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Posts Tagged ‘protestant’

Good class last night. We were very happy to see that ten of our 13 students braved the lousy weather to attend. Thank you, parents!

Our main focus was the Ten Commandments. We had lots of discussion and lots of questions. Those are the best classes.

We started with a story, telling the class the background that lead to God delivering the Commandments to Moses on Mt. Sinai.

We had volunteers read the passage from Exodus 20 that is the first mention of the Commandments. (The students were somewhat “atwitter” last night, and references to an “ass” (ie: jackass) and “alien” caused more than a little giggling.)

We distributed list of the traditional “Ten Commandments” that demonstrated how some different religions count them. For example, Catholics count the God-related commandments as the first three, while many Protestant churches count them as four. On the other end, Catholics divide the last two “you shall not covet…” Commandments into two separate statements, while most Protestant sects combine them into one. We pointed out this only a concern if they are talking to a Protestant friend about the 4th Commandment, for instance. A Protestant would be talking about the Commandment to respect the Sabbath, while the Catholic would be honoring his father and mother.

As we walked through and discussed the first four Commandments, we talked about some of these points.

With the first Commandment, we spent some time talking about false gods. In the time of Moses, the issue was not to worship the sun, the Earth, a statue, etc. We asked the students to think about some of the false gods people may encounter today. They came up with ideas like money, drugs, alcohol, fame, celebrities, and so on.  We connected the Commandment to relevant issues today.

The second Commandment, to not take the Lord’s name in vain, was fairly easy for them to grasp. One student did confess she had a lot of trouble with that one. We suggested that it was a challenge she should try to master with prayer.

We talked about the concept of a Sabbath and why most Christians consider Sunday the Sabbath, rather than the “seventh day” (Saturday.) We pointed out that many early Christian leaders wanted to make a distinction between their older Jewish faith and their new Christian religion. Designating Sunday, the day Christ rose from the dead, as the Sabbath was one way to do that. We also discussed that in today’s culture, we have largely gotten away from the concept of resting and avoiding work on the Sabbath, and not necessarily for the better.

As we discussed the fourth (Honor your father and mother.) Commandment, we emphasized several points. The Commandment may seem fairly obvious to fifth graders because they are still very dependent on their parents for the essentials of living. However, even ten and eleven year-olds may need to be reminded from time to time to love, respect and obey their parents. We pointed out that the main thrust of the Commandment was not towards children, but rather towards adults, especially adults whose parents are older and may depend on them. Role reversal. At the time the Commandments were written, it was not unusual for older, dependent tribe members who became a burden to be rejected or abandoned to die. While we typically don’t do that today, the Commandment is especially important when parents or grandparents grow older and need the younger family members’ love and assistance.

Next week, we will finish up with the last six Commandments, and they always generate some interesting discussion. How can you go wrong discussing murder, lying, theft, jealousy, adultery, and gossip?  Should be fun. Parents – come on out and enjoy the class. You are most welcome.

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One of the things I like about teaching 5th grade is that we are not a sacramental class. Since we do not have a rigid curriculum to prepare our students for their First Communion or Confirmation, we have the flexibility sometimes to adjust on the fly and talk about whatever is on our collective minds.

Last week we taught an overview of the Sacraments. We thought it would be a good idea to spend more time on that subject, to reinforce what we discussed last week. So we took the first 40 minutes of the class on two review exercises. The first was a word-game, and the second was a true-false, match-the-definition quiz format. We had the students complete them on their own, and then we talked about them.

By the time we were done with those, there was only about 20 minutes left in the class session, not enough time to start a brand-new chapter. The class was full of questions, some sacrament-related, and some not. So we spent the rest of the class in discussion. Among our subjects were:

–The difference between the Catholic Eucharist and Protestant churches’ communion.

–What happens to the unconsumed over consecrated hosts and wine after Mass.

— The origins and legends of Halloween, and its connection to All Saints Day.

