A REFORMATION CELEBRATION
Reformation Day has been celebrated in Germany, Slovenia, and in many Protestant and Lutheran churches around the world for centuries. Though admittedly a minor holiday within those church calendars, it falls on the anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of his 95 theses to the door of the cathedral of Wittenberg, Germany in 1517. I was a college student before I encountered Reformation Day, and even then, I wasn’t exactly sure what everyone was celebrating.
So, what’s worth celebrating about the Reformation? Maybe I should start with what it’s not. It’s not anti-Catholicism, or narrow-minded denominational snobbery. It’s not that we think Reformed folks are the only ones who’ll be in heaven. We don’t. It’s also not celebrating rebellion or sticking-it-to-the-man, which is what our culture often finds heroic about Martin Luther. What I’d like to focus on, at least for our site, is that the Reformation, with all its Solas (Christ alone, Scripture alone, etc.), helped Christians take their eyes away from all the distractions and excesses of medieval Christianity and look again to Christ and His Word.
And that’s an idea we think is worthy of more than one day to celebrate. Which is why we’re declaring this October Reformation Month at our site. We’ll take a look at a few significant Reformed authors of the past, as well as those working in our culture today. And we hope to do so in a way that will help your children appreciate the gospel so treasured by Luther and many of his Reformed friends.
And what if you’re not Reformed? We hope very much you won’t feel left out. Many of the authors we’ll be chatting with and books we’ll be reviewing will be of interest to Christians of varying persuasions. But we do hope you’ll appreciate a little more the kindness God has shown His people through the people and ideas of the Reformation, and why it matters today.
PILGRIM’S PROGRESS: Mission Adventure
To kick off the month, we’re hosting two Pilgrim’s Progress read-alongs. Janie will be reading the original text, and I will be reading Dangerous Journey, a picture book edition for children 9-12 (though I successfully read it to my five- and four-year-olds, using a few tricks I’ll reveal along the way). But more than just reading the book, we’ll be helping you take your kids on a literary adventure–dividing up each text into four week segments to create a devotional guide for parents and kids. Our commentary will include discussion questions, illuminating Bible verses, and even age-appropriate crafts and school assignments. And if you’re too busy to read along with us right now, we’ll hopefully provide a download at the end you can use at your convenience. Are you excited yet? We are!
So, for the details:
- Dangerous Journey by Oliver Huntin. I (Emily) will use this version, which uses a lot of text from the original and is probably best suited for kids 9-12. However, I hope to make it accessible for kids as young as three or four using summaries and simple discussion questions. It’s a process you can use for reading any complicated text to your kids, and is especially helpful in reading the Bible to them. The illustrations seems especially suited to boys, but my girls have gone over the pages reviewing them (and their spiritual meaning) many times. We’ll read through 2 chapters a week, beginning on Wednesday, October 12, and we should be able to finish the week of October 31.
Christianbook.com has this version on sale new for $13.49. Amazon.com marketplace has used copies of Dangerous Journey: The Story of Pilgrim’s Progress listed as low as $6.67.
- For older readers (including teens and adults!), Janie will be using an unabridged copy of the original text. She’ll cover roughly 40 pages a week for four weeks, to begin next week (Oct. 10-14) and end the week of October 31. The cheapest and least abridged copies I’ve found are through Project Gutenberg and Google ebooks. I think they can both be read on your computer, and Project Gutenberg is only 89 pages printed out. But that’s admittedly not as nice as a nice ebook or handheld copy. If you’d like to buy a cheap but decent e-copy, there is a Kindle version, The Pilgrim’s Progress – Unabridged With Original Illustrations, which goes for $2.86.
A couple of other useful versions for Janie’s readers:
- Paperback: Moody Classics Series version of Pilgrim’s Progress, $6.29 at Christianbook.com.
- Paperback: Barbour Publishings Abridged Christian Classics Series, $2.99.
- Audiobook: The Pilgrim’s Progress Retold, narrated by Paul Michael, goes for $5.98 at Christianaudiobook.com. (This is the version Emily will use to read along with the adults.)
- Audiobook: Librivox and several other free audiobook sites offer a free audiobook version by Joy Chan. In my humble opinion, though, it’s worth $6 to get the professional copy at Christianbook.com.
You can certainly read along without letting us know. But if you’d like to receive an email at the end of each week with a review of the week’s reading assignment, commentary, and crafts/school assignments, as well as what’s coming up, please let us know in the comments below. (You will be able to leave us your email when you post the comment, but it won’t show up in your post or be shared with the public. And I suppose we should remind you that we promise never to sell your email information or give it to anyone else under any condition.)
Once the series is over, we may end up charging a small fee for those who want a .pdf download of the entire series after we’re done. That doesn’t apply to these posts, by the way. They’ll always be free. But if you sign up for the read-along now or anytime before we’re all done, we’ll give you that final summary .pdf download for free. Plus, you’ll be entered for our drawings for free books later in the month!
This is admittedly new territory for us. But we hope you’ll appreciate our attempt to be really specific and help parents use one of the most treasured stories of Christian history to enrich children’s lives. (And if not, we hope you’ll tell us that, too!) And of course, be on the lookout for the contests, giveaways, and colorful interviews that we have in store for the rest of October!