T Nation

Intro to Christianity for Teens


#1

My son has recently expressed a desire to begin attending church. He's 15, and up until now he has shown no signs of belief. I don't currently believe, but have no issues taking him to church. However, I've failed to teach him even the most basic stories from the bible he should know in order to not be a cultural moron (Jonah and the Whale, Noah's Ark, the Garden Of Eden). He's an avid reader. Can someone recommend me a teen friendly Christianity primer? Something he could read and we could discuss.
Thank you for any help.


#2

The bible. Many not a king james version, but there are numerous translations that are easier for a new reader to follow. Some come with synopsis and notes to help younger people grasp the concepts. Any Barnes and Noble will have a plethora to choose from.


#3

I think most churches have a sort of "Christianity Studies" course, and I had to take them when I was young. There had a name that skips my memory. I'd talk to the pastor/priest and see what he would recommend.


#4

http://www.amazon.com/The-Picture-Bible-Iva-Hoth/dp/0781430550

Don't laugh.

It's fantastic.

You might think it's a bit "young" for a 15-year-old, but I remember really enjoying it as a teenager, as a companion to the NIV that I used for "serious" study.


#5

Many Churches offer a pretty well developed Youth Group. Some aren't so good, but some are really quite excellent. Having him unify with some Christian friends that could lead him in to a group where he feels he belongs would do wonders for Him. It wouldn't hurt his Dad to get some training and understanding on the matter either.

Beyond advice, I recommend going to the source. Ask God for guidance. I guarantee the answer will be something you never thought of. Further, be honest with him and yourself. Teens have an amazing propensity to sniff out the first sign of bullshit. This may be an opportunity to take a journey together and be closer to your son than you ever thought possible. Take a chance. If nothing else, the relationship with your son is worth it.


#6

Hey doogie, that's one of most awesome posts I have ever seen on T-Nation. I am dead serious. Im on my phone right now but I will type what I can here and hopefully my words make sense

First I am frankly super excited because you seem to be open minded enough that you're asking for help for getting your son reading something you don't believe in, and that both takes balls and is a sign of a really good parent. I mean, seriously.

Second I'm excited because this is an opportunity to read things that explain us--all shades from rule breaker rocker to super neat tidy hair combed polo shirted suburbia--without giving in to prevailing stereotypes in media. Se have some uncomfortable beliefs for some people to handle, but that does not mean that we are all remotely painted with the same brush (or should be at least).

I cannot recommend "Mere Christianity" enough. I read it when I was about his age maybe a year older, C.S. Lewis is a great thinker, good writer, and explains the ideas behind our beliefs. It is not a bible story book, it is a philosophy book, so it is serious...but I honestly believe if he is thinking in general about this it explains us under the hype or scandel or whatever. If he's the intellectual type maybe you could read it with him to just get a good setting and talk about it--it would help you understand your son's thinking even more by discussion and also help you to sort of get a feel for what serious Christian...as opposed to legalistic or "fundamentalists" believe.

In truth I hate the word fundamentalist because it has a serious bad connotation these days the way it has been used and abused by media and others. Fundamental beliefs are central to anything, but the word has become and epithet to describe a number of kinds of Christians people are scared of...not you, just in general. In other words too politically charged of word....anyway, I digress. In all honesty I would really suggest reading whatever your son picks up to read. Not through any desire to force you to believe something you currently don't, but out of a very fundamental hope that you can see what we are really are about and understand what we want to be without all the political baggage.

I would also really, REALLY say that it DOES NOT MATTER that your son doesn't know the "bible stories". They are interesting, informative, lessons...but they are not the "core" of the faith nor a reauirement to be accepted by people of the faith any more than knowing how to play an instrument is a requirement and prerequisite to be passionate about music and talk with those who are passionate about music. Millions of people have started not knowing them, it is fine and expected and not an issue.

Its not about what stories you can recount anyway so much as it is about where your heart and head are going. People like Alice Cooper grew up as pastor's kids, hell married a pastor's kid as well, and went through their own Odyssey. He teaches bible study now of all things! And he srill puts.on an epic show, I saw him this last year and was blown away.

