Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Faith of a Child

Yesterday, Cal graciously share a post he wrote about churches matching people with Jesus and then doing very little after that.

One of the things I have noticed is that many sermons really are not very deep nor challenging. Granted, the speaker has to cater to a very wide audience, but there is a thing as being too basic.

Changing the subject (but coming back), I've recently been able to start running a spirituality group with some of the kids in our partial hospitalization program. The age range I get is 7-13, and it's amazing what these kids say and understand when we give them the chance to talk.

At first, I was saying that they understand theology and faith as well as adults. Truly, the conversations we have in that group are as sophisticated as that of most adult spirituality conversations. However, I think the more appropriate way of looking at it is that most adults are functioning at the theological level of a child.

Adults should have a greater (meaning deeper and more complex) understanding of theology. However, they don't. They're still operating with what they learned in Sunday school. After they grow out of Sunday school, they just sit with the Sunday morning sermon, which doesn't teach anything meaningful. And even Bible studies are not particularly complex usually.

Interestingly, the kids are much more flexible in their thinking. They are willing to engage in conservations about doubt and religious diversity. And their willingness to do so is much less so than adults. They are also much less judgmental of others' struggles and beliefs than their adult counterparts.

I think this may happen because as we get older, we often get more arrogant. As adults, we supposedly know more than the kids, so what we know is definitely right. However, we, in truth, know no more about theology, God, and the Bible than most of the kids in my group.

There are, of course, exceptions. However, I do find it interesting that the kids are able to understand complicated concepts like God image, doubt, and religious diversity better than most adults and are definitely more willing to engage those topics.

How does affect the idea of "faith like a child?"

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