Continuing the discussion on Sunday School

This is really a great article:

I Wonder If Sunday School Is Destroying Our Kids – Beliefs of the Heart.

However, I’m not sure I would characterize the stories as the author did.

  • How Abraham was an idol worshiper and God loved him and pursued him;
  • How Joseph was a narcissistic boy and God loved him and pursued him;
  • How David was a murdering adulterer and God loved him and pursued him;
  • How Esther had sex outside of marriage with a non-believer and God loved her and pursued her.

Abraham was an idol worshiper, but God still used him. Abraham was a feckless idgit too, who had no problem selling his women to keep his life, among other things, even after God “pursued him.” For some reason, I like the Abraham character as seen in Year One.

God didn’t just pursue David. God punished David greatly. Is this really grace

To sum up Esther as simply a story about sex outside of marriage is to still remain within the realm of children’s curriculum. Esther was part of the King’s haraam. She did more than have sex outside of marriage. She used her body to save her people when there was no God to be found. That’s right. God is not mentioned in the (Hebrew) Esther. When God is not found, people do what they have to do to survive. (Like Jesus on the Cross in Mark’s Gospel.)

To sum up the stories as the author did is still doing an injustice to them.

I’m not really for telling school children David possibly married his sister among other women, cheated on his wives, had a soldier killed to keep it quiet, and then was punished relentlessly by God first with the death of the child and then with the census of the people. Nor would I want to tell them when David was too old to have sex any more, he could no longer be king.

Nor would I really want to tell school children about Esther or Ruth.

So, do we bleach these stories of any supposed moral stain? Do we use them?

What do we do to teach children the proper way to read Scripture, think and yet still believe?

on another note, if we take the entirety of these stories, which is the story of Israel, then we find Grace. Not so much in these individual stories, but only in the story of Israel as a whole. 

Post By Joel Watts (10,059 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Website: → Unsettled Christianity

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2 thoughts on Continuing the discussion on Sunday School

  1. Surely Esther was married to King Ahasuerus/Xerxes. Isn’t the point of 2:17 that she became his wife, his queen? Yes, it seems that she had sex with him first, but not of her own volition, so she cannot be blamed (unless of course she is in Dubai, or it is a Pharisee or a Tea Party supporter doing the blaming). But then this act of intercourse in itself led to the woman becoming at least a concubine or second class wife. There is no record of a specific wedding ceremony, but then I don’t think there is anywhere in the Old Testament. So don’t try to impose on an innocent young woman an anachronistic requirement for a church wedding.

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