We didn't know that the Gospel, like Ginsu knives and blood pressure medicine, ought to be kept out of the reach of small children.For crying out loud, I mean it. We're here to save souls. What good will it be if we lose the children for the sake of the false concern for their sensitivities. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh! No crucifixion, no substance to the Last Supper! My kids got it, so will yours. The Oprah-ization of our culture is complete.
At least that's what one church was told recently, by a publisher of children's Sunday school curricula, according to Two Institutions, a blog about family and church matters.
The pastors at this church in Raleigh, North Carolina, were perplexed when they saw the Holy Week Sunday school lessons for preschoolers from "First Look," the publisher of the one to five year-old Sunday school class materials. There wasn't a mention of the resurrection of Jesus. Naturally, the pastors inquired about the oversight. It turns out it was no oversight.
The letter sent from the publishing company is up on the Two Institutions blog website. I had to read it three times to make sure I wasn't falling for a Lark News parody. It turns out this publisher has decided that the Gospel is too scary for preschoolers.
"Easter is a special time in churches," the letter from the publisher says. "It's a time of celebration and thankfulness. But because of the graphic nature of the Easter story and the crucifixion specifically, we need to be careful as we choose what we tell preschoolers about Easter."
The letter continues:
"In order to be sensitive to the physical, intellectual, and emotional development of preschoolers, First Look has chosen not to include the Easter story in our curriculum. Instead, we are focusing on the Last Supper, when Jesus shared a meal and spent time with the people He loved. We have made this choice because the crucifixion is simply too violent for preschoolers. And if we were to skip the crucifixion and go straight to the resurrection, then preschoolers would be confused."
The curriculum marketers must know how bad this sounds, so they reassure the church they believe that the Gospel is for all people. Leaving out the cross and the resurrection is actually to help children come to Christ. They write, "We're using these formative preschool years to build a foundation for that eventual decision by focusing on God's love and telling preschoolers that 'Jesus wants to be my friend forever.'"
The publishers note that there is an "alternate ending" to the kindergarten lesson that "tells a simple version of the Easter story" for older preschoolers, for those churches that want it. What kind of evangelical world do we find ourselves in when the Easter story is an "alternate ending" to the story of Jesus, at Eastertime?
Jesus wants to my friend forever? Who is this Jesus? And where is He? Apparently, He's a Christ without a cross, without an empty tomb. He spends time with His friends, and loves us. Does knowing this, apart from the Gospel, actually prepare preschoolers to see themselves as sinners in need of a Mediator before a Holy God?
No, a Jesus who is not crucified, buried, and resurrected, does not save, and doesn't help ease the way to salvation. Jesus as moral teacher, inspirational rabbi, or "forever friend" apart from the Gospel only prepares one for old-fashioned Protestant liberalism, the notion that what matters is that I'm civilized, ethical, and enculturated as a Christian. That's not Christianity.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Shielding preschoolers from the graphic nature of Easter
~from Touchstone Magazine....A Sunday School curriculum publisher has decided that Easter is too graphic for preschoolers...so there's an alternate ending to Easter. Has the world totally gone bonkers? Please, someone remind the publishers about 'the glory of the cross'. Are we that far sunk into the touchy-feely culture that we have become a parody of ourselves?