Discussion and activities about stereotypes of Christians in the media.
1) What are stereotypes?
Activity 1: each student gets a card taped to their forehead with a characteristic. They do not know what is taped to their own forehead, but can see each others. Cards each read something like “Easily Angered” “very stupid” “doesn’t follow directions” “deaf” or “violently insane”. Tell students they will talk to one another about a topic (such as how to make a peanut butter sandwich, or what types of shoes they like to wear) but they will talk to the other person and treat her AS IF she is exactly what the card says. 30 seconds for a pair, then switch partners. Then have students try to guess what the card on their forehead said based on how they were treated.
Points to make: stereotypes are when you assume you know something about a person. It’s often based on a misconception.
What are stereotypes about teenagers? blacks? blondes?
2) what are some stereotypes about Christians specifically?
Points to make: All groups of people are victim to stereotypes, and that is a result of fallen human nature. We could talk all day about stereotypes of blacks, blondes, girls, rich, poor… No one should be stereotyped; everyone should be loved.
What stereotypes have you encountered about Christians before? Take suggestions from students.
Activity 2: Circle any of these stereotypes that you’ve heard of. Underline any that you think would ACCURATELY describe ALL or MOST Christians you have personally met.
stereotype list (PDF)
Activity 3: watch video about “why are Christians so…” google search.
True Story: My encounter with Jay. After two years, he told me “When I first saw you praying over your food, I thought ‘oh, no. A Christian.’ and I gaurded myself, because I thought I had to act a certain way around you or you would judge me. After a while, I realized you aren’t like that at all, and it has really changed the way I think of Christians.”
3) Where did these stereotypes come from?
Points to make: A- Westboro Baptist.
You can always find someone out there to fit the stereotype. That doesn’t make it true.
B- Misconceptions about Christians have existed since the beginning (Matt 5:1 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.)
4) How are these stereotypes perpetuated?
Media. Word of mouth. True story: I used to perpetuate these rumors against Christians.
Activity 4 and 5: watch clip of How I Met Your Mother about Ted ‘having to go stay with his ultra religious family members’. What does this clip imply about Christians?
Netflix, Season 2, episode 11, first twenty seconds, and then at 18:58
5) Somehow, what doesn’t fit the stereotype doesn’t get noticed
Tell me about Christian music.
Activity 6: watch clip from King of the Hill in which he says “You’re not making Christianity any better, you’re just making Rock music worse”
I have a gift for you. It’s a CD of some of my favorite music, all of it happens to be written and performed by Christians.
True Story: Chris’ friend liked a reliant K song on the radio, so Chris bought him the CD for Christmas. The friend said “I think they’re Christian…” and didn’t like them anymore.