This year at work, I’ve had an odd influx of students completing book projects about the Bible. I think they’re under the impression that going to church every Sunday earns them ‘A’s on anything church-related. However, very few of them actually follow through and READ the Bible before turning their projects in.
Student: “Is it alright if I do this quarter’s book project on the Bible?”
Ms. James: “Absolutely. However, you probably want to narrow it down a bit because the Bible is a pretty long book. You should pick a few books out of the Bible and just focus on those. Which books do you most want to read?”
Student: “I don’t know - probably the psalms and maybe Acts.”
Ms. James: “Okay, well you need to make sure you still read the same number of pages as the rest of your peers, and you need to actually read it, because I’m shockingly familiar with the Bible and WILL notice if you don’t read.”
Student: “My dad’s a pastor… I think I got this.” (Oh, the hubris of that little snot!)
Eight weeks later, student turns in his project. Let’s say the assignment is to create a new and original book jacket for the book and write a page explaining how that jacket represents the story and its theme. Student turns in a neon pink sheet of paper with a Google image of Jesus walking on water. Then, he writes: ”The theme of the Bible is that anything can overcome a greater force by what they believe in.” The student goes on to write that “Jesus looks at you with his deep eyes saying that he believes in you.”
While that’s very touching, and works well with the younger kids in VBS, I have to give this project a zero. And I feel pretty bad about it, but, come on, kid. You said you were reading the psalms and Acts… Jesus doesn’t walk on water in either of those books. In fact, Jesus doesn’t really show up in the flesh in either of those books. Additionally, the theme you’ve written is in complete opposition to what Jesus actually says… He says that HE is the force that overcomes, right?
So… sometimes we churchgoers like to make fun of ourselves, because anytime a leader or pastor asks us something and we aren’t sure about the answer, we tentatively say, “Jesus???” with a coy grin, which is essentially what these kids are turning in for their book projects… but, sadly, Jesus isn’t always the right answer. Sometimes, it’s important to actually read the Bible, comprehend it, and remember.