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SSTN # 18 - March 10, 2004

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Experiencing the Passion of Jesus

1) Lord of the Rings
2) Dear 17 Year Old
3) Palm Sunday Skit?

Egg-Shaped Easter Cards

4) Palm Sunday Parade Music?
5) Toys in the Classroom
6) Candy & Bad Behavior

Jesus Ascending Mini-Movie

7) Prayer Beads
8) Maundy Thursday Costumes?
9) Puppet Ministry

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Experiencing the Passion of Jesus

Who really killed Jesus?
What crime did Jesus commit?
Did it really happen like that?
Why did Jesus suffer and die?
What did the Resurrection accomplish?
How is this story relevant to me?

A study and discussion guide for the movie "The Passion of the Christ"
presents these questions with detailed lesson plans and a leader's guide.
Designed primarily for use in seeker small groups, but is also applicable
for use in believer small groups. For older teens and adults.

Find it in our Bookstore by typing, "Experiencing the Passion of Jesus",
into the search box at:

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1) Lord of the Rings

~all quotes from SSTN # 5 - January 22, 2004 posting #9~

I do not send this posting in haste, rather I have been working on it for
a few weeks now, to put forth what I feel needs to be said in such a way as
not to offend, but to inform.  I do not intend to disparage the writer or
her husband.  Indeed, I commend her submission to him and his seeming
dedication to protecting his family  from what he feels is an evil.

However, I do feel that to let these comments stand unopposed is wrong:
there is grave error in the judgement, the "research" conducted is
incomplete, and I would be sad to see someone turn away from a good book
this rather presumptuous counsel.

"According to my husband's research,"

While I do appreciate the submission to your husband's authority, I
believe that putting forth his research is misguided.  While this is a forum for
opinions as well as sharing God's word, God's word tells each of us to be
discerning, that we are to seek the good of others, see 1 Corinthians 10.
While it is perhaps detrimental to your faith to see the films, it may be
uplifting to another.  We're not talking pornography here, or anything
blatantly in violation of scripture...righteous violence was a HUGE part
of the OT.  I am not trying to belittle you at all, but just to point out
that your husband is not the head of us all...JESUS is.

"The following is a quote from the book,  The Two Towers, paperback, p.
180: "... the dead and broken were piled like shingle in a storm; ever
higher rose the hideous mounds, and still the enemy came on."  His point
is that the books are much less graphic than the films."

The books are *less* graphic?  Having originally read the books with the
all too vivid imagination of an 8 year old, let me express the opinion
that there is no way the movies even come close to the books.  The books were
by far more frightening, even as I read them now at 26!  As for graphic
violence, for further suggested reading I recommend the Old Testament. 
Now there's some graphic violence for you,  David & his men cut off the
enemies foreskins as a sign of victory!  Good thing they haven't put that one on

"Although the books have been portrayed by some as having a spiritual
message, my husband can discern no spiritual message.  We have been given
the old standby excuse regarding questionable films: "Good triumphs over
evil in the end"."

Your husband, as good as his intentions may be, is just a man, and is
rather capable of making a mistake.  Not discerning any spiritual message
for LOTR, when many dozens of scholars & theologians (and even the author,
a devout Christian, Tolkien, himself) *have* found a spiritual message is
taking a mighty leap.  Some of the spiritual themes in LOTR, courtesy of
http://www.hollywoodjesus.com/lord_of_the_rings_fellowship_01.htm :

- In "The Shadow of the Past," Gandalf tells that "the Dark Tower had been
rebuilt, it was said... There were wars and growing fears." This echoes
Jesus' words to his disciples about signs of the end of the age: "There
will be wars and rumors of wars..."

- "Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, and not by its maker. In which case,
you also were meant to have it."

This sense of Providence and Divine guidance is obvious in such biblical
passages as Proverbs 19:21: "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it
is the Lord's purpose that prevails."

- "Why was I chosen?" Frodo asks. "You may be sure that it was not for any
merit that others do not possess," Gandalf replies. In the Bible, Divine
use of those without special merit (as in Isaiah 45) is designed to show
how Divine strength allows mortal weakness to be overcome.  Providence is
at work, of course, even in the case of Gollum; he, too, is part of a
grander Purpose.

- From the ashes a fire shall be woken / A light from the shadows will
spring / Renewed shall be blade that was broken / The crownless again
shall be king. Thus goes the prophetic verse belonging to Aragorn. In biblical
prophecy, the fire, the light, the sword and the crown are the Messiah's.
The return of the King...Christ!

