Light, dark, and points in between

How do we use figurative language with children when discussing issues of spirituality?

This (first attempt at a) Prezi on spirituality gives three images, which I’ll discuss here, and a couple of quotations to ponder.

The first thing is to point out that the bells-and-whistles approach doesn’t really help. I have seen Powerpoint destroy an argument in much the same way: so many ways to change from image to image, different sounds from slide to slide. Here the seasickness pills are required from when we lurch through the window to going round the sun (although I’m sneakily proud of that) to the seven-league boots leap to the Zen circle at the end.

The second is this idea of dark and light, common, as far as I can see, to all religious language. “Lead me from dark to light, from death to immortality” say the Uphanishads, and the Hebrew Bible tells us that “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.”  A basic figure of speech in discussing spirituality – even when faced with the iconoclasm of St John of the Cross and his much-misquoted “dark night.”

But why the figurative language? What are the limits of language or experience that it seems inappropriate to discuss spirituality without reference to light, or wind, or bread (and wine)? And (for the point of view of my module on children and spirituality) what is the impact of this on children?

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