(Review) Exploring God Questions With Your Tween by Janelle Alberts and Ingrid Faro

Honest Answers
Publisher and Publication Date: Kregel Publications. March 24, 2020.
Genre: Christian nonfiction. Parents of tweens and teens.
Pages: 224.
Source: I received a complimentary paperback copy from Kregel, I was not required to leave a positive review.
Audience: For Christian parents of tweens and teens.
Rating: Excellent.

Link at Amazon 

Link at Kregel Publications for more information.

Link to read an excerpt: Honest Answers.

Author: Janelle Alberts:
ingridJanelle Alberts is a regular contributor to Christianity Today’s Gifted for Leadership, Relevant, iBelieve.com, and more. She’s committed to taking hard-to-understand Scripture and boiling it down into logical, clear messages readers can relate to. Visit her blog at janellealberts.com.

Author: Ingrid Faro:
FaroIngrid Faro is dean of academic affairs and associate professor of Old Testament at Northern Seminary in Lisle, Illinois. Her previous work includes a contributed chapter in Divine Suffering: Theology, History, and Church Mission.

Summary:
Somewhere between “Jesus Loves Me” and high school cynicism, the childlike acceptance of pat answers about faith is lost–often forever. But while many parents find this transitional period daunting, they don’t want their kids to leave the Christian faith just because they didn’t get good answers to how prayer works or whether dinosaurs were on Noah’s ark.

Honest Answers is a discussion book to help parents tackle the God questions that make them sweat. This isn’t the place to come for pat answers that will make their kids nod, smile, and disconnect. Janelle Alberts and Ingrid Faro know that when tweens start asking questions, they’re already old enough to understand the answers. They’re determined to equip parents with the language, theology, permission, and confidence to join in the discussion–and to learn how to offer deeply doctrinal answers in 140 characters or less.

The tween years present an incredible opportunity to build trust with kids and to keep them coming back to their parents for answers rather than finding other sources. With the tools and conversational tips here, mom and dad can engage in a hopeful conversation and help their children build a Christian faith to hold them steady their whole lives.

My Thoughts: 
I love how Alberts and Faro bring a new word to my vocabulary in the introduction. The word is dialegomai. It is a Greek word, meaning to discuss, dispute, or reason. They also give an example of how to bring up the subject about a family time for the topics in this book. And, they remind the parent of why understanding the basics of faith is so important. This set my heart at ease to realize this book is not going to be vague answers to hard questions teens ask or a person of any age might ask. I feel young people are more sophisticated than previous generations. They don’t appreciate a vague answer. They want to know and discuss. They want to feel free to ask hard questions. I’ve worked with young people for several years. I love talking about the hard stuff of life with them. And, if I don’t have an answer, then I tell them I don’t know…that too is important, to express that even adults struggle with hard stuff.
My favorite sections of the book is prayer, creation versus science, and the conclusion section (see quote at the bottom from page 199.)

Reasons why I love this book: 
•I love the layout of the book. For example in each chapter there is a “Parent Primer #1 and #2. For the first chapter, the “Parent Primer #1: We Don’t Have Originals, Yet the Word is Stronger Than Stone.” An average of three pages follow the subjects. Then, “Honest Answers Q&A.” These sections have several questions and brief answers on the subject. In chapter one it’s the Bible, Scripture, or the Word. For chapter one the next primer is a “Parent Primer #2: A Sketch of How the Bible Was Assembled.” Three pages are available to read on this topic. The last section in the chapters is another “Honest Answers Q&A.” The book concludes with “Conclusion” and “Digging Deeper.”
•There are four major sections in the book:
“Part 1-What Does ‘The Bible Tells Me So’ Really Mean?”
“Part 2-What Is Prayer Meant to Do?”
“Part 3-If God Made the World, What’s My Science Teacher Talking About?”
“Part 4-What Is Church Supposed to Look Like?”
Each of these sections have 3 chapters in each.
I feel these 4 sections and chapters are an adequate size (not too heavy for a tween or parent) and they are a solid start to these topics and conversations.
•I feel the book is written in an easy to understand way. Theology can run deep. This is a no stress book.
•There is humor mixed in the narrative. This gives the book a light-hearted feel next to serious topics.
•I love the answer to a question that’s placed on pages 127-128. It’s about how to handle a person on the “science side” who isn’t being nice. I love the answer summed up as-mind our own business.

My favorite quotes:
God does not ask for utter devotion to a written word. He asks for utter devotion to the God of that written word. Page 22.

The greatest thing about unedited, engaging prayer is that it gives God an opening to illustrate to us in personal ways that he is real. Page 91.

We learn from our ancestors that our goal here is not about our kids sustaining a faith so much as it’s about them receiving a faith that sustains them, a God who sustains them, a love that sustains them. Ours is simply to show them a life in faith and also to bolster their knowledge of him in ways that matter and resonate with this generation. Page 199.

 

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