Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Some good, some disconcerting answers...

I don't know if it's right to say that some answers aren't so good as much as that I'm not sure of some of the information Kathryn Slattery shares. But, let me back up...

This book is a collection of questions that many kids may ask about God and many things parents want to explain to their children. The topics are God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, The Bible, Christianity, Prayer, The Church, Christian Seasons and Holidays, Being a Christian Here and Now, Being a Christian Forever & Ever, and finally Big Question. I liked the section on Christian Seasons and Holidays. After reading her answer about the Advent Wreath, I really want to make it a part of our Christmas traditions next year. Aside from that though, I have some concerns.

As I read through this book, I was struck by a few times the author infers information that I would not share with my children and a few times that she omits things that I would be concerned not to mention. I suppose that could be said of any book, but since this is a book about answers to questions about God, I think it is especially important in this case to be biblical.

Here were a few of my concerns:
Here are two examples of my concerns about the theology of her answers:
1) In conclusion as to How can God be three persons at the same time?, Ms. Slatterly says that "the reason God is three Persons in one is so He can be with you every minute of every day." Well, the Bible doesn't give a reason for the trinity that way, to my knowledge. The word "trinity" isn't actually used.
2) The first question is Who is God? Rather than mentioning how human parents are like God as a parent, she mentions all the ways they aren't--like how they get divorced, are tired, and are grumpy. Yes, we are imperfect parents and God is the perfect parents, but I think it would be wise to point out to children how much their parents love them and how much more God loves them--with a perfect love.

Two questions that I wish she had mentioned a few more things on are:
1) Is it true that I have a Guardian Angel? The author doesn't mention that we shouldn't pray to angels--they aren't God. That's something many new age groups teach people--that we should pray to our "guardian angels". The way she answers the question makes guardian angels seem very important in our daily lives--from what I've read in scripture, I don't believe this is true.
2) Help? What Should I Do When I Think a Church Service is Boring? She talks about how everyone gets tired in church sometimes and bored. Sometimes people stay up late, etc. In her answer, she gives a nice list of things to do during the service instead of paying attention to the sermons, but doesn't mention that it's a good idea to make sure that you get a good night sleep the night before.

There is a lot of good information in this book, but I would use it more as a reference book for parents--a starting point when you think about how to answer a question your child asks you, rather than as a devotional. This book is for children ages 7-11.

These are some books I prefer to this one: for 5-7 year olds, I would recommend The Jesus Book by Stephen Elkin
The Jesus Book: The Who, What, Where, When, and Why Book About Jesuss as a better choice. And for 4-6 year olds, I like the book by Kenneth Taylor Everything a Child Needs to Know About GodEverything a Child Should Know about God.
Both books are in the same vein--they explain similar concepts and answer many of the questions raised in this book.

Please note that I was given a complimentary copy of this book for review.

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