Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Out or In...?

Doing my usual nosey round children's ministry websites/local church developments. I have copied this from a church website from somewhere far, far away:

" Since children's ministry is one of the most important things we do and the main service is designed for adults, children 6th grade and under are not permitted in the adult service. They will have a better experience and learn about God in a more appropriate manner in KidVenture. Check-in begins 20 minutes before each service."

Any comments?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Blogging slowdown

Every time I go to blog, something stops it happening.

Ah, that's right, it's called LIFE! :-)
As our house is on the market, if we get a call to say a viewer is coming then everything has to stop for Operation Tidy-Up. We have two of the untidiest kids ever. Fortunately they are on a "holiday" to grandma's for two days so last night's Operation Tidy-Up went smoothly. We can rest assured that the ant collection will remain in the garden (thanks to a Canadian bug vacuum - the joy of North American toys) and that the doll's nappies (soiled) are packed away in the Baby Annabel suitcase and will REMAIN THERE.

Did mean to post some Canadian pictures last night, will get round to it soon, I promise. Our main prayer is for our house to sell so that we can count up all the pennies so we can buy a house in the new town. However, we are not homeless and in a little under three weeks time we will be renting. Wow. Haven't done that since I was 19.

Had a bank interview yesterday and some of the mortgage and financial stuff happening in the UK today makes for grim reading. We are affected by it in some ways (stamp duty agghhhhh!) and yet I feel strangely calm. I can't explain it beyind the fact that God started this process of moving and he will oversee every detail of it. He has been nothing but good to me my whole life long. This journey has showed us as a family that all we need is him. I have just done a little study on the word "riches" and in the New Testament Ephesians is flooded with references to God's riches for those who believe. This does not necessarily refer of course to material wealth, although I have always known "enough", some of which has come in amazing circumstances. Encouraging stuff.

Hopefully post more soon.
Deep in preparation and work for leaving and for the summer holiday club - this year almost 70 children out of 120 have no church connection at all! (We always have lots of our own children who come). I am looking forward to it very much.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Help Ma Boab

The title of this post refers to a unique Scottish expression of disbelief - as perpetuated by that well known Dundee based family - The Broons.
Help Ma Boab! (cried Daphne)
I've just read some suggestions for doctrinal books for children from a non-UK blog (she says tactfully). The person who put this list together clearly has no affinity with a child's world and that's really all I am going to say.

I found two of John Stott's books suggested for Third Years (age 13-14)
I'm not saying that John Stott writes loftily (I freely admit I had to read The Cross of Christ slowly and carefully. It had lots of pages and small print. And my SP's copy had a broken spine so I had to make like sudoko and get the pages to add up to something corresponding to chapter and page numbers) but check out an example of an Intermediate 1 English paper and you will see what I mean. Print that off and put that side by side with The Bondage of the Will by Martin Luther (recommended for 14 year olds).

But I'm being unfair. This list may have been compiled for third and fourth years who have been privately educated or homeschooled and who will read at a higher level than the majority of children. I can't help but admit my bias, which is often tilted towards the low achiever, the one with less positive life chances, the one looked down upon or forgotten. I can't help but love on them...and be passionate about wanting knowledge of our wonderful God to be theirs too.

I get quite frustrated sometimes when things about God are made inaccessible by our wordiness or lengthiness and I am getting more certain that the time is coming in my life when I may attempt to write a series of booklets to explain a little more about theology and doctrine at a child's level of reading and comprehension. I have spent a pretty long time thinking that I just don't have the ability to do this but I'm beginning to think - "well, why not? Why not combine my years in teaching, my knowledge of children's human and spiritual development, my theological qualification-to-be, my present practice and my feel for the "gap" in information and just give it a go?" If it's rubbish, I can take being told that.

There is so much bias out there in theology anyway, can I attempt to present some information on the meaning of salvation and the atonement from all angles (much like one of my favourite books does, which I have raved about before: The Nature of the Atonement) because children can understand pictures a little easier than adults at times? A child of 5-7 is capable of understanding the healing metaphor of the atonement (hat tip to Joel Green), s/he understands the principles of substitution (he took my place), s/he understands market place and courtroom pictures to explain the atonement; s/he understands Christus Victor theory in that she knows that Jesus defeated God's enemy once and for all - in fact by the time a child reaches 8 or 9 years of age she or he can understand that many pictures can be used to explain what God has done through Jesus.

An 8 year old would agree that a "rainbow of metaphors" are possible. S/he wouldn't refuse to stand alongside someone that thought - and even spoke out about - another view of the meaning of the atonement. S/he probably wouldn't fall out with someone (and I do truly presume this has not happened in the real world today) because they thought that God sent his son to die because of X Y or Z. They would simply say "he loves me and I love him". We are to become like unsophisticated little children. Simplify.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Midway through the Canada trip.....

Ooooh, at this stage in our holidays, I have some amazing photos to share but forgot to bring a USB lead for the camera and dear reader, you understand that I would much rather be swimming in Lake Huron than sitting here in the public library uploading photos (mainly of my scared children as we wooped and screamed with delight approaching the tumbling Niagara Falls in the Maid of the Mist)

Had an awesome time at our all age conference in Toronto and now we are on the Bruce peninsula, Lake Huron, Ontario, enjoying balmy weather and more majestic scenery.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Oh Canada!

We're off to Canada later today - on Canada Day, appropriately.
We're going here again for three days, where I went in March 2006 with my six year old daughter and a friend and her six year old, and had a great time at an all age conference, returned home, sat on my bubbling feelings for three months (I kept really quiet!) then spoke to my then-SP to share the vision I had to bring the conference over here.

He said YES (he is such a releaser of people. Or was retirement-happy. You choose!), the church promised to financially underwrite the idea and eighteen months later, in October 2007, Families on Fire took on a Scottish twist. It was the fulfillment of a vision and an incredible time. You can probably read about my digging back through the archives to October and November 2007. So I am so looking forward to going back as a participant and not host :-)

Then we are off to Niagara and downtown Toronto, then spend a week up north in a lakeside cabin, then back to spend a day with the children's pastors who have become our friends. They are great!! Love them.

Wishing you, dear readers, a wonderful rest whatever you do and wherever you go. Please pop a comment in the box below to tell Something About Your Summer. Don't be shy - leave a wee message to cheer me up in the hotel lobby!