Grandma’s Bible Classes: Katia’s Story

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HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Katia’s blog Redeemed Aspie. It was originally published on March 7, 2014.

….And when the soldiers came, the brave little girl took the Bible and ran out to the garden and hid it under some cabbages… On Grandma S’s flannelgraph board was a picture of a little girl hiding a Bible under some cabbages. Grandma S was teaching her weekly Bible class, and this week we were learning about early Christians who were persecuted for their faith. I forget the rest of the story, but as a plant loving youngster, the idea of hiding a Bible under cabbages intrigued me. At the conclusion of class when we drew pictures and snacked, I drew a picture of the girl hiding a Bible under the cabbages and Grandma S wrote on the picture what it was.

Grandma S, my maternal grandmother, moved to Indiana from Ohio to live with us when I was 7. She needed a way to way to stay busy and loved her Lord and grandchildren. Holding a weekly Bible class for her four grandchildren enabled her to stay busy and show her love for both Lord and grandchildren.

Using a flannelgraph, drawings, or books with large illustrations, Grandma S taught us all the Bible stories Christian children learn — David and Goliath, Elijah, the Christmas story, the Easter story, Jesus’ parables etc. She also taught stories about missionaries, early Christians, Christian concepts, and the stories behind Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July.

Grandma S was a quiet, sober, simple, independent woman. Yet using her simple media, she held her four grandchildren (and later two friends of those grandchildren) spellbound as she gave her lessons. Even though I secretly disliked formal religious services, I don’t remember being bored with Grandma S’s stories. At the time of Grandma S’s Bible classes, we were attending a homechurch with no children’s Sunday School.

Grandma S’s Bible classes filled that void.

Each Bible class began and ended with prayer. Often Grandma let one of us children do the praying. Next up: singing. Each of us children got to choose a song. Because I loved animals, I usually chose “The Birds Upon the Treetops”

“The birds upon the treetops;

Sing their songs.

The angels chant the chorus,

All day long.

So why shouldn’t I?

Why shouldn’t you?

Praise Him too.

After we sang, Grandma S gave her Bible lesson. At the conclusion of class, Grandma gave us a snack and drawing materials. As we enjoyed the snack, we drew pictures of what we learned or other thing that interested us. Grandma posted each new picture on her refrigerator and kept all of our pictures in the folders she kept for her grandchildren.

Sometimes Grandma would give us a word and have us try to get as many words from it as possible. Today all four of her grandchildren love books and are good writers.

Grandma S’s Bible classes were something I took for granted. Only now as an adult do I see their value and treasure the few memories I have of them. Only now do I see the hard work and love Grandma S put into each class. Only now do I see her wisdom in letting us draw what we wanted after class, even when what we drew had nothing to do with what she had taught.

Grandma was a woman of God and understood the importance of letting a child voice what he had just learned or experienced in order to understand it.

And only now do I see the great blessing of learning those Bible truths from my grandmother in her quiet, simple way. Had I been in a loud Sunday school that used the latest technological media and involved complicated crafts and lots of people, I would not have learned those truths so thoroughly and treasure the memories so much.

Grandma S’s Bible classes ended the year I turned 14 when my older brother got a job and she got sick. Before the year was gone, Grandma S fell asleep in her Lord in the spot where she’d given so many Bible classes with Mom and I at her side.

I’ve written this in the room where Grandma S gave her Bible classes and fell asleep in Jesus. As I think of her, the day a trumpet sounds and we are reunited at the feet of Jesus in the rapture cannot come soon enough.

Let’s Talk About Christian Culture and Consent

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Note from R.L. Stollar, HA Community Coordinator: The following post does not mention “homeschooling” in any way. It is more about the Christian culture in which many of our homeschooling experiences occurred. But since many of our particular homeschooling experiences occurred within this culture, this post is very relevant. After reading Kathryn’s thoughts, I, too, tried to remember when any of the modesty or purity teachings I received about relationships — in both my church and homeschooling environments — included any discussion about consent. Like Kathryn, I was at a loss. In retrospect, I find this omission rather disturbing.

HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Kathryn Brightbill’s blog The Life and Opinions of Kathryn Elizabeth, Person. It was originally published on August 1, 2013.

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Let’s Talk About Christian Culture and Consent

A friend made a comment on one of my Facebook posts today that got me thinking.

The comment was about how a lot of people in the Church don’t have any kind of sexual ethic, just a bunch rules that they follow. I think that’s a good description of how it is that people buy into slippery slope arguments—the old, “if we allow people to gay marry, then what’s to stop them from toaster marrying?” logic.

If you’ve got a sexual ethic based on consent, then the answer is obvious: because toasters are incapable of consent.

If you are just operating by rules, then it makes sense that you’d think that if one of your rules gets tossed then what’s to stop all your rules from going out the window.

The comment on my Facebook post made me realize that in all of the years of growing up in the Church, of getting lectures about abstinence in Sunday school and youth group and True Love Waits, I cannot remember a single mention of consent. I remember Dawson McAllister coming to town to a True Love Waits event and telling us that anal sex was still sex and not a way to remain a virgin (which is not a bad piece of information, incidentally, though really rather stupid if the only reason you’re telling them is to make sure they remain more than just technical virgins), but for all of the talk about what you couldn’t do, the only talk about saying “no” was about not sinning.

I’ve racked my brain trying to remember even a single time that I’ve ever heard consent mentioned in a church-related setting growing up and I can’t remember a single one. 

By not teaching about consent, you produce girls who don’t know that they can refuse consent for any other reason than “it’s a sin,” and you produce boys who have never been taught that no means no. That’s a recipe for disaster. Is conservative abstinence education turning boys into accidental rapists and girls into easy victims because neither one has been educated about consent being an inviolable element in a sexual encounter?

I put this question out there on Facebook and Twitter and I’ll ask it here as well. For those of you who grew up in the church and were lectured about abstinence in youth group/Sunday school/True Love Waits/etc.:

Do any of you remember being taught about consent?