Well, it’s been some time since I’ve posted a reflection, sermon, review, or commentary here. Let’s just say I’ve been working on many projects, enjoying life, and piling up a stack of books and slips of paper with notes on which I wish to write about.
So here’s the latest, of which I promise more details in the weeks to come – hopefully on a more regular basis:
Working with some great authors on upcoming books to come out from Church Publishing, including these that have already been published. My “Spring 2017” list is very eclectic: formation, liturgy, social justice. Many are perfect for formation settings (individually for your own enrichment, or for discussion in small groups): Continue reading Missing, But Still in Action→
The Christian Century is the only magazine that I continue to subscribe to via snail mail. Another words – it’s a paper magazine I get delivered by the mailman every other week. I don’t always read ALL of the articles, but I enjoy reading the “faith” news, snippets, lectionary reflections, editorials and several of the regular contributors. I also follow CC on Facebook, which alerts me to articles that will be coming soon.
Today I got such a sneak-preview of an article that I think many of you involved in ministry with children – as a parent or teacher – will be interested in.
The simple fact is that the Bible is not a book fit for children, neither in its unsavory parts—murders, rapes, genocides, betrayals, mauling by wild animals, curses, divine retribution and apocalyptic horrors—nor in many of its neutral or even uplifting parts, including statutes and ordinances, proverbs, genealogies, geographies, prophecies, censuses and pretty much all of the epistles. It’s no surprise that most of these sections get dropped from children’s versions altogether, though at some point we may begin to wonder with what justification they still call themselves Bibles. Scripture is definitely something to ease the little ones into, not drop them in cold. So what’s the best way to go about it?
I’ve written and shared numerous articles and other people’s blog on how to choose a bible to use with children. And how to be truthful in sharing biblical stories – not candy coating them. I don’t agree with everything stated in it, but it will get you thinking, for sure. Read this great article here – and think about subscribing to The Christian Century!
These are just a few questions that are always popping up when it comes to using a Bible. There are a multitude of translations out there and there will soon be a brand, spanking new translation called the Common English Bible that has been in the works for several years with some reputable biblical scholars. And you can get a free copy of the New Testament before it comes out. Sweet!
I’m not the expert on choosing a Bible. But I do know the difference between them all and what I personally prefer to use in my own study and reading (NRSV with comparison using The Message and the NIV). Check out my overview of some of today’s more popular translations. And Gretchen Wolff Pritchard offers a great article on Choosing a Children’s Bible.
For adult study, I prefer these NRSV editions (with equal opportunity links):
It’s that time . . . evaluating the past program year and planning for what is to come.
This often includes deciding what curriculum will be used with children, youth and even the adults. There is a vast array of materials out there, and it is often tough to choose what might be the best one suited for your congregation, your young people, your volunteer teachers.
Take time in making your choices. Don’t do it alone – assemble a team to research, study, and hopefully try a test run with a sample or two. When looking at each resource, look at several lessons at possible, as well as different age levels. A good run of thumb is to ask yourself these questions:
Purpose: Why was it written? Does it match our needs?
Theology: How is God depicted? Who is Jesus? The Holy Spirit? The People of God? Is it in keeping with my church’s / denomination’s theology? How is creation, sin, judgement and redemption explored?
Type: Is it lectionary-based, Montessori-approach, Rotational/Learning Center, Thematic? What type will support our goals?
Lessons: Is there supportive material for teachers? Engaging and a variety of activities for learners? Special supplies or typical on-hand materials needed?
Bible:How is the Bible used? What version? Are Old Testament stories told? New Testament? Gospels?
Worship: How is prayer included? Is it important to have lessons on the sacramental traditions? Creedal statements? How is Baptism and Communion explained?
Publisher: Is it affiliated with any particular denomination that may impact the lessons and theology?
Cost:Does it fit in my budget? Is it reusable? Dated? Extra pieces that need to be purchased for the program to work?
Here are some additional documents you may find helpful in determining what might be right for your church: