Is it a fairytale?

I recently went to Disney on Ice with my 9 year old niece. I was surrounded by Elsa's, princesses dressed in sparkly blue gowns and fake diamond tiaras. It was a couple of hours of beautiful ice skating, which was great! We both loved it. It was also a couple of hours of fairytale accounts of how the world works. Beautiful princesses who captivate handsome princes on white horses. 

Our children experience competing narratives about the world and how life works. Is it a happily ever after? 

When it comes to the Bible they face the same challenge. At some point in their life the question will arise: 

Is it real or is it a fairytale? 

How do we help children navigate this question when it arises? How do we equip them with the tools they need to find the answer for themselves? Because it is not simply enough to tell them just to trust and obey. 

“Whether the biblical story becomes primary in the lives of our children
will be powerfully influenced by when we introduce them to the story,
what we believe about the biblical story, and what we believe about
how to tell that story.” Stonehouse and May

The Sea of Galilee, 2011
 Let me tell you a story. 

They said…

They said the gospel writers didn't know what they were talking about. The account of Jesus calming the storm couldn't possibly have happened because First Century fishing boats weren't big enough to fit all the disciples and Jesus. And the part about the disciples being terrified for their lives? Why would experienced fishermen be afraid of drowning in a storm?
That’s what they said…

Until they found the boat. 
What remains of the boat

In the severe drought of the summer of 1989 the water levels in the sea of Galilee dropped very low. Two fishermen from the town of Ginosar were walking by the sea shore when they discovered the outline of a boat in the mud. It turned out to be a first century fishing boat. It turns out that the boat is big enough to fit all the disciples and Jesus.

It turns out that the boat has low sides which help the fishermen to pull the full nets in over the sides. Such a boat would not do well in a storm. Water would rush in over the sides and swamp the boat. And the lake got some pretty nasty storms. 

It turns out the gospel writers did know what they were talking about after all.

This boat is one of the greatest discoveries in recent archaeological history.  What makes it amazing is that it is dated to the first century AD, the time of Jesus.  While we will never know if Jesus and his disciples actually used this boat it tells us what boats would have looked like.  It has been nicknamed ‘the Jesus boat’. 

How the boat was extracted from the mud.

Why is this story important? Because this is not a story about a fairytale. It is the story of a real boat that existed in a real time, when Jesus walked around the lake edge and caught a ride with his friends to the other side. 

Is the Bible a collection of fairytales?

Let's equip our children with stories, like this story about the Jesus boat, that provide them with reassurance that the Bible is to be trusted. It happened in a real time and place. It is a story of boats and water and fishing and people. Is it a fairytale? Most certainly not!

“Individual experiences make sense and acquire meaning only when
seen within the context or frame of some story we believe to be
the true story of the world.” Craig Batholomew and Michael Goheen.  


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