Thursday, November 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Stuff On LOST Part 1

I've never participated in Throwback Thursday before but I thought I'd post some stuff I wrote a long, long time ago (7 years or so). This is the LOST Bible Study:

Lost Study: “Found”

Lesson 1: Needs, Limitations, And Expectations

Inter-group activity: have each group try to get balls into a trashcan without using their hands or arms.

Watch Disk 1 Episode 4, “John Locke Study”.

Isaiah 64:1-12
Mark 2:1-12

Prayer: “Dear Lord In Heaven, you frustrated every expectation when you came in the form of a carpenter on a Cross. Help us to truly be ready for anything. Amen.”

Intra-group activity: Have all the students list the things in life they NEED, rather than just what they want. Next, have them list the things they expect to happen on the trip.

Discussion Questions:
What physical limitations did John Locke face? What spiritual limitations did he face?
(Note: Of course, Locke is in a wheelchair and this defines his physical limitations. But Locke’s limitations also include his job, which he hates and is unsuited to his talents. Spiritually, Locke is limited by his vision, he is actually dreaming too small when it comes to his destiny; and he’s spent time living in a dream world: his female companion is a fantasy phone girl and his walkabout isn’t suited to his situation.)

What limitations do you face in your life, physically and spiritually?

What did Locke think his destiny was before the plane crash, what did he expect God to give him?
(Note: He was expecting God to put him on safari in Australia. This is a fake ‘military like’ activity, something imaginary and without real substance. It also isn’t something he can do. So his vision was both too small and misdirected. He thought his destiny was to play a game…not very moving.)

What did God give him instead? What did his destiny turn out to be?
(Note: Locke’s destiny was to crash on that Island, strangely, this gave him his legs back and put him in a situation where he can protect people. John’s destiny was to be healed and to be given a real chance at a real adventure.)

What needs did the Doc discover he had that he didn’t know he needed before?
(Note: The Doctor has learned that he needs other people, and needs emotional contact with others. He’s pretended not to care because he doesn’t think he needs to care about them personally, but his reaching out to the woman is really a way to heal himself.)

How can it be that we need things we don’t even know we need?
(Note: We are often blinded by expectations and desires. We let our WANTS hide our NEEDS. We should remember that God knows what we need better than we do. We need to be straight about when we are asking God to fulfill a real need and when we are asking for petty desires.)

Can you think examples of discovering new needs in your own life?

How did God surprise the world in the Isaiah passage?
(Note: He surprised the world by taking a small and insignificant people and making them His own. He took nobodies and did miracles on their behalf. This stunned the world and turned these ‘nobodies’ into a force that changed the world.)

What did the people expect Jesus to do when He met the paralytic? What did He do that frustrated their expectations?
(Note: People EXPECTED Jesus to heal the man, instead He forgave the man’s sins. This frustrated their desire to have the man healed and to focus on the healing as the most important role Jesus played. Jesus primary role is not physical healing but spiritual healing, which we often don’t even acknowledge we need. His forgiving sins also put Him in God’s place and the idea that this man was God was indeed bothersome for many people.

Lesson 2: Salvation and Leadership

Inter-group activity: have each group act out a scene where one person helps/saves another and the other finds some way to criticize or get mad at the person who saved them.

Watch Disk 2, Episode 1 “Jack Study”

Matthew 27:39-44
John 8:31-38
Mark 10:41-45

Prayer: “Lord Jesus, we know we have more capacities within us than we use. Help us to see ourselves as you see us, capable, and powerful. Amen.”

Intra-group activity: Have the youth name some of the qualities they want in a leader.

Discussion Questions:
What is the right response to the event at the beginning of the episode where the bullies are beating up the other boy?

Why does Jack feel guilty about not saving the girl?
(Note: Because he could imagine a more perfect scenario where he saved Boon AND the girl. Jack thinks that because he didn’t save everyone he is a failure, he doesn’t see his successes but only where he fell short. This probably relates to his relationship with his father.)

Why do people look at Jack as a leader?
(Note: Jack is strong willed and capable, and they already rely on him in important ways because he is a physician. They see doctors as capable and intelligent by nature and so they assume he’s a born leader. )

What kind of person does Jack’s father say Jack is? What effect does this have on Jack?
(Note: Jacks’ Dad tells him that he ‘doesn’t have what it takes’. This tends to make Jack doubt his abilities and certainly makes it hard to see himself as a leader. It also causes him to be ‘down’ on himself and always see his failures over and against his successes.)

Boon is mad at Jack for trying to help and save people? How did people response to Jesus’ attempts to save them? Why do we sometimes resent the people that want to help us?
(Note: Partly because we often get helped in ways we don’t expect or want. People’s help is often directed at our needs rather than our wants. Partly also because we resent the fact that we cannot save ourselves. Boon is really mad at himself, and projecting that on to Jack. Often we are angry at ourselves for not being able to be self-sufficient, so the people we NEED become the object of our anger.)

Have you ever had an experience like this?

Do you think some people today are offended by the idea that they need a savior? Why is that?
(Note: The idea that we need a savior is very unpopular nowadays. People today are individualists…meaning they think they are self-sufficient. When this delusion is challenged, and their very being is labeled dependent on someone else, they get offended and tend to attack the idea. We don’t want to face our deep need for another, even in the dark regions of the self. We are always in need of ‘another’.)

What kind of man did Jacks’ father claim himself to be? What kind of man did he turn out to be?
(Note: Jack’s father claimed to be some ‘hero’, some person of rugged capability. But when push came to shove he gave in to alcohol and self-degradation. In the end his father DIDN’T ‘have what it takes’.)

What about Jack, was he right about HIM?
(Note: No. Jack’s the man his father believed himself to be. Jack DOES ‘have what it takes’. One of the marks of being a good leader and person is, paradoxically, not KNOWING oneself to be a good leader/person. Jack’s own doubts and unwillingness to take power are indications that he deserves the job of leader. If Jack can just get past his more unreasonable doubts about himself he would fall into that role perfectly.

What kind of person do you think you are? Are you a heroic person? Are you a leader?

What qualities does Jesus say leaders in the Kingdom must have?
(Note: Primarily humility. It is the servant, the lowest, the weakest who becomes the leader in the Kingdom of God. This paradox is central to the gospels and plays itself out in this episode of LOST.)

John claims that we can choose to look at events as things that just happen or as things that happen for a reason, is this right? How do you choose to look at things and why?

What was Jacks’ speech at the end about?
(Note: Jack is giving people roles and helping them see that they need each other. It is about community, and what people have to do in order to survive together. It is both a moral and practical lesson. Beautiful, really.)

Lesson 3: Living Out Our Roles

Inter-group activity: have the group create a machine that does some simple job. Each person will make up some part of the machine, but it will all work together to do something simple and everyday.

Watch Disk 3, Episode 3 “Jack Study II”

Prayer: “God, You have a place for us, a niche you want us to fill. Help each one of us find that role, and fill that niche. Amen.”

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31

Discussion Questions:
Why doesn’t Jack wait for a search party?
(Note: Jack feels guilty and responsible for what has happened to Claire, he tends to overestimate his abilities and isn’t thinking clearly. Now that he’s leader, Jack think that makes him a cowboy, capable of going off and completing whatever he wants to without interference from the others.)

Have you ever refused good advice and had it cause you problems?

What kind of role does Locke suggest Jack should play? What kind of role does Locke give himself?
(Note: Locke makes Jack ‘the physician’ and himself ‘the hunter’.)

What roles do you play in your own lives?

