When children ask honest (but disturbing) questions about the Bible

February 28, 2013

“Sometimes I’m afraid of God”
“Sometimes I’m afraid of God when I read the Bible,” said Ryan Dueck’s 11-year-old son after reading through one of the most X-rated chapters in the Bible (Genesis 19). Dueck, who writes the Rumblings blog, which is part of the Christian Century Blogs Network, shares with us the conversation he had with the boy. Thinking back on the discussion, Dueck observes: “I love words—words are my life—but it never ceases to amaze me how quickly questions about the Bible from my kids can seem to drain the words right out of me. At least all of the good and helpful ones. All of my theological education and hermeneutical sophistication and contextual sensitivity seems to go out the window when a kid encounters some bizarre passage in the Bible and wonders, quite logically, ‘what on earth does that mean and why is it in the Bible?’!”  After reading Dueck’s essay, you’re likely to find yourself thinking about it for a long time.  How would you have answered the child?

Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni (1935-2024) was an independent scholar, writer, and editor, and the author or coauthor of nine books. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992). Letha served as editor of Christian Feminism Today in both its former print edition (EEWC Update) and its website for 19 years until her retirement in December 2013.