The Salvation of Doctor Who Leader Guide: A Small Group Study Connecting Christ and Culture

The Salvation of Doctor Who Leader Guide: A Small Group Study Connecting Christ and Culture

by Matt Rawle

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Overview

The Salvation of Doctor Who Leader Guide: A Small Group Study Connecting Christ and Culture by Matt Rawle

Pastor and author Matt Rawle is on a mission. He sees Christ all around him-in books, movies, TV shows, rock music-and he wants to share what he sees. As Matt says, "God offers the raw ingredients, and 'culture' is whatever we cook up."

In The Salvation of Doctor Who, pastor and author Matt Rawle draws on the long-running TV show and cult favorite Doctor Who to chart the intersection of faith and science. Chapters include “Bigger on the Inside,” “God and Time and God’s Time,” “The Oldest Question in the Universe,” and “The Sonic Screwdriver Is Mightier Than the Sword.”

This Leader Guide contains everything needed to guide a group through the Participant Book and DVD. It includes session plans and discussion questions, as well as multiple format options.

The Salvation of Doctor Who
is part of The Pop in Culture Series of Bible studies in which Matt
Rawle stirs up a tasty gumbo of insight, humor, and inspiration based on some of your favorite pop culture classics. A Participant Book, a DVD
featuring four sessions with the author, and a Worship Resources Flash
Drive also are available for group study.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501803826
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication date: 09/01/2015
Series: Pop in Culture Series
Edition description: Leaders Gu
Pages: 64
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.20(d)

About the Author

Matt Rawle is Lead Pastor at Asbury United Methodist Church in Bossier City, Louisiana. Matt is an international speaker who loves to tell an old story in a new way, especially at the intersection of pop culture and the church. He is the author of a new series of books titled The Pop in Culture Series. The series includes The Faith of a Mockingbird, Hollywood Jesus, The Salvation of Doctor Who and The Redemption of Scrooge.

Read an Excerpt

The Salvation of Doctor Who Leader Guide

A Small Group Study Connecting Christ And Culture


By Matt Rawle, Josh Tinley

Abingdon Press

Copyright © 2015 Abingdon Press
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5018-0382-6



CHAPTER 1

Session 1

The Oldest Question in the Universe

Planning the Session

Session Goals

Through this session's discussion and activities, participants will be encouraged to:

• reflect on their identities and the identities they convey to others;

• explore Jesus' identity and what it means for him to be fully human and fully divine;

• examine how they have grown through their various personas or "reincarnations" during their lives;

• consider how memory shapes identity, and how we remember our identities as God's children and followers of Christ.


Preparation

• Familiarize yourself with the premise of Doctor Who and some of the key characters and themes.

• Read and reflect on the first chapter of Matt Rawle's The Salvation of Doctor Who.

• Read through this Leader Guide session in its entirety to familiarize yourself with the material being covered.

• Read and reflect on the following Scriptures:

[] Mark 8:27–38

[] Matthew 4:1–11

[] Mark 14:32–42

[] Philippians 2:5–11

[] Ezekiel 36:24–32

[] Romans 6:1–11

[] Galatians 2:16–21

[] Genesis 32:22–32

[] Matthew 16:13–20


• Make sure that you have a markerboard or large sheet of paper on which you can record group members' ideas.

• Have a Bible for every participant, along with paper and pens for taking notes.


Opening Activity and Prayer (10 minutes)

As participants arrive, welcome them to this study. When most are present, consider this question that Matt Rawle asks: "If I asked you to write a three-sentence bio about yourself, what would you say? How do you describe your identity?" Have each participant answer this question on a note card. Give everyone a few minutes to write their bios, then collect and shuffle the cards. Read aloud each short bio and have the group guess to whom each belongs. Discuss:

• What did you learn about the members of this group that you didn't know before?

• What surprised you about these bios? Might you have described anyone differently?

• Think about the bio you wrote. Is this the identity that you convey to others? Why, or why not?


