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Friday, September 08, 2006
The Story in Which We Find Ourselves
"Many parents in the Emergent friendship have realized that if we share the stories of scripture with our children the way they were told to us, our kids could grow up as miseducated as we ourselves often feel. Why set them up to have to re-traverse all the ground we've had to cover to find faith? Why not equip them to chart new territory? I invite you to join me in re-telling our story."
This is a new blog started by Melvin Bray. We have had a couple of discussions about teaching children in a "different way". What would it look like? What would change? What would stay the same? I have shared many of my concerns here. How can I teach my children different or even teach responsibly at church? If you are asking the same questions, or have any great ideas, Melvin would like to hear from you. It has just started, but we would love to get the conversation rolling.

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posted by Unknown at 3:44 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 9/08/2006 05:24:00 PM, Blogger Tiffanie

    What a great idea! I will surly be frequenting Melvin's blog. Thanks Michele.

  • At 9/08/2006 06:21:00 PM, Blogger From the Margins

    Okay ... call me cynical (or battle worn wise) right off the bat as you read this comment!

    So, I go to "X" site and start posting ... so does Tiffanie and so do others and all sorts of good ideas surface in written form. Then come next May, low and behold "X" has published a book and wow... some of those creative ideas sure sound familiar!!!!

    Not that this would EVER happen!

    Of course I love the idea ...but maybe too much to gift deposit on someone's site I do not know.

    Blogs can be wonderful things, but people ... good people get taken all the time.

    Just a thought!

  • At 9/08/2006 07:30:00 PM, Blogger Michele L

    That's certainly a consideration Sherri. I can't say that wouldn't happen, but from my conversations with Melvin I think that there were others who just wanted to form a group somehow, and this is what came of it. I am sure we would love nothing more than to meet as a group to reimagine, but we all live far apart. I am in Arizona, and he is in Georgia. He is involved in some other children's organizations and I think many of us looked to him to connect us all. I personally have had some long discussions with him, and he and I genuinely want change because we have small children. If you are interested in more about him he posts his info and causes on the Blog.

  • At 9/09/2006 11:45:00 AM, Blogger Amy

    I can understand the thought of the scenario FTM brings up, but I really like the concept of this blog. As parents to a 5, 3 1/2 & 2 year old, we're in the midst of relooking how we share biblical stories with our kids and how that will effect their view of God as they grow.

    I'm excited to see what comes up. Thanks for the link, Michele!

  • At 9/12/2006 10:20:00 AM, Blogger Michelle K

    I'm not looking to write a book, certainly, but I am wondering if some of you would share how you've approached things differently with your children? My children are ages 6, 4 and (aaaalmost) 3.

  • At 9/12/2006 12:06:00 PM, Blogger Michele L

    For me personally, I am trying to refocus toward Jesus and His way, and be age appropriate. For instance (these are minor, and related to the things I learned as a kid). We sing "This Little Light" with our kids. I was taught a version with the verse "Don't let Satan, blow it out". At this age, we don't even talk about Satan. We replaced Satan with 'anyone'. Another example Noah's ark. When I teach Noah's ark at church or to my kids. I don't say anything about the flood killing eveyone else. I focus on God protecting Noah and his family, and his creatures.
    To be honest, at church, for this level, we are in process. We are not buying "traditional" curriculum, at this stage, we are working as we go. This Fall we are spending time on God's Love for us and Loving others, Sharing, Helping, Thankfulness. Our church is also trying to go a more "missional" way. We are trying to bring that into our children's programs. Instead of the emphasis primarily on "me" we are trying to focus on "we" or "others". Some of our ideas are to care for animals, help the sick (make cards etc.) the K-2nd group takes a collection and the money goes to Sponsor a child. I know for me, some of the Bible stories I got as a kid, I probably won't even attempt with my kids for many years. I want to try to encourage love and following Christ, how we treat others, living out "kingdom" ways. I personally feel they will have plenty of time to learn all of the "stories" in time. I don't know if that helps, I am still stumbling along...but that is where I am at.

  • At 9/12/2006 12:21:00 PM, Blogger Michelle K

    That sounds right to me - to focus on teaching the goodness of God. I grew up in a Baptist Church and therefore was taught all of the O.T. stories. I at least have them logged in my brain to where I can watch The History Channel and say "ooooooh" as they dig up evidence to support or disprove things. I didn't want my kids to grow up, like many involved in Charismatic churches have, learning the 'fun' stuff without logging any of the history/stories away. I wondered if I'm somehow not doing all that I should if I'm not drilling them with stories of the OT considering we haven't been attending a sunday morning service since April. My husband and I continue on in our studies and conversations but I do get concerned that we're leaving our children behind as we sort through all of our thoughts.

