First Week in Advent — November 29-December 5
Biblical Text: Jeremiah 33 (Alternate Text: 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13)
Value of This Activity:
An invitation to insert strong emotion into an encounter with scripture. Emotion can be a critical guide and help us as interesting and challenging questions of each other and of the text. An opportunity to give ourselves (and each other) to feel human feelings . . . which opens us up to imagining that folks in these bible stories and the authors of the text actually were real humans with real feelings.
Bible. Pen and several sheets of paper. Perhaps a timer.
Spend a moment in quiet prayer. If you wish, begin by freewriting for 3-5 minutes. Just let the pen empty out your concerns and thanksgiving for the day. Breathe.
How to Play . . .
It’s very important to retain the spirit of play in this playdate! Strive not for “meaning” or “understanding”—strive, instead for seeing the weird, the scary, the hard, and the stupid. No explaining!! Play instead.
NOTE: You may wish to do each of the following items (1-4) on a different day of the week. You could do some freewriting each day or do freewriting on separate days, based on the lists you’ve already made.
It’s you’re playdate, do it your way!
- Write the word “Weird” at the top of a sheet of paper.
- Read Jeremiah 33 (or 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13) aloud to yourself.
- Write a list of 10 things that are weird about this text or anything in this text. Write quickly. First response, best response!
- Write the word “Scary” at the top of another sheet of paper.
- Read Jeremiah 33 (or 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13) aloud again.
- Write a list of 10 things in this text that scare you or that might elicit fright in someone or that remind you of something scary. It’s okay to get a little wild. Above all, do not be rational! Turn it into a Little Shop of Horrors.
- Write the word “Hard” at the top of another sheet of paper.
- Read Jeremiah 33 (or 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13) aloud again. (Or scan back through it)
- Write a list of 10 difficult things in or about this text. Please refrain from being smart. What’s difficult—to understand, to do, to think about, to hear? Are there harsh words or assumptions? What are the hard things in this text?
- Write the word “Stupid” at the top of yet another sheet of paper.
- Read Jeremiah 33 (or 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13) one more time. (Or scan back through it)
- Write a list of 10 stupid things about this text. That’s hard to say about scripture? Give a whirl anyway!
This is enough! But if you want to extend the playtime a little more, spend some time freewriting . . .
- Look at the four lists you’ve made: Weird, Scary, Hard, Stupid. Circle the items that emit the most energy.
- Select one of those items you’ve circled or highlighted to write on.
- Set a timer for 5-7 minutes and write, using the Freewriting mode.
- Repeat at will!
In closing …
Take a moment to breathe and let the playtime settle around you. Carry your curiosity and insights and questions into the day.
Playdate Reference Material:
This Playdate draws directly from the work of Judy Carter, in The Comedy Bible. She suggests the weird-scary-hard-stupid structure.
On Being Ridiculous
First Response, Best Response
Playdates with Scripture by Virginia Wiles is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at virginiawiles.com.