Friday, September 17, 2010

Farewell, Teaching Aspirations

I don't really know what I'm going to tell the Children's Ministry folks. They think they want me to help in my kids' classes at church, but I'm pretty sure they're mistaken.


ME: So, kids, what did you think of that story?


ME: How do you think Noah felt while he was safe on that big boat? Pretty good, huh?


ME: What about all those kids drowning in the flood? How do you think they felt?

Do you think they sank down and died pretty quickly? Do you think any of them hung onto trees for a few days before the trees got covered up and they drowned?

Do you think there were any sharks?

KIDS: *horror*


ME: So, kids, what did you think of that story? Frogs and hail and the river turning to blood? Our God is pretty awesome, right!?


ME: And how about that plague on the firstborn, huh? I bet those were some pretty bad kids, for God to send the spooky Angel of Death to kill them all in their sleep.

What do you think those kids did wrong? Like, the babies for example? Do you think all those Egyptian babies cried too loud at night? Or maybe they didn't obey their parents right away? Yep, that was probably it. You don't ever do that, do you?

Oh, dear! Let's hope God doesn't kill you too, ha ha!

KIDS: *terror*

STORY: ...

Enh. You get the picture.


Emerging From The Fire said...

I would LOVE for you to teach my kids! This is brilliant. I may actually use it when I teach the older kids (high school) for First Day School!!

Matthew said...

Thanks, Em.

Really, though, I guess that approach could work for older kids. If the point of these stories is to teach /virtue/, then why not use them to teach, say, empathy? =)

D Love said...

I guess maybe God could have told Noah to make a boat big enough to hold all the animals and all the children. Which would have made Noah's family greatly overwhelmed trying to raise all those children, especially the babies who need their mom's milk. Starvation wouldn't be a good way to go either. Just curious how you would have fixed the situation the earth was in at that time if you were God. I am just glad that I am not God.

Smartiniz said...

Are you also going to illustrate that on a felt board?

Matthew said...

@D Love

How would I have fixed it? I dunno, I guess it would depend on what powers I had available. At the very least, as a merciful God, I would kill the children quickly and painlessly, rather than drowning them. That might still be unjust, like in the Exodus story, but at least it wouldn't be cruel.

The point is that we can think of a dozen ways to be more merciful than the God in this story, which should make us suspicious, because God is supposed to be /more/ merciful than us, not the other way around. There is a problem here, and we need to grapple with it.


Yes. Yes I am. =P

Joel said...

Forget children, most Adults don't grapple with the difficult issues in the Bible. Those kids are getting the sugar coated version often because the adults don't know the whole story. God instructs genocide, he hardens pharoh's heart, he tells a prophet to marry a prostitute, turns water into alcohol, drowns most of the world's population, allows a good man to be tortured, etc. We tell old testament stories like Disney tells fairy tales, for entertainment.

D Love said...

Agreed, it is a problem that has to be grappled with. The more I thought about the Noah story, I wondered about the Rainbow and the covenant. Maybe as God watched all those people drowning, he decided that maybe it wasn't such a great idea. But then you have a God that makes mistakes and learns. Or maybe, Noah and his family were so horrified by watching all those people drown that God made the covenant to appease them. Anyway, those are random thoughts but I had never really thought hard about that covenant.


The hardening of Pharoah's heart is one of the things that I think I don't understand most about that story. If he would have let them leave earlier, then maybe all those firstborns wouldn't have had to die. Not to mention that God being able to control someone's heart and actions poses a problem.