21 June 2006

Here's what I'm wondering...

Why does a United Methodist church allow it's single-most influential children's event to be driven by Baptist theology?

It seems to me that if the UMC wants to be true to it's Wesleyan roots, we would need to teach Wesleyan theology to our children during Vacation Bible School. It just blows my mind that 800 kids here at Trietsch are learning about salvation using an un-Methodist paradigm. Now, I know that denominational loyalty in the 21st century is nothing like it used to be, but come on - shouldn't we be PROUD of our Methodist roots and want to embrace them?!?!

I guess I am sensitive to this issue, but I wouldn't want Caitlyn to come home from my church's VBS wondering why she was a sinner and needed to repent. I am all for explaining her baptism to her and helping her to understand what Jesus did on the cross, but does singing songs about being a sinner and needing to ask for forgiveness really edify children under the age of 8?

Anyone care to rebut?



Kelly said...

AMEN Dean! I totally agree with EVERYTHING you just said. Why do we as United Methodists not use VBS to deal with theology? I mean does the average school age kid REALLY need to know they are sinners and need forgiveness? I doubt it! We have started planning our vacation bible school up here and I asked that I be in charge of the lessons so that I could MAKE SURE the theology we are teaching the kids is GOOD- and YES we are teaching kids about theology whether we want to admit it or not!

By the way- what vbs is your church using?

kimberly said...

Hey Dean I don't know if you remember me or not but this is Kimberly from Perkins...Kelly's friend if that helps.

I guess this kind of wording is used across the Black church as a whole I never thought about it. The use of this theology/terminology crosses African American denominational lines.

Still there is a reason why I am not a Baptist any longer. We Black Methodist are all about Savior and Lord but there is very little of that "you are going to hell" no matter what business. So yes denominational theology is essential.
I just wanted to point that out. 800 kids? You go boy.

Rev_DeanL said...

Kimberly ~ of course I remember you! I am not opposed to the use of "Savior and Lord" as a term for Jesus - in fact I use it myself quite regularly. However, there is something wrong with making children sing songs about how they are sinners and need to repent. I understand that we are all sinners, but the children who come to VBS are not looking to be dumped on like that, they are looking to have a good time and to learn about Jesus.

I guess I wish that Methodist churches in general were more proactive in creating children's curriculum that truly represented our Wesleyan heritage instead of just adopting Calvinist thinking and passing it off as our own - b/c it isn't!

I really don't have much experience in the black Methodist circles, but I am sure that your statement is accurate - as the terminology crosses Anglo denominational lines as well.

Unfortunately I cannot take credit for the 800 kids in VBS - that goes to the wonderful children's ministry here at Trietsch! Kudos to them!

Do you blog Kim? If so, where?

Anonymous said...

very good points dean.... i blog sporadically though i am getting more faithful with it and if people actually read it i would do it more...i will put you on my list...so glad you and kelly are blogging


Ms. Worley said...

Hey Dean...
So, I know LifeWay (who published the VBS you guys are using, I believe) is a Southern Baptist Company, and I know Cokesbury (whose VBS curricula are often lackluster) is the Methodist publishing group.... is Group Publishing (the home of this year's "Fiesta!" curriculum which FUMC Plano is using) affiliated with any denomination? Just wondering, because I think the majority of the songs I'm teaching this week are pretty on par with my Methodist upbringing. One of the songs I did cut out. The annual new material/old-time hymn hybrid had some theology I wasn't ready to tackle with 7 year olds. "Lowly Jesus" rhyming with "my soul's diseases"... I don't want a kid walking away from VBS with a mental image of their soul covered in chicken pox. heh. creepy.