Saturday, January 31, 2009


Hopefully I've fixed the links that needed to be fixed. Dave's Newsletter goes to the article it's supposed to. The link to Psalm 46 is fixed. My humblest apologies. If you see something that doesn't work, tell me.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Exploring Quiet

Someone came to Emerging Kids clicking on "exploring quiet with children". Intriguing!

A very fun thing to do with most any age is just that. Sit still and don't make a sound. The inevitable contradiction of it all is that you hear things - all the things you never hear when you're not quiet.

When my two oldest kids were little. They had a little friend who had battled ear infections her entire 3-4 years of life. They finally put tubes in her ears. On the way home from the doctor while they were riding in the car the little girl said, "What's that?" It took some time but her very wise mother finally understood that she was hearing the motor of the car for the first time in a very long time. When she flushed the toilet, the little girl was again surprised at this new world of sounds.

People think sitting out in the country at night is "quiet." Try it. People think sitting out in the country at night is "dark." Same thing.

You might have to wait 10-15 minutes but is it really quiet? Is it really dark?

I used to like to sit beside a small waterfall off in the woods. A picture would look quiet and serene. Though I could easily convince myself that this was a quiet place, the reality wasn't that quiet. The reality was that the sound of the water happened to block out all the other sounds.

Why do we tell children to be "quiet"? To hear something they can't hear when they're noisy? So a grown-ups can hear each other? So a grown-up can "think"? (still something to listen to) To rest or go to sleep?"

I keep coming back to quiet as an opportunity to hear what you can't hear when you're not quiet. But what about a quiet devoid of sound? What about when God said, "Be still and know that I am God." Growing, knowing, in a very still place . . . I never realized before that the place described in Psalm 46:10 is likened to a battle field at the end of a battle. Wow! I always thought about it as that quiet place in the woods.

Quiet, still, stillness, silence - great word study!

Is quiet an absence of sound? Selective sound? Volume control? What is the quietest place you've ever been? What made it quiet? Why do you remember it as a quiet place? Was anyone there? Was God there?

. . . exploring "quiet" with children. Have fun with that!

exploring digital connections - safe or unsafe

In the dog bite prevention program we teach at the shelter we show a great video from the dog's point of view and then go through the choices kids have and label them "safe" or "unsafe".

These sites are about kids and computers. There is also a thread on Kidology's Blog Watch.

The sites and info to explore

It's just another source of info to sift through.

When things aren't what they appear.

There is an Emerging Kids tie-in here.

Professionals say blood tests are more reliable. They may be more expensive, I don't know. Then there's the needles . . . If we can trust the cheek swab results of the new wave of dog dna testing available to the public we're told that these two mutts are mostly rot (40%+, the shelter told us that) , German Shepherd Dog (20%+, the shelter told us that), German Short-haired pointer (20%+) and Australian Sheepdog (10%+). People just look at me. The world assumed that after rot/shepherd they were black lab. But their behavior was more of an anomaly than that.

My favorite trainer noticed all the herding dogs (even rots can be herders) but the pointer thrown in made him alittle thoughtful. My favorite dog day care person said, "that would explain their wierd nerve, it's an Aussie thing" not as in Australian - the breed didn't originate in Australia. Being around a group of other dogs with the opportunity to play wasn't fun for them even with mom out of the picture, even for Ellie the one who (I thought) liked playing with other dogs. Actually it was Nyah who's most apt to go off on other dogs who made a four-legged friend. But I'm told herding dogs aren't always the best candidates for playgroups. We didn't last very long.

They definitely herd. Ellie likes to wait in ambush for Nyah lying flat on the ground. They definately point when the spirit moves them - at least with their front paw cocked. Nyah downed for a small flock of pigeons under my feeder once. I asked someone who knows such things what kind of dogs down for birds. He said pointers hold a position but he didn't know of a frozen down. So herding might explain it. Herding might explain very socialized puppies playing and downing around a big Newfie puppy in a pen, too. Maybe it was fear or submission. Maybe it was a herding thing. We don't know. They love to swim. They like to chew - selectively- but they aren't exhuberantly friendly or food-aholic like labs. They're generally friendly but we have to be very careful with other dogs and strangers. They're really good when people come to the house but we start them behind the baby gate. They have to warm up on their own terms.

