This week-end, once again I have left my spouse to keep our South Florida homestead running smoothly, and I'm helping to lead a retreat. Today, we will be studying parables. Perhaps we will even write some.
If you want to play along, here's what inspired me, at a retreat in 2009--but I think it will work well with different groups and for people who are alone:
First, you will need to make lists:
6 natural objects
6 humanmade objects
6 ordinary actions
6 art materials.
If you're working with groups, you could give each group member the responsibility of one of the lists. Divide into groups of 4. Person #1 makes a list of 6 natural objects, person #2 makes a list of art materials, and so on. They number the list.
The team leader pulls a number--1-6--out of a hat. Let's say it's #4. Each group member says what the # 4 item on their list is.
So, in my group, we had canvas, coffee mug, autumn leaf, and sleeping. We started with the creating prompt: "The Kingdom of God is like ____________."
Now, we didn't need to use all the items on the list, although that might be a fun follow-up activity. We just started talking. "How is the Kingdom of God like a blank canvas? How is it like a painted canvas? How is it like a coffee mug?" We talked in our groups, then we talked as a larger group.
We had fun with this activity, and it was a great way to get to know each other. This activity would work better after the large group had looked at one of Christ's parables. Jesus took every day things/situations/activities and transformed them into stories that would help us understand God and God's purpose. We forget how strange those parables would have been to the audiences who first heard Jesus. But it's that strangeness that gets under our skin and makes us think.
We can do the same thing. We can create parables that will help us think about God and Kingdom building in new ways. We can create parables of wondrous strangeness that will get under people's skins.
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