Mad Lib Theology


Today, I visit my blog to talk about this girl:

Julianna ladybug

Wednesday nights, Julianna goes to “church school” (because it’s easier for little kids to say than “religious ed”) while we’re having choir practice. Usually, in the chaos of grabbing boys from the nursery, cleaning up octavos and books, and getting an overtired family of six out to the van 45 minutes past bedtime, we don’t even catch a glimpse of whatever work she did at school.

So this week, when we gave the choir a week off after Easter, I took Julianna to church school by herself, and in fact I did get a good look at the work she did. Are you ready for this?

Julianna theology

1. I am the Lord your 9: you shall be have mom gods before me. 2. You do not take the chalice of the Lord your God in mercy. 3. Bread to keep three the great Day.

Image result for eye pop emoji

Once I got done giggling–I mean, it’s like a mad lib!–I realized I was staring at concrete proof of something I already knew: she’s really never going to “get it” from a class. Religious formation is one of the most conceptual things a child can possibly be asked to learn, and Julianna does not do “conceptual.” There’s value in having her in religious ed classes because going week after week teaches her that the faith is central to life. And she’s obviously picked up a couple of key words. ๐Ÿ™‚

But with that paper in mind, the lesson I learned on Holy Saturday really gelled. We had gotten Julianna tickets to Disney on Ice at an 11 a.m. show in Kansas City. It was a two-hour drive, and we spent the time listening to the compilation of downloaded Christian music I made her for Christmas a couple years ago. (All legally purchased!) I chose these songs with the idea of having simple, hooky music that still had substantive messages, in order to teach her lessons about the faith. Because music is what Julianna does.

It was an incredibly uplifting drive, singing this music, with Julianna in the back seat decked out in her Miraculous Ladybug getup and dancing.ย She sang every word, and she danced as best she could while buckled into a seatbelt.

(That girl has jazz hands down.)

And I had this moment of inspiration: to take the essential Scriptures and write simple but hooky songs for kids like her–theologically sound, hopefully theologically dense–but still, simple? Methinks such a thing would be of use to a whole lot wider demographic than musically-gifted 11-year-olds with Down syndrome.

Which also brings up the question I want to ask of anyone reading today:

What songs already out there fit this bill for you?

In case you’re wondering, here’s the playlist we sang on Saturday.


8 thoughts on “Mad Lib Theology

    • I’m not–I looked up that phrase and found a list that contained lots of things I knew, but most of them weren’t really Scriptural. Do you have a good source?

      On Fri, Apr 6, 2018 at 12:26 PM, Kathleen M. Basi wrote:


    • My comment was more meant to say that I think it is a good idea–kids like those hokey songs, even if they aren’t theologically dense–and they remember them. Who Built the Ark? This is My Commandment, Zacchaeus, The Wise Man (built his house upon the rock)

  1. Therese Sander

    What an inspired thought Kate! I’ll try to let you know when I think of a song to contribute. I’m sure there is one, but mostly I just want to give a thumbs up to your idea.

  2. Christy

    I like Mother Theresa’s Fragrance Prayer song and any/all of the Psalms we sing at mass. I find that those stick with me throughout the day where sometimes the readings just don’t. ๐Ÿ™‚ I would love an album of all the Psalms sung in one place. Maybe the choir could work on that. . . ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Mary Therese

    Off the top of my head comes “Veggie Tales”. We have a young neighbor with Down Syndrome who I have watched/cared over over the past 8 years. She loves Veggie Tales songs. I know many of them are more silly than scriptural, but they sure are catchy! I think you are on to something. My own children are well past this stage, so I’m not sure what might be currently out there–besides the Veggie songs.

  4. Ha! I don’t know that worksheets, etc. work all that well for any kid in Church School. I was a lucky catechist in that I never had to do any of that stuff. I think it made for a better learning environmment.

    Regardless, that is one terrific worksheet.

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