I've watched people work with full-blooded Rotties, GSD's, GSP's, and Australian Shepherds. Considering their particular mix and what we could be working with, we got a good deal but I have to stay watchful and keep working with them all the time! They're challenging. Still working on my courage. I can never let my guard down. We may never get off leash . . . did I say that? But they're the best dogs ever and such good teachers. Wouldn't trade 'um for the world!

I had to think of some direct Emerging Kids-related reason to tell you all this. Scientists say, assume horse, not zebra but sometimes the things that people think of as obvious may not be what they appear. Their appearance said one thing, some of their behaviors said something else. Sometimes words say one thing and behavior says something different. But actions speak louder than words and appearances. They may not speak louder but when they speak we'd do well to pay attention. How's that?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

TCITB: Cht 5 - Isaiah

from Chapter 5
"Look! The Children and I Are as Signs and Portents in Israel"
Children in Isaiah

Jacqueline E. Lapsley

Isaiah is known as a prophetic book. Various faith communities define "prophetic" in different ways. My brain started a bit distracted by prophetic implications but soon refocused on the rich picture language of the book, made richer by Ms. Lapsley's understanding of language and culture, and it's implications for our attitudes towards children. There is a lot in this chapter that I am not even remotely qualified to explore in a blog - endless opportunities to ponder her observations and what they mean to us but here are some basic things that jumped out at me.

Ms. Lapsley examines various "images of children that appear in Isaiah, including the prophet's own children, his focus on orphans, and the way Israel itself is described metaphorically as a child in the book." (TCITB p. 82) She says that the children in Isaiah may seem "background figures for the primary drama of God's judgement and promise of redemption, but upon closer reading they come to the fore. . . The fortunes and faithfulness of Israel are represented in the welfare of Israel's children" and, she believes, humanity in general. (TCITB p. 82-3) and likewise, God's judgement. It's rather interesting that children are so much a part of the scriptures but we don't see them unless we look.

"Regarding the need to protect the powerless from the greed of the powerful, the emphasis in the Torah is less on rights and more on the responsibilities of those in power." She says the language used in the OT for what we think of as "rights" has less to do with the rights of the victim and more to do with "the responsibility of making sure that the welfare of these vulnerable individuals be upheld according to the law." (TCITB p. 86) The way I understand it, this means that responsibility for justice and mercy lies in the hands of those making the decisions.

"The relationship between the child Israel and God the parent is a fundamental one that pervades much of the Hebrew Bible." (TCITB p. 87) She discusses different dimensions of this role including but not limited to God's understanding of motherhood, God's experience with rebellious children and adoption, God's tenderness and His delight and playfulness, naming. (TCITB 91-102)

I'm wondering where our system falls on God's spectrum. The scriptures were written in a time when women worked hard but widows, orphans, and the fatherless were very dependent on marriage and family for economic and social welfare. Today, women are encouraged (allowed? expected?) to look out for themselves (and their children). Yet in ancient Israel God judged Israel for intentionally withholding legal justice and provision from widows and orphans. Ms. Lapsley's explorations of this book suggest that God's expectations far exceeded basic charity and hard-work.(TCITB p. 88)

Referring to language used (and the words used to name one of Isaiah's children) she says, "The appearance here of 'spoil' and 'prey,' which are wartime practices, signals that, far from engaging in benign neglect, the rulers are waging war against their own helpless women and children." Lapsley continues, "that the enemies are one's own leaders is shocking indeed." (TCITB p. 89) God is judging them because the practices of their leaders, in a sense, wage war on widows and orphans - on those who have no power.

