Children Praying a New Story – A Resource for Parents, Grandparents, and Teachers

Michael Morwood’s previous books have received wide acclaim for helping adult Christians to re-imagine and re-evaluate their faith in light of the contemporary “story” about our universe. That story and Morwood’s writings challenge Christians to expand their notion of God beyond a localized, personal deity and to embrace belief in an all-pervasive Mystery beyond our human concepts. They challenge Christians to review any understanding of Jesus as the unique “way” to a localized God and to know him as the revealer of this Mystery in our everyday living and loving.

Morwood’s books have been especially insightful and helpful to adults struggling with prayer and ritual while radically reconstructing their Christian faith.
This book is for adult Christians engaged in this shift, now asking the vital questions:
How do we educate children into this new faith perspective?
How do we pray with them if prayer is not about addressing an external, listening Deity?

187 Pages.

1.   God and the Wonderful World of Young Children
2.   School Days: What “Story” About God Will We Tell?
3.   The Universe Story: Where We Came From
4.   Jesus: Revealer of God’s Presence With Us
5.   Prayer: Deepening Awareness of the Divine Presence
6.   Feast Days: Celebrating the Divine Presence
– Christmas
– Holy Thursday
– Good Friday
– Easter and Ascension
– Pentecost
7.   The Sacraments: Ritualizing the Divine Presence
– Baptism
– Confirmation
– Reconciliation
– Eucharist>
8.   On Being Christian: A Reflection for Christian Educators

“The wonderful thing about Christian tradition is its many stories. It is just that some have been overlooked or ignored in favour of more dominant stories. It is important that adults who want to help children pray get to know the other stories and tell them alongside the stories that have dominated – in the name of fidelity to Christianity and a deeper appreciation of Jesus and his message. There is, for example, a dominant story about an elsewhere God; there is an even better story about an everywhere God. There is a dominant story about Jesus as connector to an elsewhere deity; there is an even better story about Jesus as the revealer of God-with-us in our living and loving. There is a dominant story about sacraments which emphasises dependence on men with special powers; there is an even better story about sacraments ritualising who we are. There is a dominant story about prayer reaching out to a listening God; there is a better story about prayer raising the mind and heart in awareness of a Divine Presence always with us. There is a dominant story about the institutional Church as the unique pathway to God; there is a far more truthful story about the Church being called to do what Jesus did – to reveal the sacred presence with all people in their everyday lives. Let us immerse ourselves in these stories and bring balance to the imbalance we presently have.”     –  from the Introduction

Review & Commentary

One response to “Children Praying a New Story – A Resource for Parents, Grandparents, and Teachers”

  1. Fred Plumer says:

    We have a new book in our store that I think many of you have been waiting for. It is called “Children Praying a New Story” by Michael Morwood. Morwood has written a wonderful book that is designed for parents, grandparents and teachers who want to tell their children the Christian story from positive, progressive perspective that takes into consideration a new world view. He starts his book by explaining what it is he is trying to accomplish and then goes into specific theological and Christological subjects that every parent or adult finds themselves trying deal with when we are questioned by our six year old child, grand child or student. Oh how I wished I would have had this book 40 years ago when my oldest daughter asked me about “God.” You may be assured that I will have some better answers for my grandchildren.

    After he comfortably weaves his way through the meaning of God, where we came from, who and what was Jesus, and why and how to pray (Morwood believes that teaching children to pray is very important) he then takes on the Holy days one by one. After that he covers the sacraments as separate chapters with clear and easy reading. Although this book was intended for adults teaching children and I think it will fill a huge gap doing that, I suspect it will be used but a lot of adults who are struggling to find a better way to describe their beliefs and their understanding of their own Christian faith. We used the book in a recent small group gathering of adults recently and several people asked where they could buy a copy of the book.

    I have copied a section of the opening chapter so that you might get a sense about the way that Morwood is approaching these challenging but important topics.

    “Despite significant changes in the worldview since the time of Jesus, institutional Church leadership has steadfastly refused to examine or modify its notion of God. It continues to do so today. It insists that children learn about God, Jesus and prayer in the context of a worldview unchanged from that in which the Hebrew people shaped their understanding of God three thousand years ago.

    If we want generations coming after us to escape this elitist, divisive, narrow-minded, religious mind-set dressed up as “salvation” we need to start at an early age. We can begin by helping children to appreciate that the mystery we call “God” is truly an everywhere reality, accessible to all people in all places, at all times. We can chose not to tell any stories about God as if God is a Super Being “in heaven.” We can do what Jesus did so well: connect everyday living and loving with the mystery we call “God.”

    The challenge we face in telling biblical stories is to help children avoid literalizing the worldview in which the stories are written. Children need to appreciate how and why the stories developed in biblical times. Children need to understand why people told these stories and how people thought about the world and the universe at that time.

    The balance we want to bring in telling our stories is that “God” is an everywhere reality to which everyone has access. We want this to balance the traditional religious stories with their focus on an elsewhere God from whom we were disconnected through Adam’s sin.

    There are three key elements in this balance: One, telling a contemporary story about who we are and where we came from. Two, speaking about Jesus as someone who opened people’s eyes and minds to the Divine Presence in which they lived rather than as someone who reestablished connection to an elsewhere deity. Three, telling a story of interconnectedness with everything and everyone in God, rather than a story promoting the idea that some people have unique access to or relationship with God by virtue of belonging to a particular religion. “