People like Head and Fieldy from Korn. People that totally ignored everything having to do with Christianity and made fun of it most of their lives. They're both believers now, I'm pretty sure they didn't know the "inside.Christian" things when they started going to.church lol

Anyway, I'll think more on this and hope to give you more recommendations


#7

If he is interested in actually reading the Bible, I really think The Message translation by Eugene Peterson is fantastic. I am reading from it now and loving the regular words and such that Peterson has put a traditional story into. Easy to understand and put into normal daily language.


#8

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#9

Thanks, everyone. I appreciate it.

He's going to a church tomorrow that one of his friends goes to. Not with his friend, but on his own. I can't go tomorrow, but I look forward to talking to him about what he gets out of the sermon. We have a four hour drive we're leaving on immediately after church.

If he still seems interested, I'm going to order a few of the recommended books.

(To be honest, part of wanting him to know the "stories" are so when his friends' parents come to discover he has NO idea of the Biblical story, they don't look at me like an alien.)

Thanks again.


#10

Your son is just trying to figure out his place in the universe and is influence by local culture and customs. This is a much better choice that any religious book and will allow him to think for himself, which seems more inline with your personality.

http://www.amazon.ca/History-Western-Philosophy-Bertrand-Russell/dp/0671201581/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424116750&sr=8-1&keywords=history+of+western+philosophy


#11

Bertrand Russell is one of my all-time favorites and I recommend him to most intellectual readers I know of all ages, but if doogie's son is interested in Christianity of his own accord I don't see any reason he shouldn't look into it.

doogie, if your son is interested in a different kind of book I have one that I go back to and enjoy thoroughly. I've already recommended C.S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity" because it was one of the major works that got me to think very deeply about these things and I think that is very valuable no matter what your relgious status is, but I also recommended it because I simply think Lewis is an outstanding writer on philosophy and ethics in general, writing clearly and thoughtfully. He doesn't talk about "rules", which I think a lot of people view Christianity as a set of rules to be followed (even many Christians, but I think this is a shame because it devalues the power and vitality of the entire thing when you think that way), he talks about purpose and value.

At any rate, this next book is of a different style and purpose, complementary I suppose you might say, and certainly a bit less intense reading than Lewis (still very valuable though, but maybe a bit easier to read through). It's short, and it is called "Chasing the Wild Goose" by Mark Batterson.

I know that because you are a thoughtful parent you will look all these suggestions up and that's as it should be. I really enjoy the book and I think it might be something that throws things in perspective for both you and your son about what the essence of Christianity is, and what I and many others find in it....I don't follow it for the rules, that's for sure. That's not what drew me to it and that's not what it is about.

So anyway, maybe check it out on Amazon or something. If you want I can mail you my copy.


#12

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#13

Heu push, I dig where you're going with this and agree, but maybe we could start another thread for this. It would be nice if doogie can see mostly helpful resources for him and his son.


#14

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#15

A fascinating introduction to the Bible:


#16

Crashing the party? You pay the server fees for Biotest? Go jerk off in your bible.


#17

You literally are a moron of the highest order. There isn't a single reasonable person who is going to take your earlier recommendation serious now. You've shot yourself in the foot, twice now, and I'm sure this one is memorable enough to take this thread into another bigot fest.

Which is a shame. Doogie is one of the coolest atheists on this board, as he isn't a douchebag about it. And you have completely ruined his thread. Good job dude. Hat's off.


#18

Tozer's book is 60 pages, so not daunting for the average teenage seeking some answers: http://www.amazon.com/Pursuit-God-W-Tozer/dp/1503379744/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1424198547&sr=1-4&keywords=christianity


#19

My hat's off to you Doogie for letting your son pursue his own path and you supporting him every step of the way. I think it says a lot about you in a positive sense.
Again, his Christian friends will be the most powerful force, as well as your support.


#20

Thanks again everyone who has offered some advice. He backed out of going on this past Sunday. Not exactly sure why, but he said he just doesn't know yet. It's up to him, and like Pat said his Christian friends will be the biggest influence on him in this.

I know this isn't going to go over well in this thread, but if Christianity doesn't stick I may take him to a Unitarian Universalist Church here in the area. They are a bit hippy left wing for me, but it might give him something to think about.