Her understanding and the word pictures that she paints add great depth to our traditional understanding of Isaiah 9-12. (TCITB p. 89-90) Earlier she mentions that an after-life wasn't part of Hebrew thinking but that God's promises for the future were promises for future generations in this life. Another Hebrew scholar I've read said the same thing. I find that profound for more reasons than I can post here. I have to say that lions lying down with lambs, children safely working to contribute to the good of their families, and nursing babes safely playing beside the holes of venomous snakes in this life is even more awe-inspiring to me as evidence of God's blessing than visualizing those things in heaven. (TCITB p. 90)

This is a very small dose of all there is to ponder in this chapter. I'm impressed by her ability to "see" the children in this book. There is also a very different long-range, though not sentimental, multi-faceted appreciation for children in Isaiah that may be fast disappearing in our own culture. But who knows. Maybe this is the generation that will take it back.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Does TV change our culture or does culture change TV? Pick any media.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Challenging Kids resource

The site - From Dave's Desk. The newsletter - Child in the Midst. The article - actually many articles about "Challenging Behavior" after you click and go to the website. But you had to see the face! Twice! I haven't read the articles yet but there's a nice long list. You might find something useful!

Equipping, serving, encouraging

First of all, having someone do a survey and actually distribute the results is pretty neat, cynic that I am. A survey like this is a wonderful tool to help those who participated hear and equip each other. It would be interesting to see the same survey today and 10 - 20 years ago. I'm assuming this survey focused on the Group community.

Applause for Group's willingness to acknowledge that we can't assume that old methods will work with a new generation of children and parents. They surveyed not only the Children's Ministries but the parents they served. I appreciate children's ministries who recognize the need to serve and equip parents. That's huge in my book. On the first page there are some interesting articles about Family ministry and even one about Rites. Asking parents, "How can we serve you?" for me is a wonderful thing.

After the first page likening church to business, especially at the end, it's a very encouraging article. They also have a survey you can use to look at your own program.

Qualifying the earlier Group post

I saw the survey from Group and thought it might be worth looking at. If you weed through all the advertising and actually explore the material, you'll find some food for thought.

Their first couple paragraphs focusing on church as a business threw me alittle. Lesson: read first, then post link.

I struggle with thinking about church as "business. Part of me hates that. But I'm about as far from a business person as you can find. My husband, on the other hand is, among other things, very much a business man. But even he often gets upset about some of the "business" sides of church. I understand that we want to succeed. Workers deserve their wages. Yes, we have an obligation to serve one another. Yes, God already knows the needs of the people who come through our doors before they do and sometimes but we have to work hard to figure that out. Are we needs-based or mission-based or do the two have to overlap somehow?

So, I will go back and read it all because it sounds like material for some interesting posts between TCITB chapters. I also expect they've made interesting observations.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

comment on relationship and community

This was posted on Kidology's Blog watch. The site is Children's Ministry and Culture. I'm posting this because Henry's comment is worth reading. His thoughts about the relationship between spirituality and religion are really interesting as are his thoughts about educational models, community and relationship. Just to get you thinking, of course.

I think one of the biggest challenges we face is growing a community of faith and serving the greater community without being cliquey or ingrown (for all ages).

I think Jesus and his disciples succeeded at the community part, though I never really looked at it that way before. Need to go back and look at Jesus in relation to religion and spirituality.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

TCITB: Cht 4 - Proverbs

from Chapter 4
To Discipline without Destruction:
The Multifaceted Profile of the Child in Proverbs

William P. Brown

This chapter is full of inspiring imagery - especially the picture of wisdom. I think we have a tendency to take pieces out of scripture and focus on heeding the pieces when, in reality, each piece (though important) is only a piece of a much larger picture. Especially taken out of context, that piece is rarely the be-all, end-all. Discipline for example. This chapter is a very compelling discussion of individual pieces in the context of the larger picture.

"The search for wisdom, according to Proverbs, is an open-ended, dynamic enterprise, one based on observation and inquiry in which there is no final word. The quest for understanding is ongoing." (TCITB p. 63) Learning to fear God (last post) is only the beginning of wisdom (there are multiple references in scripture). Many Christians think that using words like quest and journey are evidence of eastern thinking as opposed to Biblical thinking. But growing in the knowledge of the Almighty. . . if eternal life is to know God and He is the beginning and the end how could there possibly be an end to that quest? I suggest we enjoy the journey.

