devozine

For Youth Workers Post

EVERYDAY THEOLOGY

Darren Wright

“In the Habit” session for use with devozine meditations for January 5–11, 2015.

MAKING THE CONNECTION

“How many times have you heard someone say, ‘What you see on Sunday, at church, is who I really am. What I do Monday through Saturday isn’t the real me’? We tell ourselves a lie so that we feel OK about not living God’s kingdom ways every day.

“In my mind, part of everyday theology is recognizing the God questions around us every day—questions that may be inspired by our family life, school, the news, politics, art, music, the environment, television, the movies, sports, or literature. This week’s activity allows some time to explore where we’ve met God during the week and also what God questions the week has inspired in us.” —Darren

MEET THE WRITER

Darren WrightDarren Wright is a Uniting Church Education Worker serving in the Riverina Presbytery in New South Wales, Australia, as the Presbytery Youth and Children’s Ministry Worker. Darren has previously worked in congregational ministry, high school chaplaincy and local government as a youth worker. He has also been a petrol station attendant, supermarket employee, dairy manager, furniture sales person. His interests include music (Moby, Radiohead, Ben Harper, The National, Muse, All India Radio), film (MegaMind, Harry Potter, How to Train your Dragon, Scott Pilgrim), TV (Chuck, Doctor Who, Big Bang Theory, Community), theology, pop-culture, working with young people in at-risk areas, and connecting the church and theology with pop culture. Check out Darren’s blog.

STUFF YOU WILL NEED

  • The week before the session, if you have the chance, assign some homework for group members to do alongside the readings. Give each participant either a small notebook or a stack of post-it-notes. Invite people to pay particular attention to the God questions they think of during the week. Perhaps they’re questions about their life and faith. Did they watch a television show or movie that inspired questions about faith or God? Or maybe they have other questions on their hearts about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, church, life. Ask them to write one question per page (in the notebook) or post-it-note and to bring them all to the group meeting.
  • lots of crayons
  • sheets of paper, 11 x 17 or larger
  • If you do not assign homework, provide a copy of a newspaper for every day of the week and maybe a few magazines.
  • Print-Friendly Version of this session

PLUGGED IN

If you want to develop this session in other ways, here are a few resources that may be of assistance.

  • Way To Live: Christian Practices For Teens by Dorothy Bass and Don Richter is a great book for youth leaders and young people to explore spiritual practices and theology. It takes a look at everyday practices and how they connect faith with everyday lives: food, creativity, work, play, music, prayer, friends, time. The Leader’s Guide provides great ideas for youth groups, worship, liturgy.
  • Practicing Our Faith — I’ll save a lot of time by recommending almost anything that comes from the Practicing Faith project. Along with Way to Live and On Our Way, you’ll find a long list of books and guides that explore spiritual practices for everyday life.

CHECKING IN

Invite group members to participate in a creative storytelling game in which they tell a not-so-everyday story. Ask one person to start a story with a sentence and to begin a second sentence with the word Suddenly… Ask a second person to add to the story by finishing the sentence and beginning another sentence with Suddenly… The story continues until everyone has contributed to it and the story comes to a conclusion (whenever someone is brave enough to end it). The story can become crazier and sillier as each person adds a sentence. You may want to record the story and play it back later for fun.

Encountering God
Invite group members to think of when and where they have encountered God during the last week. Then ask them to use the paper and crayons to create images that show how they encountered God in their lives during the week. After 15 minutes, bring group members together to talk about their experiences with God.

If you were able to assign homework last week and gave everyone a stack of post-it-notes or a notebook to take a note of every God question during the week, ask everyone how they found the task of writing down questions:
       Were you surprised at how many questions you asked?
       Did you find the task interesting? difficult? fun?

If you did not assign homework, distribute the newspapers and magazines. Invite group members to read through the magazines and papers and to think about the God questions that arise from reading the papers. Perhaps they will ask questions about faith and life. Maybe they watched a television show or a movie that inspired questions about God. They may have on their hearts a lot of other questions about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, church, or life. Invite them to write the questions on post-it-notes.

EXPLORING SCRIPTURE

Scripture: Psalm 8:3–4

Invite group members to look over their God questions from the last week or from their reflection on the newspapers and magazines. Ask them to post their questions around the room. Then invite them to walk around the room and to read everyone’s questions.

Next, ask them to group the questions into themes. Then discuss these questions:
       What questions are similar?
       What are great questions the group would like to discuss?
       How would you name the themes and groups of questions?
       What questions are surprising?

Read aloud Psalm 8:3–4 (NRSV): “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?Then ask these questions:
       Did you find the practice of being open to all the questions helpful? fun? interesting?
       Is it a practice you would like to continue?

SENDING OUT IN PRAYER

Use the warm up practice from the beginning of this session as a model for prayer. Invite the group to enter into prayer. Ask one person to begin by saying one sentence of a prayer and the first word on a second sentence: Everyday… Ask a second person to complete the sentence and add another that begins with the word Everyday… Continue until everyone has a chance to offer a sentence prayer, and then end with “Amen.”

TAKING IT FURTHER

Invite group members to continue a daily practice of the Prayer of Examen. Encourage them to follow the instructions in the article “Living in God’s Presence: The Prayer of Examen” or outlined in “The Examen.”

—from devozine In the Habit (January/February 2015). Copyright © 2015 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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