Little Theologians

Little Theologians : Children, Culture, and the Making of Theological Meaning

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Children don't just learn theology. They actively create it, playing with ideas and drawing together aspects of their own lives to form theological understanding. In Little Theologians David Csinos offers a groundbreaking exploration of how cultural contexts intersect with the theological meaning-making of children. The qualitative research that Csinos undertook opened windows onto the religious and spiritual lives of children within four culturally distinct congregations of the United Church of Canada. He began by inviting the children to draw pictures of God and encouraging them to describe what they had drawn. Their answers led to revealing exchanges about who God is, how children understand spiritual experiences, what it means to believe, and what it means that people may believe differently. This innovative study offers an in-depth look at each congregation and how children make theological meaning in ways that reflect the broader culture around them, as well as ways that are all their own. By illuminating the diverse theological understanding of children, Csinos highlights characteristics that are shared among children and those that are unique to each child. Providing a radical twist of perspective, Little Theologians looks to the theological insights and experiences of children to provide a lens for critiquing broader discourses surrounding cultural diversity and spirituality.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 280 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 22.86mm | 408.23g
  • Montreal, Canada
  • English
  • 17 drawings, 1 table
  • 0228003830
  • 9780228003830
  • 758,530

Review quote

"Providing many rich examples of how children think through their beliefs, Little Theologians is a helpful window into congregational life and how it may impact the theologizing done by children who experience that corporate life." Kevin Lawson, Biola University/Talbot School of Theology "This book is a treasure of information about children's views on religious topics. Csinos argues, in line with many others, that children 'actively generate theological meaning,' but he persuasively shows how children's theologies are not only related to their age, but also to the religious and cultural contexts to which they belong. This research is unique in its attention to the content and processes of children's theological thinking. It is a must-read for everyone interested in pastoral work with children and children's theology, but especially for students interested in qualitative empirical research in practical theology." Annemie Dillen, faculty of theology and religious Studies, KU Leuven "Grounded in qualitative research in congregations, Little Theologians makes an important contribution to the study of children and theology with its direct attention to the role of culture in the formation of children's religious worldviews. Csinos shows that the human meaning-making quest begins early in life, and that children often 'know more than they can tell' about theology." Joyce Ann Mercer, Yale Divinity School "In the last three decades, studies of theology of childhood have proliferated, and theologians have written much about children. But few have asked children themselves to speak theologically. In the spirit of Robert Coles' The Spiritual Life of Children, David Csinos engages children in four different congregations in theological conversations. He lets us hear their theological ideas and demonstrates that theological thinking occurs at a very young age." Pamela D. Couture, director of Toronto School of Theology, University of Toronto
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About David M. Csinos

David M. Csinos is assistant professor at Atlantic School of Theology and founding president of Faith Forward.
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