Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Sudden Clarification

I thought, when I started writing and thinking about the Sunday school class that my husband and I are teaching, that I was upset that children didn't understand that the Old Testament was one long story, and that Jesus was its completion.

Then, I had lunch with Rob Bland. Rob is a brilliant guy, once a Vice President of my company, and now a student at Stanford Business School. I wanted to talk with him because I've been interviewing people about their religious education. I thought that I wanted to know what people had been told about the Old Testament when they were children, and that I wanted to know at what age they reached the point where they understood a connection between the parts of the Bible.

When I was talking with Rob, though, I realized this project was much bigger. I want to change the way children are educated about their religion. I want to argue against "children's church" and for involving kids directly in the services. I want children to use their Bibles, not have the verses handed to them on preprinted sheets. I want people to be asking kids deep, difficult questions, so that they have time to think about them. I want kids to feel like church is a place where their spirits are fed and nurtured, not a place where they must sit still and wait for their parents to be done.

I want religious education to be cohesive--once the kids are (as Rob put it) "old enough to think," they need to get, not just one colorful cartoon-ready Bible story after another, but a cohesive understanding of the Bible.

I've ordered a book through ILL called The Last Christian Generation. I'll post after I read it. I read a review of it somewhere, and just the title bothers me. I do not want to be part of the last Christian generation. I'm not so much scared of being in a world without Christians (although that would be scary) as I am scared of being in a world where people don't believe anything that's demanding or complicated or sometimes inconvenient.

1 comment:

Hannah N said...

You are very right about having kids in service. I've heard from several people that "studies say" or "THEY say" (who is "they"?) That what children need the most is to be involved in worship and to experience God, and what adults need most is to be involved in Christian Education and learn about God. (of course, adults would experience God through learning and children would learn through experiencing.) Unfortunately, we usually focus on the opposite--children only in Sunday School, adults only in worship.