describe the relationship between the consequences of human actions and Christian beliefs about life after death
interpret sources and viewpoints about life after death within the Christian tradition
identify what it means to be a good person
identify Biblical stories which demonstrate examples of doing good
recount examples of people doing good in everyday life
SPIRITUAL REFLECTION FOR TEACHERS
On 26 December 2004 an earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter Scale centred just a few kilometres from the Indonesian province of Aceh initiated a massive tsunami or tidal surge which swept over 350,000 people to their death and left millions of people homeless, economically destitute and psychologically and emotionally damaged. An Australian journalist working in Sri Lanka reported that he drove for 8 hours north along a coastal highway and encountered nothing but total devastation for the entire journey. He described his experience as like driving through a living hell.
Yet out of this experience of death and disaster there was the most amazing outpouring of generosity and compassion. Thousands of people from all over the world volunteered their expertise and time and travelled to the devastated region to care for to those who were suffering. Governments pledged billions of dollars in aid. Community groups organized everything from rock concerts to sporting spectaculars and individuals gave with incredible personal generosity.
These outpourings of support cannot make up for the terrible and tragic loss suffered by so many. They are, however, signs of hope amidst what appears to be a hopeless situation - ‘a light that shines in the darkness’ (Jn 1:5). One dimension of our human existence is the tension that exists between experiences of good and evil. It is intricately connected to how we respond to such experiences.
Reflect on some experiences of good and evil in your own life.
What have been the signs of hope, however small, that have shone through for you at times of difficulty?
How are you a source of hope for the students in your care? LINKS WITH STUDENTS’ LIFE EXPERIENCE
Be prepared to discuss issues such as: the paradox of good and evil; why is there suffering; how can we be hopeful in a traumatised world?
Incorporate contemporary situations to analyse how our perceptions of good and evil are formed.
Accept that students will both search for and in some instances challenge the connections between religion and life.
Consider how students understand the role of conscience and the concept of freedom. How do you encourage the appreciation that conscience and freedom involve responsibilities towards self and others?
Students will have varied exposure to death. Be as aware as possible of individual cases of loss and death in your class. In some situations students will be able to share these experiences in a manner that contributes to meaningful reflection on the issues of life and death.
THE CHURCH’S TEACHING AND LIVED TRADITION
From its beginning, the Church has promoted a particular Christian way of life, founded on the three concepts of faith, hope and charity. These three virtues can combat the evil we encounter. Faith is the response made to God in our actions and thoughts; hope is the Christian approach to life, in which the individual searches for the best in self and in others; charity is love and concern for the well-being of others and of ourselves.
Teachers can re-read the Nicene Creed (covered in B5-1 Key Church Teachings) with their students to recall the issues which have been previously covered, eg. in such phrases as “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end... We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.”
1696 The way of Christ “leads to life”; a contrary way “leads to destruction”. The Gospel parable of the two ways remains ever present in the catechesis of the Church; it shows the importance of moral decisions for our salvation: “There are two ways, the one of life, the other of death; but between the two, there is a great difference.”
1700 The dignity of the human person is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God; it is fulfilled in his vocation to divine beatitude. It is essential to a human being freely to direct himself to this fulfillment. By his deliberate actions, the human person does, or does not, conform to the good promised by God and attested by moral conscience. Human beings make their own contribution to their interior growth; they make their whole sentient and spiritual lives into means of this growth. With the help of grace they grow in virtue, avoid sin, and if they sin they entrust themselves as did the prodigal son to the mercy of the Father in heaven. In this way they attain to the perfection of charity.
1744 Freedom is the power to act or not to act, and so to perform deliberate acts of one’s own. Freedom attains perfection in its acts when directed toward God, the sovereign Good.
2282 Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide. We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives.
SCRIPTURE: BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Christian faith stands or falls with the idea of the Resurrection and Christ’s triumph over death; (1 Corinthians 15:12-19): teachers could read the Resurrection narratives with their classes and discuss the meaning of the concept of resurrection.
One method of studying the ‘problem of evil’ and the meaning of suffering can be to examine the Book of Job: why does a good God let a faithful servant like Job suffer? The book provides no easy answer; it asks the questions: how do we cope with undeserved suffering?
Students could read Genesis 1:26-31, 9:1-3 to examine the concept of stewardship of the earth and of all creation.
