Last week, my friends Russ Ramsey, Russell Moore, and Thomas McKenzie met me in a pre-school classroom in Nashville to have some fun and talk about family.
We recorded four short episodes, now titled “A Baptist, an Anglican, and a Presbyterian Walk Into a Monkey Bar.” Here is the first one, on the exciting subject of Scripture Memorization. Don’t miss it.
Russ Ramsey is an author and associate pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, TN. He just released Struck – a wonderful book about marriage, friendship, a heart surgery, parenting, and living a life of faith during trying times. Highly recommended.
On Sing the Bible Volume 1, friendly monsters (and kids, and friendly bees) joined me in singing Deuteronomy 6:5.
On Sing the Bible Volume 2, Dracula and Frankenstein dropped by the studio again and joined me for our Ten Commandments song.
(On Sing the Bible Volume 3, they are likely taking a break from the studio, though I’m sure they’ll be back eventually.)
Over the years, I’ve been asked about those choices a few times, usually by someone who thought it seemed strange – maybe even wrong – to include something as silly or as scary as “monsters” on a CD about the Bible.
And I totally get it. It is kind of strange.
Then, a few weeks ago, I received a very thoughtful email that prompted me to gather my thoughts for a reply. Since I’ve just (today!) released the video for our Ten Commandments song, I thought today would be a good day to share that reply here.
About the monsters, I’m glad you asked this very fair question. On a practical theological level, I handle it like Veggie Tales handles Bob and Larry, avoiding the issue of salvation for them because they are not real, of course.
As I’m sure you know, mild scariness is one of the ways we introduce the concept of danger to kids – through games like peek-a-boo and “I’m gonna get you!” chase games. Ironically, it’s (of course) also one of the ways we have fun.
For me, reared as I was on Sesame Street (Cookie Monster, The Count, and Grover’s “The Monster at the End of this Book” come to mind) – it is easy for me to use monsters for mildly scary / humorous purposes.
That said, there are deeper message at work. First, do not fear… maybe the Bible’s most frequent admonition. Also, things are not always as they seem. What may at first seem monstrous may prove otherwise, so be slow to judge.
Third, I’m thinking of the great passage from Orthodoxy by GK Chesterton about bogeys and dragons… his point was that fairy tales show that there is something stronger than darkness. In all of the way S&B uses monsters, it is with a similar spirit – that the context of the Gospel overwhelms fear.
Finally, I go back to examples like Sesame Street’s Grover and Bugs Bunny’s abominable snowman. By incorporating “monsters” into fun settings, we bring them onto our level, which allows not only freedom from fear but the beginning of empathy for the “other.” (These are friendly monsters!) And after all, no one I encounter daily is completely evil. most everyone I meet is a mixed bag (like me)!
I wouldn’t say monsters belong in songs about the Bible, though I might say they are already there. With another nod to G.K. Chesterton, “I” am what is wrong with the world. If there are monsters, then they are inside me, and inside you. Thank God in Heaven for the terrible and merciful and ultimate victory on the cross. His victory sets us free to live lives of love and self-forgetfulness. Because of Christ, we are monsters no more.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20
After years of development and many months of testing, Slugs & Bugs has an app!
At first, I just wanted a safe place for kids to (digitally) watch Slugs & Bugs videos. However, I soon realized a word-jumble memory game could provide another fun way for parents and kids to engage with Scripture. Our brilliant designer, Chris Dainty (from Canada), brought the vision to life with such bright simplicity – I can’t wait for all Slugs & Bugs fans to try it. It is currently limited to apple products (iPhone/iPad) but we are hoping to develop an Android version in 2017. (Watch the video for a glimpse inside the app!)
•The Family Game, (free – ages 5 and up) unscramble Bible verses (1-4 players or teams)
• Slugs & Bugs Videos: watch exclusive app-only (ad-free) .
• Bible Flash Cards to help you learn the Bible and sharpen your skills for our board game
• Memory Matching Game featuring S&B characters
• Upcoming tour dates
• News and encouraging parenting posts from the Slugs and Bugs blog.
* In-app purchase unlocks 100 more verses, many more videos, and a second game board!
Here’s another new Christmas Scripture song with music inspired by Vince Guaraldi’s Peanuts Christmas music. I usually use the ESV, but for this song I reached back into the King James version so I could sing the words, “unto us.” I also borrowed a word from the NLT which says, “rest upon his shoulder.”
One of the most challenging things about writing in 5/4 time is keeping the melody naturally singable. Hopefully you can sing along at home without much trouble.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall rest upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
Be on the lookout for the third “Sing the Bible” CD from Slugs & Bugs in 2017!
And BRAND NEW from Slugs & Bugs: The Slugs & Bugs APP! Play Scripture memory games, watch Slugs & Bugs videos and so much more. Click Here to find it!
As a parent, every day you make decisions that shape your family culture. You decide how to respond to behavior, you choose groceries, you drive to team practice or ballet or piano lessons, you make decisions about movies and TV shows and internet usage… about school and friends and church and family vacations… and you decide what music plays in the car.
Following the release of the two Slugs & Bugs Sing the Bible CDs (15% off SALE this week), we’ve received countless emails from families who listen to Sing the Bible together in the home and the car, and over time these emails have revealed a common theme. Again and again, we hear how these Scripture songs are helping to powerfully shape the culture and personality of homes around the world, as the joy and truth and hope of the gospel settles into the hearts and minds of the entire family.
Recently, at a concert in Virginia, I met Celeste Ainsworth, mother of three, and her husband John. Over dinner, she so powerfully articulated the impact of Sing the Bible on her family, that I asked her to record her story. You can see it for yourself in the video below.
I am so grateful for Celeste and her family, and for all of the families that share their stories about how Slugs & Bugs is impacting them and their children. These stories help me press on, and fill me with gratitude and joy. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Right now (through Wednesday, Sept. 9) we’re having a 15% off SALE on the Sing the Bible Bundle (in celebration of our second consecutive Dove Award Nomination (Children’s Album of the Year)).
You can buy them for your family right now: (click here)
Randall Goodgame is a husband and father of 3, and the founder of Slugs & Bugs Family Music.
Hear, O Israel—
The Lord your God, the Lord is One.
These commandments that I give to you today
Are to be on your hearts.
Impress them on your children.
Talk about them when you sit at home
And when you walk along the road.
When you lie down.
When you get up.
And when you ride around in your minivan, it could have said. And when you’re fixing lunch, and when you’re tempted to plop the kids down in front of the TV just to get them out of your hair for a little while, is that too much to ask?
Randall Goodgame’s Sing the Bible records don’t just offer up that kind of Scripture-saturation as an ideal to strive for; they create the conditions under which it becomes a reality, even a norm. Since I got my copy of Sing the Bible, Volume 2, my car has become a rolling Scripture sauna, where my kids and I breathe the shared air of word-for-word Bible verses…