Brown says, "Indeed, the label 'child' (literally 'son' in most instances in Proverbs) extends far beyond what is normally associated with childhood today. Those dimensions of this profile that highlight the complex and abiding relationship between child, parent, and wisdom constitute the focus of this essay." (TCITB p. 64)

In pages 65- 67 he touches on the child as a reflection of those who came before him and the worth of the child's work economically to his family. A wise servant was worth more to a family than a lazy child. He tells us that how a child is raised affects the emotional welfare of his parents. A child has potential to bring blessing or cause shame. (TCITB p. 67-79)

Mr. Brown's discussion of discipline, instruction, and the rod are insightful to say the least. He also tackles anger and fear. (TCITB, 69-73) A very nice discussion. You would do best to read his discussion yourself.

He says, "Discipline applies to everyone, both child and adult alike. As a 'wise child loves discipline' (Prov 13:1a), so 'whoever loves discipline, loves knowledge' (12:1a). The implication is that what is cultivated in the child, namely a love for discipline, is carried into adulthood as a disposition for learning. . . in the Hebrew. . . the word for 'discipline' is the same word for 'instruction.'" (TCITB p. 73) The wise will seek instruction, accept correction graciously, and keep growing, even as adults.

In pages 75-81 he talks about wisdom as portrayed in Proverbs. An inspiring portrait, indeed, and one you probably haven't seen before! Here, too, I can't do it justice in a blog post. You have to read it.

This makes me smile: ". . . maturity in wisdom does not discount or outgrow wide-eyed wonder. Far from rejecting wonder, wisdom cultivates it." (TCITB p. 79) That's why "worship" is one of the tags below.

When God says, "no"

There are lots of fun things about having a site meter: watching where people come from, referring URL's (whatever URL means), places or numbers that keep coming back, the posts that seem to generate the most traffic. . .

But the thing that is most interesting to me is when it shows what someone was searching for. (0 time spent once they got here) If they didn't find what they were looking for it makes me want to write something.

One of the searches was "stories about God telling us no."

Jesus praying in the Garden - "Father, let this cup pass from me but not my will by Thine be done," to me is one of the best examples.

I haven't really thought this through but off the top of my head . . . We have lots of stories about what God did, but not sure whether the humans in the story at the time saw what God did as answer to prayer at the time. Not sure whether people at the time would have seen the events that transpired as God saying yes, or God saying "no."

We think of God providing a place for Mary and Joseph to stay when the man offered them the stable but I wonder how many "no's" the story of Jesus' birth represented.

How many "no's" does the story of Moses represent?

What about the story of David?

Abraham and Sarah? Lot?

Joseph's father?

The disciples?

What do you think?

FYI: Group Publishing State of the Church info

Group Publishing - State of the Church info.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

TCITB: Chpt 3 That the Children May Know

from Chapter 3
That the Children May Know: Children in Deuteronomy
Patrick D. Miller

This brief post doesn't do justice to this chapter. Mr. Miller tells us that children are important in Deuteronomy, what and how they are taught is important in Deuteronomy, and teaching the content of Deuteronomy is an important component of this. (TCITB p. 45) As constitution (rules for society and government) and as catechism (questions and answers about faith), Deuteronomy tells the people of God how to live in the context of family and community and it speaks of God's redemptive work on our behalf. (TCITB p. 47)

Mr. Miller answers the questions:
"Who are the children?" (TCITB p. 47) Young? Teens? Adults?
"What is to be learned?" (TCITB p. 48)

He explores "The aims of instruction" (TCITB p. 53)
"The components of teaching and learning" (TCITB p. 54)

He challenges our understanding of "honoring the parents and punishing the children. . ." (TCITB p. 58)

How often have you heard someone read through the book of Deuteronomy to your congregation? (or any book of scripture) I'm not talking about sermons, teaching, Bible studies. I'm just talking about someone reading out loud and everyone listening. I never have. If we did, would we include the children? Would we include a way to answer their questions?

