Welcome to the coloured glass classroom! We hope to provide you with lots of creative ideas and resource links to help you engage the young people in your religious and Christian education classes. This blog is sponsored by the Anglican Schools Commission of the Anglican Church Southern Queensland.

11 December 2014

New Bible Mini-Series

NBC will screen a new mini-series on the first ten chapters of Acts starting in Easter 2015 called A.D. 

The value of these types of television adaptations of the Bible to the religious education classroom really depends on what you do with it. If all you do is show students, then it probably has limited value. If however you use it as a launching pad for students to explore Acts, compare and contrast the "film and the book", and explore both from a variety of angles it could be very useful. 

If you are going to use it I would encourage you to really get students to pull it apart in the same way they might do if exploring other book to movie adaptations like Harry Potter or Hunger Games. At the same time an exploration of historicity and how it might be established would add another dimension.

9 December 2014

A very angry Christmas quiz

This quiz has circulated around the internet for a long time. I have used it with a variety of age groups. I have often found that students get a bit angry and incredulous when the answers are revealed. They find it outrageous that the 'facts' they know about the Christmas story don't really appear in the Bible but are the result of tradition. In fact while many of the things we have added in tradition may be reasonable assumptions this quiz is a good reminder to us all at Christmas to go back to the source of the nativity stories. Children can find this quiz confronting and I have even had students say to me: Do you even read the Bible?!?!

This is a great opportunity to get students interested in reading the nativity narratives and looking at the closely. Have fun and be prepared for the wrath of your students.

The Questions

1. How many wise men were there?
a. 3
b. 4
c. The Bible does not say.

2. Did Joseph meet the wise men?
a. Yes
b. No
c. The Bible does not say.

3. What animal did Mary ride to Bethlehem?
a. Donkey
b. Small horse
c. Llama
d. The Bible does not say
4. The Holy Family named the child "Jesus" because:
a. An Angel told Mary to use the name.
b. An Angel told Joseph to use the name.
c. All of the above.
d. None of the above.

5. What type of building was Jesus born in?
a. Stable
b. Cave
c. Inn
d. The Bible does not say.

6. What animals were present at the Nativity?
a. Cattle
b. Sheep
c. Doves
d. All of the above
e. The Bible does not say.

7. Who besides the wise men saw the star?
a. The shepherds
b. King Herod's astrologers
c. The Bible does not say.

8. How did the star compare in brightness with the other stars?
a. Brighter
b. Equivalent
c. A faint glow over the horizon.
d. The Bible does not say.

9. How soon after Joseph and Mary reached Bethlehem was Jesus born?
a. Within minutes.
b. That night
c. The Bible does not say.

The Answers

1. How many wise men were there?
c. The Bible does not say.

Although tradition suggests there were three wisemen, as in the carol "We Three Kings of Orient Are," the Bible actually does not give the number of Magi. Go to Biblical account of the Magi in Matthew).

2. Did Joseph meet the wise men?
c. The Bible does not say.

Matthew writes that the magi found the Child with Mary, but makes no mention of Joseph. Matthew 2:9-11. Of course, as a good parent, we would probably expect Joseph to have been there.'

3. What animal did Mary ride to Bethlehem?
d. The Bible does not say.

Although it would be a long walk for a pregnant woman from Nazareth to Bethlehem, the Bible does not mention what animal, if any, Mary rode. Luke 2:4-6

4. The Holy Family named the child "Jesus" because:
c. All of the above.

In Luke, the Angel Gabriel tells Mary to use the name "Jesus." Luke 1:30-31 . In Matthew, an angel tells Joseph to use the name. Matthew 1:20-21

5. What type of building was Jesus born in?
d. The Bible does not say.

Although Luke tells us that the baby was placed in a manger, there is no mention of where the manger was located. Luke 2:6-8

6. What animals were present at the Nativity?
e. The Bible does not say.

Despite the line in Away in a Manger that "the cattle were lowing, the poor baby wakes," there is no mention of which animals were present at the Nativity. Luke 2:6-8

7. Who besides the wise men saw the star?
c. The Bible does not say.

Check Matthew's account.

