I just found this piece on what one church is doing to help promote Biblical literacy over on ABCNJ.net. Dee Dee is a person I consider a friend, and she’s doing a good thing with this. Two points in commentary, but do yourself a favor and read them after you read the article, OK?
- I’m not sure that for Christians I’d want to compartmentalize reading the Bible as literature and as reading the Bible as spritual nourishment (which is a separation that public schools, rightly, have to make). I do agree that Biblical literacy is necessary to understand a huge swath of English literature – but I’d just emphasize for Christians that the Bible is literature which provides spritual nourishment because of the God who is actively revealing Himself through the literature. So, even an academic study of Scripture of the highest measure can be viewed as a spiritual discipline. I point this out because I’ve got to many friends who were told that the academic study of the Bible was not spiritual discipline – and it confused them nearly out the faith entirely.
- The ending line “Isn’t it time you made sure you and your family have the knowledge you need not only to understand our culture, but also to understand our God?!” is worded in a way that I can’t swallow it. I know what Dee Dee is trying to say (mostly because I know Dee Dee and have the utmost respect for her) – but I think she succumbs to the age-old problem of Protestantism here. Protestants, you see, often reduce God to data that can be understood. I won’t go there. God is not understandable, but God is knowable in Jesus Christ. I think Dee Dee was trying to say that we need to come to an understanding of our faith – where it came from, why the Bible is important in it, etc… it just came out wrong.
- What’s proposed is a good start, let’s all to more.
Anyway, this is a problem that I’m grossly aware of, and have blogged about it here. My wife, who now runs CE at Central, is actually beginning an ambitious plan to take the elementary students on a journey through the Bible – spending a month on each book. It will take five years. When people asked her, “Isn’t that going to take a long time?” My wife responded, “Can you think of something more important we should be doing?” I love my wife – she’s even meaner than I am.
Anyway, I’ll be tackling this with our middle schoolers starting in the Fall. My goal is to show them how the narrative is still being played out in their own lives (and is, therefor, of utmost importance). While my wife and I are here, it’s nice to know there’s others out there working on the same project.