The Book of Proverbs contains advice and wisdom which can be applied to a variety of life situations; students could choose a range of proverbs which relate to life in today’s world.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 A Time for Everything
The writer of the book of Ecclesiastes tended to be somewhat cynical in his view of life. The text belongs to the genre called Wisdom literature. It is a well known collection of texts within the biblical writings but extremely enriching for their down-to-earth approach to life. The Wisdom Books present a spirituality of the market place. This particular text from Ecclesiastes provides us with a rather poignant poem that acknowledges the reality of good and evil. There is a time for everything. The joys and sorrows of life come from constructive and destructive events and from separations and unions caused by love and hate in each person and in the wider community. Thus within individual lives there are happy and sad times, good and bad times, high and low times. Life is rarely simply good or evil. There is complexity in the mingling of the two.
The Book of Job – and the problem of suffering
The Book of Job really deals with the problem of suffering – why do bad things happen to good people? Job, a good man, experiences the goodness of his life falling apart for no apparent reason. Chapters 1 and 2 present a very patient Job and are written in prose. As everything is taken from Job he states “If we take happiness from God’s hand must we not take sorrow too” (2:10). But in Chapter 3 we have a different Job. He is angry about his misfortunes and curses the day that he was born “Why did I not die new-born, not perish as I left the womb?” (3:11). Chapter 3 to the final Chapter is written in sublime poetry – the end of chapter (42) reverts to prose again. Thus the major part of the book (Chapters 3–42), where Job struggles with his pain and his God, is in poetic form. It seems that the prose sections at the beginning and the end are a very ancient and moralising folk tale that the later author of the poetic sections uses as a spring board from which to launch his magnificent poetry. The poetry grapples with the eternal problem of personal suffering.
The Book of Job contains some of the finest Hebrew poetry in the Hebrew Scriptures. It also provides excellent examples of different types of literary forms within the Bible as well as the growth and development of the biblical texts that range from ancient oral folk tales to written exquisite poetry. In Job 12:1-10 the verses come from one of Job’s longest speeches. He is challenging the theology of his day that sees suffering as a punishment for sin. He rightly knows that good people suffer too. So these verses are part of a rather sarcastic confrontation of Job with his friends and his society. He claims that true wisdom can be found by reflecting on creation, indeed by communicating with all created things. He points out that his friends’ theology is wrong and they could learn more about life and God from wisely contemplating creation.
Finally it should be noted that the first two chapters represent a theology and an image of God that today is not condoned. These chapters come from very ancient times presenting a god who treats people as playthings.
John 12:24-25 The Grain of Wheat
The image of the grain of wheat is a powerful symbol of suffering and even death transformed into new life. If the grain of wheat does not fall on the ground and die it will not become the different but greater richer harvest. No suffering it seems is wasted. Change is part of life; unless we change we are alone and non-productive. Sometimes the harsh realities of life when reflected on later prove to be essential to our growth. St Paul in his letter to the people of Corinth (1 Cor 15:36) uses a similar metaphor. The grain of wheat was probably a common image then. It is still relevant today.
appreciate the tension which exists between good and evil
identify aspects of good and evil, as expressed in personal actions and local, national and global issues
using contemporary case studies, analyse the impact of good and evil
Essential Reading for Teachers
It is intended that students will be able to:
V discuss the tension that can exist in judging what is constructive and destructive, good and evil
K distinguish Catholic teaching in understanding good and evil
S examine images about good and evil as expressed in the arts and the media
Read the 'Essential Reading for Teachers' in Units C8-1 ‘Experiences of Good and Evil’ and C9- 1 ‘Images of Good and Evil’.
Tension between Good and Evil
It is in the context of God's goodness that this unit explores the dimensions of good and evil, and the tensions provoked by their opposing forces. We experience this at the personal, local and global levels.
The human person is inherently 'good' and shares in God’s life. The dignity of the individual person is contained in the belief that we are made in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1.26) and that through baptism we are “children of God” (Jn 1.12) and “sharers of God’s nature” (2 Peter 1.4). A Christian person expresses goodness by seeking to conform thoughts, words and actions to the mind of Christ (Phil 2.5). This can only be achieved by opening oneself to the power of God’s grace and the direction of God’s Spirit.
The Christian vision affirms that the world is a good place in which to live, even though there is evil, pain and suffering in life.
