Children, Cartoon Fish, & The Importance Of Family
There is another blog I read regularly. I find it quite humorous and anytime I need a good laugh, which is often, I visit it and giggle.
Today, however, I was kinda disappointed. Jon at Stuff Christian’s Like made a blurb about children in church in one of his posts.
Occasionally, someone feels there kid is too old or young or special or tired or
delicate to attend child care or Sunday School. So they bring him in the church,
squirt Capri Suns down his throat for energy and then pretend they don’t hear
him wailing through the entire service. Oh, but the eagle hears. The eagle hears
all. With the softest approach in the game, the eagle would lightly pick up the
child, carry him away and drop him in a ball pit outside with all the other
crying kids. (Am I the only one that thinks this way?)
Then the comments on this were in agreeance. One person even said these kids should be thrown into a pit.
Now, maybe I am over sensitive when it comes to kids but I think he and his commenters are taking the wrong approach. I know Jon only meant to poke fun but he has quite the large readership and I think that making parents feel silly or wrong about taking their kids to big church with them is just the opposite of what Jesus told us to do in Matthew 19:14&15. The same instance is mentioned in all four of the gospels.
I also am of the opinion that church is not about ‘me’ and ‘what I can get from it’. It is not a place of selfishness where our own comfort is paramount to others around us.
I don’t believe that our children were ever meant to be separated from us during the church service. If anybody can point me to a biblical reference where Jesus said anything remotely like, “Hey Paul, go take the kids over there on the next hill and have them color a bunch of fish and some loaves of bread.” then I will gladly take back this entire post. In actuality the Bible tells us quite the opposite when it comes to children.
I think the idea of sending kids away for the service is a very worldly idea that really took shape when parents started losing control over their kids’ behavior. Children’s church has become a daycare; a place for moms to send their kids so they can have a moment to relax.
I need to kind of veer a bit here to help make a point.
Most kids go off to school everyday. Their school work is very important, must be completed, checked by parents, and turned back in. Their books are filled with knowledge and they do work in them every single day. They are drilled in spelling and practice writing their letters to achieve perfection. They are taught about our government and historical figures like Lincoln, Washington, and Revere. They memorize and learn 5 days a week for about 7 hours a day.
Then, there is Sunday morning church. For about 60 to 90 minutes children are separated from their families and taught about a Bible story. The story of Jonah is read while the children color a picture of a cartoon fish with a little man sticking out of his mouth. Animal crackers or cheese fish are distributed along with some red dye number 2 in liquid form.
Parents come to pick their kids up, look at the colored picture to be stuck to the refrigerator, maybe ask their child what was learned, and then that is it.
Something seems very wrong with this picture.
Now, I don’t have a problem with cartoon pictures of Bible stories. That is not my quarrel. In truth, we enjoy the silly cartoons of Bob and Larry and my kids enjoy coloring and brightly colored characters. Cartoons in themselves, in my opinion, aren’t to blame. My beef is that there is so little emphasis these days on family in the church. Public schools do a better job at trying to keep the parents involved in their child’s formal education than the church does at getting the parents involved in their child’s spiritual education. The first thing that today’s churches do is separate the family. What kind of statement is that making?
I do understand the frustrations of loud and whining children in church. I also find it distracting when children are allowed to walk about in their pews or change seats as they see fit. The solution to this is not to cause the children to leave big church each Sunday. This is not helping the parents at all and is certainly not a positive move for the kids. A good solution would be a pastor and fellow church members who preached and encouraged the truth of proper biblical discipline. Parents are no longer held accountable for their kids behavior. Instead, the church has enabled parents to ignore the issues by sending the kids away and replacing sound biblical teaching with a one hour cartoon character lesson.
I have heard the argument that children learn best when the stories are provided to them in fun, colorful, child-like ways. I disagree with this and today’s youth is my proof. Teaching a child a Bible story with cartoon animals sticking their heads out of cartoon portholes has not proven to bring anybody closer to salvation. Giving children a firm family foundation where the family worships with, learns with, and teaches each other about the Bible, Christ, and salvation has shown to bring them a close relationship with Christ, a firm foundation in their faith, and an overall respect for parental authority.
This foundation starts with a family who is a part of God’s church. But the church today is separating our families at every turn. Everything is done apart from each other. Children are sent to children’s church during the service and they are separated from us during Bible study groups. When does the church encourage families to be together? They might preach ‘family time’ but what they say and do is contradictory.
What do we do now? Stand up for your family! Find a church that welcomes the family together. Get biblical advice if your children are out of line! And surround yourself with a circle of like-minded families who your children can bond with.
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