Ethos Education

Doctor Strange: Why should we get back up from a fall from grace?

Leave a comment

Assembly Objective:

  • What does a fall from grace feel like? Why should we bother to get back up again and face the world when we fail or when we feel like we’ve let people down? Where can we find the humility to accept our flaws, and the courage to move past them? This assembly explores the Bible’s teaching on the value of learning to pick ourselves up in the face of adversity, and how true humility about ourselves can help us feel free.

Film:

  • Doctor Strange (Marvel Studios, 2017, certificate 12A). Click here to buy the DVD online.

Bible:

Supporting Values Education:

  • The value of individual liberty is based on the idea that we each deserve the right to pursue our passions and interests, without unfair restriction. It teaches us that we should expect to be able to pursue our own happiness. This assembly encourages students to reflect on what liberty and freedom really mean, and how we might achieve them in a world where not everything always goes our way.

OPENING ACTIVITY

What Is Happiness All About? (something to do and something to think about)

Download the What is happiness all about? Assembly PowerPoint for this activity.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Explain to the students that they will be looking at a series of scenarios and making a decision about each one: who is most happy and why? Explain to them that we assume lots of things about what it is in our lives that makes us happy. Is it success? Is it wealth? Is trying to make ourselves happy really the best way of making ourselves happy?
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • Ask the students to look at the slide. Ask the students to think about which person is happier. You could take a hands-up vote, and then ask some students to explain their answers.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • Ask the students to look at the next slide and pose the same question: who is happier? In this instance the pictures represent somebody who is talented and successful, and somebody who doesn’t appear to be. Ask them again to think about who might be happier and ask why. Try to pose counter-points to get them thinking away from the obvious. For example, if they say that the successful person is successful, ask them to consider the pressures of success or the downside of being valued based on success.
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • Look at the next slide and ask similar questions. Again, try to counter. If they think the greedy/selfish person is happier ask them to consider the benefits of altruism.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • Ask the students the same two questions: this should be trickier, so try some extra questions to help them think. For example: who is happier, somebody who must think they are better than everyone else, or someone who must think they are worse than everybody else? Or, who puts the most pressure on themselves? Are either options happy? Is there an alternative?
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • On this final slide, ask the students to consider whether they think ultimately those who give up or those who try again are happier? Ask them to consider why we should bother carrying on, when things don’t go well. What might motivate us to carry on? If pride, success and money might not make us happy, what is the real reason to carry on? Tell them this difficult question is one we will be addressing in the rest of the assembly.

FILM CLIP 1

There are two clips to be played from Doctor Strange (Marvel Studios, 2017, certificate 12A) during the talk.

  • Clip One:
    • Start time: 01:13:00
    • End time: 01:14:50
    • Clip length: One minute 50 seconds
  • The clip begins with Doctor Strange checking the pulse of a deceased villain. His two allies, The Ancient One and Mordo appear and ask what has happened. Strange explains his victory but is angry about the fact that he has been required to kill. As a Doctor, he took an oath to save life, not take it. The Ancient One questions Strange: she declares that he is not nearly as noble as he thinks he is, that the only life he really cares about is his own. His ego is what drives his decision making.
  • Clip Two:
    • Start time: 1:22:40
    • End time: 1:24: 30
    • Clip length: One minute 50 seconds
  • The clip begins with Doctor Strange trying to revive somebody in a hospital. He abandons the attempt, and his ‘astrobody’ floats out through the hospital to a balcony. He sees the Ancient One and they begin to discuss the nature of mortality. The Ancient One earnestly speaks to Doctor Strange and says that if he really wants to achieve his full potential he must be the simplest and more significant lesson of all: it’s not about him.

TALK

Download the What do you mean it’s not about me? Assembly PowerPoint for use with this talk.