Then have participants discuss their familiarity with Doctor Who. It is OK if some have never seen a single episode and have no idea what a Dalek looks like. But if some participants are fans of the show, have them give their fellow participants a better understanding of the show by discussing some of the following:

• who the Doctor is;

• what a companion is and what the Doctor's traveling companions do;

• why they think Doctor Who has endured for so long and is beloved on both sides of the Atlantic;

• why a show such as Doctor Who would inspire a Bible study.


Opening Prayer

Lord, as we begin this study, give us wisdom, patience, and humility. Thank you for this group and for the opportunity for us to come together and reflect on what we, as Christians, can learn from popular culture and science fiction. Bless our time together that we may learn from Scripture, from story, and from one another. Amen.


Watch DVD Segment (10 minutes)

Study and Discussion (30–35 minutes)

Note: Discussion helps and questions that correspond to Chapter One: "The Oldest Question in the Universe" are provided below. If you have more time in your session, or want to include additional discussion and activities to your time, see "Additional Options for Bible Study and Discussion" at the end of this section, listed after the Closing Activity and Prayer.


Who Is the Doctor?

(See The Salvation of Doctor Who,pages 22–25.)


Read aloud or summarize for the group:

Rawle writes, "Identity can be a tricky thing to explain." He notes that, in the eyes of his enemies the Daleks, the Doctor is a predator, or a terrorist. But to those who fear and have been hurt by the Daleks — who are cruel and known for feeling no compassion or remorse — the Doctor is a freedom fighter.


For discussion:

• Read Mark 8:27–38, where Jesus asks his disciples, "Who do you say that I am?"

• What identities for Jesus had people proposed?

• Why, do you think, did they associate these identities with Jesus?

• Peter identifies Jesus as "the Christ." What does this identity mean for Jesus and his followers?

• If Jesus were to ask you, "Who do you say that I am?" how would you answer?


Having Two Hearts

(See The Salvation of Doctor Who,pages 25–30.)


Read aloud or summarize for the group:

Rawle relates a Doctor Who episode in which the Doctor, who is a Time Lord, alters his DNA to become human. In becoming human, the Doctor took on human "biases and missteps, losing his ability to rise above bigotry and fear."

Our Christian faith affirms that, in the person of Jesus, God became human. The difference between Jesus and the Doctor (among other things) is that while Jesus was fully human, he also was fully divine. Though he was saddled with certain human limitations and vulnerabilities, he retained his divine knowledge and power.


For discussion:

• What does it mean that, in Jesus, God was fully human?

• In what ways did Jesus experience the limitations and vulnerabilities that we experience as human beings?

• What risks did God take by becoming human, and particularly by beginning life as an infant?

• How, do you think, did the fact that Jesus also was fully divine affect his life as a human being?

• What does the fact that God became fully human say about God's relationship with us and about how we relate to God?

(Refer to the following Scriptures as a part of your discussion: Matthew 4:1–11; Mark 14:32–42; Philippians 2:5–11.)


Read aloud or summarize for the group:

One of the Doctor's most extraordinary characteristics is that he has two hearts. Rawle suggests that, as Christians, we also have a second heart, in a manner of speaking: "Being in Christ means that our heart works together with Christ's and with each other."


For discussion:

• How does your heart work "together with Christ's"?

• How are our hearts, through Christ, joined to those of other Christians?


I Never Forget a Face

(See The Salvation of Doctor Who,pages 30–33.)


Read aloud or summarize for the group:

One of the Doctor's most remarkable characteristics is his ability to regenerate. When he is on the verge of death, his cells rearrange to create a new body. His new body is different not only in appearance but also in taste and attitude. The Doctor's companions sometimes struggle with the question of whether the regenerated Doctor is the same person they'd known before.


For discussion:

• Like the Doctor, we are always growing and changing. When you look back at early pictures of yourself, do you see the same person you are today, or do you see another person entirely?

• Compare yourself now to yourself from another period in your life. Do you see yourself as the same person now as then or as someone entirely different?

• If you from ten or twenty years ago were to see you today, what would surprise your past self most about you today?

