How would your life be different if Christianity were forbidden in the United States?
(Think beyond just not being able to attend church or to attend a Christian school. ALL public facets of your faith would be banned: ceremonies, corporate prayer, holy communion, holidays, even having religious symbols up in your home...)
“Then he turned to thanksgiving and remembered, with profound awareness, that he had great cause for thanksgiving, and that for many things. He took them one by one, giving thanks for each, and praying for each person that he remembered.” (Cry the Beloved Country: ch. 36, p. 309).
A theme one might extract from this novel is that community is an essential part of life. Without it, not only is the individual lost, but the family and even a country will break down. Bureaucracy cannot replace it. The novel depicts various groups of people (blacks, whites, poor, rich, religious, secular, children, adults, men, women) who are all longing for community: to belong. We see that it’s Stephen Kumalo’s faith community that lifts him up from complete despair. Why is community so important? Who or what is your community? How do you plan to remain in that community (or find a new one) when you graduate and move out on your own?
"The tragedy is not that things are broken. The tragedy is that they are not mended again," (ch. 5, p. 56). Next class we will talk about the subjects of redemption and reconciliation in the novel. Why do you think people are so reluctant to seek redemption and reconciliation? Like Gertrude, or John Kumalo, they seem content to wallow in their own brokenness…. Why don’t people try to “mend” what is broken?
What causes poverty? What, if anything, can a country do to alleviate it? What, if anything, can an individual do to alleviate it?
(Note: Do your best to avoid what Thomas Sowell calls "stage one thinking": think through your proposals and their possible consequences based on what you know about human behavior, motivations, and life.)
React to the following quote and explain how you relate to it:
“I have never thought that a Christian would be free of suffering, umfundisi. For our Lord suffered. And I come to believe that he suffered, not to save us from suffering, but to teach us how to bear suffering. For he knew that there is no life without suffering,” (p. 261, ch. 30).
Read the poem “On Children” by Kahlil Gibran. What does the line “You may give them your love but not your thoughts” mean? Can parents raise their children without giving them their thoughts? Is it important for parents to instill values in their children? If so, when should such education cease?
Watch the following video about apartheid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7yvnUz2PLE Keeping that video in mind, react to Msimangu’s statement from chapter 7: “He seeks power and money to put right what is wrong, and when he gets them, why, he enjoys the power and the money. Now he can gratify his lusts...Some of us think when we have power, we shall revenge ourselves...and because our desire is corrupt, we are corrupted, and the power has no heart in it.”
Why are family relationships so important to the well being of a person? What about a country? What happens to a country when its basic unit, the family, is destroyed? What can a country, its leaders, and even everyday citizens do to rebuild and strengthen families?
Read Isaiah 58:6-10, then read the last paragraph of chapter 16 of Things Fall Apart. What themes do these two passages share? As a Christian, what have you learned about being God's instrument for healing in a broken world?
This is a controversial question, but I think you all are mature enough to have an intelligent discussion about it (and it's related to the debate we'll have next week): Is it possible for one culture or society to be better than another? To answer this you must explain what you mean by “better.”
(I should note that I may comment, but I will be playing devil's advocate. My purpose is to get you to think about this "ultimate issue" and to develop your thoughts.)
The whole purpose of this assignment - whether you're reacting to an idea, sharing your own story, or analyzing the reading - is to discuss the ultimate issues of life. With that in mind, make sure that in your response you: