Stop Memorizing

Here’s an interesting article that I think all Confirmation teachers should read.

Never Memorize Again

While I agree with much of the article, I still think there is value in committing to memory the things that are important to us.  Perhaps we should cease required memorization of catechetical teachings in Confirmation, and start encouraging young people to read the catechism and Scripture and highlight passages that jump out at them.  Wouldn’t this make for a more personal faith and increase the likelihood that spiritual connections were being made in the lives of young people?

I think we also need to do a better job of directing kids and parents to QUALITY religious on-line resources.  Places with solid theological content that engage families in conversations about faith and life.  

Which faith-based websites would you recommend to people in your church?

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4 Responses to Stop Memorizing

  1. godwillsaveus says:

    I believe one of the best gifts that the Church has to offer our world is relationships, relationships, relationships. Face to face. Real and honest. Let’s memorize how to treat people with respect and engage in responsible, faith forming, inter-generational relationships.

    Memorization of scripture and catechism will come from using those texts in everyday life. I’ve taught confirmation enough year to know that parents don’t remember what they memorize, and neither do Juniors or even 8th Graders 2 months after their Affirmation of Baptism.

    The DO remember the relationships. Both negative and positive.

    I don’t read faith-based websites-except this one. So I don’t have recommendations. I read my RSS feed and Facebook multiple times a day. I like what the above article described as our brains being taught to behave in “continuous partial attention”, That’s ME!

    I memorize where to find things, I bookmark them. I drop them into files and documents. I collect and compile information.

    Students approach the web to consume entertainment and gossip, and mostly only contribute when it brings them attention or fame. YouTube. Facebook. MySpace. They network with others, socialize and learn at a speed far greater than previous generations.

    Good communication and writing skills are more valuable than ever. The printing press has been replaced by the blog. I’m thankful for people who write about topics I care about, but what keeps me reading, is our relationship, followed by their content and writing skills.

    The best faith-based websites will be the ones where people get to know each other by common interest and can unite to use their gifts and talents to meet the needs of the world-all without leaving the comfort of your couch.

    I’m spouting drivel when I should be working-it’s time for me to stop now.

  2. Erik says:

    Lots of good reflections in there, Mr. Godwillsaveus. I agree with what you said about relationships mattering. People, regardless of age or “level” of faith, want to feel that they belong. Small group ministry does a great job of cultivating those relationships, especially in Confirmation.

    I also like what you alluded to when talking about the cultural shift of Web 2.0 (Facebook, YouTube, blogs, etc.), and the continued importance of physical relationships. We’re still at a point where the Web can help people remain connected when they are apart from each other, but it will not replace the need to be in each other’s physical space. Essentially, we are expecting young people (and all people?) to hone their skills for both face-to-face and viral communication…which is a challenge!

    Thanks for your insights!

  3. Beth Lewis says:

    Thanks for this post re: memorization, Erik. I couldn’t agree more! I hated it when I was a kid (both at church and in school) and I hate it now. State Capitols, Presidents, Books of the Bible…you name it I didn’t care to memorize it! My argument to my parents & pastor was always, “if I can find it in the dictionary/encyclopedia/Bible, why do I need to memorize it? That didn’t work out so well for me. But, in my heart of hearts, I still believe that and with access to the Internet, it’s even more relevant today.

    re: my favorite websites. Well, when we finish updating our webstore in the first quarter of 2009, I think it will be one of my favorites. http://www.augsburgfortress.org

    I love checking in at social networking sites http://www.bookoffaith.ning.com and http://www.creativeworshiptour.com to see what people are saying. I always learn something.

    Thanks for blogging so consistently! I wish I had your discipline to blog every day!
    Blessings, Beth

  4. Erik says:

    Beth – it is encouraging that the President of our denomination’s publishing house is not a fan of memorization as part of Confirmation instruction. It’s a new day! Thanks for the website recommendations. I’d like to add http://www.akaloo.org to the list of excellent family websites. Though it requires a congregational subscription to access the Learner Sites, I know that the people at our church who make use of this resource find it to be an excellent supplement to what we do in church.

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