Evil is the absence or distortion of what is good. It can come from natural causes (such as random disasters) or from deliberate human activity (moral evil).
The Church has consistently rejected any form of dualism, ie: a view that all reality arises from two distinct causes of good and evil. There is no 'evil world', only a good world. Evil can only exist as a distortion of the good.
Moral evil shows itself in destructive and oppressive thoughts, words and actions which have consequences. In the Christian tradition, moral evil is called sin. It can be identified in the individual person and in the actions of groups, organisations and systems; this is sometimes called ‘structural sin’.
God is the greatest good. There is no ready answer to why God allows evil and suffering to exist. While people may find no reasonable reason for suffering, they can reflect and choose how to respond, and hence find greater meaning. (See more in Outcome 3.)
It is intended that students will be able to:
V reflect critically on the responsible use of freedom
K describe Biblical understandings of freedom and responsibility
S research individual people and groups who exercise responsible use of freedom
Freedom is a gift of creation, a gift of God. Created in God’s image, human beings have been given a certain capacity and responsibility for what becomes of God’s creation.
The Scriptures reveal the human person as co-creator with God. Human beings have real freedom and the Scriptures speak of that freedom and its original abuse: from the beginning the human heart has struggled and has sinned. The tendency to sin that is part of the human condition is called Original Sin.
The human spirit is always in search of more, of greater union with God.
In his letter to the Galatians, Paul tells the community that freedom is theirs, in Christ Jesus. It is a freedom which builds community and promotes loving helpful service. It is not freedom for self indulgence. For Paul freedom is not merely freedom from; it is freedom for. (See Gal 5:13.)
The most profound freedom each individual exercises is the capacity to choose the person he or she wants to be. This Catholic teaching cannot be underestimated: freedom makes the human person a ‘moral subject’, able to choose moral actions; the person is not merely an ‘object’ who is acted upon by circumstances.
LINKS WITH A SENSE OF THE SACRED
In Science, current issues and future directions; implications of Science for society and the environment. In Business Studies, Global Business, the impact of globalisation. In Geography, biophysical interaction, explaining natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis; Global challenge. In Legal Studies, the role of Law in protecting the Global Environment; technological change, looking at the way technology has changed many aspects of life. In Engineering Studies, ethical issues in the study of telecommunications.
Suggested Teaching/Learning Strategies
Following the presentations of the symbols, students journal. Describe how these symbols improved their understanding of the tension between judging what is good and evil.
Students journal their responses to the ideas and material covered in class time. Allow some time at the end of each lesson to prepare for the Major Assessment Task –see Sample Teaching Strategy.
Begin with students’ sense of good and evil; for example response to the statement: “Australian society is almost as good as it gets.” Is it all good?
Compile some contrasting film/advertisement clips, such as pet foods, beauty industry, cars, highlight conspicuous consumption, materialism and hedonism. Students respond to images. “Australia is suffering from an epidemic of affluenza” – discuss. (See: http://www.socialjustice.catholic.org.au/ ; http://uniya.org/talks/fawkner_14sep05.html )
Explore an advertisement that has a powerful effect. Are we all seduced by ‘false’ values? Do we experience a tension in choosing what is evil and what is good? “True happiness is not having what you want but wanting what you have.” Discussion.
Students respond individually to Blake’s painting Good and Evil, then pair share. See KWLCathStudies 9.1; Web search ‘advanced image search’ for further examples of art portraying images of good and evil.
Examine newspapers, TV news & radio for personal, local and global stories of ‘good’ and ‘evil’. Include personal examples. Form small groups and produce a combined ranked list of the ’greatest sufferings’, the ‘greatest evils’, ‘the greatest good’. Groups present lists to the class and whole class is asked to compare and contrast lists.
Students read KWLCathStudies 3.1-3 and then identify from the lists above. Which sufferings and evils are from natural causes? Which are the result of deliberate human activity (moral evil – both personal and ‘structural sin’)?
Read and Complete Activity in KWLCathStudies 3.8. Explore the nature of ‘good’ and of ‘evil’ from a Catholic perspective.
Investigate a current government policy and analyse its effects in terms of ‘constructive actions’ and ‘destructive actions’ eg Detention of Asylum Seekers. View the video Punished Not Protected and complete discussion activities; and/or strategy 4.6 Life’s Choices from Into the Deep. In preparation, read KWLCathEthics 9.12.