Run, You Clever Boy, and Remember

(See The Salvation of Doctor Who,pages 33–37.)


Read aloud or summarize for the group:

Over the course of our lives our appearances change, our personalities and perspectives change, and our cells die off and are replaced. For the Doctor, these changes are more extreme. He periodically regenerates, taking on an entirely new body.

Galatians 2:20, which says, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in my body, I live by faith, indeed, by the faithfulness of God's Son, who loved me and gave himself for me."

Rawle writes, "Whatever it is you consider 'I' to be, whatever you see in your mind's eye when you say your name, whatever that image is, the point is for 'I' to be crucified so that Christ may live within us. In other words, my prayer is that 'I' reflects Jesus Christ. The 'I' has been redeemed."


For discussion:

• What is it that makes you, you? What remains constant through all the changes?

• Would you agree with Rawle that identity is rooted in memory? Why, or why not?

• What does it mean for us to be "crucified with Christ," for some part of us to die and be replaced by Christ living within us?

• What died or changed within you when you became a Christian or matured in your faith?


Then read (or re-read) Romans 6:1–11. Ask:

• What do you think the Apostle Paul (the author of these verses) means when he says that we were "buried together" with Christ or that we are "united together in a death like his"? How have you "died" with Christ?

• How are we "united together" in Christ's resurrection? What must happen before we can experience resurrection?


Closing Activity (5 minutes)

Ask the group:

• What is one thing you learned from this session that you didn't know before? (Participants could name something they learned about Scripture; something they learned about one another; or even something interesting they learned about Doctor Who.)

• What is one important truth about God's identity that you will take away from this session?

• What is one important truth about your identity as a follower of Christ that you will take away from this session?


If time permits:

Invite participants to imagine they can hop into the TARDIS and travel one week into the future. What would they like to have learned or accomplished during this coming week? Encourage participants to make a personal goal for themselves this week.

For example, one possible goal could be making a commitment to join one's heart to Christ (see "Having Two Hearts") in a particular way, such as by spending time each morning reading and reflecting on Scripture. Another could be to allow part of oneself — such as a grudge or an obsession — to die so that he or she could be made new ("I Remember, Therefore I Am").

Provide paper and pen for each person so participants can write down these goals as a reminder for the week. Some may want to share their goals with the group.

Note: when it comes to goal setting, some people find it helpful to use the SMART acronym as a guideline, which states that goals should be:

Specific: Goals should not be vague or abstract.

Measurable: There should be some objective way to say, "Yes, I accomplished this goal" or "No, I did not."

Achievable: They should be able to complete their goals in a week's time.

Relevant: Their goals should relate to the content of this session.

Time limited: Goals should not require more than a week's time.


Closing Prayer

Lord, thank you for this time we've had together. We are grateful that we see glimpses of you in popular culture and that we are able to use the story of the Doctor as a tool with which we can explore your eternal truths. Bless us as we go from here. Remind us of the identities we have in you and give us the strength and wisdom to be faithful to them. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.


Additional Options for Bible Study and Discussion

The Oldest Question (15 minutes)

(See The Salvation of Doctor Who,pages 38–41.)


Activity:

Below is a list of names of people whose birth names are different from their given, or chosen, names. Write the pairs of names below on a marker-board, but scramble them so that it isn't obvious which name goes with which. Challenge participants to match the person's original name on the left with the appropriate new name on the right.

• Sarai
Sarah
• Jacob
Israel
• Daniel
Belteshazzar
• Simon
Peter
• Cassius Clay
Muhammad Ali
• Stefani Germonotta
Lady Gaga
• Reginald Dwight
Elton John
• Caryn Johnson
Whoopi Goldberg
• Peter Gene Hernandez Bruno Mars


Optional: If time permits, and if members of your group have children, invite them to tell the stories behind their children's names, talking about anything that is special or significant about these names. How much thought did they put into naming the children? Did it cause them any stress or tension?