Last week, we said a class prayer for Mrs. Rudolphi’s grandmother who was seriously ill. Since then, she passed away, so we said another prayer for her as our closing prayer.

And as is our usual practice, we closed by asking each student what he/she learned that night. All students were able to cite at least one thing, and were rewarded with a cookie.

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Wow! Spring is in the air; the weather is nice; the end of the CCD year is in sight; and attention spans are dropping to goldfish level. We had a pretty good class last night, but Mrs. Rudolphi and I had to work for it.

We started off by covering the Sacrament of Holy Orders. This may not be the most exciting topic, so we whipped through it fairly quickly. We spent some time talking about the jobs of bishop, priests and deacons and what they entailed. I was somewhat surprised to learn that about half the class thought “Monsignor” was Monsignor Costigan’s first name. Huh?

We shifted gears to start our discussion of the Ten Commandments. In past years, this has been one of the best lessons of the year. There is lots of opportunity for discussion and questions.

We set the scene for how God relayed the commandments to Moses, and had volunteers read aloud the commandments from Exodus 20.

We pointed out that while these commandments are fairly short, there is a much larger body of work that expounds on and details the concepts they present.  Specifically, we mentioned the remainder of the first five books of the Bible, and the Jewish Talmud.

We distributed a chart that demonstrated how different religious count the commandments differently. For example, most American Protestant churches divide the Catholic first commandment (“I am the Lord your God…”) into two separate commandments. On the other hand, they combine the Catholic ninth and tenth commandments (coveting your neighbor’s wife and coveting your neighbor’s goods) into one, so it still works out to a total of ten.

We then got into a discussion of the first commandment which prohibits the worship of false gods. We talked about the concept of false gods in the time of Moses, and then asked “What are some false gods people worship today?” In other words, what are some of the things in today’s society that people can think are more important than God? The class picked up on this very quickly (Yea!), and started naming things like celebrities, entertainment (video games), money, fame, popularity, and so on. We emphasized the concept that the importance of any of these things can grow out of reason and assume the stature of a “false god.” Anything that comes between them and God can be a false god. We mentioned that as they grow into adults, they may know people or even be tempted themselves, by issues like gambling, drugs, alcohol and sex.

Next week, we will go through the remaining nine commandments and try to relate them to a 5th grader’s experience.  It should be interesting. Parents are invited to sit in.

Our last class will be April 24. While I doubt we will try to teach a normal lesson that night, we’ll have some activity planned that will put a closure on the year.

 

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We had a pretty good class this week. The students were reasonably well behaved and fairly engaged.

Although we intended to spend a little time wrapping up the Sacrament of Matrimony and then cover Holy Orders, we spent the entire class discussing Matrimony.

We began by discussing the concept of a permanent commitment and how important it is for a couple to be fully aware and prepared before getting married. While the Catholic Church makes it difficult to get out of a marriage, it also makes it difficult to get into it. Priests and other non-Catholic clergy frequently screen couples and can decline to marry them if they think the couple is not ready or right for each other. As we were discussing this, Mrs. Rudolphi (Where does she come up with this stuff?) announced, “That happened to me!” Huh? It turns out that Mrs. R was Protestant and her fiancée was Catholic. They first went to a Protestant minister and he declined to perform the ceremony because he believed the difference in their faiths was too much for them to overcome. That story was a bit of an eye opener for the class.

We discussed some of the specifics of the marriage ceremony and also the concept of fidelity. We also discussed the concept that in Matrimony, the bride and groom are the actual celebrants and the priest is a witness and blesses the union.

From there we said that Matrimony forms the basis for a Catholic family. We talked about responsibilities within families, including the responsibilities of children. We drew two columns on the white board and head one “adults” and the other “children.” We first asked the class to name responsibilities of the adults or parents in a family and we got the set of answers you would expect – cook dinner, financial support, teach children, etc. When we asked about the other side of the chart, the going was a little more difficult. Aside from household chores, the idea that they might have some responsibilities towards their parents was a totally foreign to them.

