Sunday, April 11, 2010

Troubling History


Today we tackled some more difficult subjects in Sunday School, and we had a bit more talk and depiction of violence than usual.

Because today we talked about the crusades. The kids had heard of the crusades before, but they didn't know much about them. In the days of history textbooks controlled by the Texas Board of Education, the idea that Christians had committed atrocities in Jerusalem isn't getting a lot of classroom attention.

Our 4th-6th grade class has been doing a curriculum I wrote to accompany the PBS documentary, Jerusalem: Center of the World. The documentary is very well done, and the class consists of watching one chapter each week and then doing projects and discussion around the film. Today, the kids engaged in a very mature discussion of how the crusades were a violation of the faith and religion that inspired them. I love when kids can grapple with troubling issues, and they really did that so well today.

And then our 1st-3rd grade class was learning about Muhammad today, with a lesson I put together using the picture book by Demi. Completely without prompting, the kids launched from that book into a discussion of how much they "believed" in Muhammad, Moses, and Jesus. They were comparing the miracle stories and the messages, and they brought up ideas about how it could look like water had turned to blood, etc. The teacher explained what metaphor means, and I was just so proud of those kids!

It was one of those days, when I just felt like they got it, and everything worked.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful way to teach kids about the crusades. It is something that can't be skipped or minimized, because the effects are being felt even today. How can anyone teach history without acknowledging that Christians (and members of other religious groups) have committed atrocities in the name of faith? It sounds almost Orwellian.