Bringing Fun to Serious Bible Engagement

Finally a Museum Devoted to the Book

"Please, Daddy, can we go to the big museum where learning is fun?" I said that many times as a child, and heard it repeatedly from my own children years later.

Paul de Vries is an exclusive CP columnist. | (By CP Cartoonist Rod Anderson)

The renowned Chicago Museum of Science and Industry (CMSI) has inspired me for decades. My parents brought me and my siblings there several times. Raising our own children in the Chicago area for ten years, we visited CMSI as a family a few times a year. Our children would beg to go. And what is the great attraction of CMSI? What made each of our visits to CMSI exciting, engaging, and educational for our children, and also for their mother and father?

All the dozens of CMSI exhibits are exciting, interactive, appealing, and full of adventure – even engrossing – including several vibrant walk-in displays, such as a coal mine, a human heart, a submarine, and a mirror maze engaging the visitor to discover the numerical patterns in nature.

Over the years, I have often privately wondered what it would be like to have such an exciting museum to embody instead the greater fun and excitement of excellent Bible engagement. This vision of the concrete fun, interactivity, adventure, and thrilling discovery that are part of vibrant Bible engagement was one of the reasons we developed the "7WordWonders" Curriculum.

The long-standing CMSI is a place where curiosity is fed well, where learning is intensely enjoyable, and where practical imagination is released and emboldened. Similarly, I am confident that the developing Museum of the Bible (MOTB) being built in Washington, DC – three blocks from the Capitol – will fulfill similar purposes. It will be a place of meaningful adventure, discovery, and serious fun in learning for everyone who visits!

Most of us agree that our leaders in Washington could wisely give much more attention to the Bible — and so the MOTB programs will devote 430,000 square feet completely to the Bible. The Biblical spirituality of many of the United States' past national leaders has often been celebrated. Led in part by the visionary and generous Steve Green family of the Hobby Lobby fame, MOTB will remind all of us — including especially present and future leaders in Washington — of the redemptive and liberating power of Biblical revelation to encourage leaders to develop stronger convictions for Godly hope, justice, liberty, forgiveness, and compassion.

MOTB, scheduled to open in November 2017, promises to be a divinely electrifying place to explore the exciting history, engaging context, riveting purposes, dynamic social and cultural influences, towering literary leadership, transformational impact, and the enduring spiritual power of the Bible.

When I was in Washington recently for our annual meeting of the National Evangelical-Jewish Conference (NEJC), I was able to accept an earlier invitation from the president of MOTB, Dr. Cary Summers, to a hard-hat tour of the present construction of this important, spiritual project. An existing building is being totally reconstructed for MOTB. The adjoining photo helps document my exciting and prayer-filled visit. The photo includes Shannon Bennett, Director of Community Relations of MOTB and Adam Byrd, a manager for Clark Construction, and me wearing the MOTB hardhat. You can see the scaffolding for the reconstruction of the Capitol Dome in the background.

One of our main Jewish leaders of the NEJC also met with MOTB representatives, and he was very pleased, too. Our report to the whole NEJC gathering elicited great interest.

Already, 60 construction workers are on the scene every day, and that number will soon increase dramatically. The whole timely project will cost about $450 million. Thank God for the visionary leaders and numerous generous donors — and the wonderful, Godly mission and vision that drive them.

Dr. Paul de Vries is the president of New York Divinity School, and a pastor, speaker and author. Since 2004, he has served on the Board of the National Association of Evangelicals, representing 40 million evangelical Americans.

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