Things I didn't learn in Sunday School

Some of the frustration I've felt over the years about the stuff we never got taught in Sunday School comes out -- I've got a new "Opening the Bible" blog entry at i.ucc. It's called "Ever after?"

All the stories I read as a child that seem to end with "and they lived happily ever after" need to tell the rest of the story. This week's Bible passage (1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14) also needs a little more so that we don't get fooled into thinking that Solomon did everything right from that day forward.
I remember hearing the Bible story of how Solomon asked for wisdom when God offered him anything he wanted. In Sunday school the teachers would sum things up with a phrase like, "Solomon asked for wisdom and God gave him wisdom. If you ask for wisdom God will give it to you.
I think I'm holding a grudge about that. I had this idea of how wonderful Solomon was and that he did great things and that I should try to be wise like Solomon.When I learned more of the story I felt like I'd been cheated out of the truth. I thought that my teachers didn't think that I would believe in God if I knew that the people I learned about in Sunday school were far from perfect.

I don't want to have that happen anymore.

In this week's Bible passage, we see that Solomon asked for wisdom. But there's so much more to the story. Solomon was far from perfect. He made many mistakes. He didn't always use this wonderful wisdom God promised him with. Solomon let the temple -- the glorious place -- become a place poisoned with power and corruption. He built temples to many other gods and made poor decisions when it came to taxes and even raising his children. He was a great example of people -- even great people -- messing up in huge ways.

And God still got to be the one who was able to get things done.

Why couldn't we remember as Solomon as the king who messed up royally and that God still loved him? Solomon made mistake after mistake and God still got things done.

I believe God will continue to love us and get things done -- sometimes through us, sometimes with us and often times in spite of us -- ever after.


steve said...

Right -- I think Bible stories of holy works built by the hands of imperfect sinners would encourage any hearer to be more hopeful -- and truthful with others and with one's self.

So why do you suppose adults left those details out of the lessons at your (and my) sunday school? What might the root issues (and possible solutions) be?

Kirk said...

I think some teachers leave out the details because they don't know them themselves. It probably started with people who didn't think we could handle reading the rest of the story -- lest we start to think.
What's a possible solution? I think encouraging students, even from a young age, to dig deeper into the Bible is a start.