Conversations with Poppi about God

An Eight-Year-Old and Her Theologian Grandfather Trade Questions

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About

Come and listen in as one of the world's most respected theologians talks theology with his eight-year-old granddaughter. In Conversations with Poppi about God, Robert Jenson and Solveig Lucia Gold share with us their unscripted, spontaneous talks about everything from the meaning of the Trinity to what God looks like. The result is a charming and enlightening book that reminds us all we have a lot to learn from theologians and from children. Now available in paper, Conversations with Poppi will appeal to parents, grandparents, pastors, teachers, and Christians looking for a refreshing perspective on the mysteries of Christianity.


Endorsements

"What a wonderful, helpful, profound little book. I must be honest. I usually find the dialogue format a bit tedious; it always seems to be a long journey from question to insight. But, listening in on these conversations between a young girl and her world-class theologian grandfather, one gains real knowledge shaped by authentic biblical theology spoken about in real language. I don't know if it is because I have the mind of an eight-year-old or just the mind of an honest God-seeker, but I laughed and I learned, and I really liked this book."--Duffy Robbins, Eastern University

"The psalmist sang: 'Walk about Zion . . . number her towers . . . consider well her ramparts . . . that you may tell the next generation that this is God, our God for ever and ever.' But a good teacher knows that the next generation is not mute, and Jenson is a master teacher. So it is not only the grandfather who instructs; the granddaughter too is wise, affectionate, humorous, insightful (and sometimes silly), all of which makes for lively and charming reading."--Robert Louis Wilken, University of Virginia

"If the test of any theology is its ability to respond to the simplest questions, even to a child's questions, then these conversations pass with flying colors. Readers will find in the exchanges between Poppi and Solveig a liveliness and love which, while natural in some ways, may seem even more than natural. And if we read carefully, we may begin to suspect that the Spirit of the exchanges moved by this lively love is indeed something more than just the affection of grandfather and granddaughter for each other."--Gilbert Meilaender, Valparaiso University

"Eight-year-old theologians are not so rare as we might think, but few have a theologian grandfather with the patience and learning to appreciate their profundity. Readers will thank Solveig and Poppi for their winsome engagement with the surprising simplicity of Christian wisdom."--Richard John Neuhaus, author of American Babylon: Notes of a Christian Exile

"Robert Jenson has created a new medium, with his granddaughter Solveig, to teach the basics of the Christian faith. Just as Martin Luther wrote his Small Catechism for children, this book of conversations covers the beliefs and practices of the Christian church--among them the commandments, the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and the sacraments--in a way that parents, regardless of their denomination, can confidently read and discuss with their children. Robert Jenson has translated the core convictions of his two volumes of Systematic Theology into simple truths that his eight-year-old grandchild can understand in the course of their unrehearsed and lively conversations. If you want to know what a sophisticated theologian really believes, listen to him explain the mysteries of the Christian faith to a child in simple terms without being simplistic."--Carl E. Braaten, Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology


The Authors

  1. Robert W. Jenson

    Robert W. Jenson

    Robert W. Jenson (1930-2017; DrTheol, University of Heidelberg) formerly served as senior scholar for research at the Center of Theological Inquiry. He authored On Thinking the Human: Resolutions of Difficult Notions and coedited (with Carl Braaten)...

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  2. Solveig Gold

    Solveig Gold

    Solveig Lucia Gold attends elementary school in New York and enjoys visits to Poppi's home in Princeton, New Jersey.

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Reviews

A Crossings Book Club Selection

"A marvelous little book. . . . Gold and Jenson ruminate on topics ranging from Christian origins and the image of God to Santa Claus and other saints and prayer, work, and hamsters. [It is] full of good humor and Jenson's wisdom and his affection for his granddaughter. . . . This wonderful book allows the reader to eavesdrop on a fascinating and funny conversation and to benefit from Solveig and her grandfather's theological wisdom."--Henry L. Carrigan Jr., ForeWord

"What a good premise for a book: an eight-year-old precocious child carrying on a theological conversation with her 73-year-old grandfather--not just any grandfather but a noted 'Reverend Canon Professor . . .' who has edited a volume on Christian dogmatics. . . . There is something here for all Christians--or skeptics--from adolescents to grandparents, who read for insight as well as whimsy."--Evelyn Bence, FaithfulReader.com

"[Jenson and Gold's] obvious comfort level promotes remarkable honesty over a wide range of topics. . . . Written for anyone who has an interest in theology, this book is an example of the conversations that can occur through open and honest discourse. . . . Readers will find truth in this book coming from two very different theologians."--Youthworker Journal

"An eight-year-old and her theologian grandfather exchange ideas and questions in [this] gentle spiritual primer. . . . It'll make a lovely gift for a family member--or a fine addition to a Christian spiritual collection."--Midwest Book Review

"These conversations are not the kind of theology one will get in most seminary classes, but it is a great methodology for doing theology."--Anthony J. Petrotta, Living Church

"Most enjoyable . . . are Solveig's astuteness and sense of humor. . . . [Jenson] simplifies lofty ideas while Solveig reaches up for the ring to grasp the important concepts."--Eric Johnson, Christian Research Journal

"I think [Jenson's] explanation of the origins of Christianity and his explanation of why there are so many kinds of Christians were very well done. He gives a good explanation of indulgences and the conflict between Luther and Calvin and the Pope. It is a nice, age-appropriate explanation that comes out of the dialogue. It demonstrates the importance and the rewards of having conversations rather than simple lectures. . . . . The greatest value of the book may be in demonstrating the warmth and excitement of having theological conversations with children. It offers a glimpse of a way to teach the faith that is ancient, and new."--Melissa D. F. Kuemmerle, Word & World