Thursday, June 08, 2006

Yes, I am planning on raising an illiterate axe murder.

I am on the children's council at church. The other day we were having a meeting and discussing a change (always painful) in the Bible we give to the 2nd graders. I am not clear why 2nd graders always get a Bible but, every church I've ever attended gives one to the 2nd graders. At any rate, I caused quite the ruckus!

When discussing the pros and cons of the various formats, I suggested that the new one was more accessible to parents who have less Bible knowledge, whih may be the families we would most like to target with outreach efforts. I also said that I expected to never sit and simply read to my child from the Bible (my point being that a study-ish Bible may not be a bad thing since most people do a fair amount of Bible study vs Bible reading, particuarly when the reader doesn't know most of the more colorful vocabulary of the Bible such as "smote"- a rare addition to the 2nd grade spelling list). This caused quite the hissing and the scandal.

The thing is that I just have never really viewed the Bible as being an ideal children's story book what with all the begetting, smoting, smiting, adultery, violence, and other various immoral behaviors. For the record, I also don't see myself pulling out King Lear, Pilgrim's Progress, or The Rights of Man for my 7 year old. I don't have any objection to reading biblically based children's books, watching Veggie Tales, or going over the Christmas and Easter stories. And, if my child requests that I read straight from the Bible, as I did, for unknown reasons at the age of 5, I will. However, I will note that I worried about my brother's well-being for weeks after hearing the Passover story. I also plan to take my child to church fairly regularly, although, I confess, it's more for social development reasons than a desire for the child to have a strong Christian background. I am one of those lost souls who still isn't totally clear on what exactly differentiates the actions of a "good Christian" and a "good person."

I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised by the committee's shocked response. I do know that my husband and I are some of the most liberal members of the congregation. I also know that this is the same committee that insists on having Sunday School lessons in the nursery which the current co-coordinator of the nursery and I conveniently neglect to tell the volunteers about... The one time I did give it a go, I was to be using a felt board to illustrate how Jesus waits in Heaven for us. These children were highly suspicious that their parents would ever be seen again, let alone this Jesus person I kept mentioning. On the whole, there was significantly more interest (and understanding) in re-acquainting their tummies with goldfish than the story. There was interest in the story from a little boy who kept gnawing on Jesus' felt head. I suggested that the lessons might be less than developmentally appropriate and that the children might be better served by having books about sharing, being good friends, and other morally upright topics readily available in the nursery. This suggestion was met with the definite opinion that these children were in church and they would be learning about Jesus, through felt, like all good Christian little children should.

I am apparently preparing to raise a godless heathen, perhaps the children's committee should plan a revival for the saving of the poor dear's soul.

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