Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Gospel & Hank Hill- Won't You Pimai Neighbor

I am short on time today, so I'm posting an old, old Bible study. It is one of my favorite ones ever. It is from one episode of KING OF THE HILL


Bible Passage:
Jeremiah 1:4-10
The word of the LORD came to me, saying,
 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew [a] you,
       before you were born I set you apart;
       I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."
"Ah, Sovereign LORD," I said, "I do not know how to speak; I am only a child."
But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a child.' You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the LORD.
Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, "Now, I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant."
Mark 9:38-41
"Teacher," said John, "we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us."
"Do not stop him," Jesus said. "No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.
Watch the episode.

What do you think of the idea of reincarnation?
How does the idea of reincarnation differ from the Christian ideas about the afterlife?
 (Discussion:  Karma and reincarnation point to the cyclical view of existence that is found in eastern religions and philosophies, which differs from the ‘progressive’ and ‘linear’ view found in Christianity. Christianity believes that life moves along a straight line, advancing or falling, but with real forward temporal motion. The view of the afterlife is one where this life is transmuted in one way or another. Buddhists see the world as an endless cycle of birth and re-birth.)
Why do Khan and Minh want Connie to be the reincarnated Lama? What does this say about their religiosity?
(Discussion:  They hope Connie is a Lama so they can have power and prestige among the Asian community they admire. Their religion is important to them only in a tangential way, it’s a way for them to maintain cultural integrity and social status, but they don’t really care about the central tenets of their faith or about becoming better or more spiritually fulfilled people.)
What other indications do we get that Khan and Minh don’t really take their religion seriously?
(Discussion:  They have beer in their refrigerator; they tell lies about Connie to try to make sure she is chosen as Lama, they aren’t really happy about hosting a monk in their home.)
What is Bobby’s reaction to being a candidate for Buddha-hood?
(Discussion:  Bobby is scared and confused at first. He tries to argue that he cannot be the Lama and wants to run away from the situation. As time goes on he finds a lot to admire about Buddhist spirituality, and finds some spiritual kinship with the dead lama himself. Eventually he tries to find a way to embrace this role and ‘tests the waters’ of the Buddhist religion himself.)
What does Bobby’s embracing of Buddhism say about the Hills’ religiosity?        
(Discussion:  The Hills’ religiosity doesn’t play a central ordering role in their life. Hank and Peg don’t think about these issues and tend to just adopt the religion they have been handed. They don’t even know how to answer Bobby’s question when he asks what it means to be Methodist. They haven’t really fed Bobby’s spiritual needs and the Buddhists easily fill that vacuum.)
Why then does Hank react so vehemently against what Bobby is doing?
(Discussion:  Even though Hanks’ religion doesn’t play a central role in his life, it’s still something that is important to him. He wants his son to have the same values he has and in that sense he cares about his son’s religiosity. He also doesn’t like things he doesn’t understand and so has a hard time accepting the possibility his son may become a Buddhist.)
How does Bobby’s mom react to the idea of Bobby being a Lama and why?
(Discussion:  Bobby’s mom is fascinated by the idea, and loves the idea of Bobby being important. She wants to have something to pump herself up and this seems like a good way out. She’s not serious enough about her faith to let it bother her like it does Hank?)
What is the reverend’s reaction to Bobby’s newly acquired perspective and why do you think she thinks that way?
(Discussion:  The reverend congratulates Bobby and indicates that she wants him to be authentically spiritual. She asks him if he loves Jesus and makes that the only ‘test’ of whether what he’s doing conflicts with her views. The reverend is an honest spiritual leader who cares about the spiritual needs of Bobby and wants to see them fulfilled. Her concern is more that Bobby be religious authentically than he belong to any particular religion.)
What do you think of that view?
Do you think it’s possible to belong to another religion and still be ‘ok with Christ’?
Can you be both a Christian and a Buddhist?
What do you think the second reading from today means?
Are you authentic about your faith, do you feel called to the life you’re leading?
How do we seek to be authentic in our spirituality and religiosity?
Are Connie and Bobby more authentic in their religion?
(Discussion:  Yes, both Bobby and Connie want real spirituality. They see the weakness in their parents’ attitude towards religion and think they want more.)
Why are Connie and Bobby so confused about their spiritual quests?
(Discussion: Their parents haven’t given them much of a roadmap. Connie’s parents are materialistic and only use religion as a social tool, Bobby’s parents don’t think very deeply and keep their religion superficial. They both sense that religion is important but don’t know how to go about ‘doing it right’.)
 Both the Buddhist monks and Bobby come to see Bobby as a chosen religious leader, do you think God chooses people to be religious leaders?
In the passage in JEREMIAH, the prophet argues with God that he is too young to be a prophet. God convinces Jeremiah to embrace the role anyways. How does Bobby exemplify Jeremiah’s plight?
 (Discussion:  Bobby is young and confused about his spirituality, but he seems good at the role of Buddhist and senses some truth in what the Buddhist monks are saying about his possibly being a Lama. He doesn’t want to give up his relationship with Connie, however, and that really makes him wary of the life of a monk. However, Connie has put Bobbie between a rock and a hard place, because she really values her religion and won’t accept the responsibility of preventing Bobby from taking on his role as Lama.)
Why does the Rinpoche decide to let Bobby walk away from the life of a Buddhist leader?
(Discussion:  He respects Bobby’s freedom and right to choose his own path and isn’t going to force the life of a Buddhist monk on a little boy if that boy isn’t prepared to live that life. He respects Bobby’s freedom to choose his own way even if it means a great blow to his own faith and life.)
How does Jeremiah’s calling differ?                      
(Discussion:  Jeremiah’s call comes directly from God and so no ambiguity about Jeremiah’s state exists. Jeremiah knows he’s a prophet. The call comes directly from God and so comes to Jeremiah as a demand he can’t deny or say no to. In the end Jeremiah takes up God’s call to be a religious leader.)

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