Lord, I Don’t Want to Be Boring. Truly.

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I read. The last thing I read was a  Facebook post about what to do with kids who get bored with the “same old Bible stories.”  People answered — “We play water games. We teach them skills like soccer. We use crashing music. We let them have free play. We do videos, only videos. They’ll watch videos. We …”

Hmmm … A lot of that stuff is ok in small doses, but doesn’t seem even shallowly instructive. (Although I HAVE seen some good videos.)

I write. Lately I’ve been writing curriculum for early elementaries — going through the lives of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses.

As I was writing the latest lesson about Moses, I thought about coming across a burning bush in the middle of the desert and then to have a voice come out of it! I was thinking about the relationship between Moses and his older brother Aaron. How hard that must’ve been for Aaron to have his younger brother be given the responsibility to lead the Israelites. Wonder what he thought about that? And those plagues, they must’ve been quite an experience. I get upset when just one gnat is flying around my face.

Then I had a thought. Because I am a writer, I have a myriad of information about writing at my house. You know, writing magazines, podcasts, books (a lot of writers write books for other writers), not to mention the internet.

If these teachers are saying the kids are finding the Bible boring, what’s the problem? So I looked up in my writing resources: “Characteristics of books that kids love.” Because if they’re reading other books, but finding the Bible boring, we must be missing something.

So, here goes – characteristics of best-loved children’s books (the kind that kids want to  read over and over).

  1. Books that have real people (What could be more real than Noah, David, Habakkuk, Acquilla …?)

The Bible has THAT one covered.

     2. Books that give us a large picture of the world.  (God promised Abraham his offspring would be greater in number than the stars — Genesis 15:5) If that’s not a large picture of the world, I don’t know what is.

The Bible has THAT one covered.

    3. Books that have original ideas. Let’s see, God created the earth, God gave power to his prophets, God caused the sun to stop, God caused it to rain for 40 days. Now, that’s power!

The Bible has THAT one covered.

  4.  Books that have adventure. Floods, lions’ dens, shipwrecks, the resurrection …

The Bible has THAT one covered.

5.  Books that teach a moral truth. Ah … enough said.

The Bible has THAT one covered.

6. Books with relevant events. Let’s see – jealous brothers, a prankster, a runaway, liars, cheaters, a wedding, musical family … Sounds rather relevant to me.

The Bible has THAT one covered.

 6 . Books that connect personally. God says: I love you, I care about you, I won’t leave you, I sent my Son to die for you, I am preparing a place in heaven for you, I will give you the Holy Spirit to indwell you.” All of these are personal connections.

And the Bible has THAT one covered too.

————–

So what’s the problem? If kids like books about real people, that give us a large picture of the world, that have original ideas, that have adventure, that teach moral truth, that are about relevant events, and connect personally, why do they find the Bible boring?

Maybe it’s because of scenarios like this. A. True. Story. One hundred and fifty young campers crowd into the pews in the camp’s chapel. They’re wiggly, they’re sweaty, they’re excited for the day’s activity …

Up front the speaker stands behind the podium and shuffles his notes. Then he looks in his pockets for his pen. Then he shuffles his notes again.

And then he begins reading the Scripture for the day’s lesson. He reads a couple verses and then stops. “I know this is boring, but we have to read it …”

Excuse me? Did you just tell 150 kids that the Bible was boring?

In actuality, this group of kids were easy to teach and other speakers had no problem keeping their attention.

Because kids pick up on our moods. If we’re excited they’ll be excited. If we treat our lesson like it’s boring it Will. Be. Boring.

_____________

So I was thinking … the Bible isn’t boring. Maybe it’s us that’s boring? Do you think?

Paul wrote: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.  (Romans 15:13)

Do the kids see our hope?

Do the kids see our joy?

Do the kids see our peace?

I would like to challenge all of us (yes, that includes me) to ask the Lord to give us the desire to radiate joy in our lives and in our teaching.

Let’s be the most hopeful, joyful, peaceful, exciting teachers/parents on the planet!

 

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