Beth Barnett has written a beautiful post about how church communities imagine children and their role in congregations and the world. She outlines six images of children (proposed by Marcia Bunge) and then adds one of her own: the measure by which we assess our culture and community.
On the whole, our so called church ‘communities’ are configured around the base unit of the individual human.
Children remind us that this vision of human is a falsity: we are unable to live individually, and our pretensions to do so distort and impoverish us. The call of the gospel is to relationship, community, to serving others. The gospel liberates us to live other-oriented lives in the primary and inaugurated template of the crucified Christ.
How we understand and practice faith with children says a lot about who we are as people of faith. What do your understandings and practices say about you? What our congregational understandings and practices say about us?