Read aloud or summarize for the group:

Most names have some sort of a story behind them. For the Doctor, the story is that his name is unknown to all but himself and River Song, his wife. In Scripture, we encounter many names of great significance. Let's look at these examples:

• Genesis 32:22–32

• Matthew 16:13–20 (You might also want to look at any footnotes.)


For discussion:

• What is the story behind the name of the people of Israel? What does this name say about the people's relationship with God?

• What is the story behind Peter's name? What does this name say about Peter and his later role as a leader of the church?

• If God were to give you a new name to reflect your relationship with God, your gifts, or your calling, what might it be and why?


Activity (15 minutes)

Twelve actors have portrayed the Doctor since the show's debut in 1963. And each of the Doctor's twelve regenerations has his own strengths and idiosyncrasies. Rawle gives a summary of each of the Doctors on pages 31–32.

Many of us experience regenerations, even if they aren't as substantial as the Doctor's. Give the members of your group about five minutes to make a list of a few of their different "selfs" or "incarnations" with dates and a list of attributes. (For example: "The First Phil, 1976–1979: limited ability to communicate, heavily dependent on parents" or "The Fourth Jennifer, 1988–1991: a beast on the softball diamond but hampered by an unhealthy obsession with the New Kids on the Block.") Allow everyone to present one or two of their regenerations, then ask:

• What role did your faith play in these regenerations?


Divide participants into three teams. Have each team read one of the following Scriptures and discuss what their Scriptures have to say about regeneration:

• Ezekiel 36:24–32 • Romans 6:1–11 • Galatians 2:16–21


After the teams have had time to read and discuss their Scriptures, have each team summarize its verses for the others, explaining how the Scriptures relate to regeneration. Following these summaries, discuss:

• How is regeneration a part of who we are as children of God and followers of Christ?


Nicknames (10 minutes)

Activity:

Chances are, some members of your group have picked up nicknames at some point in their lives. Invite participants to name these nicknames. Ask volunteers to tell the stories behind their nicknames. Did they, like Peter, get a nickname from someone who saw a particular quality in them? Or, like the Doctor, did they choose a name for themselves that happened to catch on?

About each nickname, ask:

• How or why did this name catch on?

• How long did the name persist? Do people still refer to you by this name?

• What, in your opinion, makes for a good nickname?


Have everyone write his or her name on a slip of paper. Collect the slips and put them into a container. Ask each participant to draw a slip from the container. Every person should come up with a nickname for the person whose name he or she drew from the container. This nickname should be based on some way in which God has gifted the person or some way in which he or she has served or contributed to God's people.

CHAPTER 2

Session 2

God and Time and God's Time

Planning the Session

Session Goals

Through this session's discussion and activities, participants will be encouraged to:

• reflect on the role that time and time-keeping play in our lives;

• consider the difference between God's understanding of time and human understandings of time;

• examine the ways in which God enters our time line;

• question our assumptions about how God is at work in our world;

• consider how God's kingdom is already among us.


Preparation

• Familiarize yourself with the premise of Doctor Who and some of the key characters and themes.

• Read and reflect on the second chapter of Matt Rawle's The Salvation of Doctor Who.

• Read through this Leader Guide session in its entirety to familiarize yourself with the material being covered.

• Read and reflect on the following Scriptures:

[] Matthew 17:1–13

[] Luke 17:20–21

[] John 1:43–51


• Make sure that you have a markerboard or large sheet of paper on which you can record group members' ideas.

• Have a Bible available for each participant, along with paper and pens for taking notes.


Opening Activity and Prayer (10 minutes)

Ask participants to close their eyes and to imagine going through their day without having anything to keep time — no clocks, no watches, no cell phones, and so forth. Have them start imagining at the beginning of the day then go through each part of their daily routine.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Salvation of Doctor Who Leader Guide by Matt Rawle, Josh Tinley. Copyright © 2015 Abingdon Press. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

To the Leader 5

1 The Oldest Question in the Universe 11

2 Gold and Time and God's Time 24

3 The Sonic Screwdriver Is Mightier than the Sword 35

4 Bigger on the Inside 49

Note 64

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