Tuesday, August 31, 2010

This is a very very very full childrens' book site: Embracing the Child. You can check them out at a library or peruse them in a bookstore but it's very nice!

Monday, August 23, 2010

I was googling "sacred story" (Christian or Jewish). This article is about 6 years old so you may have already seen it. It's about God's stories, the stories of scripture.

This is from the Jewish Center for Sacred Story. Read it to the end. I happen to like the leadership model she describes, that of helping a group of people realize their potential to make things happen. The focus here is more on individual stories.

This is from Storah storytelling. This may include personal journeys but it's also about making our "corporate" (stories of a people stories) meaningful to new generations. Ok. I lost the link I started with but this will take you to the organization and some interesting stuff.

This is about George MacDonald, one of my most favorite storytellers - his stories, expressions of his faith though marketed to the secular world, but not didactic per se. Madeline L'Engle (I especially liked the book, Madeline L'Engle: Herself and Walking on Water) and Katherine Patterson , also faith-filled authors, are also known for their stories beyond church walls.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

This article is about 5 years old but it's a very thoughtful article about choosing a Children's Bible.

Friday, August 20, 2010

An interesting looking book at Concordia publishing:
3 in 1

Just to show you how out-of-the-loop I am, I noticed leveled readers on this site. If you have the money, what a great tool! Leveled readers would probably make great gifts or special rewards for some kids, too.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Child in Church and Culture from the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada: introduction to a project. You'll like the quote at the beginning.

Summary of the project: "Come To The Table: Landing the Missional Church in Canada", a research project by Shelley Campagnola.

This one is about VBS

Here, at the Children's Spirituality site you will find enough reading material to keep you reading for years!! Enjoy!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Kingdom of God & Toddlers

"What is in God's Kingdom stories for toddlers?" - a google search that brought someone here.

How often does Jesus say, "The kingdom of God is like..."? Whether you are old or whether you are young, this question and it's answer requires first hand concrete experience which take us back the the very early days of this blog and talking about "concrete," hands-on, 5 senses type life experiences for children.

Look at all the agricultural images in the gospel. Kids were around when parents or servants planted and weeded and harvested. Goats, sheep, donkeys were a common even in urban environments. Kids were probably learning to help around the house (or tent) at a very early age. Kids were there watching & tasting & smelling bread dough and the making of bread. Moms or servants made bread EVERY day but the Sabbath. These experiences and the foundations for the understanding of Jesus' parables didn't take place for only one hour on the Sabbath. These experiences were foundational daily experiences. Even if parents didn't talk about these things (and parents were commanded to talk about God's word coming and going and lying down every day) kids were still experiencing these things and these experience were points of reference and association as their understanding and communication skills matured.

Here are some places where you will hear, "The kingdom of God is like..."

Matthew 13

Mark 4

Luke 13

Luke 19

John 3

If you must think in terms of classroom activities for toddlers , think in terms of growing their experiences & and perhaps their vocabulary.

The Pearl Hidden in the Field - Hide one item for each child to find. "When you find it, sit down and wait."

The Fish Net full of fish - Gather a bunch of good & bad "fish," grapes, or something else and throw the bad away. It doesn't have to be fish.

Matt 16: Keys. What do keys do?

John 3 - Babies being born. As important as spaying & neutering is to keep pet population down because there aren't enough homes, animals giving birth does gives children real life experience with birthing and mothering. (I volunteer at a humane society. so you never heard that from me.) But visit a responsible breeder raising working animals or a farmer or foster a pregnant momma cat or dog for a shelter.

The Wedding Banquet-taking your place at God's banquet table with lots of people, different kinds of people. When you have a big gathering & special food, let the little ones eat at the table with you. Weddings are a wonderful time for that. Weddings are all about family but kids aren't invited to weddings anymore. I understand why but I have a hard time with that.

When Jesus spoke about the kingdom of God He often healed those who needed healing... play doctor with band aids & slings & making hurts better.

