Middle School lesson


I teach year one of Confirmation class at my church. This is my tenth year and I teach Salvation History. Our Diocese has moved the age group from High School to Middle School age (7th/8th). The last two years have transitionary and this year the class is mostly Middle School age. I’m preparing to teach the part of Genesis on Sodom and Gomorrah. I’ve considered stepping over this section, or going forward with the review and giving parents a warning prior to the discussion. I’d appreciate your opinion. Is this age too young to talk about the violence, disobedience to God, the opportunity to discuss the dangers of pornography and how they are targeted for this evil? The addiction aspect of it, as well as how this industry plays a part in human trafficking, violence against women, the effects on the brain etc. I’m very perplexed. Thanks for your input.


Perhaps you should consider the view that these communities were punished but not for sexual sins. @meltzerboy2, I think I’ve seen you write on this in the past?


Jude 1:7 makes it look like that’s why it happened and it is how many Church doctors looked at. Talking about the dangers of these sorts of sins is kind of important.


This age may be the most challenging time to have these discussions but also are the most appropriate.


Considering the psychological and physical nature of the addiction to pornography I think it is a good age to start. Additionally, discussing the other topics gives you an opportunity to bring into the conversation God’s justice as well as His mercy.


Considering their understanding of things I don’t think you should skip it at all.
It’s a reality that they’re ready to hear.


What is your curriculum?


Personally I don’t think its a great idea to skip over stuff like this at their age for a couple reasons. 1) If the faithful don’t talk about these tough to exegete narratives, the enemies of the faith will. So we aren’t doing them any favors. 2) In the Book of Judges you see the Israelites begin to fall into apostasy rivaling the actions that caused Sodom and Gamorrah to receive judgment from God. So skipping this section means you now have to do that in other places in Judges. 3) I think if we show the depravity of the generation of Sodom we can draw some parallels to our generation. It should provide a sobering example of what we don’t want to be like and that we want to be faithful rather than adopt the norms of the culture that we are surrounded by.


That is correct. Jewish research and writing have pointed out that the capital sin of Sodom was NOT male homosexuality but rather its inhospitality and cruelty toward the poor and needy. The inhabitants of Sodom were unwilling to share their abundance of resources with those less fortunate than themselves. This indifference toward the needy was at the time and still is today considered a great sin in Judaism.

However, zealots in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all believe that the sin of Sodom is male homosexuality. I find it interesting that extremists of different religions have no qualms about agreeing with one another regarding hating others’ behaviors but not so much regarding loving or forgiving others.


Could your Priest give you some help on this?


I don’t use a formal curriculum. I have studied the subject and focus on the covenants made with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus. The students learn to read the bible, tie the stories to our lives today, review the parallels to Jesus.


I can ask our priest. He mainly speaks spanish.


Your Bishop has approved certain cirriculum for Religious Ed, especially for Sacramental Preparation. This is not a “make it up as you go along” thing. I would call your Director of Religious Ed, your Pastor, the Office of Religious Ed at your Diocese TODAY and get your hands on one of the approved curriculums.


My priest did approve the format. I’ve been teaching for over 10 years in the same church. The question isn’t about the content. It’s about this specific subject matter. meltzerboy2. Thank you for your advice. I’d like to do some research on your response. Any suggestions?


I would pull my kid. I do not want a lesson about sodomy taught to my 12 year old unless it is from a curriculum that I was able to review ahead of time.


This is debatable, and the evidence is not in your favor. While it is evident that homosexuality was not the only sin for which Sodom was judged, it certainly was viewed as a grievous sin and was used as an example of the extreme perversion that was evident in the societies of Sodom and Gomorrah. This is evident how you see echoes of it in Judges where the tribe of Benjamin is judged extremely harshly for a similar (yet heterosexual sin - but it is being used to show the trajectory of Israelite society accepting the Canaanite norms) sin. Then you of course have Leviticus which calls the sin an abomination before God. Additionally, Paul uses the example of male homosexuality in Romans 1 to demonstrate how the truth of God has been exchanged for a lie, demonstrating this by showing the giving up of even the natural desires established in creation for unnatural desires. Trying to write this out of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah because of modern sensitivities is not being faithful to the narrative in Genesis.

This should give us pause today in our own society for what we have not only allowed, but celebrated with the redefinition of marriage.


Thank you all for your responses. The bible text is the bible text, and it raises questions that I don’t feel is my place to discuss.


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