Once upon a time, I had the pleasure of caring for a young child as a “baby sitter cum foster mom”. Her mother had left the home situation and the child and ran off with a druggie friend. She was in my care for about four years and I enjoyed almost every minute of it, I say almost since she was inclined to scream if she didn’t get her way, and I am stubborn enough that getting her way was not going to happen if her way was something that was not good for her.
Her father allowed her to be picked up each Sunday morning by a bus from a local church. I had asked him at one point if he had any idea what they taught her, and he said it was just something for her to do, it didn’t matter what they taught. (YIKES!) It was not but maybe a month later that a friend and I had been discussing spiritual things over a cup of coffee at my kitchen table. BJ started to tell us I was wrong, that God would be angry if we didn’t do what he said and we needed to go to the church she was going to on Sunday mornings.
I asked her Papa if that was what he wanted his daughter to think about G-d. He said no, perhaps he would stop her from going. I asked if he would let me find a church that at least taught of G-d as a loving friend who cared about her, not the angry G-d she was being taught about. He consented and I found a church that would pick her up for him that taught that Jesus was her friend.
That was at least some improvement, though, like many others, I prefer to allow children to start learning about G-d when they start asking the questions, first because that is the point at which they are ready to hear about God, and second because all I feel a child should be concerned with is that
- God is love,
- God loves you,
- God is there as your friend,
- We live in a world that isn’t always fair,
- God cares even when the world isn’t fair,
Those are the basics that it seems even we adult children need to remember, and sometimes even that is more than we can understand. Since I do not see Y’shua as G-d incarnate, I have difficulty with the entire thrust of Evangelism, not just the Children’s ministry. I believe that if one truly lives in a manner that bespeaks kindness at all turns of the wheel, that alone will bring those who are interested to question what grounds us in such a way of being. I believe that it is a most dishonorable thing for those of us who do believe that God is real to invade the homes of those who do not believe G-d and pluck out their children from them. It smacks of the very things Evangelicals fear most; the “state” removing their children and putting them in government, atheistic facilities to grow up without God in their lives at all. We return then to Y’shua’s teachings, if you do not want it done to you, do not do it to others!