It’s Memorial Day weekend, and I’m hanging out with family in Texas. It feels good to be on vacation. No laundry, no cooking, minimum responsibility. And no more Proverbs Project. I decided to take a break from the in depth, weekly preparation I was doing for our daily Bible lessons so I could prepare for a new study. And it’s one I’m really excited about!
From August through May 2011, my children and I are going to begin memorizing and studying the First Catechism and its Biblical foundations. I’m really looking forward to this new study! I think too often Christian kids learn lots of Bible lesson and moral truths, but don’t receive much of a theological underpinning to their faith. That robs of them of so many riches of the Christian faith, as well as leaving them with a puny understanding of who God is.
One of the resource books I’m using for my preparation is Training Hearts, Training Minds by Starr Meade. I found this quote from the book to be right on:
“In an attempt to attract non-believers, the church has occupied herself with providing the things the world finds attractive. In doing so, she has lost sight of her true purpose of being the pillar and support of the truth…even where teaching the Bible to the children is a priority, teaching Bible doctrine rarely is. Children hear the same Bible stories repeatedly, almost always as moral lessons on how to behave. So the teacher comes to the end and concludes, “And you must be like David and God will bless you,” or “You must not act like Ahab or you will find trouble.”
When Bible stories are used in this way, God sits on the periphery of the narrative, like the genie in a fairy tale, blessing human actors for good behavior or cursing them for failures. Children seldom learn to see that God Himself is the main character of every Bible story. They do not learn to ask about each account they read, “What does this story tell me about God?” They never learn to read all the biblical narratives in the light of God’s overall purpose to redeem a people for Himself.”
It’s my goal to help my children see the big picture of God’s plan and work in our world. This summer, I’m going to be working on planning the lessons, hopefully quite thoroughly! I’ll then begin posting probably a week after we begin working through the lessons ourselves.
So are we taking a break from Bible lessons altogether? No, no. We just began reading through The Jesus Story Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. It’s definitely an unusual children’s Bible, in that the author focuses on pointing to Jesus as the ultimate fulfillment of each Bible story shared. I like it…and I don’t. I think Lloyd-Jones takes great liberties with how she portrays God’s emotions and reactions to various happenings. Frankly, that makes me a bit uncomfortable. She definitely goes outside the Biblical narrative to embelish and add drama to the stories. While I wouldn’t say her add-ons are wrong, they definitely aren’t clear from the Scripture either. As I read the stories to my children, I just skip over those parts. I DO love how she makes Jesus the center of each story and constantly emphasizes Him as the redeemer and saviour. So, all that to say, if you buy it, be forewarned of some potential inaccuracies and embellishments, in line with most Christian novels about Bible characters.
Hope you have a great summer! I’ll probably keep posting sporadically when I run across a resource or blog post to share. Other than that, all will be quiet on the home front.