Sunday school at the Baptist church which is not on company property and was built by the miners. Lejunior, Harlan... - NARA - 541342 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
An article in the Associated Baptist Press earlier this year reported on the sad state of Sunday School in churches today. Sunday School was founded in England in the 18th century as a way to offer education to children working in factories on their only day off, and was a key feature of church life through the 20th century.
Now, however, there are signs of decline: attendance is going down, participation has become spotty, fewer teachers are available, and family activities are interfering with Sunday schedules.
Much of the problem, says Ken Meyers, minister of Christian formation and education at Knollwood Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C., is due to the fact that many churches continue to use old approaches that no longer are effective. Continue reading
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Last week, a new Bible commentary was announced that would “seek to counter a prevailing view of women’s equality in the church and home.” You can read the story on the Associated Baptist Press website.
Published by the Southern Baptist Convention, the Women’s Evangelical Commentary seeks to instruct women in “biblical womanhood,” not “just what the world says about women.”
Managing editor Rhonda Kelley says that Bible students “are just stunned” by the contrast between “what the Bible teaches about us as women” and “what the world’s perspective has been.” “Really, feminism has crept within our churches and even into our seminary homes,” she said.
It’s just one more example of the struggle between conflicting understandings of what the Bible is and how it should be read. Are the limitations on women in scripture the residue of culturally-bound attitudes, or are they the eternal intention of God for all time? Are we challenged to conform our behavior to ancient worlds and texts, or to discover new insights into our contemporary world? Who gets to decide what “biblical womanhood” is?
What do you think?