Why is it important to have assigned roles in life? What does Paul say about each person having their own role?
(Note: God calls each person to a specific function, and every function is important BECAUSE God called them to it. No function can be accounted small if God is the key player, if God is your ‘boss’. Paul describes this perfectly when he talks about different roles in the church. Roles are part of our vocation, we are place in areas of life where we are needed, we are CALLED to vocations. Our roles matter when it comes to finding out who were are and who God wants us to be. Plus, it’s just practical and necessary. Without clearly defined roles things would end in anarchy. )

How can accepting our roles limit us? How does Michael respond to his given role, how does he feel about being left out of the search party?
(Note: Michael resents Locke defining his role for him, and thinks he can do more than he’s been given. This is a perfect illustration of the theological problem behind our assigned roles. We need to make sure it is God who is defining us and not solely other people. People can put us in roles God doesn’t intend. We have to discern who we are in relation to God before we can discern who we are in relation to others.)

Why is Jack so apt to feel guilty about things? When is guilt healthy? When is it unhealthy?
(Note: Jack has control issues and thinks of himself as too powerful. This is a good illustration of ‘bad guilt’. Guilt is healthy when it results from actions that are really born of a willfulness to do wrong or a lack of willfulness to do right. It is unhealthy when it is born of the illusion of control over events we couldn’t have caused.)

Jack’s dad compares losing his career to losing his life, Kate talks about how her dad’s activities as an army ranger (spending time in the woods) is like his ‘religion’, Lock and Boon are discussing their jobs back home. How does our occupation define us? DOES it define us? What other roles in life tell us who we are?

How does our regular society look at our occupation in relation to our roles in life?
(Note: We live in a society where our job defines us too much. Your vocation is a whole life approach. It includes your church membership and duties, volunteer work, and more. It is what you do with your LIFE, not just how you make your money.)

Lesson 4: Shedding the Old Life, Adopting the New
Inter-Group Activity: Have the groups turn a bunch of garbage into a ‘work of art’.

Watch Disk 4 Episode 1 “Boon Study”

Prayer: “God help us to die with Christ, to leave our old life behind, so we can be raised with Him, and enter the New Life You have planned for us.”

Scripture: Colossians 3:1-17

Why does Locke think the hatch is more important than food and water?
(Note: Locke senses something more important is going on and feels called to do what he’s doing. Sometimes being called to an activity can make that activity seem more important even than the bare necessities.)

What are your highest priorities, what ‘intangible things’ are more important to you than the basics of life?

In what way does this group/experience meet some of those needs?

Locke mentioned how Michelangelo saw not the rock, but what the rock could be. Many have compared this to how Jesus saw people. How does Locke see boon? What can you become, do you think?
(Note: Locke sees Boone as someone who can possibly come into communion with this Island has he has. Locke sees Boone becoming ‘powerful’ and moved by destiny as he is.)

Why does Locke want Boone to see the distinction between Boone’s statement of “I can’t keep lying to her” and the possibility that Boone just doesn’t like the way lying to her makes him feel?
(Note: Boone is hiding his fear behind the illusion of life. He’s acting like he loves his stepsister so he can pretend he isn’t just afraid to live without her. Locke knows that as long as Boone holds on to this illusion of love he can’t be who he’s meant to be.)

Why does Locke say he’s attacking Boone?
(Note: He wants Boone to face his past as the Island seems to have made Locke face his. He thinks this is necessary if Boone is going to move forward and ‘be all he can be’.)

Why is facing our past so important if we are to really change who we are?
(Note: Until we face our past we don’t even know why we do the things we do, and so we can’t make right adjustments to our behavior. We have to try to cast off the life of who we were before so we can move into a new life of lived meaning.)

Is what Locke does justified, given the result?

Why is Boone’s relationship with his sister harmful?
(Note: Boone’s ‘sister’ is manipulative and their relationship is based on all the wrong things. There is no love here, only sexual attraction and fear. When a relationship is based on codependency and fear it gets you farther from God.)

What relationships in your life have harmed you?

How can we move on from these problems to ‘new life’?

What did Shannon’s illusory death do for Boone?
(Note: It made him face the real nature of his relationship and let go of what was holding him back. He’s now ready to move forward in his ‘discipleship’ with Locke.)