8. How did the star compare in brightness with the other stars?
d. The Bible does not say.

Check Matthew's account.

9. How soon after Joseph and Mary reached Bethlehem was Jesus born?

c. The Bible does not say.

Although every Sunday school Christmas pageant has Mary deliver a baby moments after Mary and Joseph are turned away from the inn, the Bible does not specify a time period. Check Luke's account.

18 November 2014

Everything Jesus: ReJesus

What did Jesus look like? This is one of the questions explored on the rejesus website which as you can guess is all about Jesus.

There are all kinds of resources here from images of Jesus from around the world, with the stories and information behind them to units on how Jesus has been explored through art, film and literature. 

The site is broken up into four sections:

  • Story: which is all about Jesus life.
  • Lives: looking at famous followers of Jesus.
  • Spirituality: exploring prayer and the inner life.
  • Creativity: interpretations of Jesus in different media.

There are lots of useful resources, ideas and information here!


11 November 2014

Meditation for Children and Young People

"Children...are born contemplative but in the modern world they are bombarded from an early age with noise, stimulus, and a message to keep busy." 

Recently we held a professional development day that focussed on what we call "The Inner Life" strand. We had presentations on Christian mediation and the use of labyrinth among other things.

The presentation from the Australia Christian Meditation Community was excellent and profiled how Christian meditation has been introduced into all the schools of the Catholic Diocese of Townsville. They have established a beautiful website at www.cominghome.org.au which talks about their approach.

It has all kinds of information and resources including practical guidelines, videos of student reflections and the benefits of Christian meditation.

If you want a good introduction to Christian meditation with children and young people it is the place to start.

30 October 2014

Real Religion: Up Close and Personal

Realia is a term  for real things, concrete objects, that are used in the classroom. Boxes with themed items have been used in language learning classes to help students understand different cultural artefacts. This idea can easily be applied to learning about world religions.

A Realia Box may provide students with an opportunity to see and touch artefacts from a particular religion in order to gain a concrete understanding of each item. This can aid learning and bring authenticity to the classroom.

Begin collecting items that can be stored in the classroom to use whenever needed. It is possible that parents within the school may be able to donate to the realia box. Some items may be bought from specific religious suppliers but may require an explanation for why you might be buying that item and how it will be used.

It is important that all the items are treated with respect. It may be the case that you only allow students of the religious group being explored to open or wear particular items. There may even be an opportunity for students from a particular religion to present and talk about the items in their box if they are knowledgeable about them.

There are website that sell the artefacts in packs such as articlesoffaith.co.uk

More information on using artefacts in Religious Education can be found at the following:

22 October 2014

World Religions on TED

A great video from Ted Ed that gives a summary of some of the basic facts about the five major world religions . More resources for this video can be found at the Ted Ed site: 

1 October 2014

"Religious education too weak in Anglican primary schools"

This is the headline 'The Telegraph' in England ran with, announcing the release of a new report  by the Church of England titled "Making a Difference? A Review of Religious Education in Church of England Schools"

It is interesting that religious education in primary schools was identified as being not up to standard.

For those working in Anglican Schools in Australia: I wonder how close the findings are to your own experiences?

This paragraph in the preface by the Bishop of Oxford stuck out for me.
It is clear to any thoughtful person that no-one can understand the modern world without understanding the place and power of religion. This is true at the global, national and local level. Community well-being depends on a rich appreciation of how our neighbours think and function at the level of beliefs and values. Moreover, RE often provides the only opportunity pupils have to explore their own deepest motivations, their values, disciplines and habits of heart. As they develop further, pupils are stretched thoroughly in their ability to handle texts, to assess evidence and argue a case. At higher levels they have to work on philosophy and ethics, history and politics, as well as the social sciences. RE is the ultimate integrating subject.
It is interesting to contrast this with  A.C. Grayling's call to abolish religious education in England. He is quoted in the article as saying:
I would be loath to treat theology as a serious subject of study any more than I would so treat astrology or the divinatory tarot.
I think Grayling is out of step with the world, while the Bishop is dead on target.

