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#1 Go Wings

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 04:06 AM

I was wondering if anyone had any knowledge or first hand experience with Awana(never heard of them until now). I ask because i got a text a few days ago from my older brother with a picture telling me that my 3 or so year old niece recieved her awana vest for reciting a bible verse i guess? I know how crazy religious he is and i am kind of worried this group could be a bit on the nutty side as well. I have read up some on them and would love to learn more if anyone knows anything.
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#2 Franciscan Monkey

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 07:04 AM

Perhaps the Awana theme song sheds the most light on their leanings:

Firmly Awana stands, led by the Lord’s commands;
“Approved workmen are not ashamed,”
Boys and girls for His service claimed!
Hail! Awana! On the march for youth;
Hail! Awana! Holding forth the truth;
Building lives on the Word of God, Awana stands!
Our Savior following with steps unfaltering,
And love unaltering, His praise we sing;
His banner over us, in service glorious,
We’ll fight victorious for Christ our King!

Usually followed by a shout of "Youth on the march!"

I was involved in Awana for several years, as many fundamentalists are. It's basically indoctrination, using the tried and true methods of repetition and memorization, conformity (gray-shirted uniforms, etc.), slogans, and peer pressure. My ex-wife's grandparents were Awana missionaries.

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#3 TexasFreethinker



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Posted 24 September 2010 - 07:20 AM

My brother and his wife have been the leaders of Awana for a large Southern Baptist church for many years now. I've gone a time or two to see my niece and nephew as they play sports or other things in Awana.

My sense was that Awana sessions are no stranger than regular Sunday School, Training Union, Royal Ambassadors or other church activities that I was involved in as a teenager 30 years ago. Just a more modern version.

I found one thing really funny: My nephew won the "Most Christlike" award in a soccer game. I never realized jesus was into sports!
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#4 MagickMonkey


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Posted 24 September 2010 - 08:14 AM

After I left town after High School, the church I used to go to started an Awana group (don't know the proper name for this) and my sister joined. Two people, a husband and wife, who I thought were good, easy-going, people ran the group. My sister said they were the biggest dicks. They basically tried to act like drill instructors or something and were very rude to the kids as a consequence.
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#5 decafaholic



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Posted 24 September 2010 - 09:11 AM

Awana is pretty popular in my area. I used to see little kids with their awana vests on at school because they were going to church right afterward on Wednesdays. It seems like a typical mid-week children's church program.
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#6 recoveringfromchristianity



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Posted 24 September 2010 - 05:07 PM

I know that in my area Awana groups are at some non-denominational evangelical churches, southern baptist churches, and at a christian missionary alliance church.
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#7 Seeking


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Posted 24 September 2010 - 05:26 PM

I attended the AWANA club in my Baptist church (GARBC, not Southern) in the 1980s from the time I was 6 years old until probably age 16.

Every kid who joined got a vest that indicated which level/age-group they were in. The meetings were always the same: 20+ minutes of games (foot races, etc, to wear the kids out), then classes divided by age and - when older - gender. In the classes, we had a Bible lesson and discussion, and had to memorize copious Bible verses. We also had "sword drills" where the leader would call out a Bible verse and we'd race to see who could find it first. As we reached the service/memorization goals that had been set, we'd get patches or medals for our vests.

Once I hit my teen years, the books for the classes included activities that weren't specifically Bible-related, such as learning to change the oil on the car, befriending an elderly person in the church (usually a shut-in), etc.

All in all, I had a great time with it. Now, however, I can see it for what it was - pure indoctrination!
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#8 riverrunner

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 05:35 PM

Tell me about it my wife has our kids in it. drives me nuts. I have to deindoctrinate them every so often - well kids you know the bible is not a science book - is something I say a lot and they seem to accept the proper age of the earth and things like that.
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#9 Googledotman



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Posted 24 September 2010 - 08:17 PM

I was actually in Awana. They made us learn Bible verses and we had discussions, but otherwise that was it.
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#10 violentlygraceful



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Posted 24 September 2010 - 08:37 PM

I was in AWANA from 4th-7th grade. After that, the Calvary Chapel attended actually invented their own variant of AWANA because they refused to sign the doctrinal statement required to renew their charter. True story. I was in the pseudo-AWANA from 7th-11th grade. It's pure YEC inerrantist indoctrination. Your children will be better served spending their intellectual energy elsewhere.
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#11 AKR



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Posted 25 September 2010 - 03:53 AM

It's basically indoctrination, using the tried and true methods of repetition and memorization, conformity (gray-shirted uniforms, etc.), slogans, and peer pressure. My ex-wife's grandparents were Awana missionaries.

Franciscan Monkey

This. It's also a place that annoyed parents send their bratty kids to get rid of them for a few hours every week. I went to Awanas for years and I fucking hated it. All of the pointless memorization and being stuck with little shits that not even their parents love.

You basically sit in a room and memorize verses and phrases, and then, go play dodge ball and run relay races. It's sorta like boy scouts, but you don't actually learn anything useful. Probably won't get molested, though.

If my memory serves me, from start to finish (at least, back then in my church):

Everyone meets together, says a brainwashing pledge to the Christian flag and American flag. Sing a little bit. Maybe do sword drills. Go into groups with your leader and brainwash yourself with memorizing phrases and verses for about an hour. Go play games for a while and then, meet for awards. Go home, clear out pointless Bible verses so you can memorize new ones next week. (or, if you go to a private Christian school, clear it out for the verses you have to have done two days later).

Edited by AKR, 25 September 2010 - 03:57 AM.

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#12 Burnedout


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Posted 25 September 2010 - 09:08 AM

Just think of it as the Evangelical/Fundy version of the Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts and all the achievements etc., are based on Bible Verses.
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