Lost Study: “Found”

Lesson 4: Childhood & Maturity

Watch Disk 4 Episode 2 “Michael Study”

Inter-group activity: have the youths write out who they thought was the biggest hero in the story tonight and why.

Prayer: “Lord God, help us retain the outlook of childhood while advancing towards spiritual maturity.”

Scripture: 1 Cor 13:11, Mark 10:13-16, 1 Tim 4:12

How would you describe your relationship with your parents?

Why do you think the parent/child relationship is so hard?
(Note: Parenting itself is a lot of responsibility, it takes work and parents have a lot of themselves invested in their children. Important matters lead to strong emotions and that can complicate any relationship. You have generational issues, and you are dealing with issues of maturity.)

Is Locke right about treating Walt like a man?
(Note: Lock’s point about Walt’s experiences is persuasive. The truth is Mike is treating Walt too much like a baby, Walt has more wisdom than Michael gives him credit for.)

What is the danger in doing this?
(Note: Youths still need guidance and protection. We have a responsibility with them that exceeds just treating them as adults. Locke doesn’t know what it is like to be a father, and Michael feels the weight of his responsibility, as he should.)

What drove Mike and his wife apart?
(Note: Michaels’ wife saw a life she wanted more and went for it, to hell with everyone else. She is self-centered and pretends she’s doing what she does for her child. She acts immature and doesn’t take her commitments or the ramifications of her actions into consideration, beyond how they affect her.)

Why does Michael have such a hard time relating to people effectively?
(Note: Michael is emotional and doesn’t listen to other people. He is overwhelmed but afraid to let anyone know how hard he’s having it, this prevents him from reaching out to others effectively and leads to problems in his relationships.)

What is the ultimate result of Mike’s wife’s behavior?
(Note: Walt is left with no parent after she passes, and no relationship with a father he now needs. Her immaturity is the selfishness of a brat, not the sublimity of an innocent child. And the result is terrible.)

Why did Michael lie to his son? Was this the right decision?
(Note: Michael wanted to protect Walt, he loves Walt and doesn’t want him to feel abandoned. But he needs to have more respect for his son and trust him with the truth. A relationship cannot be based on lies.)

How do Walt and Michael mature at the end? How do they maintain a childlike outlook?
(Note: Walt realizes Michael is having a tough time, but loves him and would do anything for him. This allows Walt to begin looking at him like a father and respecting him as such. Michael realizes Walt is more mature than he gave him credit for and starts treating HIM with more respect by telling him the truth about his mothers’ attempts to keep Michael away. However, they also step into a place where they both act as children by laughing at the cartoon. This allows them to add a level of tenderness to an otherwise difficult moment of truth.)

What do you think it means to be mature?

Why do you think Jesus tells us to ‘look up’ to children?

Lost Study: “Found”

Lesson 5: Chance & Destiny

Watch Disk 5 Episode 2 “Hurley Study”

Inter-group activity: have each group demonstrate some new ‘game of chance’.

Prayer: “Dear Lord, life seems so random sometimes, help us see Your Hand behind the fog of chaos. Amen.”

Scripture: Ecclesiastes 9:11, Matthew 10:29, 1 Peter 5:8

What would you do if you won the lottery?

Why do you think lottery winners find the money so much trouble in the long run?
(Note: people overestimate the value of money when it comes to the good life, and they underestimate the way power breeds problems. The new concerns, issues, etc, that come with the money often become more trouble than the money is worth.)

Have you ever had something happen to you which you thought was good luck but wound up being more trouble than it was worth?

Hurley is following a ‘trail of coincidences’ that seem to him to have some meaning to them. Have you ever had coincidences that came to you as something more than just chance? What is the best way to respond to these kinds of situations, do you think?
(Note: We should be careful labeling events as meaningful. For the most part, meaning is our response to a situation, not the situation itself. But sometimes events come together that seem more than just chance, they come to us as meaningful, and when we feel called we should follow them to see where they lead.)