Scripted Talk

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Why is getting up when we fall such a common element of all the stories we love? Look at the images on the screen – who recognises these scenes? Can anyone tell me what is happening in them and what they have in common? (Allow the students to reflect for thirty seconds, or discuss with their neighbour and then ask a couple to feedback.) There is something about finding courage in difficult times, and not giving up, and trying until you succeed that speaks to us as people: if we want to achieve something, we need to accept that we might fail, but that that shouldn’t put us off.
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • The film Doctor Strange, brings an interesting twist to this question. The twist and what that can teach us about getting back up from a fall, will be the topic of this assembly. Doctor Strange, our main character, is the definition of a flawed-hero. He’s arrogant, self-centred but he’s also brilliant and very used to success. He’s a hyper-intelligent, highly sought-after neural surgeon in America. Early on in the film, he loses his source-of-success: his agile hands in a car crash. He quickly falls into despair and anger, pushing everyone in his life out.
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • After months of failed attempts at healing himself with traditional medicine, he hears of a place which can train people to use their broken limbs again: a spiritual temple in Nepal, where the inhabitants learn incredible abilities. Strange sets off, with the single aim of healing himself and getting his career back.
    • During the clip we’re about to watch, the leaders of this spiritual order confront Strange about his aims in pursuing the magical arts to which they dedicate themselves. As you watch, think: is what they’re saying fair? Should Strange have other priorities?
    • Play Clip One from Doctor Strange (Marvel Studios, 2017, certificate 12A)
      • Start time: 01:13:00
      • End time: 01:14:50
      • Clip length: One minute 50 seconds
    • The clip begins with Strange checking the pulse of a deceased villain. His two allies, The Ancient One and Mordo appear and ask what has happened. Strange explains his victory but is angry about the fact that he has been required to kill. As a Doctor, he took an oath to save life, not take it. The Ancient One questions Strange: she declares that he is not nearly as noble as he thinks he is, that the only life he really cares about is his own. His ego is what drives his decision making.
    • In this clip Strange is accused of only using his power and ability to save himself, and that this ultimately limits him and makes him weak. Strange has a decision to make: follow his own ambition, or be a part of the bigger, scary story of which he is now a part. How will he decide?
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • During the next clip, we see a conversation between Strange and his mentor, the Ancient One. Both are going through an emotional and spiritual crisis: what can we hope to achieve in this life? As you watch, try to take note of the simple message the Ancient One tries to communicate that will supposedly give Strange the purpose and freedom he craves.
    • Play Clip Two from Doctor Strange (Marvel Studios, 2017,  certificate 12A)
      • Start time: 1:22:40
      • End time: 1:24: 30
      • Clip length: One minute 50 seconds
    • The clip begins with Doctor Strange trying to revive somebody in a hospital. He abandons the attempt, and his ‘astrobody’ floats out through the hospital to a balcony. He sees the Ancient One and they begin to discuss the nature of mortality. The Ancient One earnestly speaks to Doctor Strange and says that if he really wants to achieve his full potential he must be the simplest and more significant lesson of all: it’s not about him.
    • As we saw, the Ancient One turns to Doctor Strange and remarks that his life had been controlled by fear and arrogance – the Doctor suggests that this is precisely what has made him an excellent doctor. The Ancient One disagrees and says that this self-centred approach is really what held him back from making a real difference in the world. As she contemplates her own imminent death, she says that to truly have purpose that goes beyond your short life you must learn the simplest and most significant lesson of all: it’s not about you.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • This is the point in the film where something in Strange’s outlook changes. He realises that he must now persevere and face the difficult odds life holds not to serve himself, but to serve something greater. For Strange, this news is freedom: purpose and courage don’t have to come from his own personal success, but from the knowledge that he has the ability to help others.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • In the Bible there is a story of a man called Saul. He was a famous, successful and well respected professional. He had influence; prestige. Sound familiar? Saul’s story is recorded in Acts, where he uses his huge influence and power to do as much damage to the Christian Church as he possibly can. He is the face of what Christians called ‘persecution’ – where they were hunted down, imprisoned and killed for their beliefs. Saul is pleased with his work, until he has an encounter which changes his life forever.
    • Read Acts 9:1-19. In the story, Saul is knocked off his horse (literally) and met with a question ‘Saul! Why are you persecuting me?’ The voice is Jesus, who has seen the selfish ambition of Saul and the damage it is doing and has come to intervene. He commands that Saul change his path. He tells Saul to head to the nearest town, find a local Christian, and wait for instructions. Saul sits up, dazed and realises that he is blind. He is completely at the mercy of those he attacked.
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • Saul’s story begins with a complete fall from grace: he loses everything he thought was important and is faced with a choice: give up? Continue to try to serve his own ambition? Or ultimately see the bigger picture he is presented with and change the world? The Bible tells us that Saul chose the latter, and went on to transform and protect the Church – writing and recording ideas and teachings that still shape our thought today.
  • [PowerPoint slide 8]
    • Saul, upon realising that it wasn’t all about him: that there were bigger, greater things to think about and contribute to, was freed to fulfil his true potential and really achieve greatness. Saul, or perhaps better known as St. Paul, often puts this success down to humility. What is humility? The author Tim Keller suggests that humility is not what we’d expect: being deliberately down about ourselves, or giving up on ourselves. Keller writes: ‘humility is not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking of ourselves less’. In order to be really confident of our purpose and ability we need to focus on that bigger picture of which we are a part. It’s not about us! That is why we should get up when we fall; that is what makes it all worth it.

