Friday, September 24, 2010

The Berenstain Bears Go To Sunday School by Stan & Jan Berenstain

Recommendation: Unfavorable

Most parents are very familiar with the Berenstain Bear family. In this book, The Berenstain Bears go to Sunday School Mama Bear decides that it has been far too long since the family has been to church together. They have become busy with so many other activities that they no longer attend. In typical Bear family fashion, Mama calls a family meeting and sets forth her idea and plan, which Papa Bear (somewhat reluctantly)agrees to. So early the next morning they all head off to the early service so they can go to church and still have time for their other activities.

Positives:  Mama Bear makes one very true statement - "I believe that going to church together is more important than all our other Sunday morning activities combined."

Negatives: I know that the Berenstain Bears are well-loved by kids and families alike. I will admit, however, that I have never been a huge fan (though my kids have been) of these books. The main thing I have never liked is how Papa Bear is portrayed as somewhat of a buffoon. He is never the leader of the family, Mama Bear makes the important decisions and when Papa Bear does try, it never works out well and Mama Bear has to come clean up his mess. This book however, also gives a completely wrong idea of what church is all about. First of all, Mama Bear decides its time to get back into the church-going routine because going to church is "like a kind of glue that [holds] the whole family together." Church is not about family being together, church is about the worship and exaltation of Jesus Christ. It is for the preaching and teaching of His Word. Secondly, church is not a priority for this family. Yes, they take the time out of their busy schedule to go, but they go to the early service so as not to interfere with the rest of the days activities, the things that are really important to them. Lastly, I will mention the verse used at the beginning of the book.  Matthew 5:6 says "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." Unfortunately there was no one portrayed in this story that was hungering or thirsting for righteousness. They did not go to church expecting to be filled with the Word of God, it was simply a nice thing to do together as a family on a Sunday morning.

Talking Points: Discuss with your child the reasons you attend church. Talk about the purposes of the church and how God sees the church. These Scriptures may be helpful. Eph. 4:11-13; Exod. 20:8-11; Acts 2:41-47, Heb. 10:22-26, Isa. 43:3-4, I Tim. 3:15. Ask yourselves, if Christ is the Head of the Body, the church (Col. 1:18) and gave Himself up for her (Eph. 5:25-27), what should we be doing in regards to church?

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