Editor’s Introduction: Gun Violence and Childhood Trauma

[1] “The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.  They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11: […]

Congregational Discussion Questions: Gun Violence and Childhood Trauma

​Because this issue centers around the questions of trauma and childhood, readers might consider engaging high school and middle school youth groups in their study and discussions of these issues.  These conversations might need to be done in virtual formats or on discussion boards during the pandemic. Questions for adults to ask older children: What […]

The Messianic Reign in Isaiah 11:1-10: A Message to Foster Children Post-Traumatic Growth

Introduction [1]   Just as warfare was a cultural problem in ancient Israel, traumatizing children and adults, gun violence is a cultural problem in the United States. The impact of gun violence on children and adolescents is not only burdensome but can also be disastrous. Guns are not the only means to perpetrate harm but “the significance of gun […]

Marching for Our Lives on the Road to Jericho

Introduction [1] Gun violence and its trauma have reached epidemic proportions. The term epidemic in this instance is both a public health appraisal of the impact of gun violence as well as a metaphor that might spark the civic imagination toward a more effective response. The metaphor is apt in a number of ways: it highlights the […]

#SaveOurChildren, From Those Sworn to Protect and Serve

[1] A few weeks ago, my four-year-old daughter stood behind as my eyes swelled up with tears staring into my phone. “Mommy, what are you watching?” She asked. I explained to her that it was a video of some of the Black people who had been killed by police officers over the years. Her expression […]

Book Review Introduction

This month our three book reviews address guns and political beliefs.  The first two books offer insights directly relevant to gun violence and gun control debates.  These books are reviewed by two ELCA pastors living in Montana.  Rev. Jean Larson, who also served as Faith Outreach Leader for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in […]

Review: The Marvelous Mustard Seed

The Marvelous Mustard Seed by Amy-Jill Levine, Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, and Margauz Meganck || As a parish pastor I am constantly on the lookout for resources to support faith formation for the children in my congregation. Among my favorite resources is children’s literature. Children’s literature, good children’s literature, is a powerful way to engage children. Through literature, children are able to enter into realities far different from their own, contemplate ideas they have never before considered, or sometimes see their own lives from a different point of view. Just as Jesus’ parables lingered in the ears of his listeners, children can take ideas from books and live with them for a time. The challenge is finding the right books; books that demonstrate theological integrity and biblical accuracy with a developmental sensitivity. This is a tall order so I was delighted to discover The Marvelous Mustard Seed.

Review: Picture the Bible Curricula (First Congregational United Church of Christ, River Falls, WI)

[1] Several years ago three beautifully illustrated children’s books about baptism and the story of the Bible landed on my desk. As I read the accompanying letter I was introduced to the progenitor of the books, Rev. Dr. Stacy Johnson Myers, an ELCA and United Church of Christ pastor from Wisconsin. And she told me […]

Living in the Shadow of Empire: A Theological Reflection in Conversation with Indigenous Experience

Indian Residential Schools are a sinful part of Canada’s history that were facilitated and hidden by Empire. Bishop MacDonald explores the history of the schools as well as the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Reflecting on the context of Scripture, he uses the concepts of idolatry, systemic evil, and Empire to explore the role of Christians during the schools’ existence while calling on Christians today to examine their roles in relation to Empire. ​

Review: A Child Shall Lead Them: Martin Luther King, Jr., Young People, and The Movement (Fortress Press, 2014)

[1] Rufus Burrow Jr.’s A Child Shall Lead Them is about the courage and contributions made by black children and youth, and some whites (282), in the struggle for civil and human rights in the United States. We see in this narrative how black children, youth and others aided the efforts of Martin Luther King […]