A copy of the report can be found here:

29 September 2014

The Stapleford Centre

Lots of interesting resources! @ www.stapleford-centre.org

"The Stapleford Centre (UK) is an independent Christian education charity, working across the UK, that supports, nurtures and shapes Christian engagement in education. Since its inception, the Stapleford Centre’s aim has always been to promote knowledge and understanding of the Christian faith, its place in our heritage and today’s society and to create a generation of teachers who are well-informed, well-equipped and have a passion for their job."

I haven't looked behind the paywall yet but have seen some good resources. It is in from the British context but much can be adapted for the Australian setting. The life-long subscription packages seem pretty reasonable as well. 

18 September 2014

Death by Religion?

"A Guide to the Wrath of God" is an infographic recently created by the people at Visually. The tagline on their infographics page is: Telling stories with data. 

[If you want to skip my rant you can see how this infographic might be used in religious education at the bottom..just scroll down past the rage...well maybe mild irritation]

So the question is: What story does this infographic tell? Why even create this infographic? What message might our students get, many of whom have little real knowledge of these religions?

It seems Visually created this graphic to illustrate their work of creating infographics and probably chose this topic because it is controversial and knew it would draw people to their site (and here I am helping that!). On their blog page they say:
"Religion and capital punishment are two of the most controversial topics you could pick, so when we had the idea to build an infographic focused on both of them, we knew we were in for a challenge in impartiality."
I am sure they probably felt they were being impartial but presenting a particular set of information in a particular way tells a particular story (I am sure they know this, it's what they do).  And what is the story they want to tell? Well maybe this, in their own words:
"The holy texts of most major religions are quite violent in nature. And, while it may seem barbaric today, the death penalty was a common means of dealing with what could be perceived as even a minor offence. It’s important to remember that these texts, written in antiquity, are, by their nature, open to interpretation. Your interpretation may not be the same as ours."

I can really only comment on Christianity since it is the faith I am immersed in, but I suspect what I will say may be true in some way for the other religions listed here. And what I want to say is:
"You completely misrepresent Christianity."

At the bottom of their infographic they say:
"While Christians may not have lived under the laws of the Old Testament, they are still cited in Christian rhetoric"

Unfortunately they have four problems here:
  1. The use of the word 'rhetoric' is not impartial. It is used pejoratively. It expresses contempt and disapproval.
  2. Controversial issues probably can't be reduced to infographics...just saying.
  3. While they acknowledge in their blog that there may be different interpretations within Christianity, they have chosen the one that suits their version of things. They have put up a strawman that only the ignorant and uniformed would fall for.
  4. They completely misunderstand the place of the Old Testament in most Christian thought and the centrality of Jesus.
Christianity is best represented by the New Testament and the words of Jesus. Did Jesus ever suggest someone be put to death? Was he an advocate for state or religious violence?

To me the answer is obvious. Christianity does not advocate the death penalty for anything. Jesus wasn't an advocate of the death penalty...he was a victim of it.

But what do other people think? Other Christians?  Do some Christians advocate the death penalty? Why? Based on what? Do non Christians think Christianity advocates the death penalty?

Using this infographic in religious education

There are a whole lot of questions that this infographic raises which could be explored in a religious education lesson:
  • Do some Christians advocate the death penalty? Why? Based on what?
  • Do you think Christianity advocates the death penalty? What do you base this on?
  • Is there a difference between the views of Christianity and Christians?
  • What would Jesus think of the death penalty?
  • What is the relationship  between the Old and New Testaments for Christians?
These questions could form the core of a whole unit. It might begin by exploring student opinions on the death penalty, if it should be given or not, and if so for what crimes?

These questions would no doubt have the potential to split the class and some good debate and discussion could be had.

