Once again I taught a lesson to Jr. High students and they had no idea what I was talking about when I mentioned Jacob and Esau. Church kids who do not know the stories of the Bible. Where have we been? How have they made it this far with no knowledge of these things?
One problem is the onset of what I call “Christianity light”. The Bible is no longer a focal point of teaching in many churches (and families). I remember having to deal with students (and my kids) boredom at Bible stories they heard repeatedly. But, I would rather have that problem than this one.
Even then, students often failed to see the stories of the Bible, the people of the Bible, as real: real people with real emotions, real desperation, real problems, real joys, real lives. Jacob was a real person who became the father of the Israelites. Esau, his brother, sold his birthright for one bowl of stew! Have you ever ‘sold your birthright’ (lost something important) for a momentary pleasure of sin? Do you identify? How about the drama that went on in this house as parents favored a different twin and Momma helped Jacob take what wasn’t his.
These people are very real people, whose lives were often better than any soap opera. They are fascinating. Do we not see them as thus because they’re in the “Bible” so it must be a lesson or something? Have we become apathetic about the contents of the Bible and the stories it contains - the HISTORY it contains?
I guess this post could classify as a rant, but it really isn’t. I want to understand so I can make a difference. How can our kids (or we) learn the meat of Christ if we’re not even getting the milk? How real are these people to you? Do you tell your children about them? Grandchildren? Others? Do you have any ideas about how we could solve this problem?
It so makes me sad that I have to spend so much time just telling the story, giving little time for building faith or even learning the basics.
What about the story of Jesus? The movie, “The Passion of the Christ”, probably has done a
great deal toward making the story of Jesus real. The scenes are difficult to watch at best. They bring home the very real brutality of what Jesus took for us. And we have no idea what it was really like, physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, the absolute torture He chose to endure for us.
If we really understood, even at a basic level, the reality behind the “stories” we treat so lightly, we would begin to see changed lives. We would change. We would become passionate about telling others. We would understand the depths and height and breadth of His love for us. Without this understanding, how can we expect the next generation of Christians to really be Christians? Maybe that’s what was meant by “will I see any faith on the earth” when I return.
Do you get it? Do you have ideas for ways I can bring this alive to my students? What went wrong? What can we do to fix the problem? . . .