Home  >  The Kingdom of Children
Share |
The Kingdom of Children
A Liberation Theology
R. L. Stollar
Foreword by Cindy Wang Brandt

PAPERBACK; Coming Soon: 11/14/2023
ISBN: 978-0-8028-8283-7
Price: $ 24.99
339 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
Add To Cart

Empower the children in your faith community.

 Children are marginalized in our churches, dismissed into Sunday school or silenced for lengthy sermons aimed at adults. R. L. Stollar has spent his career advocating for the rights of children, and he thinks it’s time to stop talking down to children and start listening to them.

In The Kingdom of Children, Stollar proposes a liberation theology of the child. Stollar begins with a theoretical framework that centers children in our theology and ecclesial life. Reframing biblical stories to center children, we can see how the binding of Isaac reflects the spiritual effects of child abuse, or how children like Miriam can serve as leaders in their communities. Using scriptural examples as well as real studies of children’s spiritual lives, Stollar asserts that children can be priests, prophets, and theologians in our communities. Each chapter concludes with activities and discussion points for introducing the book’s concepts to children.

The Kingdom of Children is a must-read for youth ministers, parents, and anyone who works with children. By embracing the liberation of children, we can avoid stunting their spiritual growth and passing on trauma. And when we lift up children—truly value and learn from them—we build up the kingdom of God here in our communities.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Cindy Wang Brandt 
Introduction: Suffer The Children 
1. The World We Live In 
2. The Questions We Must Ask 
3. Loving Children In How We Read The Bible 
4. Loving Children In How We Read The Bad Stories 
5. Loving Children In How We Read The Good Stories 
6. Gods As Children 
7. Jesus Is Child 
8. Children as God Images 
9. Liberation Is Not A Gift We Give 
10. Seeing Children As Prophets 
11. Seeing Children As Priests 
12. Seeing Children As Theologians 
13. Seeing Children As Children 
14. All The Children Of The World 
Conclusion: The Kingdom Of God Belongs To The Children 
Selected Bibliography 
Index of Authors 
Index of Subjects

“Stollar provides a substantive, accessible, and compelling portrayal of the equality and full humanity of children, focusing not only on their vulnerabilities, development, and maltreatment but also their strengths, wisdom, and contributions. He thereby inspires readers to respect and empower children as well as reexamine and rethink a wide range of central Christian beliefs and practices.” 
—Marcia J. Bunge, editor of The Child in Christian Thought and Child Theology: Diverse Methods and Global Perspectives 
“In this prophetic, compelling volume, R. L. Stollar calls attention to the rampant manifestations of anti-child discrimination that often go unnoticed and offers an urgent, compassionate alternative. The Kingdom of Children paves the way forward by calling people of faith to realize their professed commitment to children through child liberation theology. Anyone who cares about the Christ child will benefit from this much-needed book.” 
—Julie Faith Parker, author of Valuable and Vulnerable: Children in the Hebrew Bible
“The default definition of ‘family values’ in this country has been hijacked by a successful propaganda campaign from the Religious Right, where there is no tolerance for any scenario other than an authoritarian patriarchy raising obedient offspring to worship a wrathful God. This deadly myth that ruins countless lives is mainly upheld by adults who were indoctrinated in childhood.  The Kingdom of Children will be invaluable to anyone who believes that childhood should instead be a time when children are empowered to believe that everything necessary to create an alternate spiritual life—one filled with love, compassion, and optimism—already exists within them.” 
—Pamela Whissel, executive director of the Campaign to End Religious Abuse of Children
“Following the lead of liberation theologians, Ryan Stollar invites us to view the Scriptures, and our Christian practices, through the lens of childhood. He then leads us through the process, and the results are compassionate, profound, provocative, and sometimes astonishing. If we attend to his insights, we adults will both take more seriously the vulnerability of children, and at the same time learn to listen to them as prophets to us. Maybe Jesus would like us to do those things.” 
—Helen Paynter, director of the Centre for the Study of Bible and Violence, Bristol Baptist College
The Kingdom of Children is inviting, challenging, and groundbreaking work of child liberation theology.  It is not an easy read, confronting the hard realities of childism in our culture, churches, and scriptures, but it is worth every minute of dismay to come away with Stollar’s vision of God the Child, of what it means to love and respect children, and how to love God the child alongside and even led by the children in our communities.  Stollar works hard to make his work accessible to children and adults, and ends every chapter with suggestions for applying the content in community with children. This is an important book that the church needs.”
—Michelle Panchuk, associate professor of philosophy at Murray State University
“In a culture that simultaneously fetishizes and devalues children, Stollar takes them seriously as people. The Kingdom of Children is a beautiful step forward in embracing kids as leaders for just and moral change, and a necessary corrective against their present abuse.”
—Rev. Benjamin Perry, author of Cry, Baby: Why Our Tears Matter
“With respect and grace, Ryan Stollar flips the script on what has been orthodox, adult-centered theology in American churches. Readers are encouraged to think for themselves as they receive new information that challenges Bible story normativity and traditional religious interpretation. My own inner child felt seen. I Understood a personal lived experience of seeing God’s truth in the face of my child and came away with an expanded view of the Scriptures. To every person who believes that God loves children, The Kingdom of Children is a must read!”
—Rebekah Drumsta, MA, CPLC, religious trauma advocate and consultant, author of When Family Hurts: 30 Days to Finding Healing and Clarity
“With a passion for data, strategy, and the good news of Jesus and other prophets, R. L. Stollar has given us a gift of spirit. The Kingdom of Children is profoundly original, profoundly challenging, and profoundly encouraging. Children, Stollar insists, are bearers of prophetic imagination, and we must learn to regard them this way. We get to honor and revere their clairvoyance instead of fearing it and shutting it down. The world children bear witness to, through curiosity and creativity, is our actual world, one in which God sees everything our violence tries to hide and deny, a world in which children, our resident actualists, have the right to not be beaten or driven to despair by parents and other alleged adults, the right to liberation. Take up and consider what Stollar sets down in this actionable text. We have holy work in front of us.”
—David Dark, assistant professor in the College of Theology at Belmont University, author of Life’s Too Short to Pretend You’re Not Religious