For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. — John 3:16 (KJV)

Introduction

This workshop introduces Christianity, the largest religion in the world. A branch of the Abrahamic line, Christianity includes nearly a third of the people on the planet. Core teachings of love and faith, forgiveness and generosity, are profoundly affirming; however, the doctrines that have evolved over centuries, the efforts to convert people for their salvation, and the variations of behavior inherent in billions of human beings have created a very mixed historical record and contemporary practice. It can be difficult to, in biblical terms, separate the grain from the chaff. It is important to help Unitarian Universalist youth to a greater understanding of the complexities and challenges of Christianity.

Some of the challenges of this exploration include:

  • The tendency to lump all Christians together rather than make important distinctions among sects and practices and among individuals
  • The tendency, as with any religion, to think that if you know someone's religion, you know what they believe and what their social or political opinions are
  • The influence of negative attitudes on the part of some Unitarian Universalists who have had bad experiences with Christian religions
  • For some Unitarian Universalists, who are surrounded by evangelical and fundamentalist Christians, the feeling of being misunderstood, disrespected and even attacked. This can set up a defensive reaction in which participants' protective feelings for their own religion leave them less than open to Christianity
  • Finally, the challenge of all exploration of differences: the ability to bring an open mind and open heart to the journey.

NOTE: This workshop focuses on the life and teachings of Jesus. For how the early Christian Church evolved into the Catholic Church, see the text in Alternate Activity 3: From Minority to Majority, which describes the institutionalization of the Church in the Holy Roman Empire and explores the Crusades. Workshop 12 continues the Christian story with the Protestant Reformation.

Goals

This workshop will:

  • Introduce participants to some core beliefs of Christianity
  • Present essential excerpts of Christian scripture
  • Explain Pentecost and its importance to Christians
  • Compare and contrast Christianity and Unitarian Universalism.

Learning Objectives

Participants will:

  • Hear and discuss the life and words of Jesus of Nazareth
  • Deepen their understanding of Christian scripture and doctrine
  • Understand Pentecost and the founding of the Christian church
  • Learn how Christianity fits into religious history.

Workshop-at-a-Glance

Activity

Minutes

Welcoming and Entering

0

Opening

10

Activity 1: Story — The Life of Jesus of Nazareth

20

Activity 2: Jesus, Storyteller

25

Activity 3: The Sermon on the Mount

15

Activity 4: The Good News is Spread

10

Activity 5: Fact Sheet

5

Activity 6: Time Line

3

Faith in Action: Catholic Charities

 

Closing

2

Alternate Activity 1: Engagement

90

Alternate Activity 2: The Jefferson Bible

20

Alternate Activity 3: From Minority to Majority

20

Alternate Activity 4: A Pentecost Play

30

   

For more information contact religiouseducation@uua.org.