Working in small groups students draw or find pictures of the symbols they would use to illustrate the concept of Good and Evil in today’s world. Present to class.
Observation of students’ awareness and understanding of freedom and responsibility.
Students nominate the best examples of individuals or groups reflecting Catholic teachings on freedom.
Journal: What does ‘the responsible use of freedom’ mean in my life?
Students offer several answers: “Freedom is…..” Think-pair-share; Develop a mindmap which identifies the elements of freedom and the ramifications of those elements; in groups present one answer as a skit. Explore the notion of freedom: freedom as the absence of boundaries; freedom as the quest for self-fulfilment; freedom as life-giving; freedom is risking intimacy. See Dialogue Australia magazine Sept 2000 for extensive article and how these choices relate with the Book of Ecclesiastes.
Students read Galatians 5:13-14 and discuss how this relates to one of the ‘sufferings’ or ‘evils’ discussed in Outcome 1. St Paul refers to ‘freedom from self-indulgence’. What is self-indulgence? Do we live in a society that encourages self-indulgence? How do students experience this? What is the contrast “Freedom for..”
Students make a list of factors within themselves which ‘limit their freedom’ and distinguish those which can be overcome and those which cannot. Discuss: Are you genuinely free? What stops you from being genuinely free? Are human beings generally afraid to be genuinely free?
Students examine the Catholic understanding of freedom and responsibility (see eg: KWLCathStudies 3.2; 4.6-7; 5.9-10 and KWLCathEthics Chs 6-9) and investigate individuals or groups reflecting one or more of these ideas:
profound freedom is to choose the type of person one wants to be, regardless of the pressure to conform;
freedom is the power to act or not act, using an informed conscience;
freedom is the responsibility to act for the good of the community; to choose what benefits others.
Essential Reading for Teachers
It is intended that students will be able to:
V discern ways of being people of Christian hope
K examine the Christian understanding of hope in personal and social situations
S identify a range of personal and social situations which are described as hopeful
Hope in the face of adversity, suffering and evil
There is no one compelling, conclusive answer to the mystery of adversity, suffering and evil. However, we can reflect and choose how to respond:
- we can stand with Job, who placed complete trust in God in the face of incomprehensible suffering, and with Jesus, who lived and taught ‘the good news’ that God is a sympathetic (suffers with) God, who wishes to deliver us from evil. We also learn from the mystery of Christ that suffering itself can be redemptive and that good ultimately triumphs even over death.
Christian hope is oriented toward the risen Christ and the coming of the ‘Kingdom of God’. Christ has gone before us: in his life, death and resurrection he shows us the full meaning of the Kingdom of God:
Hope is oriented toward the Kingdom of God - not only in the hope of heaven, but in a commitment to the constant renewal of the whole world here and now.
Hope is a theological virtue. With hope, people are more open to the place of mystery, ie. the sense that reality is imbued with the presence of God, and more attuned in dealing with life’s uncertainties.
Hope will orient us toward building up the kingdom of God, toward all that gives and affirms and sustains life, as Jesus taught.
Society is being compelled to listen to new voices of hope. Movements for ecology, peace, harmony and equality are akin to the Christian freedom of the Beatitudes. Along with the Christian ideal, they oppose the prevailing destructive ideologies that can promote personal gratification, greed and domination. (eg: hedonism; individualism; subjectivism; relativism; nihilism; technological imperative)
It is intended that students will be able to:
V argue that human choices and actions need to be informed, deliberate and accountable
K describe how Scriptural teachings on human choice can inform individuals, groups, communities and nations
S critique situations where deliberate choices and actions have resulted in a more just society
Human Choices, human actions to bring about the Reign of God
Destructive ideologies that promote personal gratification, materialism and greed give rise to a society where individualism is more prized than community, where the rich and powerful ignore the basic human rights of the poorest and weakest to maintain their privileged position.
The prophets Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah and Hosea exhorted the people to listen to the call of God to a life of justice and integrity. A key message is that the land (the planet, creation) must not be exploited. It must be cared for by people. There is an interdependence and interconnectedness between people and planet, between all created things.
