Friday, December 20, 2002


We've all been to church services or Bible class and been absolutely bored to tears. Those of us who grew up attending church and Bible class can certainly remember it as children. There were times that you dreaded going. Now that being said, I needed to go and am glad I did. But I would have learned more had the classes I attended been better taught. That's one extreme.

TIME tells us about the other in an article titled The New Funday School. The techniques are 'successful' (depending on how one defines success), but is this the way to approach Bible study:

So nowadays lesson plans are based on The Gospel According to the Simpsons, in which Homer stands in as Job, and The Gospel According to Harry Potter, in which the boy wizard's decision to walk through what appears to be a solid wall to get to the train that will take him to his magical school becomes a meditation on faith.

Things a little dull at your building? How about this:

First Baptist Church in Springdale, Ark., paid $279,000 to Bruce Barry's Wacky World Studios, a set-design company in Tampa, Fla., that specializes in Sunday-school makeovers, to turn a room that had sometimes been used for funerals into a zany Toon Town where buzzers go off and confetti rains down during celebrations like baptisms.

I agree you have to start where people are, but equating Homer Simpson with Job takes things a bit far for me. Adding confetti and buzzers to a baptism turns a profound moment into something trite. What this boils down to is an appeal to carnality--you throw on some window-dressing on secular/worldly activities and call it a 'ministry' or 'Christian'.

Bible classes need to be exciting, interesting places for children (and adults). But we need to nourish people spiritually. They can get carnality anywhere.

[See an earlier post about useful, Bible-based material for teenagers. And thanks to my brother-in-law Mitch for the TIME link.]

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