Beyond one-size-fits-all

17 08 2011

We in North America stand at a crossroads, unsure of the direction that the mass of our congregations will take us.  Will we follow the path of words and reexamine how we can know and experience God through the illumination of the mind?  Perhaps we will traverse the road of action and take up the causes of the oppressed, downtrodden, and poor.  Maye we will walk along the symbol-centered trail, wondering together about the great mysteries of the almighty God.  Maybe we’ll maintain a focus on how God touches our innermost being through emotion.  Whatever direction the church takes, one thing is certain: without a balanced tension of the four spiritual styles, we risk falling into an aberration, or extreme form of one style and leaving behind those people who walk along different paths.  In order to avoid such a sad situation, churches must engage in practices that can nurture people — especially children — from each and every spiritual style.  We can transform our congregations into places of harmonious dissonance. (Csinos, 151)

This is the thesis of the book.  This is the moment of action called upon by Csinos.  What will the North American church do?  Will it change its structure for children’s ministry or will it progress as it always has done?

Clearly, Csinos calls for change.  He wants to see the church move beyond a one-size-fits-all approach and into a well rounded structure of ministry.  This will take work.  This will take creativity.  This will call curriculum writers (whether in church or out of church) to revamp how they write curriculum to meet the different spiritual needs of children.

Only when an environment is created that nurtures and speaks to the inquisitiveness of a word-centered spirituality, the affective nature of an emotion-centered spirituality, the wonder and mystery of a symbol-centered spirituality, and the quest for justice of an an action-centered spirituality, can a church honestly say that it is including all children. (Csinos, 152)

We are a far cry from that point.  Csinos’ book is a wonderful first step into a larger, spiritual world of children.  I hope that this conversation can continue well into the 21st century as we see children as spiritual beings with spiritual needs that need to be met.

We tend to cater to one form of spiritual need.  It is time to move beyond and meet the needs of our kids spirituality.

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