Monday, April 27, 2009


In the last post I said about 1 Kings 19:9-13. "It's probably not one of the Bible stories we read in context to young children without some tinkering." Here's what I mean about tinkering (I used to be afraid to do this. I used to read straight scripture to my kids because I didn't want to water it down or change it) . . . anyway without changing the story . . . here is a feeble attempt at tinkering. Correct me if I compromised the truth (or even the facts) of God's story :

Elijah was God's friend. He loved God. But the rest of God's people didn't act like they loved God anymore. They didn't believe God's promises. They broke His alters. They tried to kill God's prophets [or friends]. Elijah believed he was the only prophet [or friend] that God had left and God's people were trying to kill him too. [A prophet is someone who was very brave about saying whatever God told him to say.]

"Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by," God said to Elijah. So Elijah did.

[from the NIV] "A great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind."

"After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake."

"After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire."

"And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face" [because people were afraid. They believed that if they looked at God they would die - God is a Holy God]

So Elijah went out and stood at the mouth of the cave (with the cloak over his face) and a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

Elijah said, "Lord, I love you so much and I'm so upset! Look at what Your people have done! They've killed all your prophets [or friends]. I am the only one left!"

[NIV] The LORD said to him, "Go back the way you came, [I have work for you to do] I still have seven thousand friends in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him."

So Elijah went and did the things that God told him to do.

You can probably find a better version in a published Bible story book but that's what I mean about tinkering when you want to share some lesser heard Bible stories with children.

Bible Stories about Listening (and Looking for Bible stories)

One of my favorite Bible stories about listening is
1 Kings 19:9-13. It's probably not one of the Bible stories we read in context to young children without some tinkering.

Another story about listening - the boy Samuel in the temple. I Samuel 3

Men listening to Solomon is probably more along the lines of what a Sunday school teacher might be looking for, lol!

You also have the story Jesus told about the two sons. One said, I will and didn't do. One said, I won't but did do. Matt. 21:28-31

John 12:29 is a passage where God spoke but some of the people heard one thing, other people heard something else.

You can also do a Bible Gateway keyword search [HEARD + VOICE] or [LISTEN] and I'm sure there's more . . .

But here's the thing. When you're looking for a Bible story to teach a lesson, you probably have a specific objective in mind. You're probably looking for a Bible story to support and reinforce what you're trying to teach.

If, however (as an adult or leading youth), you take a topic or word like "Listen" and begin to search the scriptures to see and hear what the scriptures say about listening and hearing without specific objectives of your own, you may end up in an altogether different place ... you might find something very different from what you expected to find. But such is the adventure of searching the scriptures and walking with God and even the nature of story.

TCITB: Chpt 11 Paul's Letters

from TCITB

Chapter 11: "Finding a Place for Children in the Letters of Paul"

Beverly Roberts Gaventa

Ms. Gaventa looks at explicit and implicit references to children in "Pauline congregations," she reflects on Paul's metaphorical use of children adding, "It is Paul's theology, with its claims about God's grace-filled intervention in human life, that calls for a radical reconsideration of who children are, how they are to be assessed, and what roles they play in human community." [TCITB p. 234]

She suggests that Paul's greetings to households and families given what we know of the culture would include children, extended families and even the families of slaves. [TCITB p. 235] She notes parent/child relationships that Paul references from the OT as well as those in the congregations he addresses. [TCITB p. 236] She spends a paragraph looking at 1 Cor. 7:14. I guess I never really thought about how profound that passage is as a statement about God's grace extended to a family, and particularly it's children.

She says, "Paul's eschatological expectations were such that he did not imagine himself to be constructing a church that would endure and thrive in the generations that followed his own..." and "...Paul probably assumed that the actions of parents automatically involved their children..." [TCITB p 236] There are two separate thoughts here to ponder individually and together that we probably take for granted. We live as though Jesus won't come in our lifetime or we live as though He will. Either way of thinking causes us to make different choices. The way we choose to think affects all our choices. We think about our kids and make choices that we hope will keep them safe, healthy, and happy but I don't know that we consciously recognize that every grown-up choice we make affects them.

I would have liked to hear the author explore elaborate more on Paul's use of "childlikeness." She does spend time exploring Paul's references to himself as parent, paternal and maternal. I was particularly drawn to the picture of Paul (an open-hearted parent) entreating the Corinthian church (a close-hearted child). I was drawn to the picture of parent/child interaction in 2 Cor 12:14b-15a . Both images and the other images she mentions (all involving children) leave us to ponder not only parents interacting with their children but leaders interacting with their congregations. [TCITB p 238-240]

Paul alluding to children at all gives children importance, just as Jesus using children to paint pictures for us gave children importance. The children in their lives weren't all-consuming but neither were they invisible. The ways that both Paul and Jesus used children and alluded to children to teach and the particular pictures presented also place children in the context of something relational. Both Paul and Jesus being aware of the particular moments with children that they draw our attention to, says something about their awareness of children.

