Church of England to 'Mix it up with The Simpsons'

The Church of England is set to launch a book called 'Mixing it up with the Simpsons', with the aim of urging clergy to show episodes of the famous American cartoon focusing on Christian themes such as love and punishment.

|PIC1|It is hoped that the new method will provide a more relevant way of teaching children about theology and boost falling congregations.

The book will be sent to youth advisers in every diocese in the country next week, according to the Sunday Telegraph, and will hope to show through issues tackled in the cartoon how Christianity is relevant to life today.

A youth worker in the Kent Diocese of Rochester, Owen Smith, has insisted the cartoon series was filled with Biblical references, and he looks to illustrate this in the book with quote comparisons.

The book has been made specifically to help keep youth interested in Church, as the number of under 16's attending worship in the Church of England on Sundays has decreased by 12 per cent over the five-year period between 2000 and 2005.

Smith told the Sunday Telegraph: "The Simpsons is hugely moral, with many episodes dealing with issues and dilemmas faced by young people. The willingness of the show's writers to deal with questions of both morality and spirituality makes the programme an ideal tool."

The initiative has been given backing across the Church, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams speaking of his adoration of the show.

He has said that the cartoon was "generally on the side of the angels and on the side of sense", and also explained that beneath the dysfunctional image of the animated family lay an example of "remarkable strength and remarkable mutual commitment".

Dr Williams has said: "For all that Homer is a slob and Bart is a brat and Lisa is a pain in the neck, you know there's real affection and loyalty."