Jesus further fulfils and completes the call of the prophets, calling us to build the Kingdom (or reign) of God. Jesus calls us to follow him, to make a choice for a better world where all are fed and clothed, where there is true justice and peace. Fundamental to this vision is the call to be stewards and caretakers of creation.
The Kingdom of God (proclaimed by Jesus) is not only a spiritual reality, but a call to right the structures of this world, to ensure true justice and peace for all. We are all born into a social order deeply pervaded by ‘structural sin’. This is sin which is deeply ingrained in all human systems; it shows itself in all manner of aggression, deceit and self-seeking.
This outcome of the unit opens the possibility for exploring some major ‘structural sins’ and global issues facing humankind; these include: ecological sustainability; destruction of the planet; world hunger; world poverty; the imbalance between the ‘first world’ and the ‘developing world’; the debt of the ‘developing world’; international drug trade; terrorism; abuse of human labour; child abuse; millions of refugees in exile.
Suggested Teaching/Learning Strategies
Journal: A time when I needed hope was…
Observations of relevant examples of hope.
Identify Christian responses to situations of suffering.
Peer and Teacher Assessment
Oral Presentation: ‘Creating a future full of hope’.
Students research situations/people which show hope and/or good coming from times of suffering/hardship. They journal about how these are hopeful and how adverse situations can be life-giving; share reflections with class.
A film study could be undertaken to explore how a person acting in love can bring hope and redemption to others. Consider using Dead Man Walking. (See website) Read KWLCathStudies 9.8 and the review in Lights, Camera, Faith, pp314-318. Consider issue of ‘Restorative Justice and Reconciliation in alternative sentencing’ from Facing the Demons (ABC 4 Corners). Other films for this strategy: Shaw Shank Redemption and The Green Mile.
Students choose songs from contemporary music which highlight hope. Suggestions include Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, Midnight Oil, Stevie Wonder, Paul Kelly, Chris Isaak, Tracey Chapman, Louise Robards, Missy Higgins. Discussion.
Read KWLCathStudies 3.4 and consider the artwork. Response? What can you/we hope for?
Study of the Book of Job, see Scripture Reflections in this unit and the artwork from KWLCathStudies Ch3. A creative and /or reflective reading /presentation of the book. What happens? How does Job respond? What is your response to Job? Why do bad things happen to good people? Does this test your faith in a loving God?
Students use a ‘Circular Discussion’ technique (Breathing Life into the RE Classroom pp60-61) to discuss and produce summary statements on the question “Why does a good God allow evil?” See KWLCathStudies 3.4-7
In small groups, students consider the Christian concept of hope in the face of suffering such as: a friend permanently crippled in an accident caused by a drunken driver; a friend whose little sister has just died of leukaemia; a major natural disaster; a situation of ethnic cleansing; or another similar situation.
Students prepare oral presentations on ‘Creating a future full of hope’’ (see Sample Teaching Strategy). These could be delivered throughout, or at the end of, the unit.
Observation of the students’ understanding of principles of building the Kingdom of God.
“Human choices and actions need to be informed, deliberate and accountable”.
Students work through discussion questions on ‘Christ’s vision of a just society’ with the Parable of the Good Samaritan. See KWLCathEthics 8.1.
Students develop a mind map around ‘individualism’ and compare this to the principles of building the Kingdom of God. See KWLCathEthics 8.2; KWLCathStudies 4.4-5; 5.2-3. Identify examples within their local or global community which are the opposite of individualism, and relate to the Kingdom of God. Is it always either/or?
Related film study: Super Size Me; Farenheit 911 - individualism and choice in a society that operates with a ‘herd mentality’.
Community and the Common Good: complete selected activities KWLCathEthics 8.4.
Complete a creative reading and presentation of the Parable of the Talents: Matthew 25:14-30 ; each student respond to the question: what difference would it make if I truly used my talents for good everyday? Compare responses with concepts of stewardship (see KWLCathEthics 5.5).
Students search editions of the Caritas e-magazine Ozspirit – available on-line (firstname.lastname@example.org) - for examples of programmes/individuals/groups who have brought hope and justice through their actions, see ‘Classroom Resources’ for areas covered, and present one to the class.
Students obtain the Environmental/Ecological Audit from Catholic Earthcare (www.catholicearthcareoz.net) and apply parts of it to their own school or other situations.