On pages 240-243 Ms. Gaventa takes Paul's focus on sin (which would include children if it's universal) and specifically targets our speech and it's affect on children. She only scratches the surface here. Lots to ponder here.

She draws our attention to the way Corinthians points back to the Gospels as more than a new "set of propositions to which people give assent" but as "an event, an action of God that calls into being a new way of thinking and perceiving." [TCITB p 244] She extends Paul's understanding of all that the cross signifies to include children. She takes this a step farther targetting the way children are commodified and robbed of childhood not only in developing countries but in the west as well. This paragraph, I believe is the beginning of a detailed wake up call to families living in a modern western culture.

Ms. Gaventa ends saying, "The Pauline conviction that believers belong together to the single body of Christ proves enormously provocative for reflection about children." [TCITB p. 246] As Paul explores the Body, gifts, and worship Ms. Gaventa poses questions nudging us to ponder the gifts and roles (perhaps unnoticed) of children in His body and in His household. Her observations are delightful. [TCITB p. 247]

In conclusion, Ms. Gaventa finds Paul's perspective very different from his contemporaries who believed that "the household existed for the sake of the polis, the city or state." She finds his thinking very different from our own western thinking that the nuclear family exists unto itself - independent, self-sufficient yet (whether we realize it or not) profoundly controlled by the marketplace. In contrast to both, Paul places us in God's house, a place of extended family and that image in itself deserves more pondering. [TCITB p. 248]

In Chapter 12 Reidar Aasgaard continues the discussion of children in Paul's letters.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Must Read Article + Children's Spirituality Conference

This article by Shelley Campagnola, chair of The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s (EFC) Children’s Ministry Partnership, (CMP) will speak for itself - a must read!

You'll also see some info here about the 2009 Children's Spirituality Conference in Chicago. It's in June. Check out the speakers!

Genesis 22 crafts 3

3) For each child you will need
a flat rock
a picture of the child that can be cut and pasted
clip art of ram, clip art of Jesus
glue stick, white glue
2 paper rectangles that will fit on the rock when folded in half

Find a relatively flat rock for each child or let the kids bring one in.

Cut 2 identical rectangular pieces of paper to fit on the rock folded in half. Glue the Jesus pic inside one rectangle so you can lift up/open the flap. Glue the ram rectangle inside the second rectangle and the child pic on the top flap. Glue the top flap of the Jesus rectangle to the back of the ram flap so the child is on the top flap, the ram is on the middle flap and Jesus is inside the bottom flap.

Glue the flaps to the rock so the first picture is the child, the inside flap is the ram, and the bottom piece that is glued to the rock is the picture of Jesus (use white glue).

Let the flaps dry open so they don't stick to each other. (And probably better to have a rock that doesn't have paint spots!)

Genesis 22 crafts 1&2

This crafty idea w/photos is a blog experiment. Someone came looking for craft ideas for Gen. 22...I'm going to give you three ideas. Here are the first two.

1) Create a diorama with sand, twigs, ram, stone and pieces of fabric on (clay, pipe cleaner, or paper) figures for the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac. (Don't have a picture for this so you'll have to use your imagination!)

2) [Create a template and make copies]

You will need:

a picture of each child that can be cut and pasted
1 1/2 pieces of plain white paper per child (or copies of template for the children to use)
glue, tape, scissors, markers or crayons,
picture of each child, clip art of a ram, and clip art of Jesus [these are just Microsoft Word clip art]

Ask the kids to bring in a picture of themselves from home to cut and paste or take pictures in class the week before with a Polaroid or digital camera.

Fold a plain piece of paper in half. Cut on the fold line. Use one half. Fold it in half. On the top half that's folded over draw a large rock, then cut a hole in the middle of the rock a little smaller than the clip art/child pictures. Tape the bottom edge so you can't lift the flap. You should have a rock with a window hole. [On the template you will probably want to draw the hole to cut out and draw the fold lines.]

Take a second piece of plain paper and fold it in half the long way. Cut on the fold. Use one strip per child. Draw an X on the middle of the strip. Glue the ram there. To the right of the ram glue a picture of the child. To the left of the ram glue a clip art picture of Jesus. (you may want to mark and number these spaces on the template ahead of time instead of using the X).

When you slide the strip through the rock window you should see the child first,

then the ram that God provided,

then the picture of Jesus.

When you use clip art really look at the images and see what they are visually communicating to the kids. I found that the picture of child, Jesus, and ram looking straight at me had a different affect than cartoony images or a ram leaping away.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Prayers and Searches

One of my college-aged daughters recently asked, "How do I use the Bible to pray for people?" or "How do I pray from the Bible?" Forgot how she phrased it.

