Thursday, February 9, 2017

An Amazingly Thorough, yet Whimsical Theology Course wrapped up in a Children's Book

Consistency is not my strongest suit but I have more than learned the value of good habits and routines. One practice that has started to "stick" fairly well in my boys and my daily rhythm is "Morning Time"-this happens after breakfast and chores and before I do any individual school subjects with the boys separately. We all gather at the dining room table and enjoy a "broad feast"-not of food, but ideas. We start with a quick prayer, go over our AWANA verses and read a section of the bible for our Bible Road Trip. We focus on learning a new song from Songs for Saplings each week, they offer some great catechisms set to catchy tunes. We also cover some fun, out of the ordinary ways to learn math, church history, and the boys love our time for nursery rhymes and a silly poem. The point of Morning Time is not academic but to connect as a family and focus on things that are good, true and beautiful. 

A book that I had on my wishlist for some time and was so excited to incorporate into our Feast was The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever New by Marty Machowski. This book is incredible, really. When I think of the good, true and beautiful, I picture this book. Machowski offers a dense and rich spread of theological truth written towards kids, but just as nourishing for adults and wraps it up in a gorgeous, heirloom quality format of a book. One of the tag lines from the publishers is "A beginner s book of systematic theology in the form of a beautifully illustrated storybook." I think this is really the perfect way to sum up what this book is. It truly is a very comprehensively laid out theology course in the form of an engaging children's story. 

It begins by introducing us to our main characters- Carla and Timothy who are exploring their church building when they discover not only a secret underground stairway but also a mysterious package that beckons them to "Open and Read". Within is a letter explaining that they have in their hands a last of it's kind historic children's book that teaches the Theology, the study of God. And so begins our journey with Carla and Timothy thru The Ology. 

The book is very systematic about it's teaching approach and I think that's perfect to make sure even the youngest child can begin but also make sure the more advanced student has a through and solid foundation. It starts with The Ology of God, which covers the attributes of who God is. Then, we move to The Ology of People where we're reminded of our creation and first parents. Next, we have to face the hard facts in The Ology of Sin which does a great job of clearly explaining to children what sin and it's consequences are, both at the first instance in the Garden and in their lives now. The Ology of the Promise and the Law explains God's "rescue plan" and how the law was first introduced and what it's purpose is.

 The hope comes with The Ology of Christ when children are told of Jesus' divine and human aspects and what all he did for us. Things go a little deeper still when we get to The Ology of the Holy Spirit and learn of the introduction of the Holy Spirit to the first believers and how it is with us now. The Ology of Adoption into God's Family gives us many reminders of our truest identity. The Ology of Change I think is where things start transitioning to being a great challenge and lesson to older children, past the basics of what God has done for us and focused in on how we can live for him. This section deals with how we can grow and have victory in Christ and I'm thinking my oldest who just turned 6 would really get a lot out of these lessons at his stage in understanding the faith. The Ology of the Church does a wonderful job of explaining what the purpose of the Church is and why we need to be a part of it. A much helpful to teaching parents section on The Ology of the End Times gives some great insight into the tricky subject of "things to come". And the whole book is tied up nicely with the last chapter The Ology of God's Word where we are reminded of the importance and power of this book we're studying so in depth. 

Each "lesson" is short and concise with coordinating scripture and a whimsical illustration to engage kids. There is so much packed into this volume that I don't foresee us getting through it any time too soon and I am totally ok with that. Like any delightful thing you want to draw it out, soak it up and savor it. That's most importantly, how we should feel about God's word and I think Marty Machowski has doing a wonderful job of invoking a similar feeling about the complementary study of Theology with this outstanding title. As only the best kid's books can do, I feel like this is a gift not only for them, but for me as the lucky parent who gets to read it to them. This book will be treasured by my family for many years of growth and spiritual formation to come and recommended to all my  dearest Mama friends. 

Thanks so much to New Growth Press for providing me with this title to enjoy with my children and wholeheartedly recommend to my readers.

No comments:

Post a Comment