Okay, maybe not preschool style, but our featured class today deals with helping to read the Bible as youth and children would read it. Rev. Dr. Lib Caldwell, the Harold Blake Walker Professor of Pastoral Theology and Dean of Academic Advising, along with Dr. Ted Hiebert, Francis A. McGaw Professor of Old Testament, put together this class to teach students how to research, exegete, write and educate children, youth, families, and lay people about how children experience the Bible stories and wrestle with the different things that the Bible has to offer. Both professors have been heavily involved in the work of the Common English Bible, which just came out, and Lib is now helping with the Deep Blue Kids Bible, the CEB for kids.

Lib and Ted, prepping for class before semester begins!

Lib and Ted are quite the teaching team. They provide students with two professors with different backgrounds, but with the same passion for making the Bible accessible to children and youth, and also for providing parents, and adults in general, with access to help people read the Bible with children. It’s not about hoping kids won’t ask the hard questions until they are older or about hiding difficult stories from the Bible from them because they might not be ready for them; no. It’s about engaging young people, of all ages, with their parents and adults in honest conversations. Kids get it; it’s the adults who tend to be scared of the harder stories because, let’s be honest, we’re not sure how to answer a question about the rape of Dinah, or about the fact that there are 2 creation stories at the beginning of Genesis. This class helps to address this issue: how do we talk to our children about the Bible and how do we allow them to read the Bible?

As Lib and Ted’s Education Assistant, I get to see these two minds hard at work as they prep for each class and the issues they will be tackling each week. Students are challenged to think long and hard about what they are working on.

Lib Caldwell, lecturing on children's Bibles.

So, now you’re wondering, how do they actually do this? How does the class work? Well, that’s simple. First, students pick a story. Then they work through a resource provided by Lib and Ted on how to go about approaching the story. Believe it or not, to write a children’s story is a hard task, and a lot of work goes into it. It is harder to get a children’s book published than it is a book for young adults or adults. After their exegesis work and research, they put together a resource for teachers to use. Then, they actually sit down and write the story, in the language of a kid, all while staying true to the language of the Scripture (it’s much harder than you think, most people change it to something entirely different!). The final step: illustration. While the students are still thinking of how they want to illustrate, I’m researching methods of how to publish our book. We do a self-publication, but if you want one, just let the seminary know! We’re happy to sell them!

Senior, TC Anderson, getting ready to act out the story of the bent over woman in class.

Another great part of Lib and Ted’s class, are the snacks. Each week, students come together to make snacks and share them with one another. This last week, our snacks were social location/context snacks (see the photo below!). Halfway through class, students and professors take a break, chat and simply move around. It’s hard sitting for so long sometimes!

Homemade Sushi, Oreos, and Guac. It doesn't get much better than that.

Just one more class that you’ll only find at McCormick! Have questions? Send us an email: inquiry@go.mccormick.edu
Until next time! Peace!

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