What I remember best about my middle school youth group:
1)Being forced into catatonia by Mrs. Lorenz’s old-lady voice as she read the Sunday school lesson verbatim, knowing that as a pastor’s daughter, I had to at least feign interest in what she was saying.
2)Wishing that Layne, the cutest blond boy in eighth grade, would pay even one moment’s attention to me rather than Debbie, the cutest blond girl in the class;
3)Being slightly pissed off, because I had to wear a dress to church, while the guys in the group sat wide-legged in their tough-skin jeans.
Even then, I guess, I knew God created girls and boys differently, and that the Big Man was letting boys have all the fun.
If only the Desiring God folks could have created the “Rejoicing in God’s Good Design” curriculum about thirty years earlier, I might not have felt so resentful. Released this month, the Sunday school curriculum promises to “help students understand and rejoice in God’s good design in creating men and women fully equal in His image, yet with different roles. “
The curriculum starts with lessons “acknowledging the creator and our createdness” before moving on to the good stuff. Lessons four and five begin to put young women in their place, showing that while men and women are equal, men are created to be leaders, and women are created to be submissive. Oh, and of course, in lesson seven, kids will learn how Eve really screwed things up when she so easily gave into temptation.
Once this foundation has been established, students will be able to explore the ways men and women continue to rebel against God’s design: learning about men without the (ahem, God-given cajones) to be leaders, and about women who want to reject their husbands’ authority. (A session on homosexuality, another rebellion against God’s design, is included, gratis.)
Finally, after a nod to singleness (hey, God has a design for you, too, but it’s pretty lousy. And special!), five lessons cover marriage and family, and the important roles these adolescents can look forward to playing in another decade or so: as hard-working men with initiative and drive, or as thoughtful homemakers, “trained by older women who can help them to learn self-control, purity, kindness, love, diligence and submission in the home.”
Come to think of it, I’m sure kids sitting in middle school youth groups that use this curriculum will reach the same conclusion I once did: if God created men and women differently, women certainly got the shaft.