Mrs. Rudolphi and I introduced two concepts. (Parents, you can thank us later for this.) The first was to respect their parents; to listen to them; and to try to fulfill their parents’ wishes and expectations. In other words, “Don’t make your parents’ job of raising you difficult.”

The second concept was to give their parents the opportunity to spend time with each other. (Mrs. Rudolphi said “Date night!”) Don’t be so needy and demanding of their parents’ every waking minute that they never to spend any time with just them.

As an example, I related a conversation I had just this week with a mother of two elementary school-age children. She said she was dreading spring break, because one of her children has never learned how to entertain himself. He requires his mother to entertain him…all the time.  Every weekend and every break, he constantly nags her “What are we going to do now?” Fortunately, most of our class was amazed by the story.

Maybe, they will take that lesson home with them and, maybe, make their parents’ life just a little easier.  Hope springs eternal.

We are off next week for spring break, and then back for three classes. I plan to spend some time going over Holy Orders and then as much time as we can spare on the Ten Commandments.

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I’m a little late posting an update for last week’s class. I was traveling for work Thursday and Friday of last week and, to be honest, didn’t think about it over the weekend. Oops.

We had a small group turn out last Wednesday, maybe only 10 or 12 students. We started off the first of two chapters covering the Eucharist. We covered several key points.

–The first Eucharist was at the Last Supper, which in turn was a Jewish Passover meal (Seder.) We talked a little about the origin of the Passover celebration and the Passover story in Exodus. We had a lot of questions about why God would kill the Egyptian first-born sons, which didn’t help us stay in topic. My fault.

–We connected the words in Luke’s Gospel account of the Last Supper to the words used in the consecration in the Mass. We emphasized Jesus’s command to “Do this in memory of me.”

–We discussed the concept of the Real Presence, that Catholics believe that Jesus is truly present in the bread and wine of the Eucharist. This differs from what most Protestant faiths profess, that their “holy communion” is simply representative of Jesus’s body and blood, not a Real Presence.

–We emphasized that the Eucharist is at the very center of what it means to be a Catholic.

I’d like to tell you that I was making a significant impact on the students, but in truth, I think everything I was throwing out was bouncing right back at me.  It wasn’t working. Then we changed the subject.

We were talking a little about the connection to Passover and Jewish history. Students started asking questions about the Bible and the focus switched to the biblical account of creation (Adam and Eve, etc.). There seemed to be a lot of interest, and since I was making such great progress with our earlier topic (sarcasm), I decided to head off in a totally different direction. (We’ll pick up where we left off with the Eucharist this week.)

Most of the students were very confused about the relationship between the biblical account of Creation and what they learn in school. They didn’t understand why Adam and Eve weren’t eaten by the dinosaurs. So we talked a little about how Genesis was written for a group of illiterate, nomadic goat herders who lived in tents in the desert. Those people had no concept of the Big Bang, DNA, evolution or anything of that nature. We told the class that Genesis tells us that God created the world and everything in it, and that what he created is good. However, the Bible is a religious book, not a science text. So it’s up to science to explain what “tools” God used and how he did it. The creation story in Genesis should be viewed as a broad story with a strong underlying truth. The details are left to science. As such, Genesis is not really in conflict with their science classes.

This probably sounds a lot like “intelligent design,” however, I pointed out again, we are teaching a religion class, not a science class.

This week, I want to finish up just a little more on the Creation story and then complete the half-taught lesson on the Eucharist.

An important scheduling note – NEXT WEEK, February 13, is Ash Wednesday. There will be no CCD class. We ask parents to bring their children and join them for Mass at 7 pm.

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Before I get any further, there is an important schedule change. The calendar I have had posted on this blog since September has a mistake.

We WILL be off next week (April 11) due to the public schools’ spring break.

