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Celebration Florida

Notes & Transcripts

It was supposed to be the "perfect" town. After all, it was planned by Disney itself. The town of Celebration, Florida, a 16-acre utopian community just ten minutes from Walt Disney World, was developed in order to promote "Disney values." Disney designed the buildings, as well as its education and health policies. Most homes look identical, even with the same plants in the front garden. During winter evenings, the town even gets a gentle dusting of artificial snow every hour on the hour. (If you're familiar with the movie The Truman Show, you probably get the idea).

But this carefully planned, picture-perfect world was shattered in 2010 by two violent deaths: a murder and a suicide. Matteo Giovanditto, aged 58, was the victim of the town's first murder. Just three days later, Craig Foushee, distraught over his impending divorce and bankruptcy, barricaded himself in his home and started firing shots. After a tense standoff with authorities, Mr. Foushee eventually shot and killed himself.

According to a British news article on these tragic deaths, "The incidents have added to signs that cracks are forming in the sugary veneer of the town, where visitors can take horse-and-carriage rides through the picket-fence-lined streets."

This is a picture of the elder brother. He’s done everything right and he thinks that has given him a “spiritual Disney World.” He thinks that he has earned his way into his father’s favor, but he quickly learns that the favor of the Father is not based on our own effort. You can’t work your way to righteousness and you can’t create a perfect environment in which it flourishes. The prodigal at home is still a prodigal, no matter how good he looks on the outside. And he still needs repentance.

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