  • At 9/12/2006 03:27:00 PM, Blogger Michele L

    I am right with you. I too was raised with the conservative background. I feel blessed that my journey has been a part of a church "emerging". I am in a place in my life where I honestly don't know what I would be doing or doing for my kids, if I didn't have the wonderful leaders in our church. I mentioned recently, that if we did not head in a different direction, I could not go "back" to "doing" church the way I did before. I have hope that a "new/different" way will come and is coming, but at least in the area I live, I am not sure I would have many other choices at this point.
    My personal opinion about the "drilling the OT" into their heads...are what I like to call "the voices in my head". ;) Especially in the faith background we have, that was "the focus" and indirectly were 'taught' a "healthy fear of God", or least that was what was implied. What I got out of all of that was "you better obey, or you'll go to Hell".
    I think as you sort this through, it is ok to focus on the things that are important to you. In time as you sort through thoughts, and as they get older, then hopefully, you can work through the Old Testament (or at least all of the details). I have no problem with teaching Old Testament stories to children. What I have a problem with are when they are taught, details and all, concepts many kids really don't "get".
    Lastly, I think community is important to our lives, and hope that at some point, your family will find a genuine community to grow and learn with, but I know that within changing thoughts that can be easier said than done.
    Sorry for the length!

  • At 9/12/2006 08:21:00 PM, Blogger From the Margins

    M&M: I like the idea of focusing on Jesus' life and Kingdom principles with children first. Kids helping kids is a great idea. Focusing on befriending the marginalized kis in school is another lesson that is sadly missing ... the inestimable worth of every human being. By the time it comes up in late grade school S.S. it's almost a patronizing sort of exercise.

    Love the conversation. Maybe our next 'get-together' could focus just on Emerging Kids! I would be all for it. Let's take a serious look for a couple of days at how the new emerging conversation should and could affect how we teach our children.

  • At 9/12/2006 09:15:00 PM, Blogger Michele L

    Thanks Sherri,
    I agree and look forward to what will come! M.

  • At 9/13/2006 03:52:00 PM, Blogger Michelle K

    I know that in my area an 'emergent' style church isn't available unless we start one ourselves. We get together with friends frequently and we do wind up encouraging each other in the faith simply because that's who we are anyway and we have great honest relationships with the people.

    The children, however, play in another room. That's fine for now but I do wonder, don't they need to be learning in group dynamics Biblical principals outside of what we would teach them at home? Or is that more of "the voices in my head" (love that comment earlier!) telling me that I'm doing something wrong or not doing enough.

  • At 9/13/2006 06:01:00 PM, Blogger Michele L

    Just my personal opinion. "VOICES". :)
    If you are concerned, however, maybe when you and your friends get together, you can spend a small amount of your time, doing something kid friendly to encourage the children in their "relationship" with God/Jesus. Depending on what ages you are talking about.
    If the get togethers are to encourage and discuss faith, then maybe discuss with those friends what might be important to teach the kids. EX. God's Love, Loving our neighbor, sharing, caring, being a friend, etc. If they are all young kids, I think many of these topics are great to start and build on other things as they get older. Maybe just read a few books, or set up some kind of "missional" project that shows how to reflect these in our lives. Ex. Make cards to take to a hospital?
    Anyway, again, I sense I am in a similar place as you are. It's hard to teach when you are having to revisit practically everything you have been taught. It's hard.
    Hope that helps. Let me know if you figure out anything great.

  • At 9/20/2006 12:43:00 AM, Blogger Jules

    I just wanted to say...I have known Michele L for many years, and this is so exciting for me. To explain a bit, I do not attend church, and really never have. I have been raised spiritually, but not religiously. I appreciated that for the most part, but I was always curious about those that went off every Sunday morning for something called "church". I attempted many times in jr. high and high school to figure it out...never really got anywhere because I felt like I cam from such a different place. I was taught to love all, and believed that "christians" all believed the same. Found out that many "church go-ers" did not see it this way. I am finally being exposed to ideas that I always felt should be the fundamental ideas in church, but could never find. People are people that the lord will love unconditionally. It is not my job to judge...I will leave that up to him. The ideas being presented on this page really make me optimistic. I want to teach my children unconditional acceptence, but I also want to give them the opportunity to decide for themselves about "going to church". This type of church makes me feel as though it is possible.


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