Social Justice Sunday School Curriculum?

December 6, 2007 at 4:33 am (Social Justice) (, , , , )

Does anyone know where I can find a preschool or elementary age sunday school curriculum that has social justice as an integral part?  I am also looking for a more authentic religious education/sunday school curriculum – I have recently started letting Sab go to Sunday school ( I am freaked about letting him go, and of course he LOVED it when he went) and I want to be able to talk with him more about all the cute-sy bible stories he will hear in a more authentic way.  i.e. Noah’s ark not really about animals on parade, the story of Joseph really had little to do with a rainbow coat.  I want to help him understand these stories in a way that relates to our life, relates to the way God wants to interact with us and wants us to interact with others and help him see further into those stories than what the mainstream curriculums will teach – but I need help doing that in an age appropriate and engaging to a preschooler way.  Not really sure I want to completely dive into God’s wrath and the dessimation of the world, but I feel we do our kids a huge disservice by making these stories about cute animals on parade.  If we do not feel our kids our ready/old enough to hear the true story of Noah then why not just not tell it until they are ready – why cutsy it up into something it has very little to do with?  Then we expect them to unravel all that later and deconstruct it and come out with an authentic relationship.  As Chelsea, a pastor’s wife once said to me (before I had a kid and had given any thought to this) I don’t want my 3 year old daughter running around saying “Jesus is my best friend”. – until it could be a statement about genuine relationship not just some cutsy regurgitated meaninglessness that will one day have to be explained why it was different than their imaginary best friend, and the monster in the closet.

So blah blah – does anyone know if something like this exists maybe at an “emerging” church or perhaps a mainline denomination – I can ‘t be the only person who has wanted something more.

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Saint Idiocracy

July 2, 2007 at 2:31 am (Social Justice)

So, I need to just stay away from the river front.  The last time I was there, I tried to be Saint Sara Lee with the bread and homeless.  Last night I took the little guy for a walk along another stretch of the river.  We were watching the local sailing school students launch and sail boats.  Very interesting and I was quite envious! 

We are watching one boat that had been doing fairly well as it came back to the levee and the woman’s face had a very large port-wine birth mark-it covered the entire right side of her face and part of her left.  It was practically fluorescing against the white sail.  My mind began to race with how this would be an opportunity to teach the little guy compassion and start to work on how you answer the very honest yet totally un-PC questions kids loudly ask.   Plus I am going to show this woman that she is a beloved child of God (and how nice I am!!) by you know, pretending it’s not there. 

So, I am watching-slightly interpret that as unabashedly staring, with my best casual interpretation of a “you are lovely” smile on my face.  They had a hard landing into the levee-sheesh-they definitely need a few more lessons!  And then I notice that the port-wine birth mark goes all the way down her arm and the back of her hand.  Her left hand is held up half shielding her face-probably a self-conscious gesture she has perfected after what must have been intense years of being teased by kids.  She is out of the boat quickly and just as she turns to walk briskly toward the clubhouse, our eyes meet.  I am sure the heavens opened ever so briefly and she felt God’s love pour into her soul from my smile, except I missed it because she was covered in blood!

No birth mark, no tormented childhood, not an anguished soul looking for someone to finally look at her and not turn away like she is Quazimoto, pehaps she was wishing for faster reflexes when the mast must have swung during a jib and smacked a 2 inch gash in her forehead causing blood to pour all down her face.  I was too stunned at my idiocracy to move, and by the time I was able to break the stupid spell she was half way to the clubhouse.

So, I had stood there and stared at a woman with a huge gash in her forehead instead of offering to help her out of the boat, or to the clubhouse, or tie down the boat so her husband could go with her…Or even ask if she was ok.

Seriously, the bizarre thing is I don’t even have to work at being this-I can’t even find a word to encompass it-clueless, stupid, self-absorbed, weird…good grief.

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Damn Lazy Ducks

May 28, 2007 at 1:34 pm (Social Justice)

The other day I had decided we would feed the ducks but hadn’t thought to bring any bread from home that morning. So I stopped at the grocery store, bought some cheap white buns and then picked my son up from daycare.

 

We went to the park along the river and as we were walking toward the levee we passed a homeless man curled up against an abandoned hot dog stand, reading a book. As we neared the edge of the water my mind began to race. I had purposely driven out of my way to go buy bread for the ducks. Greedy, lazy ducks who sit and wait at the same spot everyday for an easy meal – all male ducks, by the way. While a few feet away a homeless man was sleeping in the park – when had he last eaten? I had bought bread for lazy ducks, but had not given any thought to buying anything for a food pantry, homeless shelter, etc. Mind still racing, I looked at my cheap-ass white buns (the ones in the bag from the grocery store) and well, I couldn’t offer a homeless guy that. That would be disgraceful. So I handed another bun to my son to throw to the ducks, but he shoved almost the whole thing in his mouth and laughed. He acted like the bun was the best thing I had ever given him. He continued to throw some to the ducks and cram more in his mouth. Running around laughing and completely filled with joy. Then he picked up some rocks and joyfully “fed” those to the ducks, too. There I sit stewing in my thoughts of what to do in this situation.

 

A friend has been trying to get me to blog, so I decide to look at the situation with a writer’s eye. My son is oblivious to the turmoil I am in, he is just enjoying the moment with the ducks. Maybe this is a spiritual lesson – instead of becoming anxious and depressed about the homeless man and what my response is “supposed to be”, I should approach all of this with joyful abandon like my son. He would be just as happy to “feed” the homeless man or the ducks. Yes, this is a beautiful spiritual moment and I shall become a writer/blogger and share my insight with the world. Can’t you see the heavens open and the choir singing. God wants us to see all living things with joy and opportunities to share and give. He doesn’t want us treating people like projects or duties but as joyful opportunities, as friends to break bread with.

 

Except when I tell my son “we are going to give the rest of the bread to the friend who was reading a book”, he starts screaming “no” and shoveling the bread into his mouth as fast as he can. I angrily snatch the bread away from him and tell him again we are going to give the bread to the man. He is screaming and throwing a major fit behind me as I start to walk back over to wear the man was sitting. The man is asleep. Damn it, this is not how this is supposed to go. In the blog, my son would skip over to the man and graciously extend the bread to him filled with toddler joy. He would not be screaming “no” and the man would not be asleep with the book over his face. Now what! Can the universe not throw me a bone here!? Seriously!

 

I decide to walk around a little more and maybe the man will wake up. A few minutes later I see the man is awake again. I approach him with a smile and extend the bread out to him. “Would you like the rest of this bread?” I say sweetly.

 

The man looks at me with the exact same look I would give someone if I were sitting in the park and they tried to hand me half a bag of bread. “What the?” Umm, we bought it to feed the ducks, there is nothing wrong with it or anything, I just thought you might want some. To which he says “oh, yeah I’d like to feed the ducks that would be nice”. I drop the bread by him and we walk to the car. As we are walking I notice two more homeless guys sleeping on picnic tables under a shelter. I think maybe I should call and put a pizza on my credit card to be delivered to them. Has anyone ever done that? Called Pizza Hut and ordered a pizza to be delivered to the homeless guys in the park?

 

I did not order a pizza, the man didn’t want my cheap-ass white bread, my story wasn’t a beautiful Christianity Today vignette about joy found through the eyes of small child. Can life never be as nice as it is in my head?

Damn lazy ducks.

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