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Spirituality in the Lives of Children and Adolescents: Some Perspectives.

2008 Interface: a Forum for Theology in the World Volume 10 No. 2.
ATF Press Adelaide
RRP $19.95

Reviewed by Jenny Coombes, a Pastor at the Murgon/Goomeri Uniting Church congregation.

The collection of papers in this edition of Interface – a Forum for theology in the World, covers a variety of topics related to the spirituality of children and adolescents including: Do children have spirituality? Is it the same as adults? boredom, the impact of media, evil, childhood experiences of saints and mystics, and impact on education.

When approaching this book you have to remember that it is written for a Theology forum and its language reflects this.

For example, a passage of text quoted from one contributor’s research was introduced as an “example of hermeneutic phenomenological writing”.

The language used makes most of the articles quite daunting for non-academics. The cover description of the content led me to expect some practical ideas for implementation. Whilst there are some recommendations for action these fell short of my expectations.

In spite of these drawbacks there were some very interesting points raised which invite the reader to further consideration of their own experiences.

For example, when considering the suitability of televisions programs we should look beyond the rating and consideration of violence and coarse language. We must look at the underlying themes as well.
“All the crudeness of a program like The Simpsons should not disguise the underlying affirmation of love for the unlovely, marital fidelity despite provocation, repentance and forgiveness, and the like.” (Cupit: 55)

This is an interesting read, in spite of the language barriers.