Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday School and Why I dread what it teaches.

I went to Sunday school.  I even taught Sunday School for years.  I was very blessed to teach under  master teacher and learn how much kids are actually able to think.  Most Sunday School curriculum is dumbed down.  It is only a repeat of a few basic themes:  we need to love each other, we need to be thankful, we need to share, followed with the good old Sunday School standard, "Don't be afraid.  God will keep you safe."

While I firmly believe in the keeping power of God, this Sunday school pablum irritates me.

I lived enough of life as a child to know that God does not always keep you safe.

We live a life where God keeping us safe accompanied by a picture of a child sleeping in her bed with no nightmares does not quite cut it.

This week alone, we are waiting for news of a friend whose decision to follow Christ is likely going to cost him his life.

Then I went to chapel at my kid's school to hear some teacher do a skit with the whole idea, which she repeated several times....

If you make good choices, you will have good consequences.
If you make bad choices, you will have bad consequences.

Try telling that to my friend whose decision not to deny Christ is going to cost him his life.  Try telling that to my kids a few months ago.  Try telling that to..... argh!

How about the very real truth in 2 Tim. 3:12?  
Indeed all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

Sort of blows our good choices - good consequences teaching out of the water.  Don't get me wrong, I think we should make good choices, and I think that good choices will ultimately have good consequences, but we need to be really careful about giving our kids false promises in God's name.  God never promised them that if they make good choices only good will happen, and we are remiss as parents and teachers if we do not prepare our kids for life.

I became adamant about this early on in my kid's lives, but became even more so when I became a Sunday School teacher to a small group of kids who had been through an awful tragedy where they thought they would be safe.  I glanced through all the lessons that were available to teach and grew nauseated with the pictures of kids sleeping in their beds, smiling on swing sets, and playing in sandboxes while week after week that message that God loves them and won't let anything bad happen to them was taught.

I threw it all away and started again.  What do I need to say looking into the eyes of kids who have seen what we only read about, and how do I help them maintain their faith in God?  We struggled through that year, learning the promises of God, reading through those Bible stories that don't always go perfectly.  We read of Corrie ten Boom, and let them see the truth in the fact that while she survived, her sister and father didn't.  We faced pain, acknowledged its existence in our lives.  We studied the beginning of evil in the world.  And we came back to the promises and power of God.  We read of heaven and how we are instantly there, all pain gone, all fear gone, tears wiped away, forever all together.  We healed and faced our fears together.

Yes, men can hurt us, but God is always with us, and there is nothing that can take us from His hand.  Not even death.  Especially not death.

But I bristled when I heard this taught again in my kid's chapel this morning.  Good choices can have very bad consequences.  My friend is facing those today.  And if I get the chance to hold his children in my arms, I will not throw their faith into confusion and doubt by teaching them a doctrine that causes them to question their father's choice to follow Christ or their God's ability to intervene, but I will tell them of the promises of God.  How He was there for their father, even in the darkest hours.  How He will be there for them, to father them, to care for them through the pain He has asked them to walk through.

And I will tell them of heaven.  Of the forever where tears are wiped away and relationships are restored.

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