Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Of Mice and Muslims

I spent this past weekend at Mar-Lu-Ridge, a Lutheran camp and retreat center in Maryland. Along with my friend Steven, I helped lead a retreat for confirmation aged youth on world religions. I am incredibly grateful for opportunities like this that I somehow get to be a part of. I love any chance to work with youth, and the fact that it was at a camp made it extra awesome. Teaching a group of middle-schoolers about the world's religions in one weekend was a rather daunting task, but I think we were pretty successful at giving them an overview of at least some of the major religions, especially focusing on Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. One of the things we emphasized the most over the weekend was the importance of respecting others and their beliefs. I'll be honest, it was difficult to plan this curriculum so that it would be interesting and engaging, but we did our best, and even though the youth weren't as responsive in large group sessions as we would have liked, the feedback we got was good. And it was great to hear them including people of other faiths in the prayers they wrote to share at our closing worship. I think everyone that participated, from the middle school youth attending, to the high school youth who helped lead small groups, to the adult chaperones, and those of us leading, all learned something. And it gave me a chance to apply some of what I've learned from my Muslim-Christian relations class that I'm taking this semester. I could have done without the mice who wanted to hang out in my cabin, but overall, it was a great weekend!

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