Applied Evangelinformatics Tools
Developing relevant information “tools” for any endeavor such as evangelism takes time. It usually involves gathering information from varied resources, or collecting information from a very large and detailed resource and formatting it in a way that will be understandable and useful for those who will use the tool. This first “tool” I will post goes back many years and it provides a way to challenge “graduates” of various kinds to not leave God out of their lives. In fact, they should bow before Him in humble gratitude in all situations because He did not even spare His own Son, but “gave him up for us all.” (Romans 8:32)
I would venture that many thousands of graduates each year receive the book Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss. I received a copy myself from my oldest sister when I graduated from Florida State University back in 1992. Interestingly, I had started preparing for this tool entry on the site recently and I happened to see a college-aged patient in the hospital. As I was talking with this patient about her illness, I looked towards the window and noticed a brand new copy of Oh, The Places You’ll Go! sitting on the air conditioner. 21 years have passed since I received my copy and yet, sure enough, the patient told me she received it at a graduation event that had taken place recently.
The problem here is that this beloved book goes entirely counter to a God-centered (Theistic) view of the world. It is entirely atheistic in its dialogue and ultimately appears to portray a secular humanistic view of a person’s life events. I know that it is only a storybook, but this is not the kind of information that true Christian parents, family, or friends should pass on as some legitimate form of “truth” about their life journey. The Bible is an inspired collection of 66 books encompassing history, wisdom, prophecy, poetry and other forms of prose. There is much to be gained from applying relevant verses to life’s journeys including both the ups and the downs.
The Oh, the Places You’ll Go (with God)! tool is a spreadsheet of bible verses with the relevant corresponding page numbers from the Dr. Seuss book. This allows the “graduate” to receive their “traditional” storybook gift while at the same time balancing the story’s philosophy with sound biblical truth, pointing the graduate to God during this important transition in their life. Click the button links below to be taken to the tool. The PDF can be color printed and placed inside the book, or even better, the verses can be manually written into the book (a labor of love with an example seen above) so that the reader immediately sees the comparative biblical view.
Parents typically invest all kinds of effort into the safe and loving care of their children to get them to milestones like graduation. An important analogy, described by theologian J.I. Packer, regarding our own relationship with God, emerges. A young child will hear “baby talk” from a parent. That “baby talk” does not really represent who that parent is, but that child will grow in their trust and love of their parent if that “baby talk” conveys truth (e.g. “No, No, No. Hot!”, “Eat. Yummy.”). We need to realize that God communicates with us through His Word like “baby talk”. Much of God will remain mystery to us, but if what we do know is truthful and life-giving, then “the truest expression of trust in a great God will always be worship, and it will always be proper worship to praise God for being far greater than we can know.” (Packer (1993), p.53)
Oh, the places we’ll go with God! Amen.