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December 17, 2015 / BTM

Could Santa Erode a Child’s Faith?

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Did you grow up with Santa?  If so, how did you feel when you found out that Santa wasn’t real?

I did grow up with Santa, and I distinctly remember feeling foolish when I discovered that he was a hoax.  The reason I felt foolish was because I had ‘fallen’ for a lie – one that all the adults in my life knew wasn’t true but told me anyway.

Years later when I had children of my own, I had very mixed feelings about introducing Santa to them.  I’ve discovered that I’m not the only one who feels this way about Santa.  In fact, there are a number of prominent atheists who feel this way about the idea of Santa – to the point that they think Santa plays against Christianity.

Could playing the Santa game weaken your child’s faith? Read more…

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December 11, 2015 / BTM

Mom – Is There a Heaven Floating Around Somewhere?

 

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A while ago I mentioned that we are trying to encourage our kids to begin to think about and ask questions about their faith.  This post is related to a question that our 10-year old recently asked.

Our kids seem to be fascinated with heaven lately.  In a nutshell, here is how I understood the question: if we had a telescope powerful enough, could we find heaven floating (presumably on a cloud?) out there somewhere.

The questions betrays a lot about the ideas behind it.  This is helpful in learning more about how your kids view or understand spiritual concepts.  Quite frankly, however, I think a lot of adults might imagine heaven in a similar way.  Get someone off the street to describe heaven and they’ll likely talk about clouds and harps and an old man with a long white beard named God.

What should we expect heaven to look like and where exactly is it?

Read more…

December 3, 2015 / BTM

6 Advent Calendar Ideas to Help You Keep Christ in Christmas This Year

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I like using an advent calendar at Christmas to count down the days to Dec 25th. Plus, we always make sure that our advent calendars have a purpose.

But it’s Dec 3rd already! Have you thought about what you’ll do to keep Christ in your Christmas this year?

Here are six different ideas that you could choose from this advent to prepare your children (and family) for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. All of these will enable you to teach Christian theology to your kids over Christmas.

Read more…

November 29, 2015 / BTM

The Best Thing My Parents Ever Did For Me

 

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I recently had the chance to talk with a young man in his early twenties about his faith and his upbringing.  I’m always interested in hearing people’s stories about how they navigated doubts and challenges to their faith.  This is partly because I do not come from a Christian home and have no experience with doubting the faith I was raised with, nor with trying to make it my own.

As a mom of two boys, I was particularly interested in what this young man had to say about his struggles in making is faith his own, as well as the most important things that his parents did to help him navigate the process.

I was surprised at his response.

Read more…

November 20, 2015 / BTM

What are the Major Differences Between the Explanations for the Origin of Everything?

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Last week I shared six stories I’d used with our kids to illustrate the major differences between six explanations for the origin of the universe, life, and humans. Reading these stories will get you a long way toward understanding some of the major differences between these explanations. However, analyzing them – even at a child’s level – will reveal some interesting trends.

Here’s more on how we used the exercise from last week to learn interesting things about how different groups explain the origin of everything.

Read more…

November 11, 2015 / BTM

In the Beginning … 6 Stories to Illustrate the Origin of Life and the Universe to Kids

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A while ago I shared some activities I’d done with our kids to help them understand some of the evidence for God that we see in science and the natural world.  I called the series of activities Finding the Fingerprints of God (you’ll find links to these activities on this page).

The Finding the Fingerprints of God activities focus a lot on what didn’t happen – e.g. the universe couldn’t have sprung into existence unaided; life couldn’t have formed spontaneously in some warm little pool; etc.  What the Fingerprints of God activities didn’t answer was what did happen.

I’ve been wanting to discuss the various explanations (often called ‘theories’ in pop culture) for the origin of the universe, the origin of life, and the emergence of humans with my kids ever since.  Two weeks ago on a PD Day, I finally did.

Do you know how many different explanations there are to account for the origin of the universe, the origin of life, the emergence of humans?

If you said two – creation and evolution – you’ve got too few.

If you think there are three – creation, evolution, and theistic evolution (God exists but uses evolution in various ways) – you still have too few.

How about four – old-earth creation, young-earth creation, theistic evolution, and evolution?  Getting closer, but you’re still not there.

Gerald Rau, in his book Mapping the Origins Debate argues for six explanations: old-earth creation, young-earth creation, naturalistic evolution, and three categories of theistic evolution because this category has such a broad range of ideas on the beginning of everything that it can’t be treated as one category.

To make this whole exercise fun and memorable, I rewrote the Genesis 1-2 account from the viewpoint of each of these explanations.

 

Read more…

November 5, 2015 / BTM

Helping Kids Learn to Ask Questions About Their Faith

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Back in April of 2014, I shared how we were trying to get our kids into the habit of asking questions about their faith in order to assist them in making their faith their own (i.e. not borrowed from us).  We found a way to do this by piggybacking on the ‘Wonder Wednesdays’ concept that our kids’ school uses to encourage questions in the classroom.  Each Wednesday at dinnertime, we invited our kids to ask us questions about God and faith.  There were no restrictions on the number or nature of the questions.  We would then take the time either to discuss answers to the questions over dinner or research the answers and get back to them about their questions.

It’s been a bit of an eye opening experience for a number of reasons that I wanted to share with you.  There have been some positives and some negatives, and a lot of learning and insights on our part with this activity.  I’ve been trying to think about how we can improve our ability to keep the concept going and instill the habit of asking questions in our kids and as a family.  Here are some specific lessons learned from our journey in trying to develop this habit.

Read more…