From there an exploration of the death penalty in the Old Testament and Judaism could begin. It would need to be considerably more rigorous than the infographic and would need to draw on reliable information. The BBC religious education site might be a good starting point and they do have a brief page on capital punishment in Judaism. It must be realised that Christians treat the Old Testament very differently than Jewish people do.

Next, Christian views on capital punishment might be explored. Here it might be valuable to discuss the difference between the teaching of Jesus, the teaching of particular Christian churches, the ideas of individual Christians and the laws of so-called Christian nations. Again the BBC site has some information but I feel it lacks the voice of Jesus.

An exploration of capital punishment in other religions could also be carried out. Again this would need reliable information from people within those religions. The BBC site has starting information on capital punishment in many religions. But it is only a start. After clicking on a particular religion go to the ethics section and you will find information on that religion's perspective.

12 September 2014

Students bored by religious education? You aren't being affective!

If students are bored in class, no learning is taking place!

The affective learning domain was described as part of Bloom’s Taxonomy, a system for identifying, understanding and addressing how students learn. The affective domain is particularly focussed on student motivations, attitudes, perceptions and values. Teacher attention or lack of it to the affective domain can enhance or inhibit student learning. This is particularly true when it comes to religious education. This post won't come close to doing justice to this topic, but its a start.

When entering the religious education classroom students may come with strong pre-existing feelings about the topic of study, and may have been influenced by negative cultural and peer values about it.  It is important we make sure that we address student attitudes and motivations, and structure learning in a way that will not turn students off.

The affective domain should be central to the teaching of religious education because of the nature of the subject. We should not be solely focused on providing students with information but with providing them with the resources and space to grow and learn spiritually, emotionally and morally. Affective learning enables them to reflect on what is important to them and what may be of value to their life. We don’t want students just to receive information but to respond to it, to find value in their learning and to integrate it into their own thinking, feeling and being. This means finding approaches that will draw students in.

There are five levels in the affective domain moving through the lowest order processes to the highest.  To some degree each of these can be addressed by using creative, engaging and appropriately selected learning strategies, however, the teachers must also be aware of broader issues.

At this level the student is just paying attention.  If we can’t make it to here then no learning will take place at all. When structuring lessons, it is important we do so in way that will grab the attention of students. We can do this by connecting it to things they care about. This could include the use of popular culture or issues of concern.  Expecting students to listen to the teacher talk for too long without interaction may interfere with student’s ability to give their attention.

It is possible to turn students off very quickly if language is used in an unthinking way. It is important that the educator doesn't make statements about beliefs that assume students agree with them, for instance “we all know that Jesus rose from the dead”. The teacher may believe it, but if the students don’t then they may stop receiving. Rephrasing the statement to “I believe...” (Owning – saying you believe it) or “Christians believe…” (Grounding – saying who believes it) goes a long way to wards overcoming this issue.

At this level students are responding to stimulus and reacting to it in some way. This could include providing their own opinion, answering or asking questions or sharing their experiences.  One way of achieving this is to provide an open and safe environment. The owning and grounding approach above provides students with the invitation to offer their own view. It is also important that teachers don’t engage in unstructured debates with students about their beliefs or criticise or belittle them but provide them with opportunities to express clearly what they believe and why. I think it is counter-productive for a teacher to overly defend their own beliefs as well.

Activities such as think, pair, share may provide students a safer way to reflect, to share with one other and then offer their ideas to the wider group. Approaches that provide students with creative and engaging ways to respond to stimulus are critical to this level.

At this level the student is reflecting on how the information is of value to them and their life. It relates to personal beliefs, attitudes or commitments to particular ideas.  It is at this level that students see the importance of what is being taught and decide to take positions and discuss why it important to them. In this process they will begin to identify their own values. Values clarification exercises may help students to do this, especially if they are given an opportunity to articulate why particular things are important to them. I suspect that students may approach this level if the issues discussed are of importance to their daily life and world view. It is important in religious education that when issues relating to the life of the student are discussed that they are given the space to think about how it impacts them and the people close to them.

