Religious Education Never Ends Adults Can Discover New Inspiration in Old Stories First Heard as Children

Article excerpt

Byline: S.A. Mawhorr Daily Herald Staff Writer

God is everywhere.

If you believe that, you have to believe you'll spend the rest of your life learning about God.

It seems such a simple lesson. One of the first things small children are taught. You might wonder what an adult can gain from it.

But is it really that simple?

If God is infinite - then the lessons he has for his followers never end, said Jerry Root, assistant professor of Christian education at Wheaton College.

"The nature of God itself is an inexhaustible subject," Root said.

Many adults don't believe they need to continue their religious education, said Steve Rochlis of Congregation Beth Shalom in Naperville.

"But you can't learn it all as a kid and you can't learn it all as an adult," Rochlis said. "You can't learn it all in one lifetime."

Religious communities throughout DuPage County strive to provide continuing education for adults and have plenty of reasons why adults should take advantage of the opportunity.

One good reason is that life is dynamic and the challenges people face as they grow older change.

"We change and situations change, and we need God's word and guidance to help us all the way through life," said Pastor Mark Schulz of St. Luke Lutheran Church in Itasca.

"You can't face a 32-year-old's problems with a 14-year-old's faith," Schulz said.

It's also important for parents to make sure they understand their faith so they can lead their children by example, said Dorothy Redinger.

Redinger and her husband, Ken, attend adult classes at Fellowship Christian Church in Carol Stream at the same time the couple's two daughters go to Sunday school.

"It's important to set a good example," Redinger said. "And when you have to help the kids solve a problem, it's easier if you have a strong foundation yourself."

And besides, how can any parent expect a child to remain faithful if the parent is not, said Usman Baki, president of the Muslim Community Center in Chicago.

"Kids learn from their parents; they are watching all the time," Baki said.

One of the most rewarding aspects of religious education as an adult is a deeper understanding of faith.

"You can ask questions you might not have asked as a kid," Rochlis said. "As an adult, you can be in control of your own education. …