A seedling from a Japanese red maple was carried by the wind and landed among a group of azaleas. The soil was rich and it took root. It grew for many years in this spot. The gardener thought she needed to transplant this beautiful little tree away from the foundation of the house into a special spot where a similar tree once grew. Continue reading Insufficient Safeguards
When we read to young children an illustrated children’s book or Bible story, they are not so concerned about what we read as they are by the pictures they see. They see things in the illustrations that we would never observe. They will put their fingers on the pictures. If the book has a little fuzzy and/or anything tactile they will touch it. Vicariously, children will jump into the illustrations in order to explore that world on the page before them. Give them all the time in the world to wonder, wander, and use their imaginations in this way. Continue reading Reading Books about God
Children see things we cannot see. When they are young, they are closer to the ground and have not trained their minds as most adults have to shut out observations and appreciation of parts of the universe. Children, if they have not been anesthetized by television, iPad, iPhone, and other media, spend much of their time in wonder. They see their world as one big place for exploring, to roam through without any pressure of time, to jump from one interesting observation and thing to another. Their growing muscles keep their bodies on the move. They are in perpetual motion. Their minds are creating universes that exist partly in this world and partly in another world. Continue reading Our Beautiful World
That leaning tree is not my tree. It’s on my neighbor’s land just a few feet over my property line. At least 20 feet of this once magnificent tree’s trunk is hollowed out by decay. It is dying. Its branches are all gone except for a single healthy branch that rises to the height of contiguous trees. In the spring, I expect to see new leaves on it. Continue reading Holistic Wellness or Rotten to the Core?
Parents and educators who are concerned with the Christian education of our young people need to know the beneficial effects of education over indoctrination.
Indoctrination is the communication of non-evidence supported beliefs that the receiver is expected to accept without any questioning or argumentation. For instance, it is snowing today. I tell the person I am trying to indoctrinate that it is not snowing, that what they see is an illusion. He or she cannot question my authority and partisan point of view. In effect, I am brainwashing and gaslighting that person. Continue reading Better to Educate Rather than Indoctrinate Today’s Children
Look at the drawing “From Oral Tradition to Canon” as I try to explain how the Bible with its Old and New Testaments came into being.
Both the Old Testament and the New Testament developed along similar lines. But the Old Testament took a much longer time to develop.
Both Testaments began as an oral tradition. Continue reading The Bible Did Not Drop Out of Heaven
Jean Piaget was a Swiss psychologist famous for his research in the field of cognitive development—the study of how the mind develops. He discovered that people think on one of four levels of thought. Continue reading Children’s Cognitive Development
If Christian educators are not properly prepared and confident about what they teach and how they teach or if the material they present to their students lacks depth, or seems like a fairy tale, then the realities and pressures of our times will cause our young people to abandon or take a wrong turn in their spiritual quest. They will never answer for themselves the four major questions our faith and our life’s journey demand us to ask: Who am I? Who are you? Who is God; and What does God want of me?
To ensure that our young people do come to terms with these questions, the Mustard Seed Series uses Jesus’ own teaching techniques of parables and open-ended questions. In our lives as Christians, there are often no easy or ready-made answers to difficult questions and uncertainties. All of us need to ask how we as Christians can be God’s instruments in such matters as refugee and displaced persons resettlement, towards the starving in Africa, towards persecuted minorities, and towards the homeless and vulnerable in America. In the Mustard Seed Series as in life, questions arise for which there are no easy or ready-made answers.