One teaching tool I've picked up this year is a website, www.wingclips.com. This a site where you can find short clips from recent movies on any variety of topics. The clips are from wholesome movies and teach points that apply to lessons. Last week, I showed a piece from a movie called Saving God. We have watched several other short segments from this film and what we've seen is excellent. In this movie, a man is released from prison after serving fifteen years for killing his best friend while they were fighting in front of some girls. The man, named Armstrong, comes back to the impoverished church in the tough part of town where his father was the preacher. Armstrong, who has grown in the Lord while incarcerated, wants to preach but meets resistance from some of the members. In the clip I showed on Thursday, Armstrong is preaching on the street, inviting the passers-by to join them, when another preacher drives up. It isn't just any other minister; it's a well-known television evangelist, Danny Christopher, who grow up in the same neighborhood as the church. A few days before, Armstrong had tried to meet with Christopher but was rebuffed by his secretary and he comes to make amends. (A number of my female students were quick to notice that Christopher is played by the actor who portrays Carlos on Desperate Housewives.) Please watch this clip and return to finish.
I had my students watch and answer two essay questions. In which church would you feel more comfortable? And, which church would you want to be a part of? I made sure my students understood these are separate issues. We did not address any doctrinal or theological stances that would differentiate between the two; I simply asked them in the sense of where they felt the Lord was being more served.The following was written by one of my sophomores and was very insightful for a sixteen year old.
"Churches are very big on personality and hierarchy; rich people go to rich churches, while the poorer go to churches that are less privileged. Christopher's church is not, and should not be considered as a church, because he only reaches out to people of his kind. Armstrong's church, however, is the place of God. His church is for those who want to get to know God better and learn how to live a Christian life. The church I would want to be in is Armstrong's church but I would be more comfortable if I was in Christopher's church. The reason why I would want to be there is that I would feel safer with the people around me."
Nicole, 10th grade
Nicole was brutally honest as kids have a tendency to be. There is nothing wrong with a large church, as some of my kids correctly pointed out. But, we have a comfort level that is often far away from the level where Jesus resided. Poor, rich, loved or despised- Jesus was among all of them. I'm afraid many of us only feel at ease with our own kind, and our own kind anymore might have more to do with socioeconomic standing than race or nationality. I bet Jesus would have been completely comfortable with Americans as with Israelites. I just hope I would have felt equally at ease with Him.
Applicable quote for the day:
“Church isn’t where you meet. Church isn’t a building. Church is what you do. Church is who you are. Church is the human outworking of the person of Jesus Christ. Let’s not go to Church, let’s be the Church.”
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