Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Big Picture

Before I deal specifically with SOS, let me tell you about a lesson I taught my preteens.

I drew a picture of a mountain scene with trees and a lake and wrote on it "Overview" and "Big Picture" and taped it to the wall.
Then I took another piece of copy paper and drew on it a flower, an ant, a mushroom, a leaf, a butterfly etc... I wrote "focus" and "details" on that piece of paper and taped it to the wall under the "Overview" picture.
Under that, I taped a picture of balanced scales with Proverbs 11:1 on it. God abhors a false balance.
Then under the balance I put up a paper with the two greatest commandments according to Jesus and the Golden Rule. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all you strength. Love your neighbor as yourself. And do unto others what you would have them to do unto you. And I labeled these as foundational truths.

I explained to the children that these picture show the way we should look at the Bible. First we need an overview of what it is about, who God is, where things started, and where things are going. Since I'm helping my kids to memorize, or at least become familiar with the names of the books of the Bible, whether they are part of the law, history, poetry, etc... , I used that as an example of an overview.
And since we are memorizing John 5:1-5,14 and John 14 1:1-7, I used that as an example of studying the details.
And the balance had to do with balancing the overview with the details.

Then I shared with them the story of Atheist, Nate Phelps who was abused by his pastor father. The story was particularly about an abuse against Nate's mother, the pastor's wife.

Then I started another column of pictures.
Only I taped the first one even with the "details" picture in the first column. On this picture I wrote, "over focus", "hyper focus", "warped view". And I drew a row of mushrooms under the words.
On the second paper I drew a balance with a red circle/slash over it pointing out that Nate's father's over focus on isolated Bible verses gave him an off-balanced view of the Bible.
Then I drew a picture of a giant mushroom/toadstool and labeled it "Warped Overview" and "Wrong Big Picture"

We were able to discuss in the class how Nate's father broke the 2 Greatest Commandments and the Golden Rule in his zeal to use I Corinthians 11 to hurt his mother.

Having been a part of a slightly off-balanced, somewhat spiritually abusive church before, one of my concerns as a teacher, is to help others get the critical thinking skills they need in order to see through off-balanced teaching. So that's what I tried to do, or at least start to do with my class.

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