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Spiritual matters

Don't let story-telling detract from truth of Bible

October 13, 2010 - Mark 10:13-16 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, "Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it." And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

As children we always wanted to delay our bedtime, or at least our falling asleep, so at any and every opportunity, we would ask for a glass of water, a bedtime story, or some other time waster. As a child, we did this every time that we had a baby sitter.

They would always begin, Once upon a time in a land far, far away, a little boy and a little girl who were a lot like you… and the yarn would unfold, detail upon detail would be presented, and then at the end we would hear, and they lived happily ever after. You knew from the very second that you heard Once upon a time, that this was going to be a whopper as we used to call them, where the only truth in the entire presentation were the words. It was pure fiction… but we loved it.

Today, when children hear of something like this, they too know it is fiction, their first clue is the word "story." When they hear the word "story" they are ready for something made up, an untruth. Children in our schools today are taught that stories are fictional, accounts are true. Now as parents who believe in the bible, we go to the "bible book store" and buy a "bible story book." Since stories are not true as children are taught them today, they immediately think of the bible as fiction… just a story with a happy ending.

When our children grow up, even when many of our young parents today grew up, we see that they have been indoctrinated to stories in this same way. In Sunday School, the teacher say's, lets read our "Bible Story," and our children are happy because they get another story which in their mind is a great yarn, told to amuse them, where the facts are far and few between… great stories, you bet, but true? That depends on your definition of "story," but in their minds, they were not true. Instead, they see something that is total fiction.

When we look in our churches, often we don't see many young people, and we wonder why. Well, if you were told that what you were hearing was just a story, with little or not truth to it by your definition, what would make you want to come to hear more? We are so busy in this day and age that we don't have time for stories…

It is time that we stop telling bible stories and begin to tell bible accounts. The words that we speak don't change, what we heard as a story, can be retold word for word, as an account and the children are thrilled. They want to hear about Adam and Eve, David and Goliath, or even Jesus birth. But instead of telling them what they understand to be a fictional story, tell them the account of Adam and Eve, or David and Goliath, or Jesus Birth… tell them the true account!

Semantics, maybe, but today, we use the word "Story" in a different way than we did even 40 or 50 years ago! Therefore, the next time that you read to your children or grandchildren from the bible, tell them the bible account. They will quickly come to see it as the truth, and not biblical fiction. In another 20 years, I suspect that you will see more children believing in Christ because they know it is true, and not biblical fiction.

The Rev. Kelly Todd is pastor of Christ Lutheran Church.

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