3 Balloons with the words Body, Mind, Spirit written on them
The resource for this week is to read and discuss “Two Stories” by Bob Hartman (text below). Remember your goal here is not to convince young people about the origins of life. Young people may have a lively discussion expressing their own views, but resist the temptation to correct or enforce your own opinion. Rather, your goal is to point out that we do wonder about how we got here on earth. And that shows we are spiritual.
Here are two stories. Which one do you prefer? The first story begins like this:
Once upon a time, a very long time ago, there was a series of accidents. Energy and matter and molecules collided and somehow you are here today. Here by coincidence. Here by chance.
The second story starts this way:
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And you are here today, not by accident, but because he designed you, and loves you and wants to have a relationship with you.
Here are two stories. Which one do you prefer? The first story continues:
The fit live. The weak die. So kill or be killed. Survival is the name of the game. Look out for number one.
And here’s how the second story goes:
Blessed are the meek. Blessed are the poor. Blessed are the peacemakers. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
Here are two stories. Which one do you prefer? The first story finishes like this:
You die. The end.
And the second story? Actually, the second story has no end at all:
‘Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth… There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away… I am making everything new!’
Here are two stories. Two stories to explain the world. No one can prove which one is true. No scientist, no philosopher, no politician, no priest. It’s up to you to choose. So here are two stories. Which one do you prefer?
Hartman, Bob. Telling the Bible 2: More Stories and Readings for Sharing Aloud, Oxford: Lion Hudson, 2005, pp 11-12. We recommend buying a copy of the book which is published by Lion (lionhudson.com) for more great stories that communicate the Bible to young people.
If you are leading a group of young people through the Stir Pack, you may want to think about setting the group’s culture and values during this first week.
One idea is to ask young people to draw a picture or write a paragraph describing their ideals for the group. (eg. Welcoming, safe, fun, etc) You can collect key words that are shared and put them into a ‘word cloud’ such as http://www.tagxedo.com. You can then print a picture of this to have displayed during each group session.
The balloon illustration explains that as humans we all have three parts: body, mind, spirit. This is a practical approach to get to the main thrust of introducing the concept of spirituality to young people. This is not meant to make a theological or even psychological point about how many spheres make up a human or even how the different spheres interact. This is a great discussion, but not the focus of the Stir Pack.
When you are filling up the balloons with air and ask young people what they do to “Fill up their Spirit or Soul,” (eg prayer or going to church) be sure to press in a bit and ask, ‘do you actually do those things in a normal week?’ If not, do not put a puff of air into the balloon.
It is important to keep in mind – and to communicate to your young people – that the main point of the Stir Pack is not to teach the six different concepts regarding spirituality or even discuss the concepts, but that you will be helping young people experience that they are spiritual.
Resist the urge to present your beliefs about the origins of the universe at this stage. The main point is to help young people experience the fact that they think about these questions.