Your cheesiest craft

It's ascension day, of course: Holy Thursday. I produced the craft for the kids' club at college and I think it might have been my cheesiest one yet. It was a cloud shape, cut from half a paper plate, upon which the children were required to stick cotton wool. A paper Jesus had to then be coloured in and suspended beneath on a piece of string and the string could be pulled so that Jesus might ascend into heaven. Some of my fellow students were threatening to hang it from the rear-view mirrors in their cars! Interesting! I have noticed people have a range of interesting objects hanging there.

So I have two questions for you:
1. What is the cutest, cheesiest, naffest craft you have ever had the joy of producing?
2. Do you hang anything from your rear-view or decorate your car in any evangelistic paraphernalia? I sport a gold fish on the back of my car. That's not a goldfish but a gold fish!

I have an eclectic kind of day tomorrow involving a lecture by Stephen Travis, put on for all students interested in his ideas on Penal Substitutionary atonement, followed by lunch at Chiquitos, which I think is Mexican. I'm not sure either will be too easy to digest!

I signed those papers today, which was exciting and have felt very supported in prayer.


poppy tupper said...

I like the humour of this, but I have a real problem with the iconography if it's a lesson for children. When we teach children the story of the Ascension is it helpful to reinforce this literalist interpretation? As joke for theological students, it's nice. As a real piece of catechetics is it harmful or helpful?

Rachel said...

Hi Poppy
I'm hoping that I didn't offend, reading my post back, I do sound a little irreverant. I actually found Christian crafting quite challenging when I first embarked upon it and I now ask someone else to do the crafting part of my kid ministry Fridays because I always struggle with some of the crude and simplistic paper demonstrations of gospel truths.

I do, however, have no struggle, theologically, with quite a literalist approach to the ascension. I believe that it really happened and be assurred that we did the craft in the context of much discussion about what the ascension means, setting it within the context of the mission imperative and the gift of the Holy Spirit which was to follow.

This post was my attempt at some light-heartedness, in the context of what are very often more serious posts put forward by myself but I think from your reaction, I might have failed to be both light-hearted and sincere - sorry.


poppy tupper said...

Hi Rachel, I wasn't at all offended, just concerned for the children who might see that sort of thing. As far as a literal acceptance of the story goes, here's a typical question from a child: 'how long before the body stopped going up into the air, and where did it go then?'

Rachel said...

Yes, not easy re the question but then I suppose we will face these types of questions in terms of the trinity and the resurrection and the feeding of the five thousand etc and we have to explain that with God, the impossible can happen and that there are many things that we can not explain and many examples of the miraculous today.

interesting to think it through though. I am not sure quite what my response would be. How would you tackle it?


poppy tupper said...

I'm happy to discuss the things you mention, but I'm still asking what your reply would be to a young person(primary school age) who asked my question. I'm sure your answer to her would be different to the answer you have just given me. What would you say? For my part, I would say that the Ascension is a story, talking about what we do when Jesus goes away, and this it is in picture language and is not a factual account of the events. I would look at poems and common verbal expressions about 'feeling uplifted' 'being high' 'having high hopes' 'over the moon'. Is David Beckham really over the moon, or is he using imaginative language? What I would firmly teach them is that the body of Jesus did not go up into the sky like a rocket and that we were never meant to think that it did. For that reason, I would not use your craft idea. (Though I would be amused and perfectly happy to have it dangling from my rear-view mirror.)

Rachel said...

Hi Poppy,
I'm finding this very challenging. If I explain the ascension as just poetic, then what are the consequences for the resurrection? The resurrected Christ had to go somewhere. The fact of the Ascension is related in Mark and Acts and it is also elsewhere predicted and spoken of as an established fact. In John 6:63, Christ asks the Jews: "If then you shall see the son of Man ascend up where He was before?" and 20:17, He says to Mary: "Do not touch Me, for I am not yet ascended to My Father, but go to My brethren, and say to them: I ascend to My Father and to your Father, to My God and to your God." Again, in Ephesians 4:8-10, and in Timothy 3:16, the Ascension of Christ is spoken of as an accepted fact. I trust it happened so would explain like that. I have two girls aged 4 and 7 and they have less trouble accepting the more amazing things of faith than adults, afterall we're asked to have the faith of little children, aren't we?
Blessings Rachel

poppy tupper said...

Rachel, please don't let your journey lead you into a place where you mistake citing proof texts for thinking. Of course it raises challenges for what we believe about the resurrection, but go further with that; rather than retreat into 'because this happened, then that must have happened'. Try, 'if that didn't happen, then maybe this didn't happen'. We are asked to have the faith of little children, but not the intellectual limitations of little children.

Rachel said...

But thinking and God's Word do not conflict. I come to scripture with my reason and my intellect but it is also not for me to limit God. My reason will fail to account for his wonders and there are simply many things that can not be explained. As an ex-language student, I am very aware of how language falls short and so I am slow to try to define in words some of the mysteries for which I do not believe we have words. But Poppy, so many questions and imperatives in my direction, how would you explain the ascension or the resurrection - can you find your own words or do you return to the words of the Bible to help you to express what happened?


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