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Bushtucker trial: To boldly go

Encourages students to have the courage to go beyond social expectations (SEAL theme: Social skills).

by Brian Radcliffe

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To encourage students to have the courage to go beyond social expectations (SEAL theme: Social skills).

Preparation and materials

  • If media resources allow, show a clip from YouTube of a typical Bushtucker Trial from I’m a celebrity . . .  get me out of here (see section 1).
  • Choose one reader for the Bible passage, Acts 10.916 (see section 2).

Assembly

  1. We’re well into the autumn so it’s about time for another series of I’m a celebrity . . . get me out of here. (Comment on any relevant scheduling information.)

    Most viewers’ favourite section is the Bushtucker Trial, when contestants are made to eat food items that are apparently repulsive in some way. It may be that they are insects (dead or alive), have a strong smell or are the raw version of a food that is more usually cooked. (If possible, show a short clip from the programme.)
  2. I’d like you to hold the idea of the Bushtucker Trial in your mind while you listen to the following passage from the Bible.

    Reader  ‘About noon the next day . . . Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat; and while it was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw the heaven opened and something like a large sheet coming down, being lowered to the ground by its four corners. In it were all kinds of four-footed creatures and reptiles and birds of the air. Then he heard a voice saying, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is profane or unclean.”The voice said to him again, a second time, “What God has made clean, you must not call profane.” This happened three times, and the thing was suddenly taken up to heaven’ (Acts 10.9–16).
  3. There are certain types of food that a devout Jewish believer is not allowed to eat. Pork and shellfish are typical examples. These foods aren’t ‘kosher’, that is, they are not clean, according to Jewish law.

    In his vision Peter was presented with a variety of such food. And he was hungry. Yet, like the good Jew that he was, he refused to eat this ‘unclean’ food. Then God’s voice declared that he was allowed to eat even the non kosher food because God himself had declared that it was okay. Peter was being encouraged to go beyond the normal Jewish social and religious expectations.

    We discover later that this vision was not really to do with food. It was to do with relating to people of all races and introducing them to the Christian faith.
  4. The Bushtucker Trials on TV have something in common with Peter’s vision. The celebrities are asked to eat food that is totally acceptable in other cultures, even if it’s repulsive in ours. Raw meat, grubs and stinky fruit are in fact delicacies to many people. It’s only our social and cultural preconceptions that discourage us. As explorers have discovered, there are vital proteins, carbohydrates and minerals in the foodstuffs of other cultures.
  5. So how might the expectations of the society in which we live prevent us from fully exploring the resources of human society in other cultures? How might our narrow social and cultural viewpoints restrict us?

    Race is the obvious example. Family values and language can create little ghettoes that it can be hard to break out of, especially in terms of creating relationships.

    Then there is religion, which is often tied up with race. Limited views are especially common in a culture where there’s a strong separation between those who have a faith and those who are totally secular in outlook.

    People in different income groups can also develop their own identity, and may hesitate to mix with those who have more or less money than themselves.

    Gender expectations can have a profound effect on choices made about careers and hobbies.

    Even expectations about whether to succeed in education can vary in different social groups; for some, it’s not cool to be an A student.
  6. The Bushtucker Trials and Peter’s vision encourage us to look beyond the boundaries put up by people where we live and who we’ve grown up with. Their expectations remain our roots but we’re encouraged to move out and explore the music, the beliefs, the hopes and expectations of others. And we may even enjoy the food as well!

Time for reflection

Is there an expectation imposed by your culture, family or group of friends that puts up barriers? Is this is a good expectation, or a social and cultural boundary that impoverishes you and the wider society?

Is there a first step you could take to see the issue more clearly?

Prayer

Dear Lord,

thank you for the wealth of variety that surrounds me.

Thank you for the opportunity present in each new person I meet.

May I have a sense of adventure and exploration.
Amen.

Music

‘The times they are a-changin’’ by Bob Dylan (the ultimate song about social interchange)

Publication date: November 2012   (Vol.14 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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