Tapestry of Faith: Exploring Our Values Through Poetry: A Program for High School Youth

Activity 1: Ruby Slippers

Activity time: 25 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Newsprint or a dry erase board and markers

Description of Activity

Participants explore notions of a spiritual quest and faith by finding parallels in The Wizard of Oz.

Start this activity with a review of Dorothy's experience in the movie The Wizard of Oz. If you have time, a fun and active way to do this is to ask for volunteers to perform a speedy reenactment of the story. Before starting, ask the group if they feel Dorothy's experience was similar to a spiritual quest. If needed, allow a few minutes for the group to discuss the notion of a spiritual quest.

Start the reenactment. Anyone in the group can yell "stop" when the story reaches a part that she/he feels correlates to a traditional spiritual quest. If time is limited, you could present this part of the activity yourself as a verbal review.

Write on newsprint the words and phrases participants use to describe ways in which Dorothy's journey parallels a spiritual quest. Listen for these words in particular: lost, confused, magic, persistent, determined, not sure, disappointed, enlightenment. Possible comments may include:

  • Feeling lost and alone
  • Looking for "home"
  • Experiencing doubt, fear, and excitement during the search
  • Experiencing trials and challenges along the way
  • Needing others, such as guides and companions, along the way
  • Meeting fellow travelers, even though they are not all looking for the same thing
  • Having the answer/solution/wisdom inside oneself (e.g., Dorothy clicking the ruby slippers)
  • Having to experience the journey and find out the truth for oneself
  • Inability to explain to others, such as Auntie Em and the farm hands, exactly what has happened and how one has been transformed

If you see that the group has missed important parallels, state them aloud and write them down.

Lead a discussion to help the group form a notion of what a spiritual quest is. Use these questions:

  • If you are on a spiritual quest, what are you seeking?
  • Does everyone eventually go on a spiritual quest? What motivates people to look for spiritual answers?
  • What does Unitarian Universalism have to say about spiritual quests?
  • Do you believe that, like Dorothy, you have the "answers" within you already?
  • In real life, do spiritual quests unfold as neatly as they do in The Wizard of Oz, with a beginning, middle, and end? Or do they weave in and out of other stories going on in our lives? Can you think of experiences in your life that you would consider part of your long-term spiritual quest?

Ask the group whether faith helped Dorothy and, if so, how? In what did Dorothy have faith?

Lead a discussion to investigate what faith is and what part it plays in a spiritual quest. To spark the discussion, offer the metaphors below and ask the group to decide how well they work. Invite the group to tinker with one or more of the metaphors to arrive at a good description of faith and its role.

  • A spiritual quest is a trip to an endless, perfect vacation spot; faith is the bus that takes you there.
  • A spiritual quest is a climb up a mountain whose peak is obscured by clouds; faith is the food in your backpack.
  • A spiritual quest is a night in a dark room; faith is your flashlight.