Author Dave Palmer has published a second edition of Let’s Go Find God, the enticing first volume I of St. Thomas Aquinas for Everyone.
“St. Thomas is the greatest doctor of the Church,” author Dave Palmer said, “and I assert that children can be taught his basic philosophy, as I have taught my 13- and 8-year olds for several years.”
The full title of the series tells it all: St. Thomas Aquinas for Everyone, 30 Quick and Fun Lessons, Activities and Outdoor Adventures Based on the Summa Theologica.
The second edition keeps the arrangement, approach and focus on the intended audience that makes St. Thomas Aquinas for Everyone a dynamic tool to teach children the spirituality of awareness. Dave organizes each of the 30 interactive lessons into six sections, including a Fun Activity and an Outdoor Adventure. My favorite section is Awe and Wonder, a reflection on the St. Thomas Says section and how it applies to my life.
Dave said he chose the book’s new cover “to make it look a bit more modern and attractive. I went back in and redid many of the chapters, added some really interesting outdoor adventures and activities and basically kept what was good and added some additional information to the first edition.”
Let’s Go Find God is the first of eight volumes that will eventually cover the entire Summa—the life’s work of the author, Dave Palmer, whose day job has him directing a Catholic radio station. Dave said that sales are up for the Second Edition, “so I’m really excited and when I get time I will move on to writing the second volume of the series with the hope of one day finishing the whole Summa.
Dave had heard so much talk about St. Thomas in theology and liturgy discussions that he just knew he had to read the Summa Theologica. Ten years ago he started reading it, finished in 9 months, and immediately started over.
What struck him about the Summa was that it’s not complicated, as most people experience. “There was a simplicity that struck me very pointedly and unexpectedly,” he said.
“It changed the way I see the world!” Dave said. “Everything was different from before I read the Summa to after I read it. It gave me a blueprint for directing my life to God, to the way I live my life.”
To summarize the Summa, Dave evoked John 17:3, “Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.” Dave explained, ”It’s about knowing God! Ever since I read the Summa, I’ve had a burning desire to get to know God. Of course, God exceeds our ability to understand him, but is it impossible to know him? Well, no, because he’s left clues of himself everywhere we look.”
Relevant now and eternally
The Summa teaches that God is perfection. He is everywhere. In every moment he is around us, in everything. Dave thought, “Okay, I can go find God. Every single day of my life can be an exciting adventure. I can explore and find God in everything.”
The Summa helps us come to know God as much as possible now so we can prepare to live with him forever in heaven. That’s why Dave contends that St. Thomas remains relevant. And why the Church continues to encourage us in restoring Christian philosophy to counteract a myriad of atheist philosophies seeping into our culture.
“We don’t have to wait until our children are 18, and we send them off to college to their first philosophy class. We can teach them while their minds are absorbing everything.”
Conversation with God
Dave thinks 5-year-olds can be taught the basics of Thomistic philosophy, such as recognizing beauty and connecting it with God. For example, parents, grandparents and educators can instill simple principles about cause and effect. Discovering a leaf means a tree is nearby. Seeing the sun come up means we have warmth and light. Using the Outdoor Activity guide, children see cause and effect in nature, reminders of God, our Creator.
Soon they engage in a deeper conversation with God. They are finding God through their senses, transcending the world. Awareness brings awe and wonder – and gratitude!
What are we waiting for? Let’s go find God!
St. Thomas Aquinas for Everyone is available in bookstores and on Amazon.com.
Dave Palmer lives in Texas with his wife, Paula, and their three children. He earned a Masters degree in Theology from the University of Dallas and has spent the past ten years studying and teaching the theology and philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas to young people through online courses and religious education classes at his parish. He serves as the Executive Director of the Guadalupe Radio Network’s Catholic radio station in North Texas, 910 AM. He has a passion for helping people of all ages to better know, love and desire God more passionately through a deeper understanding of St. Thomas Aquinas’ masterpiece, the Summa Theologica.