Sunday, September 25, 2016

Middle School Religious Ed

I agreed to teach the middle school religious ed program!  Nearly 30 kids enrolled in the sixth seventh, and eighth grades.  This is such a hard age group for me, with most of the kids looking at me in class with blank expressions no matter how hard I try to be nice, silly, whatever.  But after the first day, Katherine said that I did "pretty well" and that it was much better than any other grade she'd attended, which (in her words), made me "the best, but it isn't as though there is any competition."  Huh!  I took that as a compliment. 

 I exhausted my cleverness the first week, when we talked about Mother Teresa becoming a Saint and I had them design a FB page for her.  Oh did they have fun!  "Single and Ready to Mingle" was one status I loved and my favorite post was, "Hey Agnes, get off FB and start helping the poor!  Love, Jesus."  Hee, hee.  

The next week, the text discussed "creation stories" from different cultures and, coincidentally, I just got a series of posters from our Big History Project that had different origin stories portrayed.  I asked the kids to get into groups and then present each, then compare them to the biblical story... before we could quite finish, one kid said, "one thing that these have in common is that they are all lies!  None of this happened - science explains what really happened."  I was so thrilled I almost started jumping up and down.   That opened the door to discussing metaphor and the power of stories, looking for God in various ways, and the relationship between science and faith... you know, the heart of the good stuff. 

I ask the kids to write any questions they'd like answered but don't want to say out loud on 3x5 cards and found one after that lesson that said, "why do we believe in God?"  Again, critical thinking... asking these questions shows that they are thinking and that's everything, a way to build intelligent faith, thoughtful faith, practiced faith (I hope).  

Our third class was all about stewardship and lovely Aurore facilitated, keeping the kids involved in a series of brainstorming sessions that ended with calls to action.

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