article and writing the whole thing out at a different time--but I hope you can relate to what I said. =)
TL;DR: Odyssey is awesome. Thank you.