Friday, July 17, 2009

Children Bible Story Books Part 1

Being a parent has made me even more appreciative of the reading needs of toddlers. However, I am most concerned about Christian toddlers (I am not sure about the Jewish situation). Many of the Bible story books that exist for toddlers contain the errors of modern day Christianity.

To make matters worse, the children Bible story books contain images that do not culturally represent my West Indian culture. In the West Indies, acceptance of Christianity has been made difficult by the historical legacy of slavery, colonisation and exploitation. This has lead to the development of Rastafarianism which repaints the Messiah as a black man. Also it has lead to the development Revival or Poco Church, where African retention and spiritualism is retained and intermixed with Christian elements. (In a future post, I will discuss the Rastafarianism and Revival Cults with the relevant citations. Today, I just want to focus on the Children Bible Story concept.)

I hate to see Bible story books that paint cultural images - like a white Jesus or the incorporation of Easter and Christmas concepts. We know that Jesus was a Semite and would look like a modern day Palestinian. Further, Easter and Christmas are originally pagan concepts not even spoken about in the Bible. They were not festivals given to Jews and were not commanded by Scripture. They came after, based on theological interpretation and acculturation.

Based on these issues, I feel spiritually desirous of creating my own Bible story books that will avoid these errors. Instead, I want children to see images of animals that are a part of the stories in the Bible. This is culturally neutral as all children from all cultures can relate to animals.

It is hoped that children through reading these stories can learn about the animals and the sounds they make, as well as learn Biblical facts for future analysis and interpretation.

Thus when a child is of age, they may ask questions for further information about the story behind the animal, and the adult can explain or lead them to the Bible passage.

Also, I believe that G-d used the same strategy. He first cause Adam to name the animals, before he introduced Eve to him. That way Adam had to relate to animals first, before he could relate to Eve.

That way Adam by seeing the animals in pairs learnt about his own social needs and need for companionship, and that animals could not fill the void. He learnt so much from watching the animals, that when Eve came, he was so excited and said "bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh" -Translation - Alas, someone that I can relate to.

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