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.

26 November 2015

Nativity Origami


Want to challenge your students fingers? Have a go at some nativity origami?





19 November 2015

Ban sports from school: separation of club and state


"The Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth from the Scottish Episcopal Church in Glasgow has called professional sports drug-addled, corrupt, nationalistic, sectarian, sexist and homophobic". This is the headline from a recent article in The Herald (Scotland).

Some of the great quotes from the article include:

"Pupils should be allowed to opt out of football and athletics at school because professional sport is 'drug-addled, corrupt, nationalistic, sectarian, sexist and homophobic', according to one of Scotland's most prominent Episcopalian clerics."

and


"How are decent parents supposed to keep their children from such negative and corrupting activities? You have a right to remove your children from religious instruction, but not from sport."

In Australia sport is a religion. It is also many of the things that Rev'd Kelvin says it is in Scotland. No one here has called for it be scrapped from schools yet. Doing so would probably be  considered an act of treason.

'Should sport be banned from schools because of its negative social effects', would be a great question to debate  in the RE classroom.

It reminds me of an assessment question I posed once to year elevens using Ninian Smart's dimensions of religion:

Using Smart’s dimensions explain how belonging to and following a particular sport may be classified as a religion. Using Smart’s dimensions explain why a sport might not fit into the category of religion.

If you are unfamiliar with Smart's dimensions they provide a good framework for thinking about the various aspects of different religions. The dimensions are mythological, ritual, doctrinal, ethical, social, experiential  and material.

16 November 2015

A Very Angry Christmas Quiz Part 2



As a follow up to "A Very Angry Christmas Quiz" checkout this video "Retooning the Nativity" which highlights the differences between the traditional popular nativity scene and what we find in scripture. I always make sure I say to children that it doesn't matter if there were three wise men or more. It doesn't matter that we flesh out the story a bit in our imagination. The important thing is to go to the heart of  what it is about: Emmanuel - God with us.



10 November 2015

A Very Angry Christmas Quiz


It is that time of year when I begin to post Christmas resources. This is one of my favourites.

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.

3 November 2015

Religious Short Film Prize


Here is a great opportunity for student film makers to take up. The Australian Centre for Culture and Christianity are offering a $5000 prize for a religious short film.

It has to be shorter than 8 minutes but can be in any genre at all.The film doesn't have to focus on a mainstream religion.

There is more information at creativitypillar.org.au

Even if students didn't enter it would be worthwhile exploring what religion is and what might fit into the category of religious film. This conversation in relation to religious art and the Blake Prize has been going on in Australia for over fifty years.

It would also be interesting to get students to create an idea for a religious film and pitch it to the class.