Monday, October 05, 2009

The Whole Story

Daniel 6:24
(24) And the king commanded, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions--they, their children, and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.

I like Veggie Tales in principle. I think it is good that kids are getting exposed to Old Testament stories. They present them in ways that are fun and relevant without really compromising the story. I thought that the Jonah movie was excellent, particularly the gospel choir while Jonah was inside the fish. I've seen some of the others like "Dave and the Giant Pickle" and enjoyed them too. However, there are a couple of problems with kids learning their Bible just from Veggie Tales.

One is that they tend not to show how the stories interconnect. Jesus is the theme of Scripture. This starts explicitly in Genesis 12 with God's promises of Land, Seed, and Blessing to Abraham and implicitly in Genesis 3 with God's promise to Eve. The story of David and Goliath is great and it can certainly inspire us to have a stronger faith. However, the traditional telling neglects the fact that this fits into God's overall plan to have one of David's children sit on the throne forever. I realize that may be a bit "heady" for kids, but the Bible is fundamentally about redemption in Christ. Otherwise it is no better than Aesop's Fables.

The other problem is that they tend not to tell the whole story. The verse I quoted is what happened after Daniel was pulled from the lions' den. One would presume that they were quite hungry after God shut their mouths all night. I do like how Lily's bibles tend to show Daniel sleeping up against a huge lion. I don't think it stretches the text too far to see the lions as becoming like little kitty-cats for a night.

However, this verse shows that they are still lions. It also shows God's justice in action. The Persians didn't fool around when it came to justice. Do kids need to hear about moms and kids being torn to pieces before hitting the floor of the den? Probably not when they're little. I have a friend whose 10 year-old son thought that this was really cool. My point is simply that we need to know our Bibles well enough to fill in some of these details when the time is right. I'm all for church telling Old Testament stories. I just want to make sure that I fill in the gaps that the stories leave.

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