As you know, the Narrative Lectionary follows a school calendar as well as a liturgical one. We spend the Fall semester in the Hebrew Scripture and the Spring semester in a Gospel. I chose to preach the Narrative Lectionary because I want to connect my congregation with the Biblical stories. And I would love for them to go deeper in the texts than just our worship hour. So I approached the Life Mosaic curriculum with great hope.
But the opening words of it left me scrambling for identifiers: For what age was this curriculum created? Without any note on the sample, I assumed this text was for adults, but the activities reminded me of youth groups. What’s the theological underpinning of the text? The guide definitely has some markers of conservative theology (which is not my background). What’s the education level of the learners? The lesson was simple… way too simple for members, a large percentage of whom have post-graduate degrees.
“Does Yahweh keep [humans in creation] under a tight rein or give them freedom to use creation as their own possession?”
This text asks questions as if there are only two possibilities. God’s complete control or our selfishness. It is possible that God’s good creation was created for us to partner with God, rather than only for God.
“Adam and Eve were not free to set their own agenda or ‘actualize’ themselves.”
Weren’t they? Couldn’t it have been that the Tree of Good and Evil is actualization itself? Isn’t it the opportunity for choice?
“The serpent asked a question that demoted God and his command to objects for discussion. Eve joined in this strange new discourse, setting in motion a downward train of events… The cost of such conversations is the loss of God’s friendship.”
As far as I can tell, God’s friendship never went away—following all the patriarchs and matriarchs of the Hebrew Bible through to Jesus’ friendship with the disciples, and God’s friendship with the early church and even to today.
As to the activity portion of the lesson, I think it may work for a high school class, but I cannot imagine an adult group enjoying things like “Have someone in your group act as an attorney for Adam and Eve,” or “Designate someone in your group as a news reporter and someone else as the serpent from Genesis.”
Finally, the application even seemed shaky to me. The lesson likens the Fall to someone making a “selfish choice,” which seems trite and quite the oversimplication. I want more. Deeper. More theologically dense.
I want a curriculum for the Narrative Lectionary, but I’ll be waiting for the 2.0 version of it.
Rev. Lia Scholl is not-that-kind-of-Baptist preacher and pastor in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (U.S.) and is the author of I Heart Sex Workers (Chalice Press, 2013).
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