Students select from Catholic and other websites one concrete example where deliberate choices and actions have/have not resulted in a more just local/global society. (For example, the country of Rawanda, see http://www.romeodallaire.com/ )
Debate/Mock Council Meeting using De Bono’s hats strategy. See Sample Teaching Strategy.
Essential Reading for Teachers
It is intended that students will be able to:
V comment on the relevance of beliefs about life after death to how people choose to live
K describe the relationship between the consequences of human actions and Christian beliefs about life after death
S interpret sources and viewpoints about life after death within the Christian tradition
Life after Death
For the Christian, life is a journey in relationship with God. The Church teaches that at death, the particular judgment of each individual takes place (see nn1021-22). This judgment either affirms the fidelity or affirms the rejection of the person’s relationship with God. God made us for eternal happiness and union with Him (CCC n172).
In death, ‘life is changed, not ended’ (Preface for Mass of Christian Burial). Jesus is the first born of many brothers and sisters (Rom 8:29). This captures the hope that Christians have, in Christ, of resurrection. The determining force of death is sin (I Cor 15:56). Yet through God’s free gift in Christ, grace is plentiful (Rom 5:15)
Heaven is a state of eternal life with God and all those who share God's life. It is a consequence affirming our relationship with God. Purgatory is a state of final purification for the achievement of the holiness necessary for the joy of heaven (CCC n1030). Hell is a state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and all who share God's life (CCC n1033). A limitation of human nature tends to mean that heaven and hell are perceived as “places” rather than realities reflecting relationship with God. The general judgment is understood by Christians to be the time when Christ comes again at the end, at the consummation of history.
In the Christian tradition, what we are to enjoy in the life to come is already a present reality in this life. We are pilgrims here on earth, where we are invited to live in union with our God. Come, Lord Jesus! (Rev 22:20).
Suggested Teaching/Learning Strategies
Journal: When I think about life after death… or
Belief in ‘life after death’ is important to me because…
Observation of responses from Continuum walk.
Pre-testing: What is your understanding of ‘life after death’? What are three key questions you would like to have answered about ‘life after death’?
Students participate in a Continuum Walk (Strongly Agree, Agree, Uncertain, Disagree, Strongly Disagree) on statements such as: “Heaven is a place”, “I don’t worry about what happens to me after I die”, “Everyone is meant to live in union with God”, “The way I live affects what happens to me when I die”, “Purgatory exists”, “Reincarnation is contrary to Christian beliefs” “Some people will be punished by being sent to hell” Consider other possible statements.
Near Death Experiences: what are they? do they challenge or affirm Christian belief?
Students gather information on the opinions and beliefs of others about life after death, heaven and hell, eg. reincarnation; there is no afterlife; others. Do they challenge or affirm Christian belief? See KWLCathStudies 1.1-3; 1.7; 4.9
Students respond to the question in John 11.26. Use further references below, to outline the Church’s teachings on life after death; discuss students’ understanding of these; how do the church teachings compare with popular notions of death and afterlife; compare them with the responses in the strategies above;
(Scripture references: Essential Reading for Teachers; 1 Cor 15:35-38; 1 John 3:2-3; 1 Peter 1:3-9; and also the Gospel Resurrection narratives.
Dictogloss: Christian Understanding of Life after Death (see Essential Reading for Teachers).
Read through the Vigil for the Deceased and The Rite of Christian Burial. What do
these reveal about the Christian beliefs about life after death? Explore the phenomenon of non-religious funerals. What is the society’s response to death when there is no Religious conviction?
Read KWLCathStudies 3.5 and 3.7. Discuss the relationship between these experiences of ‘unbelief’ and ‘grace’ and a Christian’s belief in ultimate destiny.
CELEBRATION: PRAYER AND LITURGY
A Celebration of Hope
A group of students prepare the sacred space to reflect the learnings of this unit. One side of the space is draped in dark colours and has symbols representing brokenness and injustice. For example: broken pottery and twigs, media images, students’ symbols from Outcome 1. The other side of the space is draped in rainbow colours (or white if preferred) and has symbols representing life, goodness and hope. For example: water, flowers, candles, images of positive relationships and ‘good news’ stories.
Sand box, votive candle for each student, large candle and Bible. Two students who are prepared to process the Scripture (candle and Bible) and proclaim the Word. Two students who have prepared reflections on the following areas. These could be developed in small groups:
The pressures that can confront a student in Year 11 or 12. The seeds that are ‘struggling to grow’ and how a student can find hope in these times.