At this level students are considering different values and ideas and accommodating, integrating or prioritizing them into their own values. The goal for teachers is to help students reflect on moving good values to a higher priority and poor values to a lower priority. One way of approaching this is to seek to make students annoyed or angry about something such as an injustice or wrong in the world. This may motivate students to re-evaluate which of the things they value are important and why.

At this level the student has a specific value that becomes characteristic of them by the way it influences their behaviour and way of living. I suspect that if we can make students care about a particular value enough then we can spur them on to action. Providing students with opportunities to act beyond the classroom, either in the school or at home or in the community may enable them to test out values through action. In doing so they may have the experience that helps them make the expression of the value part of their way of life.

4 September 2014

What If Learning

"What if learning about flowers led to wonder?" This is one of the opening questions on the "What If Learning" website and it is a site well worth exploring not just for religious educators but for all Christian teachers who hope to bring their faith into the classroom in an open and refreshing way.

Their approach uses three strategies - seeing anew, choosing engagement and reshaping practice. Each of their strategies is backed up by many many examples.

Some of my favourites included:

Example #76 Chemistry and Wonder (What if there were moments of wonder in chemistry?)

Example #4 Art and Hospitality (What if students could learn respect through art?)

Example # 9 Writing about others (What if students could learn love and self control through writing?)

The ideas and examples are very  gentle but at the same time have the potential to engage students deeply on an intellectual and spiritual level. This is a website I think I will be spending a lot of time exploring. 

27 August 2014

Using your brain is fun!

 The Philosophy Man

Religious Education is fun too!

I imagine that for many students this statement and the one in the title are not true. Their experience of school and the classroom, what they may equate with learning and therefore using their brain has not been fun. I also suspect that for many students religious education, in particular, has not been fun. 

But what is this talk of fun? What has fun got to do with anything?

By fun I mean stimulating, enjoyable, engaging, an experience of that magical thing called "flow". 

"Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does". ~ Wikipaedia

I don't know about you but this definition of flow is what I would hope students might experience while learning and in the religious education classroom. No doubt there is some boring stuff that just has to be done (I guess??) but in every lesson we should try to do something that might excite students, engage them, fill them with wonder, make them curious, have them wanting to argue. You get the picture.  Now while we can't guarantee this will happen, we can strive for it by using creative and engaging pedagogy. 

So...after that long winded introductory rant...check out "The Philosophy Man". Jason Buckley's website and resources are based around Philosophy for Children (P4C). I signed up and got the first email and I was pretty delighted with what I received. The activities could be directly used in the RE classroom to fire up student's critical thinking and imagination. Alternatively the activities could be adapted to other areas of religious education. Some of these activities could be used to start the lesson and engage students early on.

Often in the religious education classroom we can be concerned with communicating a particular message and we are answering questions that students haven't even asked yet. It must be a priority to help students think about life and what it means, and begin wondering, and articulating their questions. When this happens we have an opportunity to walk with students and help them to explore. 


21 August 2014

The Question Quadrant

Not the Bible?! How can we engage students who may be suspicious or apathetic about Biblical narratives. How can we focus their attention and enable them to look and see and play and learn? The use of creative pedagogy is critical, and good questions can be a big part of this. If we can ask intriguing questions and help students to do the same, all kinds of wonderful discoveries can be made. (This is my formula "creative pedagogy" leads to "Bible engagement" resulting in "wonderful discoveries".)

At the recent DAN workshop, Brian Poxon, demonstrated the use of the Question Quadrant developed by Phil Cam, and adapted to be used with narratives. It revolves around exploring questions in four areas. Teachers could provide these questions but it would probably be richer for students to create their own once they understand each quadrant. The following examples should provide a guide for the type of question used in each quadrant, but you may like to check out Phil Cam's book Twenty Thinking Tools. The responses to each of these questions would provide ample material for some very significant exploration and discussion in class.

