Saturday, June 2, 2012

Transforming Youth into Poets

Last night, at a planning meeting for a new kind of worship service we're launching at church.  We want a more interactive experience, something that gets the children and youth more involved.  For more on this initiative, today's post at my theology blog will give you more insight.

As we talked last night, we talked about the experimental/family service that our pastor designed for Easter Sunday.  The "children's sermon" fascinated me, and it seemed to have larger applications.  I particularly loved how it might start young people down the symbol/metaphor road.

Our "children's sermon" time is traditional in that it has part of the church population come forward.  It's non-traditional in that parents often come up, as do adolescents of all ages.

For Easter, our pastor had a basket of everyday objects.  Each child participant chose an object and went back to the pew to discuss what this object could teach us about God and about the Easter message.  Then 10 minutes later, the participants came forward to report.

For those of you who are having trouble picturing this, here's an example:  one child took a roll of tape back to the pew.  What does tape have to do with God or Easter?  Easter is the event that sticks us to God.  That's one possibility.

It seems to me that this exercise would have secular applications too, a great way of teaching metaphor and figurative language.  And it would work with everyday objects that you have around the house/school/office.

Here are some prompts:

--what does this hammer have to teach us about vacation?  (any object could take the place of a hammer, and of course, you could fill in that vacation side of the metaphor with anything you like:  love, family, social justice, addictive behavior . . .)

--what does this object have to teach us about history?  about modern life?

--if this object was a religious object, describe the religious rituals that could spring up around it.

--choose 2 objects and come up with some connections.  Once you've written down the obvious, go deeper.

--if you wanted to go down a different road, an object could lead to reports of all kinds, to research papers, to oral history projects.

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