03 October 2007

Sunday School Shocker

I was reading Stephanie's blog about a cute thing her 5 year old son, Jared asked, about if there was a guy named God. It made me remember my friend Joanne's son Ricky around that same age, when coming to grips with some spiritual matters, asked this question: How many miles is it from Massachusetts to hell? And what if you were in a hurry? It is a shame that we don't remember all of the cute things that they say - but some like this do stick with you. I was thinking of my own three children, who each at this same age were coming to understand some pretty big spiritual matters. All three of them had a moment, always around Easter where they were tearful, and said things like, "I don't want Jesus to die on the cross." Their little hearts were so precious - but this was something they could not understand, that this terrible thing was the best thing ever.
Recently, as I have begun to question traditional Christianity and how we "do things", I have wondered at this. We teach our children to love Jesus. We tell them that He loves them. We sing happy happy songs about God and Jesus and other Bible characters, complete with rainbows and sunshine, furry animals and flowers. Then we hit them with the gruesome facts of the crucifixion. I mean we have to tell them that this is why we can be happy - but I wonder if they comprehend, or think it all a giant paradox. I think we often make the Bible a happy and beautiful storybook - everything clean and orderly - but the real stories in the Bible are nothing like that. And the same stories that are happening all around us every day - the neighbor who shoots his dog, teen pregnancy, the marriage on the rocks, the prodigal, the man spewing obscenities - these are stories of people waiting for redemption all around us. If we think they don't fit with our image of the Bible, then often we reject them - but sometimes I think they fit better than we do.
Just some thoughts. They don't tie up in a nice neat package - I hope you can handle that!


  1. True- there are some parts of the Old Testament that I hope my kids wait a while to read. I remember being about 9 at Pioneer Girls and listening to my leader read from the New Testament. I did not recongnize a word she read, so promptly put up my hand to ask what an o*gie was!

  2. I know many adults who still want the only sweet Jesus.

  3. Recently, Evan (5) has been asking me what God looks like. You can imagine how a 5 yo reacts to being told we are created in his image. "But we all look different, so how will we know God when we see him?" Good Grief.

    Thanks for this post. It really have me thinking about explaining more fully the joyful part of the crucifixion.

  4. You would like the Rod and Staff Bible stories for children. I used them when my girls were in the early stages of homeschooling and do not let the name fool you - these were not the dumbed down stories you might be talking about, but straight from the Old Testament nothing withheld stories. They were written to a 2nd or 3rd graders reading ability, but they were sound. And gruesome - think Eglon the king who was stabbed and was so fat that the sword was hidden in him and Sisera who got a spike nailed through his head.

  5. [quote]stories that are happening all around us every day - the neighbor who shoots his dog[/quote]

    is this a texas thing cuz i certainly dont see this happening every day. in fact, ive NEVER seen this happen!

    seriously, your post is very poignant. -betsy


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