Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dr Fretheim says, "A remarkable number of Hebrew words are used with reference to creation, with God as subject...The sheer number of words indicates that Israel's thought about creation was wide-ranging and complex." (p.1)

It would probably be interesting to know what concept Israelites have the most words for. Consider all the names for God.

Years ago, I found a book for kids about the seven Inuit words for snow. Apparently there are more: nouns, verbs - often describing or implying all the nuances that go with such an important presence in the far north. Contrast that to the number of words for snow in native Hawaiian or Caribbean languages. There were so many kinds of snow, context, detail that they needed more words to tell one another what they meant!

I once read somewhere that conquerors will often take away a conquered country's language and require them to learn the language, customs, and stories of the conquorer - to give up not just control of their land but their very identity .

People who speak different languages think differently. I read an article that a girl wrote for a children's magazine years ago. She grew up speaking (if I remember right) four languages. She found that when she thought about ____she used ___ language because of what that particular language allowed her to express.

Who knew! It's just interesting. Such is the beginning of the discussion about our relational Creator and his creation.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Pondering "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God." To be a peacemaker - a real peacemaker, someone capable of changing how people think, feel, behave for the long term - requires superpower!
p. xvi

"It is the Creator God who is understood to be the redeemer of Israel from Egypt."

I think this understanding is foundational for children and faith. In my mind, Creation is all that God's hands have made. In my mind, God as Creator is something concrete!

The author quotes Rolf Rendtorff: "faith in God the Creator was perceived and experienced as the all-embracing framework, as the fundamental, all-underlying premise for any talk about God, the world, Israel, and the individual."

"...the underlying premise for any talk about God..." Apply that to working with children.
p. xv
The author talks about creation as more than a word study. He reminds us that Israel's understanding of creation was probably influenced by surrounding cultures. Israelite leaders decided matters like boundary disputes. Israel "lived close to the ground, if you will, and the natural world filled their lives. Creation was a lively reality for them prior to the development of specific ideas about may be that 'blessing' was a basic and early understanding of Israel's God as Creator."

Think of Adam and Eve and where they lived. Think of Abraham's journey, Israel's journey out of Egypt, David hiding out from Saul, Jesus in the wilderness. Where (not geographically but in light of creation) do the various stories of scripture happen?

The author raises a question. Which came first in the development of Israel's faith? God as Creator or God as Redeemer?

Friday, June 22, 2012

p. xiii
"H. H. Schmid...specifies that sedeqah, 'righteousness'...refers to a harmonious world order built by God into the very infrastructure of creation. . .  wherever righteousness is practiced by human beings . . . that act is in tune with the creation. . . When humans do not so practice righteousness, adverse effects are felt across all created spheres."

I think of Romans 8:19-22

Rolf Knierim: "Yahweh is not the God of creation because he is the God of the humans or of human history. He is the God of the humans and of human history because He is the God or creation. . .The most universal act of Yahweh's dominion is not human history. It is the creation and sustenance of the world."

I think of Psalms

Fretheim: "God is the God of the entire cosmos; God has to do with every creature, and every creature has to do with God, whether they recognize it or not. . .That the Bible begins with Genesis, not Exodus, with creation, not redemption, is of immeasurable importance for understanding all that follows. . . creation is as basic and integral to Israelite faith and its confession  as is the first article of the creed to Christians."

As a child, I just assumed that this was so...
p. xii
" ...[Claus] Westermann claims that the creation accounts ...are a witness to God's ongoing creative working every present moment. These accounts are understood in terms of ritual actualization in which the word about creation is recited in worship and the Creator is praised as the source of a lively word for ongoing life (and not as a source for intellectual probing)."

p. xiii
"[H.H. Schmid]...strongly emphasizes creation (rather than, say, covenant) as a comprehensive theological . . .framework within which Israel's most basic theological themes are developed and its historical experiences articulated. . . Schmid shows that creation in Israel is understood in terms of both origination and continuing order."  

What I surmise from this:

Creation is something God did historically, it is also something He is always doing.

Israel's historical life took place in the context of all that God created.
Dr. Fretheim cites many theologians - footnotes and all that. I'll give you page # with a quote and person quoted and a couple of comments. You'll have to get your own copy of the book to read all the sources he cites.

pg xi  "Rolf Rendtorff makes an obvious but neglected point: 'The Hebrew Bible begins with creation. Old Testament Theologies usually do not...'"

My brain jumped does the New Testament begin? Was God speaking creation into being? Was He creating something from nothing? Was He creating something by just speaking a word?  God's Son (Living Word) made flesh, made man.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I've started a book that I've been considering for five or six years now, and guess what! I'll blog as I read. It may be a total bomb or it may be worth our time. It doesn't specifically deal with children or children's ministry. It is about God and creation. I don't know about you but creation played a huge part in my childhood and my child-faith. I don't see how you can bring God and child together without involving all that God has created.

Do you include "outdoor stuff" as you teach about God and faith to the same degree that God originally immersed man in His creation? Man walked with God in the cool of the day - immersed in God's creation. As we open Genesis, God was working. To speak was to create. Man's work - to name the things God spoke into being, to rule over (there's probably a more accurate phrase)  and care for them.

God and the World in the Old Testament: A Relational Theology of Creation by Terence E. Fretheim. Abingdon Press, Nashville TN, 2005. I'm seven years behind! This came out about the time I started blogging.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

One Thousand Gifts
by Ann Voskamp, a book worth reading! Her blog and website offer ways to cultivate thankfulness for all ages.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Google "quiet book" and find lots and lots of wonderful ideas!

Consider a weekly or monthly craft night for moms, teens, college students, grandmas. Make quiet books! Bring a page you've already made to show & tell or bring a page to work on. Figure eight pages. One page per week.

Give them as gifts. Make them available in the sanctuary during worship. Nice for car trips. Nice for nurseries or preschool rooms.

Sometimes the incentive of working in a group helps make it happen!