Stimulus: Goldilocks and the Three Bears
In the text:
What did Goldilocks do in the bear’s house?
Imagine a possibility:
What would have happened if the bears had come home early?
Ask an expert:
Do bear’s eat people?
Is stealing when hungry wrong?
Stimulus: The story of the prodigal son
In the text:
How did the son get his money?
Imagine a possibility:
Did the other son forgive his younger brother?
Ask an expert:
What do pigs eat?
Is loyalty better than honesty?
Can God be just and forgiving?
Stimulus: The story of Abraham and Isaac
In the text:
How many sons did Abraham have?
Imagine a possibility:
Did Isaac forgive his father?
Ask an expert:
How old was Isaac at the time?
Can God ask you to do unethical things?

24 July 2014

Great religious education? Just add awe and wonder!

One of the fantastic things about children is they start life with a huge capacity for awe and wonder. Unfortunately many people lose this capacity as they grow up. Sometimes this happens far too young and we see apathy in our students about the world they live in and the mysteries and unknowns in the Universe. Good religious education should seek to revive awe and wonder...and we can do this with the help of science and philosophy. Science, because it helps us to see how little we really know and how amazing the Universe is. Philosophy, because it questions so much of what we take for granted.

If we can encourage students to ask questions, think deeply, explore their assumptions and enjoy wondering...we have planted an amazing seed that will grow and bear fruit. If our students remain passive and apathetic it doesn't matter how great our message is, it will fall on barren ground. 

This great little video from Ted Ed was used at the recent DAN Professional Development day. There are many videos out there like this that help students to see that there is much more to the world than what they can see. Enjoy.

21 July 2014

Who is DAN?

Over the next few weeks (or longer) I will be sharing some of the excellent resources and ideas I picked up at the recent Dialogue Australasia Network (DAN) professional development workshop run by Brian Poxon. The workshop had a big focus on critical and creative pedagogy, and provided not only inspiration but plenty of practical application as well. But before we get to the great resources...who is DAN?

In their own words the Dialogue Australasia Network (DAN) is:
“ an exciting and important initiative arising from a commitment to developing Values, Philosophy & Religious Studies with intellectual rigour and contemporary relevance in Australasian schools.”
DAN supports its members through:
  • Dialogue Australasia Journal (twice yearly)
  • Website with access to online Teaching Resources and Blog
  • Professional Development Opportunities including Workshops & a bi-annual Conference
  • Regular e-Newsletters and Updates
  • A network of like-minded colleagues throughout Australia and New Zealand
There are all sorts of great resources on their website at http://www.dialogueaustralasia.org/
Go there now!

17 July 2014

Spirituality: In search of a metaphor

Is spirituality a concept you have tried to explore with students?

Ten or so years ago many religious educators were excited by the word spirituality. They perceived an opportunity when students said:  I am spiritual but not religious.

I wonder if the students we have in front of us today would say: I am spiritual but not religious.

My hunch is that even the word spirituality is a bit suspect in the minds of students today. I think there are many reasons for this, including, its overuse by ‘religious’ people and the pervasive materialism of our society as mediated through consumerism and new atheism.

Spirituality is a concept – like God – that we need to crack open with our students. It is a hard word to pin down and it is easier to talk around it and describe some of its territory than it is to define. In fact I would encourage teachers not to try to define it too hastily or narrowly, if at all.

A whole unit of work could be built around cracking open the concept, exploring it and describing some of its territory.

One way of doing this would be to explore it through the use of metaphors. Human exploration of spirituality (like most intangible things) is built on a foundation of metaphors.

Some examples that come to my mind include:
  • A journey
  • A garden
  • Coming home
  • Rebirth
  • Unfolding (seed to fruit)
  • The coming of light
  • Growth
 What others can you think of?

Here are three of my favourites:
  • A hunger
Many people experience something they describe as a hunger. This hunger isn’t filled by physical food and experiential things like shopping, power, money don’t seem to work either.
  • A question
G Stanley Hall – a pioneering American psychologist who coined the term adolescence said there were three questions that young people sought to answer:

Who am I?
Who do I belong to?
What do I do?

