The Big God Story: Creation
In the beginning…
I had an idea about how to teach the Bible as the central stories of Christian life, but also a way that respected science, questions, and the real ways the Bible was put together that we’d do differently now given what we know about everything from human development, reproduction, sexuality, gender, race, and class.
I know so many young people who are rejecting the Church because they can’t stomach the Bible.
So, is there a way to talk about the stories of faith that center the story on love, goodness, accountability, and being in right relationship with one another and also inspire young people to feel connected to Spirit, their own souls, community, and the practices of our faith?
The Big God Story of Love, Light, & Action is my way at getting at that.
When I was growing up Evangelical, there was a lot of emphasis on knowing the stories of the text. Everything we needed for faithfulness was there, right? But I kept experiencing the text being used as a weapon to hurt people—people I loved and whose faithful hearts to God’s love transcended the ideas of right belief. What do I mean by that? Right belief is like a checklist. Believe in the virgin birth? Check. You have a right belief. Believe God loves certain people—straight, cis gendered, white, wealthy, conservative people—more than brown, black, gay, lesbian, transgender, poor, hungry, addicted people? Check. You have right belief. Right belief is not limited to things in the Bible. Right belief has become a way to separate us from one another.
I don’t believe in Right Belief! I believe in Right Relationships. Sin, for me, is when we act in ways that take us away from our authentic self—that person of integrity within each of us—or act in ways that break relationship with others or God. When we put Right Belief ahead of Right Relationships, we’re dead in the water. That gay child telling his parents his deepest truth who is rejected for Right Belief experiences the sin of a broken relationship not by being authentic but by his parents putting something—anything—ahead of loving their child just as they are.
Love must win. Everything else is sin.
But love doesn’t always win, does it? Too often we pick Right Belief over Right Relationships. Also, we face people who are not on the side of love—love that is active, difficult, and messy. Our emotional and spiritual muscles get stretched and bruised.
The Big God Story is also my attempt to use the stories of the Bible to talk about ways to build emotional and spiritual muscles.
Emotional muscles are about how we treat one another and ourselves. We work on our own stuff. If we get mad, we honor our anger, but we don’t let it be an instrument of destruction. If we are hurt, we honor our pain, but we don’t cause pain. As I tell my daughter, “It’s okay to hurt in your heart, but it’s not okay to hurt with your body—yourself or anyone else.” Emotional muscles don’t just appear! Like physical ones, we have to work on them and the workouts always have the same flow. Something breaks down, we feel pulled apart a bit, we have to repair, and then the muscle is stronger.
Spiritual muscles are about why we treat one another and ourselves with loving-kindness. Our spiritual muscles are about knowing who we are—our identity as God’s children—and knowing that all of those around us are God’s as well. Too often I hear people get up in arms about “identity politics.” What I think is really happening is that one group of people is saying to another, “You’re not really as human as we are because…” and the other group is asserting that, yes, indeed, they too are human and deserving of respect. This is a spiritual—not political—issue! If you claim that you are God’s child, you cannot claim someone else is not. And if you hear someone saying there are those who are not God’s, you can stop right there and know that they are someone not worth your time or attention. Spiritual muscles include discernment, peace-making, justice for the poor, disabled, and marginalized, healing, and protection of the planet.
The Big God Story is about the Bible as salve to our wounds. It’s about retelling the same stories in a different light. It’s about healing ourselves and our planet. It’s about remembering that we are good! We came from the Garden, live in the Garden, and must love the Garden for all it provides.
Every story is accompanied by a ritual. Sometimes the ritual is mediation or prayer. Sometimes it is something we make. Sometimes it is Praying in Color. Often it is prayer beads. The friends ALWAYS loved prayer beads. I will do more on Spiritual Kids and rituals in the future, but you will be able to read about the ritual we used for the main stories of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures in the PDF for this story.
To download a PDF with the Creation Story click here.
To see a schematic of what I used for Children’s Worship click here.
To see a supply list of what I found worked well for me click here. (No affiliate links, as per my policy.)
My YouTube Channel also has a video of the whole Children’s Worship Storytelling Cabinet.