The little steps that have been made in order to grow through senior school and the hopefulness that comes from these.
Creator God, source of all goodness, we come to You in a spirit of openness, knowing our limitations and frailties, our giftedness and goodness. We ask you to help us recognise your Spirit working in our lives and in our world. Open our hearts as we listen to Your word to us:
Two students process the Scripture through the group to the place of proclamation. The student carrying the candle stands holding it while the student who has carried the Bible proclaims the text.
The Word of God: John 12:24-25 – The Grain of Wheat.
After the reading, the Bible and candle are placed on the sacred space.
Response: The teacher gives a brief response based on ‘Scripture: Background Information’ (Unit p3)
The students share their prepared reflections of pressures, growth and hope.
Play Open My Eyes Lord (in As one Voice) to allow time for reflection on student sharing.
Leader: The challenge for each of us is to live in a spirit of hope. Sometimes this is difficult, especially when we are faced with the disappointments and sadness of life. If we can remember the message of the grain of wheat we will be able to make small steps towards hope, knowing that the God who loves us walks each step with us. I invite you to move one at a time to light a candle and place it in tray as a symbol of the hope and small steps that are part of your story. As you place the candle, you may wish to pray a short prayer of hope, for yourself and for some aspect of the world.
Blessing and Sending Forth
Leader: May you find hope in the joys and sorrows of life. R. Amen
May you bring hope to those you encounter on life’s journey. R. Amen
May you always put your trust in God who walks with you. R. Amen Note: At the start of the unit you could plant seeds on a damp cotton ball, keep them moist, watch them grow and use them in the prayer.
SAMPLE TEACHING STRATEGY
Outcome 2: Describe Biblical understandings of freedom and responsibility
Outcome 3: Examine the Christian understanding of hope in personal and social situations Task:
Each student prepares a 3-5 minute creative reflection/presentation entitled “Creating a future of hope - my Year 12 Final Reflection” which would be given at a concluding assembly at the end of the Year. The presentation includes the concepts of freedom, responsibility, hope, living with good and evil, suffering, choices, a just society. It relates to the wisdom of relevant Scriptures and the Christian tradition. It makes reference to relevant Scripture, Christian belief, and a theme from a film, book, poem, or song studied.
Students to keep journal reflections throughout the unit which are a resource for this task.
The following could be a way of initially engaging with this task.
Students to read sections of KWLCathStudies 3.4-7 or KWLCathEthics Chs 8-9 and consider the artwork in these student resources as a stimulus for their presentation.
Ask students to prepare a creative presentation of their vision of an ideal world, or rather how they would wish the world to be. It may be any medium: music, song, poetry, photos, drawings, painting, collage, short story…
Have the students share their presentations with the class. An atmosphere of respect is essential. These questions will be discussed after the presentations: Which affected you the most? What was your reaction? What common themes were expressed?
Students to write out their dreams for their own life, including short-term and long-term goals and hopes.
Compare their personal goals and values with the vision and values they expressed for their ideal world. Identify areas of agreement and conflict (eg we desire an ecologically sustainable world, but live a consumerist lifestyle). Society places much emphasis on achieving personal goals. Can our dreams for the world be realised if we only consider our personal goals?
Outcome 4: Debate/Mock Council Meeting on Environmental Issue
See Breathing Life Into the RE Classroom, pp65-67 for description of the Six Hats Strategy.
Students select an environmental or justice issue - preferably local (see KWLCathEthics Chs8-9). Each student takes one of six perspectives according to the Six coloured hats strategy – emotional, negative, optimist, lateral thinker, logical thinker, group leader. In the council meeting, each person represents his/her ‘hat’ and the council makes a decision regarding the issue after considering all perspectives. Use one class period to prepare for the meeting and one for the meeting and debriefing.
Following the decision, consider these questions in debriefing:
How was the choice made? On what criteria? Who had the power?
How would the choice affect the community, individuals, groups?
Would the choice result in a more or less just and ecologically sustainable society?
How did you find wearing your ‘hat’?
Did the decision reflect principles for building the Kingdom of God eg common good, solidarity, justice?
