Leaders' Notes: I’m a celebrity: what am I doing here?!

Introduction

The session outline provided serves as a guide for exploring the idea of celebrity culture; what the media ‘celebrates’ or reports as being worthy of recognition and how that contrasts with the values of Christianity and Islam. fiestas en agosto

The purpose of the session is to get the girls talking about what kind of things contribute to celebrity status – notable achievements, appearing on TV or in films, being related to or in a relationship with someone else who is well-known – and the kind of characteristics that have more lasting value, the kind of things we read about in the Sermon on the Mount, for example (see Matt 5:1-7:29).

Often the media focuses on the ‘rise and fall’ of celebrities, regularly reporting on their personal lives, their mistakes and passing judgement on their actions. As far as is possible, try to steer the groups away from using discussion times to focus on particular celebrities and what’s reported about them in the media, unless the activity calls for this. Instead, try to get them to think more about the interest that ‘celebrity’ attracts and why that might be. Ultimately the intention of this session is to get the girls to think about what is worthy of celebration and to encourage them to consider what kind of people, outside of the media, serve as role models. We want to encourage the girls to think about how people can make a positive contribution and how they, themselves can have a positive influence on the world around, especially when they consider the characteristics that their faith encourages them to ‘celebrate’ and to emulate.

Scriptures

Bible references: Matt 5:1-7:9; Matt 18:1-4; Mark 9:33-36; Rom 12:2; Rom 13:8-9; 1 Cor 13:1-8a; 2 Cor 4:16-18; Gal 5:22-26; Gal 6:1-5; Eph 4:1-3; Eph 5:1-2; Phil 4: 8-9; Col 3:5-11; Titus 3:1-2; James 1:19-21; James 3:13-18; 1 Peter 3:8-12; 1 John 4:7-12.

Quran

Both men and women are taught in the Qur’an that Muhammad is the best of models to follow, also following the example of the Sahaba (his companions).

‘The forerunners, the first of the Muhajirun and the Ansar, and those who have followed them in doing good, Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him. He has made ready for them Gardens with rivers flowing under them, timelessly forever with out end. That is the great victory.’ (Qur’an 9:101 )

‘We have only sent before you men who have received revelation, so ask the people of remembrance if you do not know.’ (Qur’an 6:44 )

‘Have you not seen how Allah has given an example of a good word which is like a good tree. Its roots are firm in the soil and its branches are high up in the heavens. It gives its fruits in every season by the command of its Lord. And Allah gives examples for people so that they may reflect.’ (Qur’an 14:24)
‘And assist one another upon righteous actions and avoidance of sins.’
(Qur’an 5:2)

A hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) states that Muhammad was ‘sent to perfect good character’

This character is often at odds with celebrity culture: ‘Every deen has an innate character; the character of Islam is modesty’

Also see Quran: 4:32, 18:46, 6:141, 7:31, 17:26, 56:57-59, 4:149, 2:86

Practical Points

There are parts of the session that may require more time and preparation in advance, here’s a list of resources that you might find useful to get things planned ahead of time, helping things to run more smoothly on the day:

Activity
Aim
Suggested Resources
Celebrity spotting

A bit of fun to introduce the theme and to ‘break the ice’.
It will also pair people up randomly with the people they’ll work with throughout the sessions.

Glossy magazines, internet photos, newspaper cuttings.
Where possible, use pictures of celebrity pairings (not necessarily just ‘couples’) and cut the picture in two, if this is not possible, search for photos of them individually. As much as possible try to find pairs that are famous for different reasons – sporting achievements, famous siblings, actors, duos, double-acts and reality TV stars. Put your celebrity photos into envelopes – one for each half of a pair, and seal them!

I’m a celebrity…

A creative way of exploring what makes someone a celebrity.

Make sure firstly, that you know what these people are famous for and secondly that they’re people the girls are likely to be familiar with! The idea is to have a good range of people represented – both those who have achieved something that brought them to public attention and those who’ve found fame almost by accident!

Discussion – ‘What makes a celebrity?’

To start getting the pairs to mix with others, getting to know new people and hear more people’s views. Also to start giving their own opinions about celebrity culture and what the media focuses on.

If time allows, prepare some PowerPoint slides or an OHP acetate with questions like those given in the session outline. Try to keep the topic focussed on the activities that bring people to public attention and the things the media portray rather than passing opinion on what these celebrities have done.

Break

Time to mingle, chat, relax and look through some alternative types of media.

Where possible, encourage leaders to bring examples of Christian & Muslim magazines, newspapers etc (such as Caris http://www.carismag.co.uk and Emel http://www.emel.com) – be sure to keep this balanced so that both Muslim and Christian media are represented equally. Include glossy magazines too, especially magazines that are aimed at this age-group

Video/Powerpoint

This activity is meant to underline the things that have already been discussed and to lead the girls into the next area of discussion. If time or resources don’t allow, this can be cut from the programme without leaving a big gap!

If you’ve got the time and resources (!), try to pull together clips of celebrity news: achievements, announcements, press reports etc; (YouTube is a good place to start) or create a PowerPoint presentation with slides showing press clippings and internet articles

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