Each week, our middle-schoolers (mostly grades 6-8) use the Bible story as a jumping off point for connecting with another tradition. When they talk about the Beatitudes, they read from the Tao Te Ching. When they talk about the Joseph story, they read the account from the Tales of the Prophets. When they talk about the greedy ruler, they read a greed story from the Jataka Tales. When they learn about Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, they explore an entirely different account found in the Gnostic Gospel called the Gospel of Judas. When they read the account of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, they learn about the Catholic rosary, Muslim prayer beads, Buddhist malas, and Wiccan clooties.
We believe it is not enough to tell our children to “be tolerant” or to “live in peace.” We believe that those things happen when people are truly connected to one another. That means having an understanding of their stories, their rituals, and their practices. Only then, can our children truly appreciate other faith paths as well as their own. Only then, will they have all the tools they need for their own, life-long faith journey.