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CHRISTIAN VIEWPOINT: Teaching resource is a joyful take on faith in life

By John Dempster

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Alex MacQueen is one of the presenters of Out of the Box.
Alex MacQueen is one of the presenters of Out of the Box.

Presenter Alex MacQueen says “it’s like a key that unlocks the door to something huge and mysterious,” over an aerial shot of her car driving across remote Highland terrain.

She’s talking about the Bible.

“It’s the first step on a road full of wonder and wondering. A narrow road. Let’s see where it leads.”

Alex, a teacher at Merkinch Primary School in Inverness, is one of the presenters of a new teaching resource from local charity Out of the Box (Scotland) Ltd. It’s available to schools, churches and families online and free of charge.

The Intro Series (as it’s called) was created to meet the need of P5-P7 teachers across Scotland for a high-quality professionally-produced resource to help their classes explore Christianity as part of the religious and moral education curriculum. The scripts, camera work and editing are joyous, imaginative, and endlessly creative. Before its launch the series and the accompanying resources for teachers were rigorously trialled in the classroom.

It explores what Christians believe and how it affects their lives in eight short episodes, each with four strands. Alex, filmed in Inverness and various Highland locations, unpacks aspects of the Christian faith journey; presenters Chris Watt and Carol Hutchison communicate information in unforgettable ways; Christians, including school pupils speak credibly and warmly about their faith.

Daviot Church plays a part in one sequence of the programme.
Daviot Church plays a part in one sequence of the programme.

The fourth strand is an ongoing tragi-comic drama both hilarious and profound involving a nervous trainee minister, his crates of puppets, and his struggles to relate to the elderly pastor. In one scene (filmed in Daviot Church) a puppet minister preaches to a puppet congregation.

As I watched, I was encouraged, uplifted and assured in my faith. I felt God was in these films, reaching out and embracing me. I was particularly impressed by one of the people who talked about their beliefs. In his words and facial expressions there was such loveliness, such grace that it seemed Jesus was present before us.

I wondered as the credits rolled on the last episode whether this was like one of those “feel good” movies which leave you wishing the storyline could be true in your life while you know it’s impossible. But I have seen enough over the years to take the road of wonder and (for me) many wonderings.

That Christ-like interviewee reminds me that if Christian community is to be as attractive as we saw on screen we must pray for the loving Spirit of Jesus to inhabit our lives. For we do not line the pews in church like the glove-puppets of an ideology. Rather, we are never more ourselves than when we’re rejoicing in the God within us, the God whose fingers form us.

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