Headings and Bullets

Download the What do you mean it’s not about me Assembly PowerPoint for use with this talk.

  • [PowerPoint slide 1]
    • Why is this such a common element of all the stories we love?
    • What do these images have in common?
  • [PowerPoint slide 2]
    • What gives Doctor Strange his twist?
    • What makes him so flawed?
    • What makes him different?
  • [PowerPoint slide 3]
    • As a last attempt to heal himself, Strange heads east…
    • Introduce first film clip.
    • What do the Masters of this spiritual group think Strange’s problem is?
  • [PowerPoint slide 4]
    • Introduce second film clip.
    • Doctor Strange learns that the simplest and most significant lesson is that it’s not about him.
  • [PowerPoint slide 5]
    • Strange’s outlook begins to change.
    • Purpose and courage don’t come from his own personal success.
  • [PowerPoint slide 6]
    • In the Bible there is a story of a man called Saul.
    • He experiences a fall from power and influence.
    • Read Bible verse – Acts 9:1-19.
  • [PowerPoint slide 7]
    • Saul is faced with a choice.
    • The Bible tells us Saul chose the latter, influencing the Church and the world.
  • [PowerPoint slide 8]
    • Humility is not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking of ourselves less.
    • It’s not about us! That is why we should get up when we fall; that is what makes it all worth it. What ought we be doing with the special thing we can bring?

Photo copyright for What is happiness all about PowerPoint: Slide 1 Freeimages.com (beach) Freeimages.com (money) iStockphoto.com (plane) / Slide 2 Freeimages.com (money in pocket) Pixabay.com (homeless) / Slide 3 Pixabay.com (singer) Pixabay.com (beggar) / Slide 4 RHI Entertainment (Scrooge) Pixabay.com (firefighters) / Slide 5 iStockphoto.com (celebrity) Pixabay.com (man) / Slide 6 Pixabay.com (climber) Pixabay.com (boy)

Photo copyright for What do you mean it’s not about me PowerPoint: Slide 1 New Line Cinema (Sam Gamgee) Warner Bros Pictures (Harry Potter) Paramount (Forrest Gump) Lions Gate Films Inc (Katniss Everdeen) / Slide 2 Marvel / Slide 3 Jay Maidment / Slide 4 Image.net / Slide 5 Marvel / Slide 6 LUMO project image 9 LUMO project image 3 / Slide 7 istockphoto.com / Slide 8 Frank Licorice


RESPOND

Prayer

  • Dear God, thank you that I can be confident that I will always have purpose, and that I have been given the tools to make a difference in the world. Thank you that I don’t have any reason to think lowly of myself. Please help me to find peace in the fact that it’s not all about me, and that I have the power to help others in their troubles.

Reflection

  • Really accepting the idea that ‘it’s not all about you’ is a strange and difficult thing, but at times has the potential both to bring us a profound sense of peace and of purpose. Next time you have cause to feel like you have failed, or you begin to fixate on how you have not managed to meet the expectations of others, or those you place upon yourself, think instead about those around you to whom you could bring help. What big picture issue or problem going on around you can you make a positive contribution to?

YOU WILL NEED:

  1. A copy of Doctor Strange (Marvel Studios, 2017, certificate 12A). Click here to buy the DVD online.
  2. What is happiness all about? Assembly PowerPoint.
  3. What do you mean it’s not about me Assembly PowerPoint.

 

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s