God designed yearly community festivals around times to hear the stories and commands of scripture - times when we would be forced to remember what God expects of us when we live before God in the land. These were also times to remember what God did for His people. Even the children who didn't see those things happen were among those who listened.

He said, when children asked "why do we do this?" grown-ups used that opportunity to answer their questions - an opportunity to teach "the story behind the rules." - Every answer was a piece of God's redemptive story. (TCITB p. 50) "The children do not only learn the rules. They learn the story behind the rules." They learn the story "out of which they come and on which they are grounded." (TCITB p. 50)

He tells us "these teaching moments" came in "question and answer in form; they arise, as do so many things in a child's education, from the child's 'why' question. . . the education of the child responds to the child's curiosity and even waits for [that] strategic moment, the receptivity implied in the question. Further, instruction of the child is not simply in the classroom. It is highly contextual, growing out of context and practice." These questions are stimulated by regular community traditions. (TCITB p. 51) The thought of living in such a way that those answers are on the tip of my tongue and my whole life reinforces those redemptive answers is something to strive for.

Mr. Miller says, "'the catechism that will teach the next generation will be one that takes them back again to the question of who they are and what it is that God has done for them." (TCITB p. 51) Wouldn't you love to raise (or teach) children who know who they are and how they fit into the world they live in as they live before God?

I thought this was interesting: Miller says "It is worth noting that, aside from the fact that the children do not know yet, there really is no difference between the teaching of the child and the teaching of the adult. . . The first and primary aim of this teaching - child and adult- is that they may learn to fear the Lord. " (TCITB p. 53)

First, this implies that including children in our community worship gatherings doesn't mean dumbing down a service. Neither does it mean ignoring the children.

Second, when did you last hear anyone say that the goal of Christian education for adult and child is to learn to fear the Lord?

He says, "Obedience is the goal of the law but also the means by which the proper relation to the Lord is developed. Precisely in the nurture of the child, faith and obedience are so intricately tied together that it is not possible to set them in a chronological order."(TCITB p. 53) This touches on the hearing, doing, learning, growing faith and all it's components being dependent on one another and intertwined.

". . . one must not miss the utilitarian aim of learning to fear by observing. It is also so that the people may find, individually and corporately, the good and abundant life, that they may live long and well in the place God has provided for them. " (TCITB p. 53)

What he's saying seems to reinforce the understanding that learning to fear God and growing faith and keeping God's commands and pondering His stories are interdependent. This isn't linear. I'm thinking that it all happens in varying degrees at the same time. The outcome? To fear (revere) God and live long and well in the land He gives us. An interesting chapter.

Just things that jumped out at me. Just my impressions.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

more about forgiveness

This is from a dog book. Don't laugh.

In her book, For the Love of a Dog Patricia McConnell says in her chapter on Anger, "...fear, adrenaline, and its relatives can take a long time to leave the body. This is one of the reasons it can be so hard to let go of anger. All of us have, at some point, been angry at a perceived injustice, only to discover that we were misinformed. But rather than immediately relaxing, it is common for us to still feel angry, even though the anger no longer makes any sense. That's because our bodies are primed for battle, and no matter how hard our rational brain tries to calm us down, it takes time for our internal chemistry to get back to normal." (For the Love of a Dog, Patricia McConnell, p. 177-8)

God made us that way. It takes a human, any creature, longer to calm down than it does to react. If my dog is charged and I call her off and she comes and I want to treat her for responding to me, if I give her the treat while she's still charged I lose some of that soft mouth. I get some teeth, not because she's neccessarily mad at me (though she may be) but because she's still charged up. [Praise is probably better than food reward unless you toss it in the air.]

McConnell goes on to say, this adrenalin is ". . . why it can be hard to calm down after someone apologizes to us. We may intellectually grant forgiveness, but our body's chemistry can't turn things around that fast." (For the Love of a Dog, Patricia McConnell, p. 177-8)

Apparently, the adrenalin that stimulates our flight or fight response compels our bodies to DO something. That's why doing some kind of physical work often helps us (and children) calm down when we're angry. We can work off that residual energy doing something constructive.