To me these are the questions of spirituality. They are the questions we want to answer on a deep existential level and continue to answer through our whole lives.
  • A GPS (Global Positioning System)
GPS devices need an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites to work. Just like GPS our spirituality helps us to understand where we are in the world through our relationships with others, with ourselves, with God and with the environment.

Exploring with Students
What would your students say spirituality is?
How might they respond to some of these different metaphors?

One way of exploring these metaphors would be through quotes. Students could be provided with many quotes and discussion or activity could be based around explaining or exploring what each of them is trying to say. This could include creative mediums such as art.

It would also be of value to explore with students why the sense of the spiritual is so pervasive in human culture and experience.

Here are some examples of suitable quotes:

Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life. ~ Buddha

Our scientific power has out run our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.~Martin Luther King, Jr.

The key to success is to keep growing in all areas of life - mental, emotional, spiritual, as well as physical.~Julius Erving

The goal of spiritual practice is full recovery, and the only thing you need to recover from is a fractured sense of self.~Marianne Williamson

I don't have any real spirituality in my life - I'm kind of an atheist - but when music can take me to the highest heights, it's almost like a spiritual feeling. It fills that void for me.~Jack Black


Another way to explore these metaphors would be through the use of stories. There are many stories in many traditions that use a variety of images for spirituality. The Bible contains many and Jesus was a master at using stories to explore spiritual truths.

Student could write their own story based around one of the metaphors or a quote associated with it.

Here is one I prepared earlier:

There is a spiritual hunger in the world today, and it cannot be satisfied by better cars on longer credit terms. Adlai E. Stevenson

Spiritual hunger and spiritual thirst But you got to change it on the inside first,
to be satisfied. Van Morrison

I am the bread of Life. No one who comes to me will ever be hungry. No one who has faith in me will ever be thirsty. Jesus of Nazareth

There was once a young boy named Ninugo.
He lived in a village high up in the mountains.

One day Ninugo’s father had to go on a long journey and he left in such a hurry that had no time to say goodbye. Ninugo missed him very much. Soon after, Ninugo became very hungry. In his village there was lots of fresh vegetables and fruit and Ninugo’s mother always fed him the very best that she could find, but she soon discovered that she could not satisfy his hunger. She would feed him morning noon and night but Ninugo was still hungry. She talked to the other mothers in the village. What can I give my son, he is always hungry, he never stops eating. They had lots of advice for her. 'Feed him potatoes and meat, three times a day, that will satisfy his hunger'. And so that is what she did. But Ninugo was still hungry. 'Feed him on pickled fish with eels eggs that will satisfy his hunger' they said. And so that is what she did. But Ninugo was still hungry. 'Make him eat rancid butter and milk with chunks in it' they said. And so that is what she did. Ninugo left home and went and lived with his uncle. He said to Ninugo, 'eat whatever you want, eat whatever you desire, that will satisfy your hunger'. And this is what Ninugo did, he ate fairy floss, and lollies, liquorice and bubble gum, soft drink and chips. Ninugo ate and ate and ate and ate and ate and ate, anything he could get his hands upon he ate. But Ninugo was still hungry.

[The story could be stopped at this point and students could be asked to finish it - below is the ending I use when I tell it]

One day a friend of Ninugo’s said to him after he had demolished a truckload of sugar coated peanuts. 'Ninugo you are always hungry, but where does your hunger come from. Surely your stomach doesn't want more after you have eaten all that'. Ninugo looked down at his feet. He was confused. He said to his friend, 'I am worried. I think I have grown another stomach. Even after my belly is full to bursting, I still feel hungry in here', he said, 'pointing to his chest.'

'That is not your stomach that is empty', said the friend, 'that is your spirit'. Ninugo looked at his friend, a glow in his eyes. 'Then where can I get food that will satisfy my spirit'.

In an upcoming post I will consider exploring the intersection between religion and spirituality.