Our final class of the year will be the following Wednesday, April 18.

There will be NO class on April 25 or any subsequent Wednesdays.

Last night, we had a good session. We covered the Ten Commandments. Originally, I thought we had two classes to cover this subject, but, obviously, I was wrong. So we had to move a little more quickly to cram all ten into the class session.

You can sure tell that it’s spring. While generally well behaved, the students were very “antsy.” During our discussions, hands were up all the time, and everyone wanted to tell a story.

We started by reading the first (of several) version of the commandments in Exodus 20.  Then we walked through the commandments. Among the items of discussion were:

The commandments are split into two sections — those that pertain to God and those that pertain to man.

Different religions count the commandments differently. Catholics divide the God-related directives into three commandments, while many Protestant religions count them as four. On the other hand, Catholics count the “covet” directives as two separate commandments (9 & 10) while the Protestants combine them into one. This is only important when people refer to commandments by their number rather than its verbiage. We distributed a chart that showed how the commandments are arranged by various faiths.

We talked a little about “false gods” and what things might be considered “false gods” today – anything that can get between you and your relationship with God. Among the examples the students came up with were money, alcohol, drugs, entertainment, sports, etc. We emphasized that while most of these are not evil in themselves, they can become harmful when they assume a too-great measure of importance.

We talked about using God’s name improperly and the Sabbath.

We discussed the importance of honoring and respecting parents, not only when they are children but also as adults, especially when their parents are older and may need their assistance.

The commandment against killing did not generate as much discussion as in past years.

Most of our students were not familiar with the term “adultery.” We described it as someone in a married couple having another boyfriend or girlfriend on the side. We did emphasize that God included two commandments respecting the sanctity of marriage. One (adultery) was aimed at the married couple. The second (not to covet your neighbor’s wife) is aimed at someone outside the marriage who might want to break it up.

The commandment against stealing was grasped easily and did not provoke much discussion. We did have a couple of questions that involved some convoluted “what if” scenarios. We didn’t spend much time on those.

We discussed the concept of “false witness” in terms of lying about someone or just spreading rumors and gossip.

We talked about the concept of coveting. Most of the class was not familiar with the term. We described the difference between simply admiring something that belongs to a friend (a new baseball mitt, a bicycle, a cell phone, etc.) and coveting it. They covet it when they want it so badly that they are willing to do something wrong to get it for themselves.

Our last class will be in two weeks. We will do something special, although I’m not sure just what it will be. We have two weeks to think about it.

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This is a late posting. Sorry ‘bout that. Last week was a very busy week in “Mike’s World.”

Our class Wednesday evening was a good one. We had a very small class. Apparently May Howard 5th graders had a field trip to Jekyll Island and that took out about half the class.

We started the Ten Commandments. As expected, we made our way halfway through the fifth commandment (Thou shall not kill.) when we ran out of time. Among the various discussion points were:

The story of God giving the commandments to Moses.

The new concept put forth in the first commandment that there is only one God.

We discussed the differences between the concept of false gods or idols at the time of the Exodus and what might be a false god today (celebrities, sports, play, money, etc.)

The differences between the way Catholics count the commandments, compared to many Protestant churches. (Catholics combine the God-related commandments into three. Protestants usually spread them out to four. Catholics separate the commandments against coveting into two separate commandments, while most Protestant churches combine them into one.) We pointed out that the material is all there. It’s just that different churches count them differently.

We discussed what it means to take the Lord’s name in vain.

We talked about the Sabbath and why Christians celebrate it on the first day of the week.

The importance of honoring your father and mother, and why God even needed to include that in the list.

We spent a fair amount of time discussing some of the “what if’s” in the commandment against killing. Self defense. War. Etc. We still have some to cover this week.

Because we had so many kids out last week, we will take a few minutes to review last week’s class. Then we will move on to the second half of the Commandments. Should be interesting. If you’re free, come and join the fun.

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