I've understood the part about adrenaline and anger but I never tied that into giving and receiving forgiveness.

My husband used to tell people (and the kids) that forgiveness is a choice. It's not dependent on how you feel. You chose to forgive, whether you feel like it or not because God forgives you. But looking back, I think that approach is confusing to kids - especially kids with strong feelings. My thoughts and feelings are at odds with each other. I chose to forgive, I said "I forgive you" but I don't feel any less angry. Are my thoughts telling me what's true or are my feelings telling me what's true? How do I know I've really forgiven someone if I don't feel like I have? Have I really forgiven them? A cool down period may help give the rational brain the upper hand but it doesn't neccessarily make the emotional memory go away. Over time (I think) continually choosing to forgive helps wipe away the emotional memory but it may not happen as quickly as we want it to. Making peace by sowing new seed a little at a time helps, too.

What do you think?

Monday, January 12, 2009

TCITB: Chpt 2

from Chapter 2
Exodus as a "Text of Terror" for Children
Claire R. Mathews McGinnis

Here are some of the basic ideas that Ms. McGinnis explores:

" . . . children are portrayed not so much as a distinct demographic as an integral element of a larger social and liturgical community whose fortunes are tied to the fate and faith of that community" without ignoring "the particular vulnerability and needs of children." (TCITB p. 42)

I smiled when I read, "Children are particularly prominent in the first half of the book: in the geneology..." (TCITB p, 26-28) Our tendency is to gloss over this, but Ms McGinnis says it "is suggestive of how children are viewed by biblical writers: while a son or daughter remains a child for only a short time, the child's place in the nexus of extended familial relations - being a son or daughter of...particular parents . . . from this particular household, clan, and tribe - situates one within the larger community . . . " (TCITB p, 26) Then think about how long this place lasts.

She says, ". . .the writer in Ex 1:7 reminds readers that the gift of children in general and of the Israelite children in particular, is a distinguishing, tangible manifestation of God's ongoing blessing of humankind." (TCITB p, 28)

Women and children have central roles in the story of Moses as a baby, and in much of Exodus. The author says that the fact that they are named in scripture gives them distinct identity. (TCITB p, 28-34) Not just a woman spoke, but Edith spoke. Whoever Edith is. Whoever she is, she isn't just a woman - she has a name.

Ms. McGinnis includes a lengthy discussion of "first-born." (TCITB p, 34-8) Someone I knew years ago, was rather offended that the first-born son was held in such high regard in scripture. The author's discussion of this is interesting.

We see "the difficult but neccessary truth that the same God who gives life also has the prerogative to take life away." (TCITB p. 43)

She notes that the midwives in Egypt sided with YHWH to resist Pharoah "and doing so meant being a protector and nurturer of children, even at great risk to themselves"(TCITB p. 44) They were evidence of God keeping his covenant and his continued blessing. Her observations about the role of these midwives in the greater scheme of things were quite interesting.

She discusses the Passover observance saying, "the ongoing religious life of that covenant community depends on parents' obligations to instruct the next generation so that they may understand and observe the obligations of the covenant in their own lives . . .[this instruction] not only concerns what YHWH has done 'for our fathers and for us' but also instructs children that 'in every generation they [our enemies] stand up against us to destroy us, and the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hand." (TCITB p. 43-44)

We forget that so many (including children) have always lived in terror and still live in terror. God doesn't forget. The book of Exodus comes to us from that place.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Creation resource

I don't share the same perspective as this particular site,(Answers in Genesis). But if you home school, or you're looking for animal-related, non-evolution type materials for younger kids (especially readers) before you're ready to discuss the pros and cons of the theory of evolution you'll find games and puzzles and articles about God's wonderfully intelligent creatures (with great photos). Here's a sample article with photo. Or you could start here.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Right brain, Left brain

Here is one of many tools that might be useful to help people understand each other better. One of my kids sent this to me recently. Right brain, Left Brain test from Vancouver. If you take it, after you take it, their definition for holistic is interesting. I hear the term a lot. This puts a slightly different spin on it.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Thoughtful Article

This article from Next-Wave is a rather thoughtful article about the emerging church that you might find interesting. My apologies that it's 4 years old but it's thoughtful. The e - zine (Dec. 2008) is still going strong.

gentle people

I'm trying to write a difficult letter right now. 4 pages long is too long so I have to edit it down with out losing the essence or the essential word pictures.

