Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Short Book in the Reading Challenge

Back while I was helping with Bible School this summer, I noticed a book at the Public Library that I immediately coveted.  It was a children's Bible story book called Tapestries: Stories of women in the Bible.  The pictures of both old and new Testament women were lovely.  I was particularly intrigued by the notion that the author included some women not on the tradtional lists of women in the Bible (for example, The Witch of Endor, and Jael.) 

That alone was enough to make me go on line and find a copy.  This week my book finally arrived, and one evening I sat down and read it (making it #26 in the reading challenge, I think, but who's counting?)  Again,  I loved the artwork.  New Testament women included were not just Mary and Martha, but also Tabitha and Phoebe.

I had to notice, though, that a few details about these interesting women were not included:  Rahab is given a page, but nowhere does the author mention that she was a prostitute.  And the fact that King David committed adultery as well as murder was also left out of the stories.

I don't fault the author too much:  this is supposed to be a children's book, after all, and how much explaining do you want to do?  It just reminds me again that, as my friend Joelle pointed out, the Bible is not a children's book.  The stories contained in the Bible, read properly, are not for the faint-of-heart.  They are stories of complicated people with mixed motives.  They were people worthy of admiration in one moment and of disdain in the next.

For all that, I do love children's Bible story books with their brightly colored illustrations and breathless retellings of famous stories.  But there comes a day, or days, actually, when it's good to know that faith is not just for brightly-colored and breathless days, but is as real and gritty as the people in their Bible.


PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

I miss the wonderful, classic art on the Sunday School lessons of my childhood. Some of the stories stick in my mind because of the art work. [You may remember that this was the rational behind the pictures presented in that classic Bible lesson series from the 70's, which name I can't remember.]

For the most part, my kids had Sunday School lessons with cartoonish drawings for the illustrations. Not memorable.

I'm a visually orientated person and the pictures help me remember stories. I can remember a sermon point better if the preacher paints a word picture in making the point. Occasionally, all the preacher needs to do is use some gestures while describing something and it sticks better. And occasionally, the pastor will use an actual prop to make a point. Works for me.

I don't know what percentage of people are visual learners vs auditory learners, but certainly our culture is visual, given how many TV's are in our homes.

Diane said...

I think you mean the Bethel series.

what a great point about visual vs. auditory learners! I think that is one of the secret reasons for the success of the children's message is that it is frequently more visual than auditory. I'm not sure that the 'kids' always get the message, but the teenagers and adults do.

there may be another blog post in the making.

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

Yes, the Bethel series. I only took one portion of that; it was on the wane in our church. The pictures weren't exactly "art" but meant to be memorable.

In our church, the pastor or youth/family person sits with the kids on the steps in the front. Unless a congregant is in the first three rows, we can't see anything that is happening. That is too, too bad. When we have choir, we have a great view.