The camel through the eye of the needle - being too big to go through a small space. Trying to carry lots of stuff through a small space...playing with an obstacle course that specializes in squeezing through small spaces. Give each of the kids a bag or a stuffed animal or something that won't fit through the space and let them problem solve. That might be a little counter productive but they'll have fun.

Being stuck in the dark with a lamp that runs out of oil or a flashlight without batteries.

Greatest & Least? Treating children like the greatest in the kingdom of God...

You get the idea. At this age, I think it's more about the experiences and simple naming words than it is about concepts and understanding...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

This is an article by Jay Gamelin, campus pastor of Jacob's Porch, an ELCA ministry at Ohio State University. It appeared in Lutheran Partner's Magazine March/April 2010:

"The Emerging Church: Reclaiming the Awe and Wonder of Faith". He shares his thoughts.

I think it's interesting to be a culture that is on the one hand engulfed in technology and on the other hungry to explore the mysteries of God, the traditions of His people, living community and in a sense be ok with the unanswered, the unexplained, the unexplored and let God be the Living God that He is.

... "Reclaiming the Awe and Wonder of Faith" ...that's what caught my eye. Don't you love it?

"Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him."

(Lamentations 3:22-24 NIV)

Awesome & Wonderful is the Lord God of Hosts: Father, Son & Holy Spirit, Creator of all that was, is, and will be - seen & unseen!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

eternal life

Someone was looking for "Jesus gives eternal life." He does.

The passage that totally changed my understanding of eternal life (and I will spend the rest of my breathing years pondering it) is John 17:1-4. Read it in context. I think the passage following (and I'd not seen it this way before today...I think the passage following is probably a really good picture of what it means to be a disciple and to disciple others. That's what children's ministers do, right? Disciple others?

We have the story of the rich young man in Matthew 19*. You can revisit the places where Jesus' disciples specifically asked Him about eternal life like Luke 10**. Here are references from the gospels. John's gospel is particularly full of references to explore. Which of these passages are part of stories? Then there's Paul's letters even though he wasn't actually walking with Jesus like John was...

*This is in the NAS so you get the cross references if you want to compare the story details in the different gospels. You can switch from NIV to NAS on any of these studies for cross references. You can also look at the stories in the NIRV.

** Remember to read all of these passages in context...Put yourself there listening to all that God did when Jesus sent these 70 people out in His name. Notice the reference to "infants". Notice Jesus full of blessing.

Then it says, a lawyer stood up & asked him a question to "test" Him. Who was this guy? Why was he there? Was he one of the 70? Had he just returned with the others? Imagine going off on an amazingly successful evangelism/deliverance project like the one Luke describes and coming back to the debrief and the celebration (Jesus seems ecstatic, too, by the way) and someone stands up saying. . .

"This was amazing, it was, but what do I do to inherit eternal life?"

Notice that Jesus responds to the lawyer's question with a question. Notice where he sends the man. (He sends this lawyer back to God's law) Notice how the man even answers Jesus' question correctly . . . "But..." the scriptures say the man tries to justify himself and Jesus tells them a story...

What if the man had just left it at that and hadn't tried to "justify himself"? What if he had just reveled in the success and he hadn't asked the question? What do all these passages show us about Jesus? About God? About His Holy Spirit? About us?

What were we talking about? Eternal life...What do these stories about Jesus, and the stories Jesus told, have to say about "eternal life?"

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

This is about a year old by way of Elemental Childrens Ministry. I especially found the comments interesting.

Which brings us to the question, "What do tactile, environmentally sensitive, non-verbal babies & toddlers learn about God and His people through their experiences in our faith communities?"

"What do we want them to learn?"

Thursday, August 05, 2010

This is The Quiet Book. Such an interesting book idea.

Here's a related idea.

Take a very short passage from scripture that includes "quiet" or "be still."

Ask your kids (any child old enough to be familiar with the word & fairly articulate), "What is 'quiet'?" or "What is 'be still'?" Then as a teacher or parent, think about how that understanding affects how the child understands the passage and how that affects how that child understands or knows God.