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.

24 April 2014

My Wonderful Opus

I think the person who takes a job in order to live - that is to say, for the money - has turned himself into a slave. - Joseph Campbell

Most schools run programs to help students think about what they might do when they leave school. This is a good thing but I wonder what values and ideas are behind these programs. To be honest I know very little about them. The question I want to ask is: What should Christian schools be teaching students about work?(and here I am talking about what I call "Mission schools", Christian schools where the majority of students are not Christians).

What might Christianity say about work?

Before I go any further though, the big question is: What do you mean by work?

And here's the thing. We shouldn't be talking about 9-5 drudgery, or employment, or getting a job.

We should be exploring something more life affirming. So lets not talk about work but opus.

This term opus is kind of artistic. It usually refers to the creation of works of art on a large scale. I think this is closer to the Christian idea of work than anything else. In Genesis man is placed in the garden to work. He is in God's great creation, God's wonderful artwork to be a participant in shaping it. It is only post fall that work becomes backbreaking drudgery.

In Religious Education our exploration of work should try to crack open the idea that our true work (or opus) isn't necessarily what we do 9-5 but what we do to participate constructively in God's creation. It is using our gifts and talents to make something wonderful with our life. Not selfishly, but selflessly. As an act of service. A wonderful and enjoyable and satisfying act of service. This may not happen 9-5 but there is more to our life than just this.

Can everyone do this? Create a great opus? Yes. It isn't about fame or money or power or any of the other things that we often use to judge life success. It is about contribution, use of gifts, and purpose and meaning in life.It may not be easy but it is wonderful.

So here are two videos that open up the idea that we have a set amount of time to use. How are we going to spend it?  In self torture or on creating a wonderful opus. (I will post something more practical on work and vocation in the RE classroom next week. This week lets just dream of  working joyfully  in God's great garden.

Jelly Bean Time:

How would you really enjoy spending your life?: 

1 April 2014

The Art of Passion

Art can be a  powerful way of engaging students with the Biblical text. This has been discussed on this blog before. Whether they are creating it or looking at it, art can help to draw students attention more closely to what is found in scripture and at the same time do some inner and outer work on the significance and meaning of the stories.

London's St.Marylebone's Parish is currently presenting an exhibition of 20 artists representations of the Passion of Christ. Presented by 'Art Below' the works are also being displayed on billboards across London's Underground Stations.

This kind of exhibit can be a great place to start students on an exploration of the passion stories. It is valuable to consider how the artists have represented the stories and their contemporary interpretations of them. I particularly like Antony Micallef's 'Kill your Idol'. The Art Below exhibit also raises the challenge of how religious art and stories can be presented in public space in engaging  and thought provoking ways.