truth and culture: teaching children

June 1, 2005

This is part of the Truth and Culture series. Previous posts: Intro, Focus Outward, Beautiful Origins.

Up until this morning, I have only thought Postmodern Children’s Ministry to be a so-so and somewhat generic book. However, the chapter on the Bible (chapter 7) has made this book completely worthwhile. Below are a few different thoughts that I underlined. I will let them speak for themselves:

  • The Bible was not created as the practical guide to the Christian life. It is not a self-help book. The Bible is a collection of ancient stories in which an ieffable, powerful, and enigmatic God is the main character. The Bible reveals a God who is just as relevant today as 8,000 years ago — and just as powerful and just as mysterious. – pg 125
  • We don’t need the Bible to teach children moral lessons. We need the Bible to introduce children to God, God’s story, and God’s ways. But I believe that most published Sunday school curricula are more focused on teaching children to be kind, obey their parents, and tell the truth (not bad things at all, by the way) than on helping children know God better. We use Bible stories with children as if they are moral fables give to us to teach a moral lesson! – pg 126-7
  • By pulling stories about Bible characters out of the Biblical text–which gives them no historical, cultural, or theological context–and by dwelling only on the exploits of the characters, we fail to give children the big picture of God’s story in the Bible. We fail to help them see that the pieces of the Bible fit together in a wonderful tapestry of God’s love and care for humanity and the rest of creation. – pg. 128
  • The truth is that those holding a postmodern worldview are not all that interested in being told waht the Bible means for them. They are not eager to hear the three-point application of a Bible passage, reread the notes when they get hom, and then act on it. (How moch do those notes ever really get acted on, anyway?) Postmoderns want to know what the Bible says and then decide for themselves what they want to do with it. They want an open system of Bible study, not a close one. – pg 132
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