Along the same lines as a recent post from Abby, I had two somewhat striking moments this past weekend.
First, during our confirmation class I asked how many of them have heard the word theology. They hesitated until I said to raise their hands if they have simply heard the word — even if they couldn’t define it. Every one of them raised their hand. When I then asked if any of them could define it, every hand dropped. To be honest — I was not surprised. (This is part of what I aim to teach them in confirmation classes.)
What was more surprising was the next day. During Sunday School our lesson was focused on Paul and one of his letters. I was telling them the story of Paul’s conversion and asked them, “What’s a Christian?” It was shocking to me that none of the kids could readily give a definition without us talking through it.
Both instances were reminders to the amount of knowledge we often assume people have. Throughout our worship and education we often tend to use words and items that are not known or understood by others; creating a barrier that may never be broken down.
So as we all go through a new year of Christian Education, what are we assuming others know? What are the things we need to define clearly for our congregations? Are there barriers between children and youth and their faith that we can help to break down?