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.