• Beth Jones

Twilight, tiny theologians, and theology for everyone

Updated: Mar 24

In 2009, Everyone was reading Twilight. I'm a fairly profligate reader. I read theology, of course, and I try to read classics and the best in contemporary literature, but I also love what I call "book candy," and if everyone is reading something, I want to know what's going on.

So I read Twilight. And I got mad.

I wrote a post about it for a now-defunct website about Christianity and culture. An agent called me and asked if I wanted to write a book on Twilight for Christians.

My first reaction was that of course I wouldn't write a book about vampires. I'm a serious theologian. At the time, I was working toward promotion and tenure. I couldn't mess with a something like this.

But I mentioned it half-jokingly to my dean, and he said, "maybe it's exactly the kind of thing you ought to do."

And I knew he was right. I do theology for the church. If the church, like the world, is intrigued by a vampire saga, then a vampire saga is a place to do theology.

Since then, I've been clear.

If theology doesn't matter for teenage girls, there's no point. If that means someone, somewhere doesn't think I'm "serious," so be it.

So, I wrote the book. (Now, totally dated, but if you know a Twilight fan, it's called Touched by a Vampire: Discovering the Hidden Messages in the Twilight Saga. I still love that cover).

One of my hopes for this blog is that I might highlight great theological resources, from the "serious" to the surprising. Because it cares about the fact that "theology is for everyone," Tiny Theologians™ is one of my favorite resources. They make beautiful resources for bringing theology to children.

Amy Gannet is the owner of Tiny Theologians.™ Read her statement, from her website, about her calling to do theology for children:

Austin and I met over a love for theology in seminary ... We love reading theology, talking theology, and teaching theology. But when we graduated from seminary, we encountered a problem: there are too few theologically-rich Bible studies for Christians wanting to grow in their faith.
Particularly, as we entered church ministry we struggled to find theologically-robust training tools for the youngest members of God’s household. Though many were cute and creative, they also seemed to offer an overly-simplified version of the Biblical narrative (or, perhaps more dangerous, a moralistic version aimed to promote good behavior).
So, we put our theology to work.
What started as a personal project is now available to you through the Tiny Theologians™ line. We offer training tools that will help parents and children’s ministries pass on the Christian faith. Covering topics like theology, church history, missions, and discipleship, we pray these tools are a blessing as you seek to train the tiny theologians in your life.

Theology doesn't get more theological or more missional than that. Tiny Theologians™ offers beautiful items, including cards, books, and discipleship resources, for bringing the truth that theology is for everyone to children. And that's what theology is all about.

I'm particularly a fan of the "Mothers of the Faith" church history cards (don't worry, "Fathers of the Faith" is also available).

From Tiny Theologians: The Bible teaches us that the Church is made up of people from every country and every era who have followed Jesus Christ – often at great personal cost. At Tiny Theologians™ we believe that the work we do today is built upon the foundations that Christians who have gone before us have laid. We believe that the men and women of faith in generations past are the shoulders on which we stand today. Which is why we’ve created tools to help you learn about the history of our faith of faith.

As a theology teacher, my heart and soul delight in seeing other Christians use their love of theology for the good of the church. As a parent, I'm grateful to see Christian resources for children that go beyond moralism and invest in children as theological creatures.

I'd love to hear from you about other examples of theology for everyone. Feel free to leave a comment!

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