Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Vikings, Visigoths and Gummy Melchisedech

For several years our small group had a multi-part structure where individuals would sign up to lead different parts of it each week. It broke down into connect, worship, study and prayer portions of the evening. I was ok at leading the study, but what Amanda and I seemed to thrive at was generating connect activities…designed to get people talking, giggling, sharing, and just spending time together before we dive into something as weighty as worship. I have posted about these before here and here. But I found the results of two others particularly amusing and worth putting up here:

Beef Poetry

Amanda was walking through the grocery store one day and noticed that the store’s beef supplier was having a beef poetry contest. You had to include 3 of 5 key phrases (stuff like no antibiotics and all natural) and a monthly winner got $100 in free beef. So we split into groups and wrote a half dozen poems and agreed that any winnings would be used for a small group party.

I partnered up with Rich Below, who I didn’t really know very well at the time.[1] But I think we made a pretty good writing team. The initial conversation went something like this:

‘Hmm, what rhymes with beef?’
-long pause-
-long pause-
-long pause-
“What about Leif? It could be about a Scandinavian beef eater!”
“An epic Norse limerick about bovine consumption!”
“Viking poetry!”

And this is what we came up with:

There once was a Viking named Lief
Fed on All Natural Premium Beef
Choice of the USDA
So it was anchors away
He rowed strong from reef to reef

There once was a Visigoth name Bjork
Who spent his sad life eating pork
But the hormones and drugs
and tapeworms and bugs
left him feeling a considerable dork.

Leif rowed to the shore of France
and was met by a defiant dance.
The armies did battle
Leif’s strengthened by cattle
kicked the Visigoths in the pants.

I have a few rules in life. One of them is that if you have a chance to write a silly poem about do it.

Well, Rich and I didn’t win. We suspected that it was our controversial anti-pork message.[2] But Liz, Holly and Rebecca did with a catchy piece called ‘The Night Before Barbecue.’ Turns out that $100 will purchase 7 Tri Tips.

Somehow I ended up cooking them but they were good any ways.

Biblical Gum Sculpture

I handed out a list of about 25 Bible characters from relatively common (and easily depicted), like Moses to relatively obscure (i.e. Melchisedech). The characters were assigned point values between 1 and 4, commensurate with the obscurity with the character (more obscure characters received higher values). The names were also written on index cards and organized (face down) into 4 piles by point value.[3] Each person then drew a random card from one of the piles and attempted to sculpt the name using two pieces of bubble gum. From then on it is Balderdash rules. Each person tried to guess who each sculpture represented. A successful guess netted the point value for both the guesser and the sculptor.[4]

Here are the 'sculptures':
I guessed the Queen of Sheba, but was alone on this. I was wrong. This is David (1 point). What are the other 2 figures…that is his harem. I would have gone with a defining moment in the David narrative. You know…Goliath…Uzziah…Saul and the spear. Julie felt the defining image was his multiple women. Um, can you say complex Biblical character. But at least it gives me the opportunity to like to mewithoutYou’s great new song about him.

Amanda was the only other person who picked a 1 point card. Um…its Moses. Everyone got it, but at 1 point apiece, it was competitive but not enough.

Liz has an art degree and is one of several fine artists in the group. This is Elijah in the flaming chariot…which I somehow failed to get.

This was the winner. I said David. I missed the long curly hair. I probably overvalued it the Queen of Sheba at 4 points, but Gilda did a great job with it.

This was mine. There is a lake and a guy reading a scroll in a chariot and another guy explaining it to him. It is the Ethiopian eunich…and in case you didn’t zero in on the story I included an artistic representation of the fact that it was a story about a eunich.

There were a couple ways you could go with this. I said Nichodemas (John 3). Others said Pilate ('What is Truth?'). It is actually Peter from the 'Do you love me?' narrative at the end of John.

Um, that’s a parking lot. Lot for 3 points. I didn’t get this.

Corrie was sure she got this. She said Adam. She figured it was a rib cage, and one of the ribs was being highlighted…referring to the creation of Eve narrative. As she explained her theory I was sure she was right. She wasn’t. This was a rib cage. Jansen was highlighting a rib. Senacherib for 4 points.

Finally, my favorite. No one had the faintest clue. Apparently it was a 3 part ‘sounds like’ sculpture.

Yup, its Melchisedech for 4 points, which no one got, but was hysterical as Ian explained it.

[1] This is before we lived with the Belows for 3 months in our Davis move.
[2] Or maybe it was our Visigothiphobia
[3] So Moses, David and all the other 1 point characters were grouped together and Melchisedech, Senacherib and all the other 4 point charecters were grouped together. One of the reasons I did this was because of an experience as a brand new Christian in a youth group. We were playing Bible pictionary. I drew Joshua. I had no idea who he was. So I drew a shepherd (thinking he was probobly in the OT and they were all shepherds, right?) and then I drew a foot ball lineup with X's and O's and circled the tight end because Joshua Davis was our High School's tight end at the time. It was emberassing. So I like to provide teired sorts of challanges in these kinds of things.
[4] So you can accrue points by having a good sculpture or by guessing multiple sculptures well.


Joel said...

I'm told that the beef industry is controlled by a shadowy conspiracy of Visigoths and pork eaters. There's no other explanation for your not winning.

stanford said...

I know, right?

That is the only thing I can think of. :)

nic gibson said...

what about the other poem? Surely that must be included!

stanford said...

Amanda submitted the poems and then threw them out. I only recovered mine because it was in my journal. I would have included all of them if I could. There wasn't really a bad one in the bunch. The most memorable was by my friend Brian who wrote a haiku questioning the wisdom of ingesting beef without any antibiotics in it.