Serious Sunday school before that magical age of eighteen for our little siblings and kids to learn to know the Bible:
- Creeds, because these are the Church’s summations of what God’s word testifies to, our King Jesus Christ.
- The Lord’s Prayer given to the Church to be prayed by the community and to shape and model all our approach to prayer.
- Public oral reading of Scripture, with clarity, dignity and the real feeling of the text. On the other end of reading, listening attentively and (dare I say it?) meditatively to the word read as God’s very word.
- Music. If we’re musically illiterate, here’s where we get to learn. Why? Because some parts of the Bible are meant to be sung, and we learn most of our theology through our hymns – and no, you don’t need a guitar or a piano for everything. If possible, the reading of both modern music staves for metred music and neumes for unmetred music. And some actually theologically substantive things to sing, of course.
- Parallelism, chiasm, all those things that structure biblical literary thought. How to read (syntactically parse) a long Pauline sentence, if necessary. Generally, how to read a text in relation to itself, especially to see what’s central to a text and what’s a supporting concern to that text.
- How to read the Bible as a whole canon, with especial attention to conscious reference to other works, by the same author or a different author. Unfanciful typological interpretation of Scripture on the very model of the New Testament’s Christological interpretation of the Old Testament. Not flattening tensions in the biblical texts.
- And we assume there’s something called preaching that teaches the whole counsel of Scripture from the relentless perspective of the gospel.
If the regular school won’t do it, you need some way, don’t you?
The challenge, of course, is that teaching these things requires a much more developed skill set. So why do I think this can succeed? Because the Protestant reformers, it seems, succeeded in something similar (pardon the alliteration, but I just had to). On the other hand, it seems this time around most of us have lost certain skills too in the course of modernity. Can it still be done? I think so.
And yes, I’m aware that teaching kids is already a demanding task.
Still, what do you think?