Last night my daughter read the beatitudes (Matthew 5) to me over the phone because of something she saw.

Some versions read "blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth."

"The earth will belong to them," she said. Then she said, "Can imagine a world owned and run by gentle people?"

She went through all of the verses that way and you can probably substitute the words (meek/gentle) from the different versions if you want.

Can you imagine every child of God a peacemaker? Why is that so hard to imagine? Maybe peacemakers automatically become sons of God because they're so hard to come by and God is desperate, lol! Most of our families could do with a peacemaker or two or more! But imagine a world like ours handed over to meek gentle people . . . "It's yours!"

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Try it!

Still thinking about the non-"educational model" question. What does a non-educational model for faith look like? Is faith learned? How is it learned? Is it imitated? Is that learning? Is it contagious? Is that learning? Does it come as a sovereign act of God? All of the above? None of the above?

Romans 10:17 tells us that "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." Hearing...

I don't think we can get around the fact that we're called to teach our children, but let's look again. Here are some phrases from that passage.

"Be careful!
Watch yourselves closely
don't forget the things your eyes have seen
let [the things your eyes have seen?] slip from your heart
Teach [the things your eyes have seen?] to your children and to their children after them.

Remember the day you stood before the LORD your God
when he said to me,
'Assemble the people before me
to hear my words
so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land
and may teach them [What God said to them? What they heard?] to their children.'"
So they [the children, the parents or both?] may learn to revere Me...

What kind of resources will help us remember what our eyes have seen and not let those things slip from our hearts? Apparently sharing our memories with our children (what we've seen and what we've heard of God] helps them grow faith.
When I gather with other grown-ups and hear God's words what can I do to remember and how do I teach what I've heard to my children and my grandchildren? The result being children who revere God.

We're not talking expensive or complicated here.

Deut 11:18-21 - another teaching passage for parents -

"Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds;
tie them as symbols on your hands
bind them on your foreheads
Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. [speaking, hearing]
Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates . . ."

How creative can we be with this mandate? God's words firmly attached to the feeling part of me, to the thinking part of me.

God's words tied and carried across my forehead (Guess what. People can see that. I can only see it if I look in the mirror.) His word-symbols on my hands. Not only can other people see them every time they look at my hands and at what my hands are doing but so can I. How is this supposed to grow faith in my children?

The thing about whatever God tells us to do is that we'll never really know how it works until we try it!

Monday, January 05, 2009

"...non-educational create faith-filled homes..."

Can you tell I'm sitting at my computer today?

Keep your eye on Carla's column. That's not what she calls it but she's starting The Discussion again. (January 09 is pretty recent!) WE ARE STILL LOOKING FOR THE CONVERSATION!!! People more in tune with the emerging church than I am are STILL LOOKING FOR THE CONVERSATION!

But maybe we're still formulaic . Maybe it will just happen and not be a conversation. Maybe the spiritual formation of children will stop being institutional, organizational, what other words would describe where we're coming from as we wander into the unknown?

Scary? Not if the result is a faith-filled generation who can pass that faith on to their own kids.

Here is the part to think about - the part I liked: ". . . we need to start providing families with resources that don't rely on the educational model to help them create faith-filled homes."

Interesting? Interesting! Too bad I just started a series of posts on a book! But we all know how easily distracted I can be . . . found my glasses but I can't find my dog book . . .which is why I'm still sitting at my computer...

a couple new stories, blogs, and resources

is a special story I found on this blog along with Emerging Kids (special to see it there,thanks!) and Emerging Youth.


TCITB : Chpt 1 Children in the Book of Genesis

Part 1: Texts from the Hebrew scriptures

Chapter 1 "God was With the Boy" (Genesis 21:20)
Children in the Book of Genesis
Terence E. Fretheim

This chapter includes a number of stories about children in Genesis. I'm just posting about the part that jumped out at me. The insights and observations about the other stories are worth reading.

