This is the third and final article in a series about 'thinking skills and RE'. Margaret Cooling, well known for her writing, speaking and training, particularly in the area of RE, encourages us to use 'thinking skills' to examine religious stories.
Thinking through religious stories
Using stories in RE is a long-established practice. Stories can help pupils understand the way in which beliefs motivate people and their importance in people's lives. They can enable pupils to think through and express their own beliefs and aid pupils' moral development. Stories can also develop thinking, questioning and reasoning skills. In RE, background information often needs supplying or the actions of people can be misunderstood.
The Story: "The call of Matthew"
As Jesus was walking along, he saw Matthew sitting at the tax collectors' office. "Follow me," he said and Matthew just got up and followed him. He left behind the money he had collected. He left behind his good job and just followed Jesus. People stared after him in amazement - what had come over Matthew?
Later, Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to dinner. While they were eating, some of Matthew's friends joined them. Matthew and his friends stuck together, they all invited each other to meals because they knew that no one else would invite them. To other people they were just 'sinners', 'scum' because of the job they did. When the religious leaders saw Jesus eating with Matthew and his friends they were shocked and said, "Why does Jesus eat with such people? They are tax collectors and sinners!"
Jesus overheard what they had said and replied, "It's not the healthy who need a doctor, but people who are ill. Go away and learn what this means: 'I want mercy, not your precious gifts.' I have come to call sinners to repent, not good people."
(This story is taken from Matthew 9 v 9-13 in the New Testament section of the Bible.)
Background information: The story of the call of Matthew
Questions based on characters
Questions about the theme
If this article has whetted your appetite to discover more about using thinking skills in RE, check out the new service for RE teachers, the REthinking Network. Click here for more details. There is also a list of useful websites available by clicking here.