Monday, February 14, 2011

Ferdinand and Isabella

PBS has a quality six-minute video on Ferdinand and Isabella, explaining a lot of the events that happened around Columbus' voyage and the effects of those events on how things were handled in the New World. Warning: There's one illustration of a man bleeding and tied up around the end of the fourth minute/beginning of the fifth, because the Spanish Inquisition is explained. Watch it to see if it's appropriate for your child.

There's also a three-part, half-hour series that begins here entitled Isabel of Castille: The Royal Diaries that are based on children's books from Scholastic. I have not watched them, but at first glance, they seem appropriate for kids.

This is a good opportunity to start some interesting dialogue with our kids about some of the issues of Ferdinand and Isabella's reign. We don't know Ferdinand and Isabella's hearts or how the Holy Spirit was leading them. Was there a difference between them driving the Muslims out of Grenada and the Jews out of Spain? What was wrong about the Inquisition? How do we compare this to, say, what God asked Joshua and the Israelites to do to the Canaanites?

For you as teachers, thinking through questions like this...I found this article from to be extremely helpful: See particularly points 11 and 12, one of which mentions that we rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to convert people rather than brute force.

John Piper's answer to Joshua's command to kill the Canaanites helpful (Leviticus 18:24-30 was also food for thought, though not relevant to the Inquisition, in my understanding). My husband has wisely pointed out to me that the difference between Old Testament responses to other religions (I've been troubled by 1 Sam. 15:33, contemplating God's zeal) and New Testament responses were that in the OT, God was creating a pure nation--a pure people--holy to Himself. Now, He's still concerned about a pure people, but those people are His Church: us. Burning Qurans...or people...doesn't necessarily fall in the category of 1 Peter 3:15-16's gentleness or respect toward outsiders. Jesus' response during his own arrest to one of his disciples' hacking off an ear also demonstrates a wise word of caution.

May God give you grace if/when you talk with your kids this week.

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