"If you would not allow your child to play Dungeons and Dragons, you
probably shouldn't let them watch these films either."

Apples & oranges!  A video game and a movie, or a book, are entirely
different things.  Video games involve role playing...movies and books,
while they allow you to get caught up in the story, don't ask you to take
on a specific role in the drama.

"Just a note: he grew up in a non-Christian household, watching anything
and everything on television and in theaters. I feel that he has been
thoroughly "desensitized" and is very non-judgemental. If he feels this
strongly about "The Lord of the Rings" films, I know they must be fairly

In my opinion, those who have done the worst often judge the harshest. 
And the comments in the rest of the posting decry that he is "non-judgemental"
rather he appears as anything but!

~all quotes from SSTN # 5 - January 22, 2004 posting #9~

In Him,
Kristine Bell <><

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2) Dear 17 Year Old

Truly, and I do mean Truly, I feel for you, and I know just where you
stand and how you feel.  I started teaching sunday school at the age of
about 18.  First of all, it is very scary to teach a bunch of children,
who are staring at you.  But let me tell you what you need to do, through
experience I gained through teaching.  And I didn't have anyone to tell me
how to teach and how to do. But I knew I had to do something, because i
had the same exact problem you are having right now.  

First of all,  Children can read you, better than we can read ourselves.
 Believe me, children can sense when a person is unsure, scary, timid,
insecure, or whatever.  Their radars detect the type of adult we are, and
as soon as they can see that, they will take advantage of that. So here is
what you do. #1, you pray, and i mean, you pray, and tell the lord about
it, tell god all about it, and let him know you demand that the holy ghost
intercedes in that room. next, you get to that class room early, before
any child arrives, and you pray, and annoint that room with blessed oil
and those chairs, and when those kids come into that room, you let them
know, from this day forth, there will be no more of this foolishness in
gods house. see, chldren need to realize, that they are no longer out on
the playground, but they are in a sacred place, of the most high!! and
they are not to just act like they are outside in a play yard. then you
should type up some rules in YOUR CLASS ROOM, have each parent to sign a
contract and return it by each student:

a. There will be no playing in the class room
b. There will be no talking out of turn
c. There will be no distracting other students during class
d. There will be no toys, food, candy or beverages in the classroom .
Etc., etc. etc......

And the parents need a claused that they must agree to, and if the
behavior continues, in any of the children, then you should have some
disciplinary slips that you have typed out yourself and ready to use, that
reads: Your child has behavior has been unacceptable in class today, and
your child is being returned to you for the following
reason(s):___________________________________ <---and be sure to type in the behavior problem.  Then the next sunday or whenever it happens, you suspend them from the class for 2 sundays! That means, they have to stay with their parents during sunday school.  Then when it happens again, they are suspended from sunday school class for a month. Then after that, if they continue to misbehave, then the issue needs to be taken up with your sunday school superintendent and your pastor.  

There is always a way things can be handled. But it first starts with you.
I was your age once and I know what it's like taking on a class of
children. It's highly overwhelming for a teenager, and yes, i know, you do
feel like giving up, but dont give up, because you have the victory,
praise the lord.  You don't let a child ever run over you. you let the
child know, you're the adult, and they are the child.  THAT TIME OUT STUFF

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3) Palm Sunday Skit?

I am interested in having the children in Sunday School act out Jesus
coming into town with the adult Sunday School classes acting as the passer
byers.  We would parade all throughout the Church to each classroom.  I
would like to give a short lesson that would lead up to this event.  Any
ideas that would help prepare the children so that they understand the
significance of Jesus entering the town.
Melanie fupc

--from SSTN: make sure you check the Skits page at:

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Egg-Shaped Easter Cards

When the cards are cut, colored and assembled, players can play Easter Egg
Scramble and discover a secret Easter message! Now with two black and
white "cross" and "resurrection" drawings to color! Reproducible so your
whole class can make a set!

Find them in the Curriculum section at: 

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4) Palm Sunday Parade Music?

Hello everyone,
Our Sunday School will be performing a Palm Sunday Parade throughout the
church, but we're looking for music to march to.  Any suggestions?
Thank you,
Karyn Kenney

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5) Toys in the Classroom

We also ask the children to put their toys on the shelf, but we also give
them a reason - we start with singing time and the movement part does not
allow them to have anything in their hands - we want them to clap, hold
shakers, etc. and since they know what awaits them, they have less problem
releasing these items to the shelf.

