Friday, February 5, 2010

The Kingdom Experiment

We've been going through a 9-week study of the Beatitudes with the junior highers called The Kingdom Experiment (based on this resource here). We dive deep into one beatitude each Sunday, then give the students 6-8 "experiments" to live out during the week.

For instance, blessed are the poor in spirit--and the Luke version of blessed are the poor--brings up the concept of being desperate for the kingdom of heaven. Upper class suburban students don't often experience desperation or a sense of poverty. Thus, one experiment was to forgo their bed for a week and sleep on the floor; another was to take only cold showers; still another was to fast from two meals for one day. For blessed are those who mourn, students were challenged to pray for the people of Haiti and give of their own money to Food for the Hungry's relief efforts.

This has to be more than just doing interesting experiments for a week; it's an opportunity for disequilibration and the subsequent reflection within the context of community. The experiments aren't ends in and of themselves. They are only a means for revealing what's really going on in one's heart. It's a highly hands-on series, combining knowledge with action, focusing on both knowing and doing.

Not everyone fully participates--students often forget the commitment about the commitment they made until we're discussing the past week as a group--but we're seeing glimpses of the kingdom in our midst.

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