DIG is a free session that came out of a final assignment from my UMYM Certification class. Well, it is the final assignment. I was halfway holding out for my grade; I didn’t want to give you anything that wasn’t “A” material. Oh well. If I eventually find out that I failed I’ll call you at your new job and apologize for sending you a bum lesson. It will be sincere.
Here’s the session and here’s the basic overview:
You’ll read a passage of scripture and then you’ll talk about it.
Game-changer. We’ve been using this model with some success over the past few weeks. The hardest thing to do as a veteran youth leader is to not feel like I have to beat the thing into a valuable lesson at the end. This was especially clear two weeks ago. The session we’re passing on today directs you through a specific passage; our group has moved on to picking their own passages and we’ll generally cover 3 chosen sections during our time on Sunday nights. So two weeks ago one of my senior girls stumbles upon the story of the Levite’s concubine in Judges 19, one of the most horrific passages within our scriptures. The Levite’s concubine gets ticked at him and heads back to mom’s house. He comes after her and gets her; on the way home they stop in a Benjamite village. The men of the village show up in the middle of the night and demand to have sex with the Levite. The homeowner that took them in convinces the mob to instead take his own virgin daughter and the Levite’s concubine. The concubine is raped to death and left on the doorstep.
Wait, it gets better.
In the morning, the Levite comes out of the house and says, “Get up; we’re going.” Upon no response he loads her on his donkey and takes her home, where he chops her into 12 pieces to send to the 12 tribes of Israel in a cry for justice. What the hell?
We talked about that one for a while. Some interesting things we pulled out:
None of the women talk in the story; all of the men do.
No one is addressed by name, only by social standing. The Levite, from the priestly tribe, was considered better than other men while the concubine was considered less than other women as a second class wife.
The only thing the Levite ever says to his second class wife is, “Get up; we’re going,” after she was presumably already dead.
The Levite was calling for justice in spite of the fact that he hadn’t objected at any point before/during the whole raped-to-death scenario.
The homeowner objected to the men of the town taking the Levite not because the act would have been homosexual, but because a sex crime against a man would be so much worse than a sex crime against a woman.
You know, I don’t seem to recall anybody invoking the phrase “God’s love letter to you” that night. Weird. Pretty sure nobody brought up inerrancy or inspiration either. But it was one of the best conversations I’ve ever had with youth about a passage of scripture. It won’t be a winner every time, trust me. Kids will get distracted or bored or whatever, but at the end of the night you’ll have shown them a new way of pulling apart the text will let them approach it with as much honesty as they’re longing to.
If you try out this Bible study technique, let us know how it goes. Would you give Kevin an “A”?