Monday, June 4, 2018

Boasting and Arrogance

Picture Book: Anton and the Battle
Author & Illustrator: Ole Konnecke
Summary: This book is about 2 boys, Anton and Luke, so the title is puzzling. But it does begin with Anton having a song in his heart. 
Then he meets Luke who has on a different sort of hat. 
Luke begins the boasting with a declaration of strength. 
Anton responds with his own declaration. That's when cleverly, the author/artist portrays the boys' imaginative claims as line drawings 
to demonstrate the ridiculousness of their boasts.
This begins a continual one-upmanship that eventually goes beyond strength to loudness
violence to each other, 
and violence to fierce animals. 
It gets a bit bloody in their heads. 
Despite their declarations of courage, a small puppy frightens both. 
For only a moment, they are in the same position, 
afraid and unsure what to do. 
But old habits die hard. 
As they brag about how much they can eat and drink, the dog wanders away.  
They head for home, but the dog returns. Boasts of speed end the story.
Hanna’s Comments: I was teaching a lesson to some elementary children yesterday at my church. I had set up a situation in which the children were to throw a paper ball into a box after answering a question or telling a story. One of the boys asked how you win. That’s what this book is about, our inclination to compare, boast, and compete. If like me you believe these inclinations are contrary to the scriptures, then this book is a great choice for you. Look below at a sampling of scriptures from across the Bible that address arrogance and boasting. These desires or so in grained in my American culture (I suspect in many others), that a cooperative game seems unusual, even at church. Lord have mercy on us all! Don't assume this is a book just for kids. Adults in your faith family would benefit from a discussion of these issues too, parents especially for the kids are watching and listening for models of godly behavior.  
Original Publisher & Date: Gecko Press, 2013
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 5 and up, K and up
Formats other than Book: None at present 
Scripture Connections: Besides any scripture about humility, especially Jesus' words, consider...They pour out their arrogant words; all the evildoers boast. (Psalm 94:4); Let another person praise you, not your own mouth (Proverbs 27:2); …let not the mighty man boast in his might (Jeremiah 9:23); What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? (1 Corinthians 4:7); If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness (2 Corinthians 11:30); Boasting in your arrogance is evil (James 4:16)
Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to a group of any age and explore your culture’s inclination to boast, compare, and compete, Then consider how these values contrast with biblical imperatives.