Biblical Literacy is down in the United States. All too often, people simply ‘know’ already what is in the bible based on either their own experience or what someone else has told them. Because of this, and the dangers which are produced, professional groups such as the Society of Biblical Literature have joined an initiative to get biblical literacy into the public schools. Recognizing a need for the American public to be biblical literate, other people and groups are joining the effort. This is not about teaching the Christian religion, but about exploring the bible in a manner which helps to educate all about what the bible really says.
Remember Veggietales? I bet some of you are hearing the hairbrush song right now. Well, stop singing. I finally got it out of my head. Well, the creator of that which we shall not talk about, Phil Vischer, has created a new series which explores biblical literacy. Aimed at children of all ages, Tyndale House Publishers and Phil Vischer has brought the magic of Veggietales that which we shall not talk about again to the wonderful world of the child.
First, my kids – 7 and 5.10 – loved it. Watching the small preview, my daughter didn’t like it all that much, but when able to watch a few episodes, she enjoyed it. My 5 year old loved it. It is a mixture of live action and puppets. A few little animations thrown in as well. Building on the success of what made the previous Vischer project appeal to children, What’s in the Bible speaks to children. It is thoroughly Evangelical, but can be enjoyed by Christian children of the various other denominations. While they maintain the bible has 66 books, they do venture into Church History and Canon. It has a certain catchiness which I imagine that parents will thoroughly enjoy as their children sing the tunes and it becomes trapped in the heads of unsuspecting parents everywhere.
Filled with Phil Vischer’s characters, voices, and personality, What’s in the Bible is funny, delightful, and annoyingly corny. Of course, I am speaking as a 32 year old father, and I like annoyingly corny. I admit, I had to laugh a bit at a few of the antics and you know, in the world of computer animation, the reliance upon Jim Henson style story telling. I think that this purposeful move will help to catch the attention of onlookers because it is, well, suddenly modern.
Not only do they cover biblical literacy, but they cover a bit of Church History, as I said before. While they don’t go into fine detail, they do give children enough information to engender a further discussion. From my standpoint, their bit on the Canon is, well, breathtakingly honest and without polemics. Further, while they speak to the level of children, they don’t dumb it down. They use the words common to biblical scholarship – you know, Pentateuch and Septuagint. Don’t worry, its not over their head either.
All in all, it is an excellent start of a series which I believe could be a welcomed addition to a Sunday School, homeschool, or even an after-school curriculum. Oh, and for parents too.