Sunday, December 05, 2004

This is what we're supposed to teach the kids about Jesus?

I help with the Sunday School at our church. I do the Opening Celebrations for a program called Faithweaver Friends, published by Groups. It's a pretty fun program, but like most published Sunday School curriculum, it's rather conservative. Sometimes it's downright factually incorrect and even scary. Today's lesson was a good example.

First we start with a "Wacky Holiday" for the kids to have fun. For this week they picked Bob Barker's birthday, which a) is not until next week, and b) what elementary kid is gonna know who the heck Bob Barker is? So I checked to see if anyone good for kids had a birthday this week. Turns out Walt Disney's birthday is today (Dec. 5). WALT FRIGGING DISNEY. Someone Every. Single. Kid. Ever. has heard of, but they pick Bob Barker instead? Why is my "Disney is Evil because they have Gay Day at Disney World" radar going off? Okay, that is probably just my skepticism, but still, you gotta wonder.

Next, we have the little skit that tells the Bible story. It's from Psalm 72, which is purportedly written by Solomon on the occasion of his coronation. Bible scholars don't think Solomon actually wrote it and the psalm itself is basically a "long live the king" kind of thing with a description of how a really great king should rule. So this curriculum says this is what "Solomon told others about the great things Jesus would do. Remember that Solomon lived hundreds and hundreds of years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem." Uh, oooookay. A psalm about a great king's coronation as prophecy about Christ? Stretching much?

So I start editing it to take Solomon's name out and to call it a psalm about "How to be a Great King, and Jesus is the Greatest King of all!" Now remember, this thing is a little skit, so we have some kid pretending to be Jesus here. As I'm editing, I get to this gem:

"Jesus, Solomon said you'd crush those who come against you. Pretend to be crushing something under your feet. Jump up and down! Really crush it!"

Oh. My. God. We are supposed to teach the kids that Jesus is going around crushing people? And that's not even what the psalm says! It says in verse 4, "May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance ot the needy, and crush the oppressor." THE OPPRESSOR. Not "those who come against you."

I'm offically disturbed.


At 7:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always enjoy hearing about the silliness that can land in churches. I should have my friend start a "Bad Presbyterian" blog since she has a lot of these same stories.

I'm always concerned when children are taught the more negative parts of the Bible. Why can't you say it more nicely? Jesus will help the poor so that others can't hurt them?


At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Edro said...

Keep up speaking out about such things. Although I won't throw out the baby with the bath water, I will tell people about the bath water if they start thinking it is good and begin to drink it. I’ve read "Purpose Driven Life" and found, along with some suspect grammatical constructs, misleading (if not erroneous) teaching. God can use Rick Warren to reach the numerous marginal believers / seekers, and I’m thankful that he serves that purpose, but I am always in wonder at his popularity especially compared with someone like Bill Gothard and his excellent material. Anyway, this is a blog and so I post. My church just began Faithweavers and I hope that the teachers will be as aware of problems with the curriculum as you have been. Oh, on Rick Warren again, I have seen the Foundations curriculum for new believers and I think it is really great for what it intends to do. I attend the class not as a teacher but when questions arise, well, the Holy Spirit can use me as God sees fit.


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