For the most up-to-date information, visit literarycatechist.blogspot.com.
Now we must honor heaven’s warden,
I spent last year teaching nine Catholic third-grade girls. Among all
of the amazing experiences I had and lessons I learned, one stuck out
in particular: it is very difficult to teach religion from a text book.
English literature is actually very rich in edifying religious and secular texts. Caedmon's Hymn, the first poem recorded in English, was a hymn given by God to an illiterate cowherd. Since then, our literature has moved from heroic epics like Beowulf, to often bawdy medieval Romantic poetry like Troilus and Criseyde; from Puritanical novels like Robinson Crusoe, to ironic social critiques like Pride and Prejudice; from grand stories of social justice like Hard Times, to simple moral tales like Little Women; from to gorgeous mythopoeic works like The Princess and the Goblin, to high fantasy like The Lord of the Rings. Every English-speaking author has reacted, in some way, to his or her interaction with Christianity and its God. Each and every English text offers a lesson for he who seeks God through words.
Ultimately, Christianity is an experience that should consume every aspect of your life--or, as one of my third-graders worded it, "God made everything, so it's kinda like every subject is religion class!" Literature is my area of expertise, an area where I most readily "see God," and I have found that useful for guiding young people deeper into their faith. I do not claim to be an authoritative source of theological truth or perfected educational strategies. I only wish to introduce new ideas into the world of religious education in the hopes that we can show students of all ages how interesting and relevant Christianity really is.