Tuesday 30 March 2010

Jenny Baker on Fresh Approaches to Sharing the Bible with Young People

Notes from a seminar at the London launch of Biblefresh (30 March 2010):

Jenny began by saying that young people don’t share our view of the Bible, showing a video clip of young people answering the question, What do you think of the Bible?Answers: long, lots of pages, small writing, few connections with life and their world, lots of misinformation.

The context in which we teach is that we have good relationships with young people, recognising that they are going to be looking at our lives.

Creative expression is really important for young people; children are often self-starters here, and self-expression is part of the cultural furniture.

Some suggestions here included:

Revisiting the psalms through making videos. Give them an exericse about what the back story to a psalm might have been, ask how they might have felt. Or, get them to rewrite a psalm of their own. For instance, David himself knew what it was like to care for sheep, and he imagined God doing for him what he had done for sheep. How about: ‘The Lord is my football coach. He makes me stretch after training…’ Some psalms are acrostics, so we could encourage them to write an acrostic psalm of their own.

Use imagination in stories – get inside the skin of a biblical character.

Learning through experience, citing Kolb’s cyle of experiential learning – experiencing, reflecting, generalising, applying.

The prophets engaged in symbolic acts that communicated their message.

Encourage young people to think about how biblical stories apply to their own lives, think about which character they identify with, or use art.

Lectio divina – a slow and prayerful way of praying the Bible – read a passage a number of times leaving space to linger on the words, seeing Scripture as a place of encounter with God. Lectio divina is enhanced when it is coupled with a good working knowledge of the Scriptures.

See the big picture of the Bible, the narrative running through from beginning to end. At this point Jenny showed a video from the Lacey Theatre Company portraying the Bible in three minutes, and mentioned Nick Page’s The Big Story (especially useful for young people themselves) and The Bible Book: A User’s Guide, as well as a resource from Urban Saints – God’s Living Story for Young People – written by Jenny herself.

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