The story of Abraham being asked to sacrifice his son - I agree with the author that it's troubling after all Abraham had gone through that God would ask him to sacrifice this son. We do wonder about Abraham's seeming lack of emotion and "blind faith". Though we might legitimately wonder about the potential emotional trauma to Isaac, I was very taken aback to raise a question of abuse in this story. I think we have to be very careful imposing our own values on another culture and looking at that culture through the lens of our own understandings and our own value system. (The author does discuss historical context.) The question: Was the boy emotionally traumatized. If so, was it abuse? It's a troubling question.

What has always spoken louder to me in this story, louder than questions about abuse, was that it seems that Isaac trusted his father and his father trusted God - despite it all. The question was raised, why doesn't Isaac adamantly question or challenge his father. Not sure it was a culture where children were ever given the option to challenge an adult - something foreign to us. Both Abraham and Isaac may have been filled to the brim with challenging questions and doubts about the nature of God and what seems to us a bizarre request, but the fact of the matter seems to be that God came through for them. He sovereignly provided the sacrificial ram in place of Abraham's promised son. Not only did Abraham continue to walk with God but Isaac also walked with God.

I find Mr Fretheim's comments about no mention of Isaac accompanying his father down from the mountain, no mention of further conversation between Abraham and Isaac after that point, no mention of Isaac being present at his mother's death astute observations and really interesting questions. Because of the trauma or abuse on the alter? It's an interesting question. Still wrestling with the proposed "abusive" nature of that event as an issue here but I can understand how a post-modern generation might see it that way.

This may sound like a contradiction but in the same breath let me say that as I've read this story about God, Abraham, and Isaac over the years I inevitably think of those called to serve God choosing to "sacrifice" their children or their families for the sake of their ministries in little ways, in big ways. Should I explain this or do you know what I'm talking about? While I'm less convinced that the story of Abraham and Isaac borders on abuse (because God provided the sacrificial ram in the story so Abraham didn't have to sacrifice his son) though it may have been traumatic for the boy, I'm quite convinced that withholding from our children the parts of ourselves that they need because we are giving them to God is just as serious an offense. Traumatic? Abusive? "Abusive" may be too strong a word. Maybe it would be more accurate to call it a poor excuse for love.

If you've read or you're reading this book and you want to share something (even if you disagree) feel free to comment!

TCITB: intro

So, as promised, we're starting another book, if I can find my glasses...

Disclaimer: As always, detached questions and comments, purely unresearched personal opinion here. As always, my hope is that if you find this interesting you'll read the book and look at the comments in context. Starting a group to read and talk about it would probably be even better.

The Child in the Bible
Marcia J. Bunge - general editor
Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co
Grand Rapids, MI, 2008
(422 pages + resources)

The authors in this book ask more-profound-than-usual, wonderful questions. One of the more striking elements here is that the authors recognize the fact that so many children in the scriptures lived through turbulent times and among very different attitudes about training and discipline.

The authors were given specific questions and themes to explore recognizing that there are limitations to what we can observe and understand about children and childhood, especially looking into the past and into different cultures. We don't really know what the child experiences and how he/she perceives that experience even today.

Their findings:

1) They find a wide range of terms for "child," "children," and "childhood" in the scriptures. Those terms are also used metaphorically and rhetorically. (TCHITB p, xxii)

2) "[B]iblical views of and attitudes towards children are more complex and multifaceted than readers might assume." (TCHITB p, xxiii)

3) "Adults have obligations to their own and to other children."(TCHITB p, xxiv)

4) "Teaching, training, and disciplining children are sophisticated and multi-layered tasks." (TCHITB p, xxiv) I've not read this part yet. Don't freak out on me.

5) "Children are complex characters, play various roles in families and communities, and bear responsibilities to others." (TCHITB p, xxv)

6) "Children and childhood are integrally connected to other central Biblical themes."(TCHITB p, xxvi)

The intro is much longer than this, informative, and well-written. For our purposes, this gives you an overview.