Why do people respond to Hurley’s ideas about his curse so harshly?
(Note: People don’t want to face the possibility that they might be at the mercy of forces beyond their understanding or control. People want to BELIEVE they make their own luck. The reality is there are good and evil forces of titanic proportions at work in the universe and we are in that fight whether we believe it or not.)

What do the passages from the New Testament say about this?
(Note: Jesus points to God’s mastery over all things. Peter talks about the devil ‘consuming whom he may devour’.)

What is the danger in believing you are the cause of everyone else’s problems?
(Note: We can overestimate our own power and significance and end up entering into a sinful self-idolatry. It also leads to overt guilt over things we can do nothing about. A person with an attitude like Hurley’s can be self-aggrandizing and also be looking for a way to avoid responsibility for their own actions.)

What does the Ecclesiastes quote say about this?
(Note: That time and chance happen to all, that much of what happens in life happens without a ‘reason’.)

How can we reconcile a world at the mercy of various forces which also is a place of randomness and where humans still try to maintain some self control?

How does Hurley assert himself over time, chance, and destiny?
(Note: He is asserting himself by finding out what the numbers mean. The entire quest for Rousseau is Hurley asserting his free will in the face of a world of destiny and chance.)

How does Rousseau help Hurley?
(Note: Rousseau shares Hurley’s pain, she is in there with him in the randomness and confusion and that gives him strength.)

Lost Study: “Found”

Lesson 6: Growing Weary

Watch Disk 5 Episode 3 “Locke Study 2”

Inter-group activity: Bucket activity

Prayer: “Holy Spirit, we are going to grow weary, and fall. Help us to pick ourselves back up again. Amen.”

Bible Passage: Galatians 6:1-10

Why do you think Locke won’t tell Boone ‘his story’?
(Note: Locke is ashamed about a lot of his past; he’s even ashamed he wasn’t able to walk. Besides he’s afraid Boone isn’t ready for the full ramifications of where they are, to realize what it really is all about.)

Why do you think Locke is losing control of his legs?
(Note: Locke thinks he’s being tested, and perhaps that’s true. Or perhaps it’s the island’s way of making sure he does what it wants. Maybe it’s something else altogether.)

Has your faith ever been tested? How did you come through it?

Why do you think Locke is so apt to see his journey to his father as something of meaning and value?
(Note: Locke has been an orphan all his life, and his meeting with his mother was dramatic and seemed coincidental. Everything seems to be coming together to lead Locke to help his dad.)

Locke misunderstood what was going on with his father, and he fails to realize the significance of Boone’s injuries in the dream. Why do you think we sometimes misinterpret events as God’ Will and miss God’s Will when it’s staring us in the face?
(Note: God’s voice is subtle and sometimes hard to nail down. Plus we are ruled by sin, and that can effect even our religious impulses. Locke wants to get into that plane and wants his legs back, and that is what causes him to risk Boone’s life, he wants a father and has emotional issues from being an orphan, and that is what leads him to his father. His desires color his experiences and prevent him from seeing the big picture.)

How can we tell, then, when we are hearing God’s voice?
(Note: A good yardstick is whether we are being led some place we don’t want to go ourselves. God challenges us, and calls us to work and difficulty. When the call doesn’t match our desires, we can have a better hold that what we are dealing with is God’s Will and not our own.)

What is the connection between Boone and Locke?
(Note: Boone caused someone to become paralyzed, and that has haunted him. Locke himself was paralyzed. There lives have a strange connection. )

How does Boone work for Locke’s good, how does he help him through the test?
(Note: He risks his life to get into the plane, making sure Locke gets what he needs.)

How did John’s dad’s actions affect his faith do you think?

How can we deal with dead ends…places we thought our faith was taking us that turned out to be just our own sinful desires? How do we help each other avoid and deal with these situations?

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