15 June 2004
O Lord, won't you buy me a PlayStation 2
Abigail's been given one of those Teen Study Bibles, and she is not impressed with its approach:
Throughout the Teen Bible there are extra pages on things such as school, guilt, parents, dating, death, and others. They feature a dictionary definition of the word and an alternate "teen" definition. Then they give a little bite of Scripture for each one. Here are some of the "teen" definitions: School "a place where teens have to learn stuff adults never use but say teens will need someday" Prayer "talking to the ceiling and wondering if anybody's listening" Church "what you have to get dressed up for so you can be bored for an hour at a morning service" Parents "adults whose actions often drive teenagers crazy" Siblings "a monster, younger or older than you are, who lives in your house but couldn't possibly be related to you or any other human being". Yup, that's what it means to be a teen. But you would think the church of all institutions would try to fight against that mindset!
It is automatically assumed these days that anyone in this age group is motivated most strongly by snarkiness; a spoonful of smartass, the publishers are sure, makes the eternal verities go down.
This strikes me as counterproductive. What teenagers want more than anything else is to finally get into adulthood, to be what they imagine is "grown up"; when a church is telling you to wallow in your adolescence, it dilutes any other message.
Abigail is smart enough to see this:
I'd rather have all teens thinking of church as boring than having those who are devoted to it slighted by this demeaning of it. It's mortifying how low the dignity of the Bible has to sink to be considered "cool".
Not to mention the dignity of the teens trying to understand it; even if they're getting Scripture intact, the wrappings serve to dumb it down. Were I her age, I think I'd be insulted by a package like this.