Child Theology is born

by Keith J. White

The title of this paper took form during Advent last year. In the run up to Christmas there were the usual tasks – decorations, pantomime practices, Christmas cards, and a few sermons and talks. I wrote my usual article for Children Magazine on the theme of the marginalisation of children, and the editor gave it the headline ‘Left Out in the Stable’. (I never can get the title right and I admire those who can.) I had been wrestling with ‘Child Theology’ for some time and it was as I focused on the child-Christ, the baby in the manger, that the image of birth became a metaphor that seemed particularly and amusingly apt. One day perhaps Child Theology will toddle, go to school, perhaps even become a teenager…….but that line of thought risks becoming allegorical! The paper is in two parts. First, let me say a few things about each word in the title: ‘Child’; ‘Theology’ and ‘Born’; and then I will seek to outline some of the opportunities, responsibilities and challenges that the process implies for those of us who are Christians living and working alongside children, young people and families.

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