The Blame Game

#iseethismoment via tiffkei
#iseethismoment via tiffkei

This was the most powerful group I have led up to this point. It was a Spirit filled, Holy night.

I do not think I will ever be able to explain the power of this video! The large group gathering was contemplative and quiet. As the leader, I was very intentional about using few words, I did not want to fill the space with too much chatter. It was powerful for both youth and adults alike! Below is an outline of the evening, what and how I taught, and the small group/TAG time questions.

This is my take on it…but the creativity and artistry of the video demands conversation…so I wonder, what would you do? How would you frame a class around this video? Adult? Student? Multi-generational group? Drop me a comment below! Thanks! Tiffany

 


  • Title: The Blame Game
  • Theme: Blame and Condemnation
  • Audience: Middle School – High School, youth and adult leaders
  • Biblical text: Good Samaritan, Luke 10:25-37
  • Flow of night:
    • Leaders meeting
    • Dinner
    • Large group games
    • Large group gathering
    • Age based small groups

Large Group Gathering (30 Minutes)

 

  • Introduce theme and video (1-2 Minutes)

“We all struggle with issues of blame and condemnation. They are the weapons we often use to hurt others in our culture. We are going to watch a short video. After the video you have two choices; you can either grab a blank piece of paper and draw or write whatever you want. Or you can take one of the papers that have questions for TAG time (TAG = Time Alone with God).”

(On the floor in the middle of the room I had crayons, markers, blank sheets of paper, and a stack of printouts of the nights questions.)

 

  • TAG Time (5 Minutes)

(TAG Time is “Time Alone with God.” It is a time of intentional quiet, answering questions, drawing, praying or contemplation.)

  • Instructions for second time watching (1-2 Minutes)

“There are a lot of characters in the video. When you watch it this time, notice how many different characters that are in the video. Which one is you? Your friends? Your family? Where is Christ?”

  • Play the Video a second time:  To This Day (8 Minutes)

 

  • TAG Time (5 Minutes)

 

  • Biblical Text – Good Samaritan Story – Luke 10:25-37
    • One of our youth read the story to the group.

 

  • Teaching

“I realized something as I watched this video and read the story of the Good Samaritan again…I realized the power in this story is that it is a story about all of us. I would like to say I am the Good Samaritan, but that’s not always me. Sometimes I am the innkeeper, willing to help people who are helping others. Sometimes, I am the priest and the Levite, judgmental, hypocritical…too good to stop and help when I see someone in need. And I hate to say it, but sometimes I am the robber…the one causing pain in others. And sometimes I am the one being beaten up by life, the one in need of help. And yes, sometimes I am the Good Samaritan, the one that sees the pain and is willing to step in and sacrifice my own time, money, and reputation to help. Jesus calls us to be Good Samaritans, to be the ones not only willing to help, but willing to sacrifice to help.”

  •  Prayer/Blessing and sending to small groups

 


Leaders Meeting (30 Minutes)

  • Orientation
    • I began by explaining the theme and flow of the night. (We did not watch the video in the leaders meeting. We could have but I am not sure how it would have changed the “feel” of the rest of the night.)
  • Framing
    • Youth leader read the text: Good Samaritan Story – Luke 10:25-37
    •  I explained my understanding of the text (basically I taught the “teaching” from above.)
    • After a short example of how our youth group has been the “Inn Keeper” I asked for further examples of how we are the characters in the story of the Good Samaritan (<— This led to some great conversation!)
  • Other business and calendar stuff
  • Prayer

 


Questions

These are the questions used for TAG time and small group discussion. Most of them were adaptations from chapter 4 Blame and Condemnation, from the book The Search for Significance: Student Edition
by Robert McGee. (The Blame Game – TAG Time Questions PDF File)

 

“Every day, students and teacher alike enter their schools packing a concealed deadly weapon…that weapon is our ability to send a message of condemnation or blame to another person using words, physical force, facial expressions or silence….and we are as likely to be hit as pull the trigger” (The Search for Significance Student Edition, Robert S. McGee, pages 71-72).

As we watch the video, To This Day think about these questions and then take some Time Alone with God (TAG Time).

 

–          What mistakes have you made in the past that your parents, friends, or others keep bringing up to make you feel bad? How do you react? Do you laugh it off? Get angry? Feel rejected? Blame yourself?

 

–          Remember a situation where you have heard someone being ridiculed or verbally abused. What could you have done to help? What did you do? What will you do next time?

 

–          Remember a situation, whether at school or at home, where you were the one doing the blaming and condemning. What did you do? What could you have done differently? How did you feel later?

 

–          There are many characters in the video. Which one is most like you? What does the character do, say, or feel that you identify with?

 

–          Christ spends much of his ministry loving people that are unlovable; he loves the tax collectors, prostitutes, and other sinners. He asks us to love the unlovable too. Who are the people in your live that are hard to love? What are ways you can show them love? What would you have to sacrifice to show them love in this way?

 

 

Community…

English: Tibetan endless knot Nederlands: Tibe...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Humans need community; we need family and friends, human touch and conversation. Often, in our need to find community, we search for “looks like me.” Maybe the similarities come in the form of similar religious believes, social class, or ethnicity. But in our search for similarities we begin to behave as if similar means “exactly the same.” Like somehow, my Christianity is the same as your Christianity, that my small town upbringing was the same as yours. We start with similar and forget that similar does not mean identical. What if we begin relationships with the assumption that we are different, even in our similarities? What if we both appreciate our differences and treasure our similarities?

 

 

James, an early Christian Teacher

So, apparently Martin Luther did not like the letter from James very much. I guess to Martin Luther it sounded as if James thought you must earn salvation, especially when James said  “a person is justified by works and not by faith alone” (2:24).  But according to the introduction to the Book of James found in the Discipleship Study Bible, James is not requiring works for salvation. James in fact is not really addressing salvation but instead he is addressing how we live in community, how we respond to God’s Grace in our lives.

So, when I listen to James as a teacher, someone who is teaching me how to live in community, I hear that relationships aren’t  always easy…but in response to God’s Grace I should continue to work do the hard work of getting alone with others.

You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor. (3:18, The Message)