RealityBites blog

David and Guliefe

Following on from my short piece about the Ofsted Report, some thoughts on how many young people learn Scripture in their RE lessons.

Many British people have studied RE but it is often unacknowledged how materialism and Hollywood mythology infuse this educational experience.

Here we draw on the research of Terence Copley's Biblos Project at Exeter University. His team have been looking at what children learn about the meaning of Bible stories in schools in England. Here are some examples:

'Religious Education: Realising the Potential' – Ofsted Report based on evidence from inspections of 185 schools, 2009-2012

  • Pupils leave school knowing almost nothing about core Christian beliefs.
  • Pupils are often exposed to Mickey Mouse Relgious Education that they find babyish and unchallenging.
  • Pupils are unable to think coherently about religious beliefs and how they shape our lives.
  • Pupils understand RE in almost complete isolation from the rest of the curriculum.
  • Pupils are rarely challenged when they spout nonsensical claptrap.

Sixth Form Conference in Newcastle

Yesterday I went with Gareth 'Taffy' Jones to conduct a sixth form conference at the Emmanuel School in Newcastle. The idea being that Taffy would provide an objective and distinctively Welsh perspective on the day's proceedings. I hail from Hertfordshire and my observations are often blinkered and half-baked. Taffy has assured me that this report is reliable and corresponds to what he saw and heard.

Oh and by the way Taffy has a PhD and is a very sharp lad.

Christian Education is not Bible-bashing

When people talk about Christian education, many people think about the archetypal Bible-basher. Someone who attacks you with Scripture.

This is tragic.

In my view Christian education should be about wisdom, discernment and understanding the brutal stories that ruin countless lives. Consider this.

Hollywood Mythology and Christian Education

When we talk about Christian education at RealityBites we are not talking primarily about explicit biblical teaching. We are not urging Christian educators to 'Bible-bash'. Rather our concern is to help adults and young people to understand the powerful Worldview Stories that shape and mould our imaginations and lifestyles.

Consider for a moment the powerful Hollywood perspective that repeatedly urges us to:

Trust in your instincts!
Follow your heart!
Follow your dreams!
Have faith in yourself!
Be who you want to be!

RealityBites in Perth

Here is a brief report on my trip to Perth.

I delivered two lectures to more than 900 Christian teachers. I also led three workshops with smaller groups. I focused on the power of storytelling and worldview awareness to transform Christian education. I spent time outlining Jesus' pedagogy and the importance of crafting imaginative and non-cheesy speech acts.

RealityBites goes to Perth

This Friday I am flying to Perth in Australia and will be delivering two keynote lectures to approximately 600 Christian teachers. I have been invited by Christian Schools Australia to do this work. I have been reliably informed that sharks and jelly fish are hostile to reckless bathers and caution will be maintained at all times.

Dr Rod Wilson, President of Regent College in Vancouver, Canada will be the other keynote speaker.

Inspiring Barber blesses the homeless

Every Wednesday in Hartford, Conn. USA homeless people can get a free haircut. However 82-year-old retired barber Anthony Cymerys does ask for a hug in return.

Inspired 25 years ago by a church sermon about the homeless, Anthony decided he wanted to do something for those who have no home. His clients line up on park benches and wait their turn for a haircut and a hug.

"I love these guys," Cymerys said about them. He paused and turned to his client in the chair, "You know I love you, right?"

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