Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Bible and Children

An interesting post over at titusonenine on "Teaching Children the Bible".

I especially found this bit thought-provoking:

"...when we commit something to memory, it sinks deep and often resurfaces in surprising ways to meet new situations. Biblical fragments (”knit together in my mother’s womb,” “her price is far above rubies,” “plans for your welfare and not for harm”) happily can grow with us, providing both a touchstone to the past and points of connection to new people and new meanings. We stuff our memories with so many things (lyrics to Sesame Street songs, Santa’s reindeer), why worry about adding the names of the apostles and the words of Psalm 23 to the mix?

Those biblical words are, in fact, the common language we speak as Christians, part of the tool kit with which we build ourselves and our communities of faith. If nothing else, the Bible’s existence means that we do not have to start from scratch in building a community of faith. And its infinitely multivocal and multiform self also means that there is plenty of material to work with as we and our communities change. Thinking again about how scripture works, I have become convinced that having a canon matters, not just because the words are uniquely inspired or holy or true, but because this is the core set of stories that we’ve all agreed to share and that have shaped us and our forebears in manifold ways. There are always other stories and always many interpretations, but those who have called themselves Christian for all these years have these characters and plots in common.

Spending time building up that core, then, is essential..." (Nancy Ammerman)

I think some of this could be said even more strongly, but the core of what's here is good and worth reflecting on.


Erin said...

There is a lot to be said for having that common reference - though frankly I was quite surprised when I got to my Catholic high school and found that almost nobody in my theology classes knew much about the Old Testament or could quote pieces of scripture. I've been lucky both in being able to memorize things almost instantly and in growing up in a family and a church where memorization of verses was encouraged...

Beth said...

Yes, you're blessed! I think sometimes in our culture we think "well, rote memorization isn't really learning" but kids are like sponges, especially early on, and they WILL memorize a lot of what they hear over and over. So we may as well make it good! ;-)