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.