I read a brilliant blog last week – all about women's conferences and the message they give. Many just tell we are beautiful princesses and don't really give us anything of great spiritual depth – or a message that draws us to being more Christ like. It's what I call 'Fairytale Faith'.
I don't go to women's conferences for many reasons that I may blog about at a later date. The reasons the blog writer gives are the main ones! But, reading it made me think of what we teach our children.
Here's what it started me thinking about: If we only teach our children that Jesus loves them, that they are little prince and princesses who are beautiful and can do anything, we are selling them short. It's faith based on a fairytale, and it does not build spiritual resilience in any form.
Our kids need more. They need to know who Jesus really is and what that means to them on a day to day basis. They need to be rooted in the whole story of God.
But when the the generation before them has only been taught the little prince and princes rhetoric, the scenario is only going to keep repeating itself.
I wish I had the time and space to unpack this more – but here are two blogs I wrote previously that go a little way to doing that:
As I grew up, I knew a couple of wonderful people who helped to build spiritual resilience in me.
I was taught the bible from beginning to end. I was enrolled in the Mailbox Bible club – a weekly study that challenged and stretched me, and wasn't afraid to go to the nitty gritty of things. The writers were not afraid of offending me.
I went to 'Young Warriors', a club based around material from WEC. I learnt about mission, and I learnt applied Bible teaching.
Aged seven, my beloved Sunday school teacher, Rita Pell died from cancer. I was taught that bad stuff happened, but God was still a God of love – I learnt resilience within the heart ache, and the comfort of Father God.
We now hide children from pain instead of walking them through it with love and wisdom.
We give them the triumphalistic message that tells them they can change the world, that they are the “(Insert radical sounding biblical name here) generation”. But we often miss out on giving good solid and grounded teaching.
We forget to tell them that they will still face problems, but that God is faithful and will walk with them through the pain.
Here's the thing: Faith is not just about me. I am not the centre of the universe – God is. He is a Redeeming God who sent His son to die for a world of sinners. He didn't die just so I could know I'm 'beautiful'.
Jesus is not a fairytale.
I don't mind telling children they are loved and precious (And beautiful!) – but let's back it up with good robust theology!