I had a friend once who collected blessings, doxologies, and prayers from the Epistles and read them out loud for people she was praying for. She was in a non-denominational Bible-loving, Jesus-loving charismatic church.

There are lots of prayers in Psalms and in the books about David. There are prayers that Jesus prayed in the Gospels.

Searches like this might be interesting for older kids.

You can search for prayers, promises, names or descriptors for God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit. This is like a word search but a little different. You probably won't find them all going through a concordance. You have to actually read the scriptures!

Take a Bible character and imagine knowing that person. What kind of person were they? What clues can you gather from the stories in the scriptures. Be honest about this. It will be quite eye-opening for everyone when you really look at the people God used and the people God dealt with. Alot of them are people you would never want your teens to hang out with! Yet, God has given us their stories to learn from.

I'm sure you can come up with more. Or you come up with the first search and let the kids come up with the next one.

Another strategy would be to pick one topic (the attributes of God or prayers or promises or . . . ) and collect them over a half-year or a year as you read the different lessons each week. You should look ahead and make sure what they're looking for can be found in the particular stories that you're scheduled to explore.

Play with it and see where God takes you.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

If you haven't already found cmconnect, here's a social marketplace for conversation about kids in post-modern/emerging faith communities with others who aren't just thinking about it, but who are building the roads and doing the work.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Someone came to Emerging Kids looking for "believing children" or something like that...

I googled "faith of children." Found some useful resources for you but what was interesting to me...and I will probably get bomb-blasted for this...- at the very end of the page there were sites for wiccan parents growing wiccan faith-filled children. For me, an unexpected look at the competition, folks! No, I didn't investigate further but, as I say - such is the competition. Also interesting because I was just looking at a book about Celtic Christianity and evangelism. . . and I'm guessing the early Christians in ancient Ireland faced similar challenges . . .

Some different perspectives:

a Focus on the Family article

an Orthodox article - Raising Children With Christ, Compassion, and Commitment by Fr Peter Gillquist

This is a book that I've not seen before that some of you may find interesting. I've not read it. When Prayer Fails: Faith Healing, Children, and the Law. As I say, some of you may find this a useful book to read. Apparently it tastefully (and with empathy) addresses a very delicate issue.

TCITB: Chpt 10 Acts

from TCITB
Chapter 10: "Tell Me a Story"
Perspectives on Children from the Acts of the Apostles

Joel B. Green

Though Mr. Green begins by contrasting all the references to children in Luke's gospel to noticeably few in Acts, somehow, he finds them!

He begins by pointing out that the long narratives from the Old Testament are full of references to children. He points out that not only did God take care of them in the dire circumstances referenced in the OT but they are critical to God keeping His promises to Israel. [TCITB p. 216]

Green says, "[S]harply put, the narrative of Acts provides us with almost nothing by way of raw material for assembling how we might think about children or act toward them. However, Acts does promote the formation of communities and persons-in-community whose discipleship of Jesus, whose allegiance to God, and whose empowerment by the Holy Spirit lead to dispositions and practices of faith and hospitality among children, together with other inhabitants of the margins of our world." [TCITB p. 217]

He discusses "household baptism" with it's implications for baptizing children reminding us that the practice emphasized the value of infants in a culture that didn't value infants. [TCITB p 217]

He discusses the "importance of narrative in identity development and moral formation". [TCITB p. 218] He shares some fascinating thoughts about how "story" shapes our identity and practices culturally and Biblically. [TCITB p. 219] This is a must-read!

He discusses "the narrative of conversion" particularly in the context of community - focusing less on the individual and more on the larger scheme of the purposes of God in ways you probably haven't heard before. [TCITB p. 222-223]

He refers to Luke, making astute observations about the intermingling and shaking of old and new as the early church emerged with implications for today. [TCITB p. 223-224]

His short but succinct reminder that "there is no escaping the inclusion of children in the 'all flesh' of Acts 2:37 "and his comments are inclusive and affirming of children sharing and communicating God's vision with the faith community. [TCITB p. 224]

Mr. Green discusses the inter-relationship between the early church's proclamation of the Resurrection and her voluntarily selling her possessions in order to give and to care for the needy [TCITB p. 226-227].

He talks about the deliverance of children being used for financial gain [TCITB p. 227], and attention to otherwise endangered children [TCITB p. 227].

His discussion of home, household, hospitality, and the presence of God in unexpected places is profound in part, but not exclusively, because children live in homes. The implications are far-reaching and worth pondering . . . [TCITB p. 227-228]

Mr Green succeeds finding children and implications for the church today regarding children in a place where they are hard to find. Alot to ponder in this chapter.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Dogs and I have spent more time wandering the countryside in the car this week than staying home because my downstairs is piled into laundry room and kitchen. Didn't know I'd still have my computer. When I find my copy of The Child in the Bible . . .