“Because doubt isn’t toxic to faith. Silence is.”
This is the idea behind the Can I Ask That book series put out by Fuller Youth Institute. The curriculum is designed to bring up hard to ask questions that most, if not all, youth today have asked themselves. And if they haven’t yet, they most likely will either through a friend, co-worker, future professor, or even family member.
If you are looking for a hard and fast apologetics book with good solid reasons and facts why the Christian faith is right, I would suggest looking elsewhere. The book, I believe to its advantage, takes another route and instead often provides a variety of opinions on a series of topics and then provides discussion points on those opinions. It will talk about the reasons behind a possibly opposing view point instead of just the reasons why it’s wrong. By structuring the sessions this way the curriculum does a great job of fostering deep and honest conversation that is both insightful and respectful while not just being surface level.
Not every session went over well however. The first session (titled “Can I Trust the Bible”) in particular was the hardest as a leader to follow. The formatting in the leader book was not intuitive and the material just didn’t seem to resonate with my kids. However in speaking to a colleague who also did this study she said that this was her group’s favorite lesson, so your results may vary. The other session we had a hard time with was “Does God endorse violence.” It may have been caused by life circumstances but the conversation over this subject fell flat.
The publishers, Fuller Youth Institute, are well known for their book “Sticky Faith” another fantastic study. They put a lot of research and a lot of thought into how to structure the questions to provoke deep thinking and honest discussion. I would highly recommend this study to anyone.
- “Does the Bible contradict itself?”
- “Can I be a Christian and Believe in evolution?”
- “What does the Bible say about being gay?”
- “Can I Trust the Bible”
Tips for use:
- Be sure to read through the sessions and answer all the questions on your own before the lesson.
- Buy the leader book, it has great helps and insight.
- The first lesson is hard to follow, but don’t get discouraged all the others are much easier.
- At the end of the book there is a form letter to send out to parents letting them know you will be discussing these topics. Definitely send this out.
- I had the kids leave their books in the youth space week to week. That way nobody forgot them, and let’s be real, they wouldn’t have read it ahead of time anyway.
- The book is not Lutheran. However, it does a great job of staying general enough that I didn’t have any trouble with it. Also, when it does come time to deal with some more denominational differences they make sure to point it out and the book even encourages you to talk to your pastor and check out the official statements (specifically I remember homosexuality and evolution being two times where it says to do this).
Candy, Griffin, and Kara Powell. Can I Ask that?. Pasadena: Fuller Youth Institute, 2014. Print.
Andrew Cordy is the Director of Christian Education at Peace Lutheran Church in New Berlin, WI. There he works with people of all ages. However he specifically has a heart for children and youth. He graduated from Concordia University Texas with a degree in religious education and a minor in theology.