Sugar snack in service before Sunday School class - :
Could you offer him a little baggie (kind of like a crayon quiet kit for
church) which has some crackers, cheerios, or other non-sugary snacks in
it? Tying it up in an eye-catching bag with bright ribbon (and maybe even a
few crayons and paper) might draw the child into eating this instead of the
sugar his mom provides.  Of course, approaching mom and child with this
alternative will require prayer and tact  :)

Cindy in Michigan

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6) Candy & Bad Behavior

>I have a problem with a child in my sunday school class.  A single mother
>of a very obese 4 year old boy continues to give the child candy during
>service prior to Sunday school.  We have place notes in the bulletin for
>all parents to refrain from giving the kids sugar before class because it
>tends to make them disruptive and we've also sent the info out in the

First of all, the notion that sugar causes misbehavior is a total farce,
concocted by parents who simply don't want to take responsibility for
their children's actions. There are countless studies that confirm there
is no link.

This boy's problem is obviously his mother. The last part of your post
confirms this. She is doing him no favor at all by teaching him he can do
no wrong, and you won't be doing him a favor if you don't stick to your
guns. You cannot let one child disrupt the learning atmosphere for all the
others who are behaving and following the rules.

My advice is this: continue to take him to his mother everytime you need
to. If she chooses to leave the church because of it, that's a decision
she'll have to live with. I used to have a child that was a constant
problem as well, and I finally came to the painful conclusion that I can't
sacrifice the whole group for the good of one. The sad fact is that we're
not going to reach them all.

Am I saying to totally give up on him? Absolutely not. But, he and his
mother have to learn that the rules for behavior MUST be obeyed by all.
Stick to your guns, and PRAY a lot! LOL!

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Jesus Ascending Mini-Movie

A unique flip-card pattern that children color and assemble, then watch
the resurrected Jesus ascend into the clouds. Kids make it and take it
home!  Print out as many patterns as you need for a onetime fee. To see a
picture and to learn more, follow this link:

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7) Prayer Beads

I've not tried to share anything with this group before but I just have to
pass this along. I hope I'm using the right format. I attend a small
Episcopal church and teach a class that usually has three 5 - 10 year olds
in it. This is a big age range and I'm always looking for lessons and
crafts that are appropriate and enjoyable for everyone. Last Sunday we
made prayer beads  (also called an Anglican Rosary) and it was one of my
most successful classes.  By the time class was over the four kids who
were in attendance had renamed them prayer bracelets. Lent is a time to
deepen your relationship with the Lord and we have asked the parents to
say the prayers with their children daily. The attachment contains the
directions, a picture of a completed rosary and a sample set of prayers. I
suggest you buy a bag of bulk beads at your craft store. These bags cost
around $3 and contain an assortment of beads so the only other things you
will need are cord and small crosses. My craft store had a package of 9
small crosses for $3. My bead supply was low so I spent about $6 and have
enough beads left over for several projects. I used an Anglican Rosary
that I'd been given for the basic idea. I substituted inexpensive pony
beads for the more expensive beads on mine. I searched the 'net for
directions but made up my own in the end because everything else I found
was too complicated for children.

Also, I am switching ISP's and need to update my address. Should I just
re-subscribe? I didn't see a "Change my address" option on the website. I
am sending this with my old address so that you will know that I'm a
member. My new address is scarpitti@StChristophers-Garner.org. Please use
this address if you need to contact me as I'm not sure how long the old
one will work.

God's Peace,

--from SSTN: check out the Color's of Christ Cross in the crafts section
of the site at:  http://www.ChristianCrafters.Com 

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8) Maundy Thursday Costumes?

Good Afternoon,

I am in search of ideas for costuming Caiaphas, Pilate and the Centurion
for a Maundy Thursday presentation.  Do you have any ideas for patterns
etc.?  (even some pictures would be helpful.

Shirley McCracken

--from SSTN: check out a children's Picture Bible and do a Google image
search on 1st century Roman / Hebrew costumes.

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9) Puppet Ministry

Another great way to start with puppets, is to use
old clean stuffed animals. You can open up the body and take out the
stuffing and remove some from the head and neck area large enough to
fit your hand.  Wouldn't use an easily identifiable Disney or Muppet or
other commercialized character, just some animals that could have a
problem that could be solved.  I had a large mouse, Parker the Church
Mouse who had problems with his little brother a lot.  The "problem"
could be one   similar to the problem in the Bible Story of the week.
Hope this helps a bit.  One Way Street is a great puppet ministry

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