To Know Worship and Love Catholic ethical thinking, (2005), James Goold House Publications, Melbourne, Vic
Arliss J & Vardy P, (2003), The Thinker’s Guide to Evil, John Hunt Publishing Ltd
Arliss J & Vardy P, (2003), The Thinker’s Guide to Good, John Hunt Publishing Ltd
Derrington P, (2000), The Serpent of Good and Evil, Hyland House, Flemington Vic
Sachs J, (1991), The Christian Vision of Humanity: Basic Christian Anthropology, Liturgical Press, Collegeville MN
Sacks J, (2005), The Persistence of Faith: Religion, Morality and Society in a Secular Age, Continuum Books, London
Suzuki D, (1993), Time to Change, Allen & Unwin, St Leonards
Vatican II Document, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et spes).
White D, O’Brien, K & Todd S, (2003), Into the Deep, Strategies to Foster “DEEP” Thinking in the Religious Education Classroom, KD Publications, PO Box 4236 Marayong NSW 2148, Tel 0414826837, Fax 02 96294877
Catholic Education Office, Bathurst, (1998), Breathing Life Into the RE Classroom, Creative Teaching Strategies for Religious Educators, Tel 02 6332 3077
Malone P & Pacatte R, (2001), Lights, Camera, Faith! A Movie Lover’s Guide to Scripture, Pauline Books and Media, Boston
Dialogue Australasia, (twice yearly publication on Religious and Values Education), www.dailogueaustralasia.org Contact DAN (Australia), PO Box 714 Newcastle NSW 2300
Issues in Society Series (over 45 titles), The Spinney Press, PO Box 1469 Rozelle NSW 2039 Tel 02 95559319, Fax 02 9810 60245
Treston K, Walk Lightly Upon the Earth, Religious Education Journal 49(3) 2001
Understanding Faith Series,Booklets 6d – Loss, Death, Grief & Dying; and Making Meaning in Today’s World, Emmaus Publications, Port Macquarie
Dead Man Walking, Forgiveness, Tuesdays with Morrie, Bowling for Columbine
www.catholicearthcareoz.net Catholic Earthcare
http://www.caritas.org.au/emergencies/earthquake_resources.htm Resources on responses to the Tsunami, including video/DVD, student worksheets eg Where was God during the Tsunami?
email@example.com Free attractive regular students’ e-magazine on current social justice and aid and development issues from Caritas
www.roughguide-betterworld.com Rough Guide to a Better World: student book can be downloaded free
www.uq.net.au/cjpc/webcross.htm Cyberversion of the stations of the Cross with references to justice, peace and ecological issues
From Caritas: Asia Our Neighbour East Timor (video) Teenagers caught up in life threatening emergencies in the Shoalhaven bushfires and East Timor
Me, A Camera and 70 Million Faces (video) Young Australians in the Philippines discovering ways in which people address poverty and injustice
The Garden Planet (video from Catholic Earthcare) - The call to ecological conversion; explores Initiatives, people and communities striving to live more simply, sustainably and spiritually
Facing the Demons (video) Restorative Justice – the work of Ken Marslew AM following the tragic shooting of his son ABC 4 Corners
Endless Sky, Louise Robards & Mark Raue, audio: 16 songs on Creation, ecology, and justice.
Email: Souldreamproductions@hotmail.com. Tel 02 4237 5452. PO Box 746, Kiama 2533
Justice Cries, Mark Raue, audio: 18 songs on justice, hope, and faith, firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel 02 98245467, PO Box 35, Macarthur Square, NSW 2560
Freshwater is Sacred Water (CD Rom)interactive activities, lessons, links and information on sustaining water resources, Catholic Earthcare
Grains of Life (interactive CR-Rom), international year of rice
Evaluation by Teachers
During the course of the unit the teacher should make notes in answer to the following questions:
To what extent were students able to appreciate the tension which exists between good and evil?
To what extent were students able to identify aspects of good and evil, as expressed in personal actions and local, national and global issues?
To what extent were students able to use contemporary case studies to analyse the impact of good and evil?
To what extent were classroom outcomes achieved?
Which teaching/learning strategies would you use again?
Did the assessment strategies effectively assist students to demonstrate achievement of the classroom outcomes?
Were there other resources for teachers or classroom resources that were used in this unit?
Archdiocese of Sydney Unit C6-1 Living with Good and Evil
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION CURRICULUM Stage 6: Years 11 and 12